SMRC(NEW YORK) -- With companies beginning campaigns to send vacationers to Mars, it’s time to start working out some of the logistics. One concern: How do you pack enough food to supply years-long space missions?
One company, Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC), believes the answer may be in 3-D food printing, and it has been selected to receive a $125,000 grant from NASA to construct a prototype.
“Long-distance space travel requires 15-plus years of shelf life,” Anjan Contractor, engineer with SMRC, told the news website Quartz. “The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro- and micro-nutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out and, in that form, it will last maybe 30 years.”
SMRC would not comment on the project directly to ABC News.
Allard Beutel of NASA told ABC News that the agency is in “contract negotiations” with SMRC.
“As NASA ventures further into space, whether redirecting an asteroid or sending humans to Mars, we will need to make transformation improvements in our life support systems, including how we feed our astronauts during long, deep space missions,” said Beutel.
“[SMRC] has proposed a 3-D printed food system for long duration space missions,” Beutel added. “The proposal was selected for contract negotiation because of its merits in addressing NASA’s advanced food system technology needs as we prepare for long duration human space exploration. In-space and additive manufacturing offers the potential for game-changing weight savings and new mission opportunities, whether ‘printing’ food, tools or entire spacecraft.”
3-D printing is a process that usually involves layering materials like plastics, metals or rubbers as directed by a computer blueprint to construct items from the ground up -- seemingly out of thin air.
Contractor’s vision for printing food is similar but instead of using materials like plastics, the printer would construct the food with different, nutrient-rich materials -- ones that are edible, of course.
Contractor even told Quartz that he will soon begin the development a “pizza printer.”
He believes food printing could be useful outside of spaceships, too. Food printers could easily “program” our foods to meet regular diets, and address allergies or taste preferences.
Because most of the materials used for food printing would come in a powdered form with a long shelf life, methods of food storage would become simple and food waste could be mitigated.
“I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently,” Contractor told Quartz. “So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.”
Hod Lipson, associate professor at Cornell University and co-author of the book, Fabricated: The New World of 3-D Printing, told ABC News that although it’s still a “nascent technology,” his group at Cornell has been experimenting with 3-D food printing, too.
“[3-D food printing] has the potential of making a large amount of food products. … And you can print food that has exactly the nutritional content that is desired,” Lipson said.
His group at Cornell has experimented with things like cube-shaped creations from powdered milk, he said, and it has even printed cookies with controlled sugar levels.
“That fact that food and biomaterials are beginning to enter the realm really brings a lot of new possibilities [to 3-D printing],” he said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Safeway Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)(NEW YORK) -- Since the Desperate Housewives finale aired last May, Marcia Cross has stayed mostly low-key. But when she was asked to participate in a PSA to promote prostate cancer awareness, she says it was a “no-brainer” because her close friend’s husband had been diagnosed with the disease.
“There are so many causes out there but when someone you know is affected by it, it becomes more personal,” says Cross, 51, who also advocated for breast cancer awareness after her friend -- the same friend whose husband was sick -- learned she had the disease.
“It’s so selfish that I get to do something so simple and I get to feel like I’ve done something,” the actress said.
For Cross, who has partnered with Safeway Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), cancer has been an all-too-familiar presence. Not only have her friends been diagnosed with the disease, but her longtime companion, Richard Jordan, died of brain cancer in 1993, and her husband, stockbroker Tom Mahoney, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2011. He is in remission.
Such experiences, which Cross calls “scary,” was especially fraught because the couple, who married in 2006, has young children: twins Eden and Savannah, now 6.
“I’ve shielded them from a lot of things, but I’ve introduced little facts,” she says of her kids’ understanding of the disease. “It’s weird that they lived through [their dad's experience], but they still don’t know much about cancer. I try to keep it age appropriate.”
And now that her husband is in better health and her ABC drama has wrapped, Cross is focusing on spending as much time with her family as possible, and reveling in her twins’ blossoming personalities.
“They’re such different girls, but the beauty is they really complement each other and they get along beautifully,” she says. “Savannah is my scientist. She’s more concrete and scientific. She’s got her dad’s analytical mind. Eden is always upside down, doing cartwheels and spinning yards. More imaginative and lyrical. I love hanging out with them.”
So much so that this summer, she and Mahoney will take their girls to Paris for a week.
“I feel like, I’m an older mother, do it now, do everything now,” she says. “Life can turn on a dime. We’re healthy, we can do it, they want to be with us. Let’s do everything now while we can.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Jody Hughey(NEW YORK) -- A Georgia couple is pleading for the return of a silver box stolen from the bedroom of their Cobb County home, as the box holds the ashes of their stillborn son.
Jody and Haley Hughey lost their only child, Caleb, when he was stillborn in 2008.
"We spent some time with him before we let him go, and then had him cremated," said Jody Hughey, describing through tears the silver "memento box" with an angel and "Caleb Ean Hughey, October 16, 2008," engraved on the lid. "I realize there are people in Oklahoma going through more than us right now, but for us, it's a personal hell."
Since Caleb's death, Haley has struggled to become pregnant again.
"He is only our only son," said her husband, choking up at the thought of his son's stolen ashes. "It's devastating for both of us. But for my wife, this is everything. She can't have the future she wants, and now she doesn't have a way to hold on to the past."
The Hughey home was robbed on Monday while the couple was at work. The thief -- or thieves -- entered through a second-floor window at the back of the house, standing atop an air-conditioning unit to smash the glass and climb in. They then went straight for the bedroom, Jody said.
"They were looking for small, valuable stuff," he said, listing a handgun, an iPod and some inexpensive jewelry among the missing possessions. And then there's the silver box, which sat on the couple's bedroom dresser.
"What they took from us has absolutely no value whatsoever to them," said Jody. "If someone happens across it, I would ask that they just simply call the police and turn it in. And if the person who actually stole it wants to give it back, they can drive by my house at 3 a.m. and throw it in a garbage bag in my front yard. Whatever it takes for them to feel comfortable giving us our son back."
Joanne Cacciatore, a grief counselor and founder of Phoenix-based Miss Foundation for grieving families, said parents mourn stillborn babies as they would any child.
"The death of a baby is just as devastating," said Cacciatore, who lost her daughter Cheyenne about 15 minutes before she was born. "And this couple doesn't have their child's baseball glove or hair comb. When a baby dies during or shortly after birth, you have very few tangible mementos. So while, of course, this would be horrid for anyone, for this family, this is one of the very few things they have that belongs to their baby."
While mementos are important, Cacciatore said couples can also find comfort in honoring their children through random acts of kindness, like leaving a teddy bear on the doorstep of a family in need.
"That way their love continues on in the world because of their parents," she said. "Even though that baby didn't live long, its life mattered."
But for the Hugheys, the box brings a sense of comfort that can't be replaced.
"My wife said, 'I wanted to be buried with him so I could be with him forever,'" Jody said, sobbing, and pleading for help in finding the precious box. "I just hope that somehow word gets out and that someone is willing to do something about it."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
PRNewsFoto/American Red Cross(NEW YORK) -- Volunteers from the American Red Cross are on the ground in Moore, Okla., where a violent tornado tore through homes, a hospital and two elementary schools, killing 24 people and injuring more than 200 others.
The organization, which provides food, shelter, blood and mental health services for disaster survivors, turned 132 on Tuesday. Its birthday wish? To support and comfort the residents of Moore for “as long as it takes.”
“We’re there to help communities recover and rebuild,” said Red Cross spokeswoman Anne Marie Borrego. “Our hearts go out to those affected by this tragedy, and we want to be there to help today and tomorrow and as long as it takes.”
Founded on May 21, 1881, the American Red Cross works closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to respond to more than 70,000 natural and man-made disasters a year in the U.S., according to its website.
“Our members respond to a disaster every eight minutes,” said Borrego, noting that most of the disasters are house fires. “We’re a national organization, but we’re built on local chapters and in communities across the country.”
In its 132 years, the Red Cross has grown and expanded its reach, using the latest technology and social media to connect to people in need.
“In 1881, it was much smaller,” said Red Cross historian Susan Watson, explaining how founder Clara Barton had “a handful” of volunteers collecting money at local gatherings as reports of a disaster landed in newspapers.
“Social media is allowing us to reach much further and get the word out much faster,” Watson said.
The response is faster, too. It took six days to get help to deliver aid after the Johnstown, Pa., flood of 1889, according to Watson.
“In Moore, we’re there now,” she added.
The organization was actually chartered by the United States Congress to “carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods and other great national calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same,” according to its website, working hand-in-hand with FEMA.
Ninety-one cents of every dollar donated goes towards its humanitarian programs, according to Borrego.
The easiest way to help the Red Cross support the people of Moore is to donate money online at RedCross.org or by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999 (the text will automatically donate $10).
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DURHAM, N.C.) -- New research suggests medication prescribed for depression could also help reduce patients' risk for stress-induced heart attacks.
In a randomized trial of over 300 people with stable heart disease, participants were put under a routine amount of mental stress by being asked to complete a difficult math problem or tell a story that made them mad or angry. During the mental stress testing, about half of the participants became so stressed they actually had a small heart attack.
After their heart attack, participants were randomized to start taking either an antidepressant medication -- in this case, Lexapro -- called an SSRI, or a placebo.
Six weeks later, participants were again exposed to the same mental stress testing. This time, those on the antidepressant medication were 2.6 times less likely to suffer another heart attack.
Dr. Wei Jiang, a researcher on the study and an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University, said, according to MyHealthNewsDaily, that the study's findings show antidepressants or treatments that help patients manage stress could help to ease symptoms for people with coronary heart disease. Jiang added, however, that more research is needed to confirm the study's findings.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ronald Poppo, before the attack. Miami Beach Police Department via Getty Images(CUTLER BAY, Fla.) -- Nearly one year after Miami face-chewing victim Ronald Poppo endured severe injuries in a gruesome cannibal-like attack, he thanked his supporters in a new video.
Wearing a Miami Heat hat and a wide grin, Poppo sat and strummed an acoustic guitar on a hospital bed at Jackson Memorial Perdue Medical Center, a long-term care facility in Culter Bay, Fla., in a video released by Jackson Health System.
"People in my predicament need to be helped out," he said. "I thank the outpouring of people in the community. I'll always be grateful for that."
Unfortunately your browser does not support IFrames.
Poppo had more than 75 percent of his face chewed off, including his nose, mouth and eyes, after Rudy Eugene attacked him in May 2012. Poppo suffered nearly 18 minutes before police shot and killed Eugene to stop the assault.
Poppo was rendered blind from the attack, and he continues to work with an occupational therapist at Jackson Memorial, who taught him how to dress himself, feed himself, shower and shave, according to a news release. He has gained more than 50 pounds in recovery.
Dr. Wrood Kassira, a plastic surgeon at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital who treated Poppo, told ABC News that since the series of facial surgeries, Poppo has "adjusted quite well."
"In terms of reconstruction, he's been a trooper," said Kassira. "His main issue is blindness, having to adapt to his surroundings without being able to see."
Kassira said that while she had treated many patients who had endured trauma similar to Poppo's, this was her first time encountering a patient who had been the victim of such a grizzly assault.
University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital plastic surgeon Dr. Urmen Desai, who also treated Poppo, said that Poppo was not interested in pursuing further facial reconstruction, nor does he want to wear specially made prostheses to cover his nose and eyes.
"He's a very simple guy. These things aren't important to him," Desai said. "He doesn't care how he looks, and he doesn't care what people think about him."
Desai said the doctors who treated Poppo initially grappled with his decision to not pursue more surgeries.
"We may be used to seeing people with a missing arm or leg as we walk down the street. But if you ever see anyone with eyeballs missing, that's not as socially accepted in our society," he said. "It's something that was hard for us to let go of and have him go on his way and live the rest of his life [that way]."
"It took us a while to let go of that and realize it's not about what we want, it's about what he wants," Desai said.
Poppo remains at Jackson Memorial Perdue Medical Center, and still sees doctors for his facial injuries. Miami Lighthouse for the Blind also is providing services to help him regain his independent living skills, the hospital said in a statement.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents can add one more thing to the list of worries that go with young drivers: skipping sleep. A study in the journal Pediatrics suggests young drivers who don't get enough sleep are more likely to be in car accidents.
For the study, researchers looked at more than 20,000 Australian drivers ages 17 to 24, comparing their sleep habits with their driving records. They found that young drivers who sleep less than six hours a night are 20 percent more likely to get into an accident that's reported to the police.
According to the study findings, those who reported getting less sleep on weekends were more than 50 percent more likely to be in crashes at night and in crashes in which they run off the road.
Not surprisingly, the hours between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. were found to be the most dangerous, with the highest rate of accidents for sleepy, young drivers.
In another separate study from Australia, researchers found that 60 percent of young-driver deaths happened at night.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) -- Frown lines, forehead creases and crow's-feet, oh my!
If the rise in Botox procedures is any indication, the fountain of youth might be found in a syringe, even for 20-somethings whose signs of aging are often invisible to the naked eye.
"I think as I've kind of gotten a little older, I've just kind of realized that my skin is not the way it used to be in my early 20s," Nicole Harper, 29, told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV in Houston about getting her first Botox treatment.
And she's not alone.
The number of Botox procedures among 20-somethings rose 8 percent in 2012 to 92,955 from the prior year, according to the 2012 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Many of them targeted the forehead, between the eyebrows and crow's-foot areas. All told, there were about 6.1 million incidents of Botox injections for Americans in 2012, making it the no. 1 minimally invasive cosmetic procedure across all age groups, the plastic surgeons report noted. The procedure registered the second-largest percentage increase of all minimally invasive procedures for people age 20 to 29, after hyaluronic acid (Juvederm) treatment.
"I figure, why let it get worse, you know?" Lilliana Gonzalez, 24, told Houston's KTRK of her reasons for getting her first Botox treatment.
Others want to get a jump on the process, using Botox as a preventive measure to keep from getting wrinkles in the first place.
Dr. Michael Vennemeyer, a Cincinnati plastic surgeon and author of Plastic Surgery Myths Dispelled: A Consumer's Guide, told ABC News that he has noticed the growing interest among young people.
He suggests thinking of skin as a piece of paper that gets folded into a crease over and over again, which creates the wrinkles. The longer people can stave off skin-creasing with Botox, for example, the less severe wrinkles will be at a given age, he says.
Although generally safe in appropriate doses, Botox can have side effects.
If the botulinum toxin travels to muscles other than the target, it can result in drooping eyelids or double-vision for a period of time, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website.
And then there are the less visible potential side effects, as in those to a young woman's psyche, clinical psychologist Nanine Ewing of Houston says.
"It's a mindset that's about externalizing one's sense of self by how one looks," Ewing told ABC News.
With that comes the concern that the more people externalize their sense of self, the more they lose touch with their internal, authentic self, she said.
Ewing acknowledged that there is nothing wrong with women wanting to look better. "Enjoying their beauty and adornment … is a classic part of the feminine," she said.
But she cautions that problems arise when cosmetic procedures become an obsession, as when people begin to "correct" their skin before anything is showing.
Dr. Robert Murphy, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is of a similar mind. "Don't start treating wrinkles for fear of developing wrinkles," he advised.
A plastic surgeon for the past 20 years, Murphy recognizes the cultural pressure to look younger but says people don't have to chase youth. For the wrinkle-free, youthful faces of most 20-somethings, he counsels that Botox is probably "best kept in the quiver until a time that is more appropriate."
Besides, there are several cheaper, noninvasive options to keep your face younger longer.
Author and plastic surgeon Vennemeyer recommends avoiding the sun, not smoking and maintaining a stable weight as the best preventative medicine for your skin.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Brett Deering/Getty Images(MOORE, Okla.) -- Hospital emergency department manager Nick Stremble didn't need the television to tell him the tornado would hit Moore Medical Center. All he had to do was look outside the window.
"There's a big window area that faces southwest," Stremble said, recalling his final check before heading to the safe area on the first floor of the hospital in Moore, Okla., about 10 miles from Oklahoma City. "I could see the tornado in the neighborhood across the street from us. I could see the debris. It was more than obvious it was going to be there in under a minute."
The day started off with a lighter-than-usual patient load, Stremble said. Only four patients were in the emergency room. The 45-bed hospital had just 30 patients in all.
"We were actually pretty lucky," he said. "On a typical Monday, we would have had a lot more than that."
Shannon Largent, a nurse manager on the second floor of Moore Medical Center, said she'd practiced moving patients to the hallway to get away from windows, but decided to move everyone to the first floor at the last minute. Although Largent said she heard they would have survived if they stayed on the second floor, she said there would have been some injuries and it would have been harder to get people out once the tornado passed.
In the windowless safe space on the first floor, Largent said, she didn't hear the roaring of the tornado as she covered her head and waited. But she heard things hitting the roof and felt her ears pop with the sudden change in pressure. A few ceiling tiles fell, but no debris flew around the room. No one was hurt.
When Largent emerged, she saw the destruction.
"There were wires hanging down from the ceiling, debris. Everything was really dusty afterwards," she said. "We were in a really safe place."
Stremble managed to climb out the destroyed front entrance to the hospital, which was where first responders pulled up three minutes after the tornado hit. He told them the front entrance was barely passable, and patients would be exiting out the back.
No patients or staff members were injured during the storm, and "at least" nine patients were transported to other hospitals in the Norman Regional Health System, according to a hospital news release. The rest left to be with their families.
Another 250 to 300 people from the surrounding neighborhood sought shelter at Moore Medical Center, hoping that the hospital would be able to withstand the storm better than their homes would. Although some of them were injured because they were not in the windowless safe space, Stremble said he saw mostly bumps and bruises. One girl may have suffered a broken leg.
"As far as the people inside the building, there was surprisingly little injury," Stremble said.
Once everyone moved to a nearby parking lot, hospital staff and emergency responders were able to move patients nearby hospitals. They also tended to "folks walking up with various injuries," Stremble said, but he couldn't remember how many people there were.
Largent said she was impressed by the hospital staff's great work and ability to stay calm in a frightening situation. Neither Largent nor Stremble had ever experienced a tornado before.
"I haven't had a lot of time to process things, so I think that it's probably going to hit me today," Largent said, adding that her husband is a firefighter and she was lucky that her family was safe.
"In the next couple of days," she said, "I'll go through the grieving process. It was a really scary situation."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Brett Deering/Getty Images(TULSA) -- Monday’s devastating tornado strike in Moore, Okla., ripped through many homes, displacing irreplaceable possessions, in some cases, more than 100 miles away. In an attempt to reconnect victims with lost valuables, Facebook users across Moore and neighboring areas have created online groups to share information of found items and pets.
Tulsa, Okla., resident Leslie Hagelberg lives roughly 100 miles from where the tornado touched down, but when she began seeing what she realized was storm debris in the form of family pictures and other valuables turn up in her yard, she wanted to help get these items back in the hands of the owners.
Hagelberg quickly created the Facebook group “OK Tornado Doc & Picture Recovery” to act as a bulletin board of sorts, allowing users that have found items and pets to post images and information all in one place.
“I have children. My pictures are precious to me… you can’t recreate them,” she said of creating the group.
Hagelberg got the idea to create an online lost and found type Facebook group after seeing posts spread out among several other local news Facebook pages. Hagelberg’s group currently has over 8,600 members.
“There have been so many posts of animals, pictures, even an urn,” the longtime Oklahoma resident said. Though Hagelberg was originally surprised to find displaced belongings turn up in her neighborhood, about an hour from Moore, Facebook users from even further away have reported finding items.
“Some people have found things in Catoosa [about 125 miles from Moore]. I’ve even heard of things turning up in the Joplin area [over 200 miles from Moore],” said Hagelberg.
For a Facebook user to post to the group page, they must first be manually added by one of the three administrators, Hagelberg being one of them. With the number of group members approaching 9,000, Hagelberg admitted that the task has been tedious, but she told ABC News, “I just want to help.”
“That’s just how people are in Oklahoma,” she said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a massive tornado ripped a path of devastating destruction through Moore, Okla., parents are once again faced with the task of talking to their children about a frightening event.
Experts stress that there is no right or wrong way to have these conversations with your kids. There are, however, ways to make these discussions more meaningful.
"Create an open and supportive environment where children know they can ask questions," said Dr. David Fassler, an adolescent psychiatrist practicing in Burlington, Vt., and a spokesman for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. "Children will usually know if you're making things up, and that may affect their ability to trust you or your reassurances in the future."
Fassler emphasized the importance of limiting television and Internet viewing, especially for very young children. But assume your children already know, or will soon find out about it, even if you try to shield them from the devastating images.
Jeffrey Brown, an assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, agreed that even kids who aren't asking questions may know more than they let on, which is why it's important to control your child's first exposure and response to potentially scary information.
"Even a young child may overhear a telephone conversation or talk to their friends, so it's wise to give very basic information about events directly to them. You want them to hear what's happening from you before they may hear things they don't understand elsewhere," Brown said.
Brown advised keeping information simple and sticking to concepts geared to the child's age, language and developmental level. Some kids will ask you to repeat your explanations several times. Brown said that's perfectly normal, especially if the news is hard for the child to comprehend or accept.
Dr. Richard Besser, a pediatrician and chief health and medical correspondent for ABC News, said that while it's essential to acknowledge and validate the children's thoughts, feelings and reactions, the worst thing you can do is tell them there is no need to be afraid or that there won't be another tornado or some other bad thing.
"You need to be reassuring, but you shouldn't make unrealistic promises," he said.
Instead, Besser recommends telling your kids that you are doing everything you can to keep them safe. He also added that this is a good time to do some advance preparation for other emergencies.
"Sit down as a family and talk about what you should do if there is any type of emergency in your community. Talk about what you can do to be prepared. This can be very empowering, especially to a child who is afraid of what they just saw," he said.
Brown said that some children might not want to talk about their feelings, but that doesn't mean their insides aren't churning or that the latest bad news isn't weighing heavily on their minds.
"Keeping them active helps give them a physical outlet to release tension and anxiety," he said.
Fassler added that some kids might be most comfortable expressing their fears by drawing pictures, playing with toys or writing about them.
Most kids are amazingly resilient, Besser said. If you see signs, though, that your child is feeling anxious or overwhelmed, it's worth a trip to the doctor.
"You want to monitor for physical symptoms, including headaches and stomachaches, or if they're having trouble sleeping, loss of appetite or taking no pleasure in playing with friends," he said.
According to Besser, children who are especially preoccupied with questions or worries about the latest natural disaster should be evaluated by a trained and qualified mental health professional. And keep in mind that kids who've experienced trauma or losses in the past may be particularly vulnerable to prolonged or intense reactions to news or images of natural disasters, and therefore may need extra support and attention.
Despite how tragic the Oklahoma tornadoes and other disasters are, Fassler said he believed they could offer teachable moments too.
"Children learn from watching how their caregivers react in situations, so they will be very interested in how you respond to world events," he said. "Let your kids know that lots of people are helping the families affected by the most recent tornado. It's a good opportunity to show children that when something scary happens, there are people to help."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Andrew Kelly(NEW YORK) -- The words "zen" and "child" don't exactly go together, but that hasn't stopped a growing number of parents from "ohm schooling" their kids in the art of yoga, meditation and relaxation.
Andrew Kelly of Boston said he and his 10-year-old son, Hayden, have been meditating together since Hayden was 7 years old. Each morning before school, father and son sit on cushions, legs crossed, eyes closed, quietly monitoring the rise and fall of their chests as they breathe.
"We do this for exactly 12 minutes because 12 is his favorite number," Kelly explained.
Kelly said they practice "mindfulness" -- a series of meditation techniques that slow the mind and fix attention on the present. The brain chills out, slows down and focuses on what is happening at the moment.
Teaching meditation to children has attracted some high-profile advocates. Perhaps the highest-profile children's meditation advocate is actress Goldie Hawn, whose MindUp program has shown more than 150,000 children worldwide how to find their brain's happy place.
"We teach the kids to take brain breaks, because every brain needs a break, and because we know that meditation builds a stronger brain," Hawn told ABC News. "We start them on these mindfulness and relaxation techniques very young so they can carry them their entire lives."
Hawn said she has spent the past 10 years studying how the brain works and consulting with neurologists and psychologists to create her program. For the stressed-out kids she can't reach directly, she's written a guidebook, 10 Mindful Minutes: Giving Our Children -- and Ourselves -- the Social and Emotional Skills to Reduce Stress and Anxiety for Healthier, Happy Lives, which takes parents and educators through a step-by-step meditation practice suitable for kids of all ages.
Film director David Lynch started a foundation eight years ago to provide scholarships for school-age children all over the world to study transcendental meditation.
And Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, championed "The Skills for Life" program that teaches deep breathing exercises, meditation and problem solving as part of the elementary school curriculum in several Ohio school districts.
Studies seem to emphasize the benefits of meditation.
A University of California, Los Angeles study found second- and third-graders who practiced "mindful" meditation techniques for 30 minutes twice a week for eight weeks had improved behavior and scored higher on tests requiring memory, attention and focus than the nonmeditators.
Another study of more than 3,000 children in the San Francisco Unified School District found a dramatic improvement in math test scores and overall academic performance among students who practiced transcendental meditation, a form of mediation that promotes relaxation and "an awakening" of the mind. The study also found a decrease in student suspensions, expulsions and dropout rates.
And other recent studies have demonstrated the ability of "mindfulness" techniques, especially those used in meditation, yoga and tai chi, to reduce impulsiveness, control emotions and ease stress.
Children today are certainly more stressed out than their parents likely realize. One in five children said they worried a lot or a great deal about things going on in their lives, and more than 30 percent admitted to such stress-related symptoms as difficulty sleeping, according to the American Psychological Association's annual Stress in America report.
Yet, the same report found that only 8 percent of parents were aware that their children experienced any stress at all.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Singer Miguel tweeted that he just "got caught up in the moment" when he leapt over the crowd at the Billboard Music Awards and landed on a fan's face Sunday night.
The televised accident serves as a reminder that although most concert-goers find themselves in the medical tent because they're dehydrated, more serious injuries can happen.
For instance, concert medical tent volunteer Penny Miller said she watched in horror when a Rolling Stones fan fell from a third-floor stadium balcony, bounced off the second floor balcony and fractured his skull at the Oakland Coliseum in 1981.
"He only lived to tell the tale because he received medical care right on the spot," said Miller, a nurse practitioner in Sacramento, Calif., who has volunteered for Rock Medicine since 1977.
Concert injuries vary depending on the performer, said Gordon Oldham, who directs Rock Medicine, a 40-year-old volunteer organization that provides free "nonjudgmental" medical care at more than 700 concerts and events in Northern California each year.
For example, the Grateful Dead fans are going to have different medical needs than the hard-core punk crowd, which forms "mosh" pits in front of the stage, where people slam-dance into each other, said Oldham.
But between stage dives and panic attacks, even the best crowd can experience a situation that gets out of control.
"If you're in front of the stage at a rock concert, you have to prepare yourself as a fan that anything can happen," Oldham said. "Nobody goes to get hurt. Nobody wants to get hurt. Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt, but sometimes it happens."
And Rock Medicine promises to take care of concert-goers without handing them over to police afterward if they've broken a law, Oldham said. That trust keeps patients from avoiding medical care when they need it.
"It's a person who may have made a bad choice today," Miller said, adding that concert-goers often drink more than they can handle. "They don't necessarily need to be arrested."
That willingness to seek on-site medical help also keeps concert-goers from clogging up emergency rooms with minor health problems, Miller said.
Dehydration is perhaps the most common health concern at concerts because people stand in line starting early in the morning to get into an evening concert, but they often forget to drink enough water, said Rapheal Castellanos, the president of the Central Park Medical Unit, which provides free care to the park's 35 million annual visitors and handles summer concerts.
"The first thing to do is make sure you have enough water with you -- and also something to eat," Castellanos said. "Some folks don't eat all day because they want to get a place on line."
He said when people start to feel faint, get dizzy, have an altered mental state or feel disoriented, they should head over to the medical tents. These can all be signs of dehydration.
On a hot day, outdoor concert-goers also run the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion usually involves excessive sweating, and heat stroke -- the more serious of the two -- occurs when the body is overheated but can't sweat.
"That's really a true emergency," Castellanos said. "You have to get cooled down and sent to the hospital."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Residents of Portland, Ore., will vote Tuesday on whether to add fluoride to their drinking water -- a move hailed by some as one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. But critics say a “yes” vote would expose residents to a “risky” chemical in the name of stronger teeth.
Minute amounts of fluoride have been added to American drinking water since 1945 to help curb cavities in kids and delay decay in adults.
In 2008, 72.4 percent of the U.S. population had access to fluoridated water, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But in Oregon, the percentage drops to 22, which has created a statewide “dental crisis,” according to state epidemiologist Dr. Katrina Hedberg.
“Tooth decay is a serious problem and fluoridation is an effective, affordable and, most importantly, safe way to improve the public’s health,” Hedberg said in a statement, noting that one in three of the state’s first- through third-grade children has cavities, and one in five, has rampant tooth decay. “It is also consistent with the state’s effort to focus health care on prevention rather than after-the-fact acute care.”
Like cereal fortified with folic acid, milk fortified with vitamin D and salt containing iodine, tap water containing fluoride delivers a healthful supplement that busy bodies don’t even have to think about, according to the CDC. Water fluoridation has been shown to reduce a person’s risk of tooth decay by 25 percent, and a lifetime supply costs less than a single filling.
But skeptics question the safety of fluoride, citing a 2006 report by the National Academy of Sciences that suggested fluoridation could have serious consequences for certain subgroups of people, such as the very young, the elderly and the sick.
“Our campaign is not saying there’s complete consensus in the science on either side,” said Kellie Barnes, a volunteer with the anti-fluoridation group Clean Water Portland. “We’re saying the emerging science shows a reasonable amount of concern.”
Barnes, a physiotherapist and mother of two, said she hadn’t thought about fluoridation until her dentist voiced his skepticism.
“I grew up on the East Coast not thinking about it,” she said, referring to her hometown of Baltimore, where water is fluoridated. “But he raised questions about the effectiveness of the policy, and that was concerning to me.”
Clean Water Portland has taken safety concerns to heart, publishing a list of 12 reasons to vote “no” on their website. The list also highlights the cost of water fluoridation, and suggests a possible alternative.
“Instead of spending up to $7 million on a fluoridation plant and $500,000 or more a year on fluoridation chemicals, a comparable investment in increased access to care would better help at-risk kids while protecting the entire community from the health risks of fluoridation,” the group’s website reads. “While fluoridation activists like to focus on Oregon’s ‘untreated decay’ rate, this rate highlights the real issue: a lack of good access to dental care.”
Ballots must be delivered to a ballot drop-off location by 8 p.m. PT.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Binge drinking has become a bigger problem for college females than for their male classmates, according to new research.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest says 44 percent of students at four-year colleges at some time drink alcohol at binge levels. But a new study from Harvard Medical School finds female students are more likely to exceed weekly alcohol limits than males.
For the study, researchers at Harvard's Center for Addiction looked at nearly a thousand students at three New England universities during their first year at college. They found the women exceeded their recommended limit of no more than three drinks a day and seven per week more frequently than the men outdid their limit. For males, the recommendation is no more than four drinks a day and seven per week. In fact, women were 1.57 times as likely as men to exceed weekly limits, and exceeded those limits for 15 percent of the weeks. For men, it was 12 percent of the weeks.
And while the men's drinking declined over time, the women's drinking did not.
The study authors warn that women who do not grow out of this drinking behavior after they leave college increase their risk for liver disease and breast cancer as they age.
This study's findings have been published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio