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Fear of spiders surgically removed from man's brain

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A 44-year-old business man had his lifelong fear of spiders abolished overnight.

The bad news?

The cure was simply an unanticipated side effect after having part of his brain surgically removed.

The magazine New Scientist released the story on Halloween citing a medical journal report that was originally published in January by Nick Medford at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School in the United Kingdom.

According to the New Scientist article, the man started having seizures and brain scans showed abnormalities in his left amygdala.

The amygdala is the center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation, according to the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

It controls fear responses, the secretion of hormones, arousal and the formation of emotional memories.

Doctors determined it was necessary to remove the damaged are of the man’s left amygdala.

According to New Scientist, after successful surgery, the man soon noticed a “ ‘stomach-lurching’ aversion to music – which was particularly noticeable when he heard the song accompanying a certain TV commercial – but he also discovered he was no longer afraid of spiders.”

The report goes on to state that the man eventually got over his aversion to music, but that his arachnophobia never returned. He is able to touch and observe spiders at close range and ‘actually finds them fascinating.’

The man has reported no other changes to fears or anxieties. For example, he has the same level of anxiety about public speaking post surgery. 

Parents prank boy into thinking he has Ebola

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A video posted to YouTube shows two adults pranking a young boy into making him think he has Ebola.

Seen wearing a surgical mask, one of the adults in the video reads a thermometer and another adult voice off-camera says he's got Ebola which causes the child to burst into tears.

Reaction to the video is mixed. Many commenters on the video think the adults went too far in their prank.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. It has also been the focus of media reports in the United States since a man who contracted Ebola in Africa flew to Dallas where he later died in a hospital. Two nurses who attended to the man also contracted Ebola but have since recovered.

Previously: Terminally ill woman says now 'doesn't seem like the right time' to die

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UPDATE: Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman with terminal brain cancer who became the new face of the right-to-die movement, has died according to her wishes, a spokesman said Sunday.

Read the full story here:

>> Woman with terminal brain cancer ends her own life

>> Social media reaction to the death of Brittany Maynard

This is a breaking news update. The previous story appears below:

Brittany Maynard, the terminally ill woman who went public with her decision to end her life, said in a video released Wednesday that she has yet to decide on the date to end her life. 

The 29-year-old Oregon woman says she is waiting to see how her symptoms progress before deciding on a date, but that she's still determined to make the decision to end her life before she becomes too ill.

“I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time right now,” Maynard says in a video released to CNN on Wednesday. “But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It’s happening each week.”

Maynard has stage 4 glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. There is no cure and, in April, she was given six months to live.

She recently visited the Grand Canyon, after previously stating  it was one place she hoped to visit before she died.

Maynard's story spread rapidly on social media after she publicly announced her plans to use medication to end her life. She has become a leader in the "death with dignity" movement, which advocates for terminally ill people to die on their own terms.

"When people criticize me for not waiting longer, or, you know, whatever they've decided is best for me, it hurts," Maynard says in the most recent video released by end-of-life choice advocacy group Compassion & Choices, "because really, I risk it every day, every day that I wake up."

In the video, Maynard discusses her fear of waiting too long to end her life.

"The worst thing that could happen to me is that I wait too long because I'm trying to seize each day," she says, "but I somehow have my autonomy taken away from me by my disease because of the nature of my cancer."


PREVIOUS REPORT (Oct. 27, 2014):

The young woman who has chosen to die on Nov. 1, using Oregon’s assisted suicide law, has spoken publicly for the last time a representative said Monday.

>>NEW:  Photos from her October 24th Grand Canyon visit

Brittany Maynard, 29, told People magazine  in a new interview that she is firm in her decision.

“I don’t want to die but I am dying,” Maynard said. “My [cancer] is going to kill me, and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So to be able to die with my family with me, to have control over my own mind, which I would stand to lose – to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

On her personal blog  earlier this month, Maynard thanked her supporters and, especially, her husband.

“The response from you all has surpassed our wildest expectations. On behalf of my family, thank you for the outpouring of love and support.

This journey has been challenging, to say the least. We’ve uprooted our lives. I take prescription drugs to reduce the swelling in my brain, that have caused my entire body to swell instead. Dan and I have given up our dreams of having a family. My mother is soon to lose her only child. We can all agree that no parent should bury their child.

I didn’t launch this campaign because I wanted attention; in fact, it’s hard for me to process it all. I did this because I want to see a world where everyone has access to death with dignity, as I have had. My journey is easier because of this choice.

I am so lucky to have known the love of an amazing husband (my husband Dan is a hero), a loving, caring mother, and an incredible group of friends and extended family. As my time draws closer, I hope you will all take up my request to carry on this work, and support them as they carry on my legacy. I’m so grateful to you all.”PREVIOUS REPORT (Oct. 7, 2014):

Brittany Maynard has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, run half marathons and traveled to exotic spots around the world.

But on Nov. 1, the 29-year-old with a lust for life will die.

Maynard has stage 4 glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. There is no cure and, in April, she was given six months to live.

Maynard intends to end her own life Nov. 1 with medication prescribed to her by her doctor. But she says her decision does not make this a suicide.

"There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die," Maynard told PEOPLE magazine. "I want to live. I wish there was a cure for my disease but there's not." 

Maynard has launched an online video campaign with the nonprofit group Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy organization. She will spend her last few weeks fighting for expanding death-with-dignity laws nationwide.

"My glioblastoma is going to kill me, and that's out of my control," she told PEOPLE. "I've discussed with many experts how I would die from it, and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying." 

The Nov. 1 date was chosen so that Maynard could celebrate her husband Dan's birthday.

"I really wanted to celebrate my husband's birthday, which is October 30," she says. "I'm getting sicker, dealing with more pain and seizures and difficulties so I just selected it." 

According to PEOPLE, Maynard and her entire family moved to Portland after her diagnosis in order to have access to Oregon’s Death and Dignity Act. The law has been in place in Portland since 1997 and more than 750 people have reportedly used it to legally choose death by prescription medication.

Baby wipes recalled due to possible bacteria

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Pennsylvania-based Nutek Disposables, recalling baby wipes sold at retailers Walgreen’s, Family Dollar, Sam’s Club and internet retailer because some packages may be contaminated with bacteria, according to a Nutek news release distributed this morning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The expanded nationwide voluntary product recall at the retail level affects all lots of baby wipes that Nutek Disposables manufactured under the brand names Cuties,, Femtex, Fred’s, Kidgets, Member’s Mark, Simply Right, Sunny Smiles, Tender Touch, and Well Beginnings. These wipes were distributed by Nutek prior to October 21, 2014 to Walgreens, Sam’s Club, Family Dollar, Fred’s, and

“After receiving a small number of complaints of odor and discoloration, Nutek conducted microbial testing that showed the presence of a bacteria, called Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia), in some of these products,” according to a Nutek release distributed this morning by the FDA. “Soon after, on Oct. 3, 2014 the company initiated a voluntary withdrawal of lots that had tested positive for the bacteria, as well as other baby wipes in the surrounding time frame. After some additional lots were tested, as a precautionary measure, Nutek believed it was a prudent decision to withdraw all its baby wipe products.”

B. cepacia poses little medical risk to healthy people, company officials said. But those who have certain health problems such as weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis, may be more susceptible to infections with B. cepacia. Those who have a weakened immune system or chronic lung disease and who have used one of the affected wipe products should call their doctor promptly for medical advice, company officials said.

The company had received one report of irritation as of Oct. 3, but has received “numerous reports of complaints … that include rash, irritation, infections, fever, gastro-intestinal issues, and respiratory issues” since then, although these reports “have not been confirmed to be related to the use of these products,” Nutek officials said.

Consumers who have purchased this product can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (855) 646-4351, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time.

Woman who didn't know she was pregnant gives birth at doctor's office

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A South Wales woman who went to her doctor complaining of stomach pains turned out to be pregnant and gave birth at the doctor’s office.

Clare Evans, 24, of Risca, in Wales, was told she may have a kidney infection when she called the medical helpline and said she had no idea she was actually pregnant.

According to the South Wales Argus, Evans arrived at the doctor's office and went to give a urine sample when something unexpected happened.

“When I went to the toilet my waters broke,” Evans told the Argus.

Doctors took Evans into an exam room and informed her they could see the head of the baby and that she was 9 cm dilated.

Evans’ contractions were so close together there was no time to get her to a hospital. 

With help from other doctors in the practice and an on-duty midwife, Evans gave birth to Erin Louise Roberts, a 6 pound, 12 ounce baby girl.

Evans, who is a first-time mother, had no pain relief and the delivery took about 30 minutes, according to the Argus.

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Mother and daughter, who was born at full term, were then taken to Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital. They both checked out as healthy and were discharged.

“I love motherhood, even though it was completely unexpected I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Evans told the newspaper.

4-year-old boy gets own superhero theme song to support cancer fight

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A 4-year-old Michigan boy with an inoperable brain tumor now has his own superhero theme song thanks to friends and supporters.

Chad Carr, who is the grandson of former University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, was diagnosed with the tumor in September.

Social media support since then has been overwhelming and on Tuesday, a video of the song, "Chad Tough," was released on YouTube. A group named Ariel, Zoey & Eli wrote and recorded the theme song to help Chad in his battle.

Several prominent figures in the University of Michigan community make appearances in the song, including former football broadcaster Frank Beckmann, the Michigan men's basketball team and Chad’s grandfather Lloyd Carr.

The song is now available for purchase online on sites such as iTunes and Amazon.

Ariel, Zoey & Eli have directed all proceeds from the sale of the song to be given to the Carr family to ease the burden of medical bills. Donations can also be made at and the Chad Tough Fund. Purchase a #ChadTough bracelet here.


Leprosy diagnosed in Ohio prison inmate

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An Ohio prison inmate has been diagnosed with leprosy, but health officials aren't concerned the infection will spread.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says the inmate, whose name wasn't released, was diagnosed with the chronic bacterial infection on Tuesday at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution. He's now being treated at the Ohio State University hospital.

The inmate is from Micronesia, and officials believe he contracted the infection there. It can take up to 20 years for signs of the disease to appear.

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The prison system's Stuart Hudson says he's not concerned that the inmate will spread the disease to other prisoners or staff, noting that 95 percent of humans have a natural immunity.

However, the prison system is working to identify and test other inmates who have been around him.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, Leprosy, also known as Hansen's Disease, can cause severe skin sores and weaken or paralyze muscles in the hands and feet. The Cleveland Plan Dealer reports the disease is spread through coughing, sneezing, or mucus, though it's not highly contagious and is easily treated with antibiotics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reprots that 95 percent of all adults have a natural immunity to the disease, but as many as 2 million people around the world are permanently disabled from it.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report

Watch Paula Abdul's oddly catchy video about breast cancer awareness

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Singer, dancer, and American Idol judge Paula Abdul teamed with the Avon Foundation to raise awareness about breast cancer in a strangely fun new music video titled "Check Yourself." The video, released earlier this month, is a truly noble endeavor. "My sister Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000," Abdul said.

<iframe src="//;border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe> <script src="//;border=false"></script> [View the story "Watch Paula Abdul's catchy video about breast cancer awareness" on Storify]

Bite from brown recluse spider leads to death of Montana boy, 10

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Authorities say a 10-year-old Montana boy has died of complications from a spider bite.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office said Keith Pierce died at a Billings hospital at about 2 a.m. Monday.

The coroner is investigating, but a forensic examination completed Monday determined the boy died from a severe infection caused by the bite.

The boy's mother, Mandy Pierce, talked with KZBK-TV and said they took Keith to the hospital after his leg started to swell Sept. 30.  After ruling out cancer, Keith was sent home.

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Days later the pain and swelling in Keith's leg prompted another trip to the hospital where Mandy told KZBK say doctors performed emergency surgery Sunday morning from which Keith never woke up.

According to KZBK, the parents had to decide to end resuscitation efforts early Monday morning.

Mandy told KZBK that parents need to learn more about brown recluse spiders and talk to an exterminator about having your house sprayed.

According to the Remembering Keith Pierce Facebook page, a benefit auction for the Pierce family will be held on Saturday, October 18.

The Three Forks School District brought counselors and ministers to the boy's school Monday to speak with parents, teachers and students.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report

Judge blocks disposal of ash from Ebola victim's burned belongings

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A judge has signed an order temporarily blocking the disposal in southwest Louisiana of ash from the incineration of a Texas Ebola victim's belongings.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell had sought the order. Caldwell's office said state district Judge Robert Downing of Baton Rouge signed it Monday afternoon.

Linen, bedding and carpet taken from the Dallas apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan first got sick were destroyed Friday at the Veolia Environmental Services incinerator in Port Arthur, Texas.

The ash was to be sent to a Calcasieu Parish facility run by Chemical Waste Management Inc. of Lake Charles. However, Chemical Waste Management said Monday that it would not accept the ash until state officials agree that doing so would pose no public health threat.

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said he is seeking a temporary restraining order to keep the ashes of belongings of Texas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan from being buried in a Louisiana landfill.

Bedding, linens, and even the carpet was stripped from the unit and sent to Port Arthur, Texas to be burned.


WWL-TV reported the ashes were on their way to a hazardous waste landfill in Louisiana when the state’s Attorney General asked for a temporary restraining order to keep that from happening.

“The health and safety of our Louisiana citizens is our top priority," Caldwell told The New Orleans Times-Picayune. "There are too many unknowns at this point, and it is absurd to transport potentially hazardous Ebola waste across state lines."

Letters are being sent to anyone involved in the removal and disposal of hazardous materials to find out more about how the material is dealt with.

“This situation is certainly unprecedented and we want to approach it with the utmost caution,” Caldwell told the Times-Picayune. “We just can't afford to take any risks when it comes to this deadly virus."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published is position on its website, stating "Ebola-associated waste that has been appropriately inactivated or incinerated is no longer infectious."

— Associated Press and Rick Couri of KRMG-Tulsa contributed to this report

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