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YOUR HEALTH: Early test for Alzheimer’s

WQAD News -

PHOENIX, Arizona – Jean and Kathy Norris-Wilhelm have been together 22 years.

Jean started forgetting things, but it took two years of neurological testing to get an Alzheimer's diagnosis.

She misses the math classroom where she taught for 18 years.

"I did, but now a lot of it has gone away from me."

A recently-completed study at the University of Arizona showed that what's called an autobiographical memory test may show who's at risk.

Neuropsychologist Matt Grilli and his team tested how vividly participants could describe past events.

"It relies on a number of regions to be coordinated and to sort of work together," director of the University's Human Memory Lab.

Grilli tested two groups of cognitively normal people.

Those in one group have a gene that increases risk for Alzheimer's and they had a harder time remembering detail.

"It does tell us that his story of, type of memory testing has promise as a new way of trying to pick up on early signs of Alzheimer's disease."

NEW TEST:  Researchers at the University of Arizona are using an autobiographical memory test to collect data by asking participants to construct and relive an important memory from their own life experience.   All subjects were deemed cognitively normal, but half carried a gene that put them at increased risk for developing Alzheimer's.   Researchers found that those who carried this gene overall shared fewer particular details and had a harder time providing vivid description of their memory imagery than those who did not carry the gene.   With this information and further studies, researchers hope to be able to use this autobiographical test to predict if someone may need to pursue further Alzheimer's testing.

Kathy is excited that this inexpensive non-invasive screening could get more people an early diagnosis.

"I think having something like this is critical because the sooner you can get a diagnosis, you can prepare for it."

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Don’t spank: Pediatricians warn parents of long-term harms

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The nation’s leading pediatricians’ group has strengthened its advice against spanking and other physical punishment because of the potential for long-term harm.

In an updated policy released Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that can include aggression, brain changes, substance abuse and suicidal behavior in adulthood.

The academy says research since its 1998 discipline policy led to the update. It says spanking is falling out of favor among parents, especially those with young children. While some parents still believe it can lead to short-term improvements in behavior, studies show spanking is no more effective than non-physical punishment, including timeouts, setting firm limits and establishing unwanted consequences.

The group also suggests putting favorite toys away or reducing screen time.

“Although many children who were spanked become happy, healthy adults, current evidence suggests that spanking is not necessary and may result in long-term harm” the academy advises.

Studies published in the past two decades have bolstered evidence that spanking can make young kids more aggressive and defiant.

Other studies have linked physical punishment in childhood with later brain changes in young adults including reduced gray matter and elevated levels of stress hormones. Suicidal behavior, substance abuse and anger are among other potential long-term consequences of spanking, studies have suggested.

The academy also warns against harsh verbal abuse including shaming kids, citing research linking it with depression and behavior problems in teens.

Quad Cities named in top 10 places for Millenials to live

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT-- When it comes to where young professionals can live and thrive, the Quad Cities stands well above New York, Los Angeles, or any big city. That's according to a new RealtyHop study.

"Especially if you're not from here, you're not like oh, I'm going to live in Davenport, Iowa when I grow up," explains Davenport native Brendan Iglehart.

It took a few steps forward to land Iglehard back in the Quad Cities. He took a different path than some of his friends.

"A lot of them ended up in bigger cities like Chicago or Indianapolis. Living in a bigger metro is kind of harder just day to day. It takes more effort to get stuff done," says Iglehart.

Now you can barely ever find this young entrepreneur without his 12 passenger tour van. He's most known for his QC brewery tours, but he does all kinds of outings for locals and visitors.

His company is called altSTATES Travel. And he says the QC streets put his business on the route to success.

Now there's a study to back that up.

"The article is talking about the top 20 metro areas for millenials to live in. The Quad Cities was ranked 7th," explains Greg Aguilar who helps coordinate the Chamber's 2030 Program. Aguilar says he wasn't surprised by the results.

"What's awesome about the Quad Cities is our size, the income ratios to what properties cost. You can be a homeowner at a very young age, and it's really tough to do that in a major city," says Aguilar.

He says the Quad Cities is an affordable region with opportunities to advance in the workplace.

"Manufacturing is a big driver for people who are looking for employment in the Quad Cities, but we're also growing with people who want to start their own business," says Aguilar.

It's attracting innovators like Iglehart, people who've planted their ideas in this Quad Cities region and are now watching them grow.

"I could have gone other places, but the nature of the Quad Cities really drew me back in. I'm really glad to be back here," says Iglehart.

Veteran miraculously wakes up after being clinically dead

WQAD News -

Milwaukee, WI (WTMJ) — One Wisconsin veteran was clinically dead. Then, much to everyone’s surprise, he woke up. Now he and his family are spreading his message of resiliency this Veteran’s Day.

Sergeant First Class Jim Bittner has battled health problems for the last few years. The veteran was scheduled for a specialized surgery known as PTE, to clean plaque out of his arteries and lungs. But a series of scares threatened that surgery. “I was having shortness of breath and I started coughing up blood,” said Bittner.

Jim went to the ER in Mosinee, but doctor’s there knew he needed more specialized care. They flew Jim by helicopter to Froedtert. There, he went into cardiac arrest. Doctors also feared Jim suffered severe brain damage “His heart did not beat just over three minutes. But it was 55 minutes that his lungs didn’t send adequate oxygen to his brain,” said Mary Bittner, Jim’s wife. “I was in the operating room just down the hall and they called me to see if there was anything we could do,” said heart surgeon Dr. Lyle Joyce. With very little hope, Dr. Joyce put Mr. Bittner on a life support machine. “This would at least give him a chance to say goodbye to his family. I think all of us who have lost loved ones, we always regret if he haven’t had a chance to say our goodbyes,” said Joyce. “I hit the wall. You go into denial, worst day of my life,” said Mary Bittner. But the next day Jim woke up. In much better shape than anyone could have imagined. Doctors came up with a plan to do another surgery. “It’s never been done to take a body on life support and do that surgery,” said Mary Bittner.

The team of surgeons, also unique. Dr. Lyle Joyce operated with his son, Dr. David Joyce. “We were supporting his life with a catheter that is right in the path of where we need to be operating,” said Dr. David Joyce. Weeks later, The Bittners are all smiles… Looking forward to spending another holiday season with their family. “I got too much stuff to do!” exclaimed Jim Bittner. Fighting is no strange concept for Sergeant First class Bittner who served 32 and a half years as member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. “There is no question that his military service prepared him for the type of resilience that he needed to survive this situation,” said Dr. David Joyce. Showing even with challenges, he’s always had a strong heart. Sergeant Bittner is back at home and doing well. He was released from the hospital a few weeks early.

US has highest rate of drug overdoses, study says

WQAD News -

(CNN) — The United States has more than double the rate of premature overdose deaths of at least 12 other countries, according to a new study.

The research, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, says that there were an estimated 63,632 drug overdose deaths in 2016 in the US.

“The U.S. has the highest death rate due to drug overdoses for both men and women (35 deaths in 100,000 men and 20 deaths in 100,000 women) in 2015, more than double those of any other country in our study,” Yingxi Chen, one of the researchers and a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, wrote in an email.

Mexico had the lowest rates: 1 death per 100,000 men and 0.2 deaths per 100,000 women.

The researchers also found that the United States had the second-highest increase in drug overdose deaths: 4.3% per year in men and 5.3% per year in women, Chen said. Only Estonia had a higher increase.

Norway was found to have the biggest decrease in drug overdose mortality for the whole population. Decreases were also found among men and women in Mexico, Spanish men and Danish women.

Researchers “looked at the trends and patterns of drug overdose deaths among people age 20 to 64 years in 13 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development between 2001-2015,” Chen said.

These countries were Australia, Chile, Denmark, England, Wales (the data for these two countries was combined), Estonia, Finland, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United States.

“I think it reinforces what we know about the United States but also points out some of the contrast in terms of the ways other countries have dealt with similar issues,” said Caleb Banta-Green, principal research scientist at the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, who was not involved in the research.

Banta-Green and the researchers both point out that opioids play a part in the high levels of drug overdose deaths in the US.

The study describes US opioid deaths as “triple epidemic waves,” starting with prescription opioid deaths in the late 1990s, heroin deaths beginning in 2010 and finally deaths due to synthetic opioids, which include fentanyl.

Other countries have found solutions to high rates of opioid-related deaths, according to Banta-Green, who cited France, which was not included in the research.

“When France got rid of the restrictions on prescribers using the medication buprenorphine, their national mortality, opiate overdose mortality rate dropped 79%,” he said.

Buprenorphine is a drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that can be used, alongside behavioral therapies and counseling, to help with the treatment of opioid addiction. It is the “first medication to treat opioid dependency that is permitted to be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing treatment access,” according to the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Banta-Green believes that creating better access to substance abuse disorder treatments, along with a better national understanding that these are treatable medical conditions, would help reduce the number of overdose-related deaths in the US. This includes giving more people access to medications that could help treat and manage opiate addiction.

“That’s really fundamentally what I think we need to take away from these data finding is that there are solutions, other countries have them, and we are not doing the dramatic things that we need to be doing,” he said.

Christina Aguilera tried to sing with the band at New Orleans bar – the band said no

WQAD News -

NEW ORLEANS – Pop superstar Christina Aguilera was in New Orleans for a concert at the Saenger Theater on Friday night.

At the concert, Aguilera told a funny story about how she went to a New Orleans bar – and the band there wouldn't let her do an impromptu performance with them on stage.

Marchaund Jones was at the concert and shared his video with WGNO.

@xtina you slayed tonight girl

— Marchaund Jones (@meezy1991) November 10, 2018

Twitter user drMediaPro posted a video of the incident at the bar:

My wife is in New Orleans and last night at the bar she was at, comes in @xtina!!! She asked the house band if she can sing a tune and... Nope! As if she was denied?! That would have been so cool to see her sing. More to the story Christina?

— drMediaPro (@drMediaPro) November 9, 2018

Here's what Christina said about the incident:

"Thanks for this warm welcome because it's so funny, last night I go to this little bar, and I'll tell you this story because its funny.  I go to the bar and there was this band playing, and I was with a couple of my dancers.  After a minute, I was like let me jam with this guy and have some fun, but the guy from the band would not give me the mic to sing.  He would not give up his mic.  He was older and he wasn't feeling it.  I was like just let me come up and said, 'What are you going to do, dance?' I was like 'No, I want to sing a song.'  He didn't let me sing, so I was like well I'll just save it for my concert tomorrow.'  He wasn't feeling me, it is ok, I went on my merry way."   Aguilera did not name the bar.

Police shoot, kill black security guard detaining suspect after bar shooting

WQAD News -

ROBBINS, Ill. — Police shot and killed an armed, black security guard who was detaining a suspect after several people were shot at a suburban Illinois bar early Sunday morning, witnesses told WGN.

Friends said Roberson was an upstanding man who had plans to become a police officer.Jemel Roberson, 26, was shot dead by a Midlothian police officer responding to a shooting inside Manny’s Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Illinois, about 4 a.m. Sunday. Witnesses said officers shot at the wrong man.

"Everybody was screaming out, 'Security!' He was a security guard," witness Adam Harris said. "And they still did their job, and saw a black man with a gun, and basically killed him."

It all began when security asked a group of drunken men to leave Manny's shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday. Witnesses said someone came back with a gun and opened fire. Security returned fire, witnesses said, and Roberson was able to detain one of the men involved outside.

Four other people, including the suspected shooter, sustained non-life threatening injuries.

"He had somebody on the ground with his knee in back, with his gun in his back, like, 'Don’t move,'" Harris said.

Soon after, according to witnesses, an officer responding to the scene shot at Roberson — killing him.

Authorities released few details Sunday.

A spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff's Office said Roberson had a valid FOID card, but did not have a concealed-carry license.

In a statement, Midlothian police confirmed two officers from the department responded to the scene of the shooting and that one of them opened fire.

"A Midlothian officer encountered a subject with a gun and was involved in an officer-involved shooting. The subject the officer shot was later pronounced deceased at an area hospital," Chief Daniel Delaney of the Midlothian Police Department said in a statement.

Friends said Roberson was an upstanding man who had plans to become a police officer. He was also a musician, playing keyboard and drums at several Chicago-area churches.

"Every artist he’s ever played for, every musician he’s ever sat beside, we’re all just broken because we have no answers," the Rev. Patricia Hill from Purposed Church said. "He was getting ready to train and do all that stuff, so the very people he wanted to be family with, took his life."

"Once again, it’s the continued narrative that we see of shoot first, ask questions later," the Rev. LeAundre Hill said.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office is handling the criminal investigation of the original shooting, while the State Police Public Integrity Task Force is investigating the police-involved shooting.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover funeral costs. Click here for more information.

There are cameras outside of Manny’s Blue Room Lounge, but it’s unclear if they captured the deadly police shooting of bar security guard, Jemel Roberson.

— Courtney Gousman (@cgousman) November 12, 2018

What Hollywood is saying about Stan Lee

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(CNN) — There is seemingly not a star in Hollywood who hadn’t entered the orbit of comic-book legend Stan Lee.

In wake of Lee’s death on Monday at age 95, a flood of notable names have started to paid tribute to the man whose imagination brought the Marvel Universe to life.

Robert Downey Jr.

“I owe it all to you. Rest in Peace Stan”

–via Instagram

Chris Evans

“There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!”

–via Twitter

Zoe Saldana

“Today we lost one of the greats. @TheRealStanLee, you were a inspiration and superhero to us all. Thank you for contributing so much- and giving us all something to aspire to!”

–via Twitter

Ryan Reynolds

“Thanks for everything, Stan.”

–via Instagram

Tom Holland

“How many millions of us are indebted to this guy, none more so than me. The father of Marvel has made so many people so incredibly happy. What a life and what a thing to have achieved. Rest in peace Stan.”

–via Instagram

Hugh Jackman

“We’ve lost a creative genius. Stan Lee was a pioneering force in the superhero universe. I’m proud to have been a small part of his legacy and …. to have helped bring one of his characters to life.”

–via Twitter

Jaimie Alexander

“RIP Stan Lee. Thank you for everything. #excelsior”

–via Twitter

Joss Whedon

“Stan Lee created a universe where, if a character was beloved enough, they could never really die.

Now THAT’S thinking ahead.

Thanks for so much of my life. You’ll never not be in it.”

–via Twitter

Mark Hamill

“His contribution to Pop Culture was revolutionary & cannot be overstated. He was everything you hoped he would be & MORE. I loved this man & will never stop missing him. They say you should never meet a childhood idol. They are wrong. #RIPStanTheMan”

–via Twitter

Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company

“Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created. A super hero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain, and to connect. The scale of his imagination was only exceeded by the size of his heart,”

–via statement

Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios

“No one has had more of an impact on my career and everything we do at Marvel Studios than Stan Lee. Stan leaves an extraordinary legacy that will outlive us all. Our thoughts are with his daughter, his family, and his millions of fans. “

–via Twitter

Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group

“Original and genius are two very overused words in the world today, but Stan was both. Add irrepressible and irreplaceable, and you begin to describe the man. We have all lost a true superhero. We will greatly miss our friendly neighborhood Stan Lee.”

–via statement

Shane Duffy, CEO of Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment

“We at Stan Lee’s Lee POW! Entertainment are saddened by the loss of our friend and mentor Stan Lee, the father of pop culture. His passing today marks a devastating and painful moment in time, but the legacy of Stan Lee, through his creative genius and his universes of characters, will continue to reach the world of true believers for generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the fans of not only his work, but of him, as a friend who made the world a better place. He was a true iconic pioneer with no comparable second. It has been an honor to work beside him.”

–via statement

Kevin Smith

“Thank you, Stan, for making me not only the boy I was but also the man I am today. You had great power and you always used it responsibly, fostering billions of dreamers who all know your name – a name written in the stars for all time.”

–via Instagram

Seth Rogen

“Thank you Stan Lee for making people who feel different realize they are special.”

–via Twitter

Anthony and Joseph Russo

“Thank you for filling our childhoods with such joy. You will be dearly, dearly missed…”

–via Twitter

Dwayne Johnson

“What a man. What a life.

When I first broke into Hollywood, he welcomed me with open arms and some very sage advice I’ll forever take to heart.

A true icon who impacted generations around the world.

Rest in love, my friend.”

–via Twitter

Jimmy Kimmel

“At age 7, I drew this weird portrait of Stan Lee and asked my Mom to send it to him. Thankfully she didn’t because 30+ years later, I got to give it to the great one in person. Thanks for all the fun Stan”

–via Twitter

Winston Duke

“THANK YOU, @TheRealStanLee. You gave us characters that continue to stand the test of time and evolve with our consciousness. You taught us that there are no limits to our future as long as we have access to our imagination. Rest in power! #EXCELSIOR #StanLee #rip”

–via Twitter

Johnny Galecki

“Safe passage, Mr. Lee. Thank you for all you gave the world, not the least your incredible sense of humor and insuppressible lust for life. It was a pleasure to know you. You are already missed.”

–via Instagram

Doug Jones

“What can I say about the loss of a visionary who created one of my favorite characters I’ve ever played? Stan Lee’s fun-loving wit, charm, and poetic legacy will keep him alive for generations to come. My heart hurts, and he will be sorely missed.”

–via Twitter

Rob Zombie

–via Instagram

Elon Musk

“Rest in peace, Stan Lee. The many worlds of imagination & delight you created for humanity will last forever.”

Elephants evolve to not grow tusks, thwarting poachers

WQAD News -

How can elephants fend off ivory poachers? By never growing tusks at all.

Some 32% of female elephants in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park are now born tuskless—a far cry from the 2% to 4% naturally occurring in Africa’s wild, per research published in National Geographic.

Thousands of Gorongosa elephants were slaughtered for ivory to fund the nation’s long civil war, leaving just 200 females, half of whom are tuskless; now their female offspring are following suit. Numbers are worse in South Africa’s Addo Elephant Park, where 98% of all female pachyderms—mothers and daughters alike—were reportedly tuskless in the early ‘naughts.

The “consequences of such dramatic changes in elephant populations are only just beginning to be explored,” says a behavioral ecologist.

Elephants use tusks for various things, like debarking trees for food and digging for minerals—yet tuskless elephants are surviving. Scientists are curious how they adapt, perhaps by widening home ranges to gather more recoverable foods.

“I’ve observed tuskless elephants feeding on bark, and they’re able to strip bark with their trunks, and sometimes they use their teeth,” says a researcher.

One head-scratcher is why females are inheriting tusklessness, when the X chromosome, which carries genes for various traits, also goes from mother to son. “But we don’t see that,” says an evolutionary biologist. “Tuskless males are extremely rare in African elephants.”

Another factoid: It’s nothing new. Scientists say Asian elephants also evolved to lose their tusks or grow smaller ones, per the New York Times.

(And elephants aren’t only killed for their ivory.)

More From Newser:

Macomb Police randomly escort school buses to enforce stop arm safety laws

WQAD News -

MACOMB, Illinois -- The Macomb Police Department has been randomly escorting school buses on the look out for stop arm violations.

According to Illinois law, it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped with its stop arm extended. The law carries stiff penalties for a first offense.

"There won't be any warnings," said Macomb Police Officer Tom Duvall. "It will be a state citation, which will result in suspension of their driver's license, because the safety of the children is obviously number one."

The department has offered occasional bus detail on a random basis for the last several years, but a recent series of deadly accidents involving school children around the country has drawn a sharper focus to the issue of school bus safety.

"I would ask the drivers on the road and the general public to please pay attention when you`re driving," said Deb Nelson, who has been driving a school bus for 21 years.

Bus drivers must turn on their flashing lights 100 feet ahead of each stop. That extends to 200 feet in the country. In most newer bus models, the flashing stop arm will extend automatically when the driver opens the door for children to board.

But even with these safety features and the occasional police escort, Nelson says that children's safety lies with everyone sharing the road.

"If you are anywhere near a school bus, please pay attention when you see those lights come on and when that stop arm comes out, stop for the bus. It`s the law," she said.

8 in the Air: Tractor auction brings hundreds to Davenport

WQAD News -

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Hundreds of people came to the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds to get their bid in on an antique tractor.

One man at the auction donated his tractor in memory of his wife, using the money to help Alzheimer's research.  His restored Allis-Chalmers WD45 tractor was among hundreds of others; the oldest dating back to 1902.

The auction was hosted by Mecum Gone Farmin', which first came to Davenport in 2012.  Since then the auction crowd has grown, bringing in people from as far as New Zealand.


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