Chicago, Jan 5 (AP/UNB) — A suburban Detroit woman and South Side Chicago man are recovering in a Chicago hospital following rare triple transplant surgeries that gave them the healthy heart, liver and kidney each needed — and a new friendship they never expected.
University of Chicago Medicine doctors announced Friday that they successfully completed the triple organ transplants on Sarah McPharlin, a 29-year-old woman of Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, and Daru Smith, a 29-year-old father from Chicago's South Side, within 30 hours of one another.
McPharlin had two transplants canceled earlier in the year, pushing her surgery back.
"Maybe because it's only luck that both of those transplants were supposed to be at the same time," Nir Uriel, the director of heart failure, transplant and mechanical circulatory support for the hospital, said at a news conference Friday. University of Chicago Medicine has performed the most heart-liver-kidney transplants in the world.
Just eight minutes after a medical team finished Smith's liver transplant on Dec. 20, hospital staff learned that donor organs were available for McPharlin. Smith, who finished surgery that day, became only the 16th person in the U.S. to undergo a heart-liver-kidney transplant and hours later on Dec. 21 McPharlin became the 17th. Each surgery required a 22-person team, with some staffers working on both patients. The hospital also performed five other organ transplants during that time period.
Smith and McPharlin, who had her first heart transplant at the age of 12, arrived at the Chicago hospital in November. But neither knew they were both seeking a triple transplant when they first met during pre-therapy sessions ahead of surgery. The sessions were quiet and patients didn't share details about their transplants. But McPharlin's mother, who quit her job as a school teacher in Michigan to be with her daughter for treatment, pried out of Smith that he was awaiting the same organs as McPharlin.
"It's been mind-blowing and amazing, having someone go through the process with me, gave me more motivation," Smith, a truck driver, said during a video interview at the hospital Friday.
The pair, who are recovering on the same hospital floor, share walks and give each other high-fives when they pass one another in the hallways. Their families are already planning a dinner together in the city once the two are released and feeling better. Nurses say they notice a difference in recovery for the two compared to other transplant patients, because they have gone through the same unusual and debilitating surgery together.
McPharlin and Smith notice too.
"It was so cool to know we would be able to see each other progress together," McPharlin, an occupational therapist, said Friday. "It was really cool to see how Daru was getting up in the hall and I knew eventually, or pretty soon, I would be doing the same."
Los Angeles, Jan 3 (AP/UNB) — The organizers of the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival have announced the top acts scheduled to appear at the multiday event in April.
Goldenvoice, the promoter of the event, said Wednesday night that the big names scheduled to perform at the two-weekend festival in Southern California from April 12 to April 14 and from April 19 to April 21 include Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Janelle Monae. Other performers booked to play at the event include the 1975, DJ Snake, Diplo, Solange and Weezer.
In 2018, Grande capped off a successful year as a pop star that included another No. 1 album with "Sweetener" as well as multiple hits, from "No Tears Left to Cry" to "God Is a Woman" to "Breathin."
Coachella is known as the festival for cool kids — and musicians. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
Berlin, Jan 2 (AP/UNB) — Edgar Hilsenrath, a German-Jewish writer whose fictional account of the Holocaust from the perspective of a Nazi perpetrator became a best-seller, has died at 92.
The German news agency dpa quoted Hilsenrath's second wife, Marlene, as confirming Tuesday that the author died Dec. 30 in western Germany after battling pneumonia.
Born in Leipzig in 1926, Hilsenrath moved to Romania at 12 to escape Nazi persecution, and was later deported to Ukraine.
His first novel, "Night," recounting the horrors of trying to survive in a Jewish ghetto, was published in 1954.
Hilsenrath gained international fame with his 1971 novel "The Nazi and the Barber" — a grotesque story about an SS member who pretends to be Jewish after the war to escape prosecution — that sold millions of copies worldwide.
New York, Jan 1 (AP/UNB) — If you're planning to try to lose weight in 2019, you're sure to find a fierce debate online and among friends and family about how best to do it. It seems like everyone has an opinion, and new fads emerge every year.
Two major studies last year provided more fuel for a particularly polarizing topic — the role carbs play in making us fat. The studies gave scientists some clues, but, like other nutrition studies, they can't say which diet — if any — is best for everyone.
That's not going to satisfy people who want black-and-white answers, but nutrition research is extremely difficult and even the most respected studies come with big caveats. People are so different that it's all but impossible to conduct studies that show what really works over long periods of time.
Before embarking on a weight loss plan for the new year, here's a look at some of what was learned last year.
Fewer carbs, fewer pounds?
It's no longer called the Atkins Diet, but the low-carb school of dieting has been enjoying a comeback. The idea is that the refined carbohydrates in foods like white bread are quickly converted into sugar in our bodies, leading to energy swings and hunger.
By cutting carbs, the claim is that weight loss will be easier because your body will instead burn fat for fuel while feeling less hungry. A recent study seems to offer more support for low-carb proponents. But, like many studies, it tried to understand just one sliver of how the body works.
The study , led by an author of books promoting low-carb diets, looked at whether varying carb levels might affect how the body uses energy. Among 164 participants, it found those on low-carb diets burned more calories in a resting state than those on high-carb diets.
The study did not say people lost more weight on a low-carb diet — and didn't try to measure that. Meals and snacks were tightly controlled and continually adjusted so everyone's weights stayed stable.
David Ludwig, the paper's lead author and a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital, said it suggests limiting carbs could make it easier for people to keep weight off once they've lost it. He said the approach might work best for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Ludwig noted the study wasn't intended to test long-term health effects or real-world scenarios where people make their own food. The findings also need to be replicated to be validated, he said.
Caroline Apovian of Boston University's School of Medicine said the findings are interesting fodder for the scientific community, but that they shouldn't be taken as advice for the average person looking to lose weight.
Do I avoid fat to be skinny?
For years people were advised to curb fats , which are found in foods including meat, nuts, eggs, butter and oil. Cutting fat was seen as a way to control weight, since a gram of fat has twice as many calories than the same amount of carbs or protein.
Many say the advice had the opposite effect by inadvertently giving us license to gobble up fat-free cookies, cakes and other foods that were instead full of the refined carbs and sugars now blamed for our wider waistlines.
Nutrition experts gradually moved away from blanket recommendations to limit fats for weight loss. Fats are necessary for absorbing important nutrients and can help us feel full. That doesn't mean you have to subsist on steak drizzled in butter to be healthy.
Bruce Y. Lee, a professor of international health at Johns Hopkins, said the lessons learned from the anti-fat fad should be applied to the anti-carb fad: don't oversimplify advice.
"There's a constant look for an easy way out," Lee said.
So which is better?
Another big study this past year found low-carb diets and low-fat diets were about equally as effective for weight loss. Results varied by individual, but after a year, people in both groups shed an average of 12 to 13 pounds.
The author noted the findings don't contradict Ludwig's low-carb study. Instead, they suggest there may be some flexibility in the ways we can lose weight. Participants in both groups were encouraged to focus on minimally processed foods like produce and meat prepared at home. Everyone was advised to limit added sugar and refined flour.
"If you got that foundation right, for many, that would be an enormous change," said Chris Gardner of Stanford University and one of the study's authors.
Limiting processed foods could improve most diets by cutting down overall calories, while still leaving wiggle room for people's preferences. That's important, because for a diet to be effective, a person has to be able to stick to it. A breakfast of fruit and oatmeal may be filling for one person, but leave another hungry soon after.
Gardner notes the study had its limitations, too. Participants' diets weren't controlled. People were instead instructed on how to achieve eating a low-carb or low-fat in regular meetings with dietitians, which may have provided a support network most dieters don't have.
So, what works?
In the short term you can probably lose weight by eating only raw foods, or going vegan, or cutting out gluten, or following another diet plan that catches your eye. But what will work for you over the long term is a different question.
Zhaoping Li, director of clinical nutrition division at the University of California, Los Angeles, says there is no a single set of guidelines that help everyone lose weight and keep it off. It's why diets often fail — they don't factor into account the many factors that drive us to eat what we do.
To help people lose weight, Li examines her patients' eating and physical activity routines to identify improvements people will be able to live with.
"What sticks is what matters," Li said.
Las Vegas, Dec 28 (AP/UNB) — Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Gwen Stefani are among the superstars who will be ushering in the new year with performances at venues on the Las Vegas Strip, while more than 300,000 people are expected to gather on the world-famous corridor Monday to watch eight minutes of fireworks.
At another celebration in the downtown Fremont Street entertainment district, 12 bands will play under a massive video canopy that will show the ball drop in New York's Time Square.
"The only thing that can top Las Vegas is Las Vegas on New Year's Eve," said Jacqueline Peterson of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. "The city continues to evolve itself. We never run out of things to do."
Gaga's New Year's Eve concert at Park Theater at Park MGM casino-resort will be the third of her long-anticipated residency, which will debut Friday. Veteran Las Vegas performer Celine Dion will be at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, and Maroon 5 will celebrate the holiday once again at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Stefani will take the stage at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood casino-resort as part of the residency she kicked off this year. Calvin Harris, The Chainsmokers and J. Cole are among those performing at nightclubs.
While Las Vegas is known as a place for last-minute trips, tourists who want to ring in 2019 there should act fast. Tourism officials expect 318,000 people to travel to Sin City for the holiday and nearly all the city's more than 147,000 hotel rooms to be booked.
"Now is the time to do it," Chris Baldizan, senior vice president of entertainment booking and development at MGM Resorts International, said about booking a trip for the holiday. But "we'll always find a spot for somebody."
Las Vegas police are planning an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to security, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said.
Authorities will deploy plainclothes officers, federal agents and police in and around the casino-resorts, along with rooftop snipers, Lombardo said.
New Year's Eve is worth an estimated $403 million to Las Vegas, according to the convention and visitors authority, which is responsible for promoting the destination.
In addition to concerts with tickets on sale for the general public, casino operators also host over-the-top private parties for their VIP guests.
Caesars Entertainment hosted nine of those last year, which included DJs, dancers, fireworks shows, thousands of bottles of champagne and performances by Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez and other stars. Five hangover brunches were served the next morning.
Unlike the two previous years, New Year's Eve falls on a weekday. Casino operators say the Monday celebration is a positive because it gives people a reason to stay beyond a typical weekend trip.
"It just means that more of our guests are coming in even earlier to spend more days celebrating in this great tradition," said Chris Holdren, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Caesars Entertainment. "So, they may come in, spend the weekend and extend it to encompass the great holiday."