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Good Samaritans Pull Woman, Children From Burning Car

Good Samaritans Pull Woman, Children From Burning Car

retailers-closing-brick-and-mortar-stores

Retailers closing brick-and-mortar stores

Kids 5 And Younger Not allowed To Dine At Restaurant

Kids 5 And Younger Not allowed To Dine At Restaurant

gator-pit-searched-for-remains-of-missing-high

Gator Pit Searched for Remains of Missing High School Student in Cold Case

Boy Scouts Save Man's Life On Sailboat

Boy Scouts Save Man's Life On Sailboat

Deadly Spirit Airlines pilot overdose raises questions about pilot drug use

 

The suspected fentanyl-related overdoses of a Spirit Airlines pilot and his wife in their Dayton, Ohio-area home raise a frightening prospect: Has the opioid crisis that is destroying whole families entered the ranks of pilots entrusted with hundreds of lives each day?

Investigators have offered no indication that Brian Halye used drugs while piloting aircraft during his nine years with Spirit Airlines, but a Dayton Daily News examination has uncovered a system in which commercial pilots can go years without being tested for drugs.

>> Read more trending news

Federal Aviation Administration’s guidance to airlines acknowledges the random drug test system established by U.S. code makes it “not uncommon for some employees to be selected several times, while other employees may never be chosen.” Moreover, pilots are not required to be drug tested during annual physical exams.

Of the pilots tested from 2010-2015, 165 were found to be using one or more drugs, according to the FAA.

Drug use among pilots is an enduring concern at the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency created by Congress to investigate transportation accidents and issue recommendations to improve safety.

Related: More airline pilots testing positive for drug use

In a 2014 study of fatally injured pilots from all forms of civil aviation, the NTSB said patterns of increasing drug use among pilots “are consistent with observed trends of increasing drug use by the U.S. population in general.”

At the time, the most common illicit drug detected in pilots involved in fatal plane crashes was marijuana, which was found in less than 4 percent of all pilots tested between 2008 and 2012, and was not found in any of the airline pilots tested.

But if Halye died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, as the Montgomery County Coroner’s office suspects, another concern may have unfolded. With heroin and fentanyl invading the ranks of so much of the general population, is it too much to conclude that it is also present among those flying aircraft?

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

Halye and wife Courtney Halye were found by their four children in the bedroom of their Centerville home March 16. The coroner’s office is waiting on toxicology reports but has said the deaths appear to be fentanyl-related. Centerville police also say the drug use appears to be voluntary and consistent with an accidental overdose. 

Spirit Airlines, a Florida-based “ultra-low fare” carrier, told the Dayton Daily News that it is “cooperating with any and all agencies investigating this case.”

Related: Children find Spirit Airlines pilot, wife dead in apparent overdose

A spokesman for the carrier would not say when, if ever, the airline tested Halye during his time as a pilot.

The FAA declined to acknowledge whether it is investigating Spirit Airlines following Halye’s death. The agency confirmed it has inspected Spirit Airlines’ drug and alcohol testing program before, but would not say how recently.

 

Read the entire story here.

Lead Poisoning’s Lifelong Toll Includes Lowering Social Mobility, Researchers Find

Cynthia Brownfield was lucky. When her daughter, then 2 years old, tested for high levels of lead in her blood, she could do something.

Brownfield, a pediatrician in St. Joseph, Miss., got her home inspected and found lead in the windows. She got them replaced and had her pipes fixed, too. Her daughter, now 12, was probably affected, says Brownfield. But quick action minimized the exposure. Her daughter is now a healthy, fully-functioning preteen.

“We were in the financial position where we could hire a plumber and change the windows,” she said. But others — even her own patients — may not be so fortunate. This reality may have implications even more far-reaching than generally accepted.

Findings published Tuesday in JAMA break new ground by suggesting the effects of childhood lead exposure continue to play out until adulthood, not only harming an individual’s lifelong cognitive development, but also potentially limiting socioeconomic advancement. Specifically, Duke University researchers tracked a generation of kids based on data collected through a nearly 30-year, New Zealand-based investigation known as the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study.

They studied the development of more than 1,000 New Zealanders born between April 1972 and March 1973. Because at that time gasoline still contained lead, exposure was common, creating a sizeable sample that included people across class and gender. More than half in that data set had been tested for lead-exposure at age 11, and the study tracked brain development and socio-economic status over the years — making for “a natural time” to use them to study lead’s health effects, said Aaron Reuben, a PhD candidate in neuropsychology at Duke University, and the study’s first author.

By the time study participants reached age 38, a pattern emerged: Children who were exposed to lead early in life had worse cognitive abilities, based on how their exposure level. The difference was statistically significant. They were also more likely to be worse off, socioeconomically, than those who had not been exposed to lead. The study found that no matter what the child’s IQ, the mother’s IQ, or the family’s social status, lead poisoning resulted in downward social mobility. That was largely thanks to cognitive decline, according to the research.

“Regardless of where you start out in life, exposure to lead in childhood exerts a downward pull to your trajectory,” Reuben said.

Though this research was set in New Zealand, it offers insight into a problem experts said is fairly ubiquitous in the United States and across the globe. The CDC estimates that as many as half a million children between ages 1 and 5 had blood lead levels high enough to cause concern: 5 micrograms per deciliter and up. At least 4 million households across the country have children experiencing significant lead exposure.

Last year’s water crisis in Flint, Mich., brought lead exposure front and center as a public health concern. Meanwhile, a Reuters investigation published this winter found elevated lead levels in almost 3,000 communities around the country. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recently changed its guidelines to suggest that any childhood exposure to the chemical is harmful, and is pushing to get rid of lead poisoning in kids by 2020.

In the U.S., children at risk are typically poorer and racial minorities — in part because they more often live in older houses with lead paint. This is a stark difference from the research population, which tended to be white. However, because the study spanned a period of time in which lead was still used in gasoline, the lead exposure measured in the study spanned a wider class spectrum.

That adds greater consequence to these findings, many said.

“Kids who are poor, or who have some of these other social determinants of health that are negative — they end up with a double whammy. Whatever health consequences they have from being poor, those are added to the additional consequences of being exposed to lead,” said Jerome Paulson, an emeritus professor and pediatrician at George Washington University. Paulson has researched lead’s effects on children, although he wasn’t involved with this study.

“If you want to talk about ‘breaking out of poverty,’ kids who have lead exposure are probably going to have more difficulties,” he added.

That said, these conclusions aren’t perfect. For instance, the research doesn’t account any variation in how the children who were tested may have been previously exposed to lead, or how their continued lead exposure through adulthood may have differed. Those who worked in jobs like construction, for instance, may have had greater lead exposure than those in white-collar jobs, Paulson noted. But on the whole, he said, it makes a strong case for the long-term impact of childhood lead exposure.

Pennsylvania, Maryland and Massachusetts, which all have cities with concentrated areas of older housing, have identified lead poisoning as a major child health hazard. The CDC has also embraced “primary prevention” — testing homes for lead and removing it before people move in and risk exposure. But securing resources for lead testing, screening and abatement poses its own set of challenges.

The JAMA study illustrates, in part, one such difficulty. Lead poisoning happens over years, not overnight. So illustrating the impact, even if it’s ultimately significant, is hard to do.

“Prevention doesn’t have a lot of pizzazz. If you prevent something from happening, it’s a wonderful thing, but it’s hard to measure and take credit for,” said David Bellinger, a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School and a professor in the environmental health department of the university’s public health school, who wrote a commentary that ran alongside the JAMA paper.

And funding for such programs is often unreliable, said Donna Cooper, the executive director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that advocates on behalf of young people. For instance, the White House’s initial budget plans would boost some lead abatement funds but slash other grants used for similar purposes. And for many states, she said, even what’s long been available isn’t enough to meet the scope of the concern.

“We have very clear CDC guidance on what should be done, and no money to back it up,” Cooper said. “It ebbs and flows with the headlines.”

Florida woman accused of attacking man with birdhouse

A Florida woman was arrested after she attacked a man with a birdhouse, according to police.

The arrest occurred Friday at The Willough, a Naples rehabilitation center, when a man said Monica Mehanny, 24, of Palmetto, threatened to hit him, according to the Bradenton Herald.

>> Read more trending news

The staff told the man to write down his complaint, but before he finished Mehanny followed through with her threat, the Herald reported.

Mehanny came into the room with a small wooden birdhouse and slapped the man across the face with it. The birdhouse shattered, according to deputies.

Mehanny denied hitting the man and said he grabbed her arm before it struck him, according to the Herald.

Mehanny was charged with battery and probation violation.

Read more at the Bradenton Herald.

Newborn found dead in dumpster after mom ends up in ICU

Detroit police on Sunday found the body of a baby girl in a dumpster after the newborn’s mother went to the emergency room bleeding and complaining of stomach pain. 

WDIV reported that medical staff at the hospital transferred the 39-year-old woman to the intensive care unit, where they discovered that she’d recently given birth. She did not have a newborn with her, and neither did her husband, who drove her to the hospital. 

>> Read more trending stories

Officers who went to the couple’s home on Detroit’s east side found the baby’s body in a trash bin behind the house, the news station reported

The woman’s husband told police he did not know she’d given birth. 

MLive.com reported Tuesday morning that the woman remained on a breathing tube in the hospital’s ICU, so investigators had not yet been able to interview her. An autopsy was done Monday on the infant’s body, but the cause of death has not been made public. 

The case remains under investigation. 

Florida high school apologizes for 'good girl' prom dress flyers

School officials have apologized after flyers of prom dress guidelines posted at a Florida high school sparked a social media outcry.

The flyers were put up in the hallways of Stanton College Prep High School in Jacksonville by administrators.

 >> Read more trending stories

Photos of girls wearing dresses considered acceptable were labeled "good girls."

Photos of dresses without backs or with slits read: "Going to Stanton Prom? No, you're not."

The student body responded with #scpgoodgirl and the flyers were taken down, but not before many people took to social media to speak out against them.

The school district said on Twitter Tuesday that the displays were not appropriate.

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