Blog Posts by Newser

  • Mother of Comatose Girl: Jahi is 'Blossoming into a Teen'

    This undated file photo provided by the McMath family and Omari Sealey shows Jahi McMath.(Newser) - Jahi McMath spends much of her time like any other teenage girl: she sits cross-legged in bed, listens to Rihanna and Beyonce on her iPod, and gets a manicure and pedicure every Friday.

    This according to mom Nailah Winkfield, who yesterday gave her first interviews since Jahi was moved out of Children's Hospital Oakland. Winkfield tells NBC Bay Area her daughter is "still asleep" but "very responsive," describing her as moving in bed, bending at the waist, and moving her head from side to side; her "energy level ... is way up." Winkfield adds, per NBC Philadelphia. "If somebody was totally, 100% brain dead, I don't think they'd be able to move as much as my daughter does."

    Winkfield's interview also revealed what kind of care Jahi is being given, though Winkfield wouldn't say where or who is paying for it. Jahi undergoes physical therapy three or four times a week, while her mom paints her nails and gives her vitamins and fish oil "to feel useful."

    Winkfield adds

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  • Study: Autism is on the Rise in American Kids

    Will a new definition of autism affect your child?(Newser) - Autism Spectrum Disorder may be on the rise in the US, with 1 in 68 children now having the condition, according to CDC figures released today. That's a 30% increase from the 1 in 88 number recorded just two years ago, CNN reports. It also means that, according to USA Today, "virtually every grade in every elementary school has at least one child with autism."

    The study doesn't seek to explain the increase, though bolstered awareness is likely leading to more diagnoses.

    "We don't know the extent those factors explain in terms of the increase, but we clearly know they do play a role," says one CDC official. Parents are also having children later in life, which has been shown to increase the risk of autism.

    New Jersey's rates were particularly high, while in Alabama just 1 in 175 children is diagnosed. The study also showed that the disorder is still being diagnosed late, with the average coming at age 4, even though the disorder is detectable by age 2-or perhaps even

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  • Gwyneth Paltrow: I've Got it Harder Than Most Working Moms

    Gwyneth Paltrow(Newser) - Gwyneth Paltrow is not great at knowing how to gain the world's sympathy. The latest example: Before announcing her split from husband Chris Martin, Paltrow gave an interview to E! that the site conveniently held until after the split ... and in the interview, Paltrow talks about how hard it is to be her, because she's a working actress and a mom.

    "I think it's different when you have an office job, because it's routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening," she helpfully explained.

    "When you're shooting a movie, they're like, 'We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,' and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult," Paltrow continued. "I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it's not like being on set."

    Mackenzie Dawson, herself a working mom, has penned an open letter to Paltrow that's getting a lot of attention.

    "As a mother of

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  • At the Heart of Gwyneth Paltrow's Split: A Mid-Life Crisis?

    Gwyneth Paltrow(Newser) - Another possible reason for the Gwyneth Paltrow-Chris Martin split: Paltrow's mid-life crisis. That's what sources are now telling Radar, noting that Paltrow has been particularly concerned about her looks for a while now.

    "To say she is obsessed with her physical appearance is ... an understatement. Turning 40 seemed to do something to her psyche," says one, adding that it was also around her 40th birthday when Paltrow abruptly decided to return to Los Angeles, a place she had "talked about ... with disdain for years," calling it "shallow and a city with no soul."

    More on the "conscious uncoupling":

    - Whatever the reason for the split, a source close to the couple tells the New York Daily News, "This news should surprise no one. They haven't been a couple for a number of years and have been pretending for the sake of the kids and each other's careers."

    - All sorts of Paltrow cheating rumors have been resurfacing (Radar even points out that she was spotted

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  • New Research: Autism Starts Before Birth

    Symbol of Autism Tattoo(Newser) - Autism appears to start with changes in the brain months before birth, according to new research that highlights the need for early identification and treatment of the disorder. Researchers studying the brains of deceased autistic children found abnormal patches in the cortex that suggest something went wrong either during or before development in the second trimester of pregnancy, NPR reports.

    The researchers say the patchy nature of the changes could explain why very young children with autism can improve if treated when the brain is still plastic enough to rewire itself.

    The changes were found in different regions of the brain from child to child, which could explain why the symptoms of autism can vary so much, a researcher says. Experts say the findings provide new hope for treating the disorder.

    "If this new report of disorganized architecture in the brains of some children with autism is replicated, we can presume this reflects a process occurring long before

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  • 'Burger King Baby' Finds Mother Who Abandoned Her

    Katheryn Deprill says she feels 'pure joy'(Newser) - On Sept. 15, 1986, a worker and a customer at a Burger King in Allentown, Pa., heard an infant crying in the women's room. They found the baby, later named Katheryn Deprill, just hours old, wrapped in a maroon shirt and lying on top of a plastic bag. Deprill's mother was never found, and the infant was adopted and raised happily. But Deprill always wondered about her birth mother, and on March 2 she launched a public search via Facebook for her, which netted almost 33,000 shares.

    Little did she know that about six months ago, her birth mother had launched her own search. When she heard Deprill was looking for her, she got in touch with a lawyer-and the two women met at his office Monday, the Morning Call reports.

    "It was pure shock to see it was actually her standing there," says Deprill, now 28. "The first thing I got was my hug that I wanted."

    Then, she got answers. Her birth mother (who remains publicly unidentified) explained that she was raped and impregnated

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  • Police Find Mom Hiding in Bedroom at Teen Party

    Carolyn Weinand's mugshot(Newser) - Not that unusual: Cops show up to bust a teen party involving booze, and find someone hiding in a bedroom. Unusual: That person is the home's 56-year-old owner, and mother to the 18-year-old who threw the bash. Police say they arrived at the home in Naples, Fla., just after midnight yesterday, to find beer cans, bottles, and pot in the yard; as they approached, the partiers went inside and shut lights off, reports ABC7.

    Mariel Weinand, 18, answered the knock on the door-with the assistance of the two girls who were keeping her upright, say police-and passed along her mom's cell phone number. Police rang Carolyn Weinand, who said she was unaware of the party and out of town.

    She also gave them the OK to break up the party, which they moved inside to do. And that's when they say they found people hiding in a number of rooms and closets-and Carolyn Weinand hiding in a bedroom. She then changed her tune: The Naples Daily News reports that Weinand kept making "statements

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  • Woman Faked Quintuplet Pregnancy for Months

    A linea nigra in a woman who is 22 weeks pregnant.(Newser)- A Canadian woman who looked very pregnant and said she was carrying quintuplets wasn't pregnant at all-and her boyfriend is devastated. Only when Barbara Bienvenue, 37, showed up to deliver her babies at a Quebec hospital last week did a nurse inform the man that there was no pregnancy.

    "She let me choose the names," boyfriend Paul Servat, 35, told the Toronto Sun while sobbing. "I lost everything, it was my whole life." Now she's receiving psychiatric care and he's refusing to see her again, CTV reports.

    Bienvenue first told him in September that she was having twins, then triplets, quadruplets, and quintuplets. She even grew a big belly and had morning sickness. But doctors say she was experiencing a "phantom pregnancy" or pseudocyesis-a rare disorder that gives a woman pregnancy symptoms for months or even years when there's no baby. Now Servat plans to return or give away gifts they received thanks to a Facebook page about her pregnancy.

    "Not only has he lost

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  • What Makes Dark Chocolate Healthy?

    The bacteria inside us love it: researchers(Newser) - You've probably heard about the highly convenient health benefits of dark chocolate. As io9 points out, the stuff is good for your heart, your brain, and even your teeth. But just why is it so healthy?

    Researchers are explaining that the healthy bacteria in our digestive systems love dark chocolate. When they munch on it, the process releases compounds that reduce cardiovascular inflammation. That cuts our heart disease and stroke risk, io9 reports.

    The experts reached their conclusions by studying how cocoa powder interacts with digestive enzymes and bacteria contained in our feces, the Los Angeles Times reports. They learned that certain molecules from the chocolate can't be absorbed by our bodies on their own. Fortunately, once those molecules get to our colons, the bacteria take action.

    "These little guys say, 'Hey-there's something in there that I can use,' and they start to break it down," says Louisiana State researcher John Finley. About two tablespoons a day

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  • Did This Doting Mom Fatally Poison Her 5-Year-Old Son?

    Lacey Spears investigated in son Garnett's mysterious death(Newser) - Little Garnett Spears seemed to be constantly in and out of hospitals and doctor's offices, struggling with various health maladies for all of his short life, while his doting single mom Lacey documented it all on Facebook and Twitter and asked for prayers. Garnett didn't survive the last hospitalization, dying on Jan. 23 in an upstate New York hospital-and now authorities are investigating Lacey Spears, who's under suspicion of poisoning the boy she called her "little prince." Garnett had suspiciously elevated sodium levels when he was admitted to the hospital, prompting doctors to alert police.

    Sources tell the Journal News they found a high concentration of sodium in a feeding bag Spears used to feed her son through a tube in his stomach-a bag that Spears allegedly asked a friend to throw away while she was at the hospital with Garnett. Why would Spears do such a thing? Investigators think she could have Munchausen by proxy, a psychiatric disorder in which a parent

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