Miracle baby who arrived after 16 miscarriages killed by meningitis in just 6 hours

“I don’t want other children to die like she did. I don’t want other parents to suffer like we did.”

Lizzie Allen’s daughter Fleur-Rose – who was born two-and-a-half months premature following a difficult pregnancy – woke with a slight temperature and crying

A mum who overcame 16 miscarriages to give birth to her “miracle girl” told how it took just SIX HOURS for meningitis to kill her “perfectly healthy” daughter.

Fleur-Rose Allen died on April 4 this year, just days after she started walking for the first time.

The 15-month-old, who was born on New Year’s Eve 2014 – two-and-a-half months premature following a difficult pregnancy – woke with a slight temperature and crying.

Her mum, hairdresser Lizzie Allen, 32, thought she had a bug and gave her water and Calpol.

But hours later, after suffering four cardiac arrests, she was declared dead.

Her brave mum, in her only interview, said she wanted other parents to know how quickly meningitis can become deadly.

“Fleur-Rose was so healthy,” she recalled. “She was toddling and laughing the day before she died.

“At 1pm on the day we lost her, she was sat on her daddy Matt’s knee, grinning away.

“By 6pm she was taken to the hospital’s resuscitation department.

“At 11.04pm she was dead.”

Fleur Rose with Lizzie on her first birthday (Photo: PA Real Life)

Lizzie, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, told how on the morning her girl died she woke with a temperature and crying.

“It was unusual, because normally she would be laughing,” said Lizzie. “She was a cheeky thing. Friendly, giggly and so well-behaved.”

Shortly afterwards, while still at home, Fleur-Rose suffered a febrile convulsion – a seizure caused by excessive heat.

Rushed to Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital by ambulance, her temperature was measured at 39 degrees Celsius – indicating a high fever.

“She was drifting in and out of consciousness, while on the way to the hospital although she had stopped fitting,” Lizzie continued. “But, on arriving, she seemed to perk up.

“She started playing with toys.”

Around lunchtime she began retching, but her oxygen levels were still 100 per cent.

At 1pm she had an X-ray on her chest, which was clear, but she still was not eating.

“She appeared healthy and was still drinking,” her mum said, remembering her daughter grinning, as she sat on her 34-year-old dad’s lap.

“I remember saying at teatime, ‘Shall we try her with some food.

“She had one mouthful of mashed potato.”

It was at this point that Lizzie noticed a slight red blotch on Fleur-Rose’s neck, which spread down it as she watched.

“I just shouted to Matt, ‘Go and get a nurse.’

“But moments later it had gone and there were only tiny pinprick marks.”

At 5.30pm Fleur-Rose was admitted to a side room.

Tragic Fleur Rose died in just six hours (Photo: PA Real Life)

“She was pale, but conscious and crying,” said Lizzie. “They were trying to get a water sample from her.

“They said they were going to give her an antibiotic, which would treat meningitis .”

It was the first time she had heard mention of meningitis .

“I was terrified,” she said.

Then, at 6pm, Fleur-Rose was moved to the resuscitation unit and a specialist team from Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, was called in.

“She deteriorated before our eyes,” Lizzie continued, recalling how her daughter suffered four cardiac arrests. “The rash returned, creeping from her feet to her head and at 11.04pm there was nothing more they could do.

“My darling daughter died.”

It was subsequently discovered that Fleur-Rose had been suffering from streptococcal meningitis , a bacterial strain of the illness.

Her mum now wants to promote greater awareness of the symptoms of meningitis in youngsters.

“People always look for the rash, but her rash didn’t develop until later,” she said.

“At lunchtime she was cheerful, but actually she was being killed from the inside out.

“She was too young to articulate how she felt.

She couldn’t say, ‘Mummy my eyes hurt; Mummy I have a bad tummy’.

“I think every child who is admitted to hospital with similar symptoms should automatically have a meningitis check.

“A child’s life isn’t a lottery.”

Since Fleur-Rose’s death, Lizzie has raised £12,000 for Meningitis Now in her daughter’s name.

“I want people to remember her,” she said. “I had 16 unexplained miscarriages in six years before she was born.

Fleur- Rose on the day she was born (Photo: PA Real Life)

“Time after time, I experienced heartbreak. Then, finally, she was there.

“My pregnancy wasn’t easy. They feared she was disabled because the scan indicated fluid round her neck.

“She arrived early and weighed just 4lbs, but she was a miracle.

“Walking out of the hospital with her in my arms, I was finally a mother.

“And then she was gone. It was heartbreaking.”

Now Lizzie is determined the daughter she adored should be remembered.

“She was a beautiful, strong little girl,” she said.

“I don’t want other children to die like she did. I don’t want other parents to suffer like we did.”

For support and advice on meningitis call the Meningitis Now Helpline on 0808 80 10 388. For more information about the signs and symptoms or to donate visit the website at


Man With Sickle Cell Disease, Not Expected To Live Past 40, Celebrates 70th Birthday

Doctors once told Richard Mitchell he wouldn’t live past age 40. This week, he blew out the candles on his 70th birthday cake.
Mitchell has sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that used to kill people before age 20. Even with today’s medical advances, the average life expectancy in the U.S. is 42 years for men and 48 for women.
“You just take it one day at a time,” Mitchell said during a birthday party thrown for him Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Mitchell’s doctors at Mount Sinai aren’t sure exactly why he’s been so lucky, but they hope he can teach them about surviving to a ripe old age with the genetic disease, which affects an estimated 100,000 people in the U.S.
Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg, the hospital’s director ofsickle cell disease research, calls Mitchell “amazing. He’s the oldest patient I’ve ever known with sickle cell disease, and as far as I can tell the oldest patient who’s currently living.”
SCD results from a genetic mutation that causes red blood cells to be misshapen. The sickle-shaped cells inhibit blood flow throughout the body, causing pain and fatigue.
“What it really boils down to is, your blood behaves differently than people without those mutations,” Glassberg said.
“Every single organ from the skin to the brain needs oxygen, so you get manifestations in every single organ system.”
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Mitchell Is Believed To Be One Of The Oldest Sickle Cell Survivors Currently Living. Life Expectancy For Sickle Cell Patients In The U.S. Is Less Than 50 Years.

SCD takes a progressive toll on the body, raising the risk of infection, organ damage and stroke, and of acute chest syndrome, a life-threatening event in which the lungs fill rapidly with fluid. People with the disease experience regular pain crises that are treated with oxygen therapy and blood transfusions.
Mitchell, who has the most severe form of the disease, “lives with a lot of pain” and ends up in the ER a few times a year, Glassberg said.
To beat the odds, Mitchell says, he learned to take his condition in stride. He was diagnosed at age 20, shortly after moving to Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
He credits his grandparents, who raised him on a farm in South Carolina, and his father, a minister, for keeping him “on the straight and narrow.”
“They were very strict about hanging out and partying and drinking,” Mitchell recalled.
Though his disease kept him at home for long stretches, he worked throughout his adulthood in factories and as a mailroom clerk at a Manhattan law firm. But in the past two decades he’s made an effort to slow down in order to preserve his health.
“The main thing to worry about is dehydration and stress,” he said. “Those two really take a toll on sickle cell people. No stress, drink a lot of fluid, eat right, and go for exercise.”
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Doctors Aren’t Sure Exactly Why Mitchell Has Been Lucky. But He Credits His Low-Stress, Healthy Lifestyle With Helping Him Survive Into Old Age With The Blood Disorder.

He cut out fast food and alcohol in favor of home-cooked meals at his assisted living center in Yorkville.
“The good days are when I can go out and walk and do my own shopping,” he said.
“The bad days are when I come out of a crisis. I have to stay in and get my energy back.”
Now that Mitchell is 70, “his age is beginning to show a little more,” said Dr. Nisha Rughwani, assistant professor of geriatrics at Mount Sinai, who is Richard’s primary care physician. “Any kind of an infection, even if mild, for him it’s a big deal because he has a sickle crisis. But most of the time he’s actually a pretty fit and well man.”
Even as they celebrate success stories like Mitchell’s, experts are concerned that mortality in young adults with sickle cell is rising. This may be because young adults lose access to medical care when they become too old for a pediatric sickle cell clinic, Glassberg said.
“We know there are thousands of young adults with sickle cell in New York who are not under the care of a comprehensive sickle cell center, or any hematologist, for that matter,” Glassberg said.
“It’s really helpful to have a guy like Richard to help inspire the patients and give them someone to look up to.”

Trailblazer: The First Women To Be Cured Of Sickle Cell Disease

Chicagoan Ieshea Thomas is the first Midwest patient to receive a successful stem cell transplant to cure her sickle cell disease without chemotherapy in preparation for the transplant.

University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System physicians performed the procedure using medication to suppress her immune system and one small dose of total body radiation right before the transplant.

The transplant technique is relatively uncommon and is a much more tolerable treatment for patients with aggressive sickle cell disease who often have underlying organ disease and other complications, says Dr. Damiano Rondelli, professor of medicine at UIC, who performed Thomas’s transplant.

The procedure initially allows a patient’s own bone marrow to coexist with that of the donor. Since the patient’s bone marrow is not completely destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation prior to transplant, part of the immune defense survives, lessening the risk of infection. The goal is for the transplanted stem cells to gradually take over the bone marrow’s role to produce red blood cells — normal, healthy ones.

Thomas, 33, had her first sickle cell crisis when she was just 8 months old. Her disease became progressively worse as an adult, particularly after the birth of her daughter. She has spent most of her adult life in and out of hospitals with severe pain and has relied on repeated red blood cell transfusions. Her sickle cell disease also caused bone damage requiring two hip replacements.

“I just want to be at home with my daughter every day and every night,” said Thomas, who depends on family to help care for her daughter during her frequent hospitalizations.

This type of stem cell transplant is only possible for patients who have a healthy sibling who is a compatible donor.

Thomas’ sister was a match and agreed to donate blood stem cells through a process called leukapheresis. Several days prior to leukapheresis, Thomas’ sister was given drugs to increase the number of stem cells released into the bloodstream. Her blood was then processed through a machine that collects white cells, including stem cells. The stem cells were frozen until the transplant.

Last Nov. 23, four bags of frozen stem cells were delivered to the hospital’s blood and marrow transplant unit. One by one, the bags were thawed and hung on an IV pole for infusion into Thomas. The procedure took approximately one hour. Her 13-year-old daughter, Miayatha, was at her bedside.

Six months after the transplant, Thomas is cured of sickle cell disease and no longer requires blood transfusions.

“The donor cells have taken over completely, and blood tests show no sickle cell disease,” said Rondelli, director of the blood and marrow transplant program at UI Hospital. Thomas continues to take medication to prevent rejection of the donor stem cells.

About 25 adults have received a similar chemotherapy-free stem cell transplant for sickle cell disease in recent years at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Approximately 85 percent have been cured.

“Sickle cell disease is devastating — both emotionally and physically,” said Dr. Dennis Levinson, a private rheumatologist in Chicago and clinical associate professor of medicine at UIC, who has taken care of Thomas for the past 16 years. “I’ve been terribly frustrated with Ieshea’s disease over the years, and I’ve cared for many other sickle cell patients who have died.”

Levinson says the stem cell transplant provides new hope for patients who often live day-to-day on painkillers and who are often misunderstood by clinicians. As the former chief of medicine at the now closed Michael Reese Hospital, he said he has cared for many patients with sickle cell anemia and was determined to seek out the best treatment option for Thomas.

Sickle cell disease primarily affects people of African descent. It is an inherited defect of the red blood cells that causes them to be shaped like a crescent, or sickle. These abnormal cells deliver less oxygen to the body’s tissues and can result in severe pain, stroke and organ damage.

Approximately one in every 500 African Americans born in the U.S. has sickle cell disease. The disease affects 80,000 Americans of different ethnic backgrounds.


10 Things You Might Not Know About Lyme Disease

The real cause of Lyme disease
Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne diseases in the world. Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not cause Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterial spirochetes of the genus Borrelia–most commonly Borrelia burgdorferi in North America–which is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick.

Some ticks don’t carry Lyme disease
Not all ticks carry Borrelia burgdorferi. In North America, only Ixodes scapularis (black legged tick or deer tick) and Ixodes pacificus (western black-legged tick) can transmit Lyme disease. Other species of ticks have been found to transmit Lyme disease in Europe and Asia.

Species affected by Lyme disease
Lyme Disease, known medically as Lyme borreliosis, can affect people, dogs and occasionally cats. People and pets cannot get Lyme disease directly from an infected dog. However, a dog can bring an infected tick home where it could potentially spread Lyme disease to others in the household.

Transmission time for Lyme disease
When an infected tick bites, it takes twenty-four to forty-eight hours for the tick to transmit Borrelia burgorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease. That means you can prevent the transmission of Lyme disease by removing ticks promptly. Check yourself and your pets for ticks–especially after visiting areas known to have ticks–and remove them immediately.

The tick’s environment
Hiking in the woods is not the only way to encounter disease-causing ticks. You and your pets can come into contact with Lyme disease in your own backyard since landscaping and shrubbery can
harbor ticks. In addition, suburban encroachment and loss of habitat have brought deer into closer contact. Deer are important animal hosts for ticks, and tick density has been found to parallel the deer population.

The symptoms of Lyme disease
The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can be subtle or nonexistent in animals. Unlike people, animals do not develop erythema migrans (the bullseye rash seen at the tick bite site). Common signs include fever, joint swelling or pain, shifting leg lameness or stiffness. Affected animals may also be lethargic and anorexic. Since the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can be subtle and difficult to recognize, if your pet has been exposed to ticks, speak with your veterinarian to find out if screening tests are appropriate.

Lyme disease by region
You don’t have to be from the Northeast to get Lyme disease. While the majority of cases were reported in Northeast, Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest according to the CDC, Lyme disease has been reported in every state except Hawaii since 2003. Speak with your veterinarian or see the Pet Health Network prevalence map for more information about the incidence of Lyme disease in your area.

Diagnosing Lyme disease
How is Lyme disease diagnosed? If your veterinarian suspects Lyme disease, she will probably order a screening test. She may run the IDEXX SNAP® 4Dx® Plus Test, which screens for Ehrlichia, Anplasma and heartworm in addition to Lyme disease. If the test is positive, it means your pet was infected with the spirochete Borrelia but does not necessarily mean your pet has Lyme disease. Your veterinarian may order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis depending on your pet’s risk factors.

Treatment of Lyme disease
Fortunately, Lyme disease is usually a treatable disease. If your pet has Lyme disease, don’t panic. Lyme Disease is treated with antibiotics—typically doxycycline for 4 weeks. If your pet is infected with Lyme disease, your veterinarian will discuss the appropriate treatment and help you and your pet get through it.

Prevention of Lyme disease
The best treatment is always prevention. You can lower your pet’s risk of getting Lyme disease by using tick preventatives. If you live in an endemic area or your dog is at increased risk–such as hunting dogs or dogs that hike in the woods frequently–your veterinarian may recommend vaccinating for Lyme disease. Speak with your veterinarian to discuss how to protect your pets from Lyme disease.

7 Black Celebrities You May Not Know Have Sickle Cell Anemia

Larenz Tate

Actor Larenz Tate, who is best known for his role as O-Dog in the 1993 film Menace II Society, has sickle cell anemia. His other films include Dead Presidents, Love Jones, A Man Apart, Waist Deep, Biker Boyz and Ray. “It’s really important to know if you carry the disease,” Tate says. He stresses the importance of screening since many do not know if they have sickle cell anemia, a hereditary blood disorder.

Tiki Barber

Tiki Barber

Tiki Barber is a former NFL running back who played for the New York Giants for 10 seasons. Barber has launched a national health education campaign, Be Sickle Smart, to raise more awareness about the disease. The football player also gives advice on how to manage the disease.

Miles Davis

Legendary jazz musician Miles Davis suffered from sickle cell anemia. He was reportedly plagued by bad health, including diabetes, hip problems related to sickle cell anemia and two bouts of drug addictions.

Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Paul Williams, an original member of the legendary R&B group The Temptations, suffered from sickle cell anemia, and his health issues had a negative effect on his music career. In too much pain at times to perform, he would often self-medicate with alcohol.

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Georgeanna Tillman Gordon

 Georgeanna Marie Tillman Gordon

Singer Georgeanna Tillman Gordon, of the Motown girl group The Marvelettes, was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia during childhood. She died from the disease in 1980.

Tionne ‘T- Boz’ Watkins


Singer T-Boz of the popular group TLC has sickle cell anemia and has served as the spokesperson for the Sickle Cell Disease Association in the United States.



According to rapper Prodigy, of the rap duo Mobb Deep: “I was diagnosed with sickle cell when I was 3 months old. I have the worst type of sickle cell … the ‘SS’ type. If I don’t take care of myself and do the right things, I will experience a severely painful sickle cell crisis; all my joints hurt; it’s a bad scene. Before I really knew how to take care of myself, I was in and out of the hospital … they had me on morphine for pain, IVs in my arm, couldn’t get comfortable for days at a time … it was really hard on my body.”


7 Interesting Facts About Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle Cell Disease, which is commonly found as Sickle Cell Anemia, is a fairly common blood disorder that is inherited. In the United States, about 100,000 people have this disease at any given time. It’s a fairly serious disorder because instead of healthy red blood cells that can absorb oxygen and transform their shapes, the sickle cells are shaped like crescents. This creates numerous health risks for that person.

1. They’re Super Sticky

The biggest danger of sickle cell anemia is that the shape of the red blood cell isn’t flexible. This causes them to get stuck as they float through the circulatory system and they’ll often get stuck. If they get stuck in a tiny capillary, they will block it. The end result and be a lot of pain, organ damage, and an increased chance of an infection.

2. It’s Not a Trait

Sometimes this disease is associated with Sickle Cell Trait, but that’s not an accurate association. Sickle Cell Trait causes low oxygen levels, early dehydration, and trouble moving oxygen about at high levels. People with this trait do not develop the disease, but they can pass the trait onto their children.

3. Common Traits

Sickle Cell Disease overall is the most common genetic disorder that people have. About 1,000 infants are born with it every year in the United States. This is more than twice the amount of people who are believed to be living with cystic fibrosis, which is the second common genetic disorder. From a global perspective, about 500k infants are born with the disorder every year.

4. It’s Not Contagious

Sickle cell anemia is a disease, but it isn’t a contagious one. Parents may pass on this disease to their children or they may not. When both parents have the genetic trait that causes the sickle cells, then there is a 1 in 4 chance that a child will develop this disease.

5. Not a Death Sentence

In the last 20 years, a number of scientific advancements have made it medically possible to improve life with this disease. As early as 1990, the average life span of someone with sickle cell anemia was barely 18. Now people are easily living into their 40’s, living happy and productive lives that they find very meaningful.

6. It Hates Caucasians

The only race that tends to get a pass on sickle cell anemia are Caucasians of European descent. African-Americans tend to be a majority of the patients, up to 80% in some areas, but this disease affects those of Arab, Hispanic, Indian, and Mediterranean backgrounds as well. Anyone can theoretically get this disease because it is genetic, but it does seem to have racial preferences.

7. The Needs Are Comprehensive

Sickle cell anemia affects many different parts of the body at once. Daily care is often needed to manage the symptoms of the disease and a hematologist often needs to be involved. Finding a good social worker is also a great benefit because this can help families find more local resources that may be available to them.


Former Miss Jamaica Universe, 30, dies after lifelong battle with sickle cell anemia

Shakira Martin, the former Miss Jamaica Universe, has died at age 30.

Martin died Wednesday from “blood clots on both lungs,” according to a Sun-Sentinel report. The blood clots were a result of “complications” from sickle cell anemia, the report states.

According to Martin’s mother Andrea Hall, the beauty queen encouraged others who suffered from the disease to get out of their homes and enjoy the sunshine.

Her mother, Andrea Hall, said that Martin lived by these words: “If you live a dead life, what was the purpose of being alive?”

Hall went on to say that her daughter had suffered from the sickle cell disease since birth but never let her disease define her.

“She was never a slave to the disease, she was very proud, very resilient, she lived her life to the fullest,” said Hall, of Plantation. “Nothing was impossible for her, she never allowed anything to stop her from trying. She was very funny, friendly, loved music, loved Beyonce.”


Difference Between Strabismus and Amblyopia

Strabismus vs Amblyopia

Vision is the most critical of your five senses. Strabismus and Amblyopia are both medical conditions that affect your eyesight. Often diagnosed in early childhood, both medical conditions require immediate correcting. In order to identify Strabismus or Ampblyopia, it is important to differentiate between the two conditions.

In order for your eyes to function correctly, it is important that your vision is perfectly aligned. If your eyes are not able to aim their direction at a targeted spot, then your eyes have developed a condition called Strabismus. The affected eye begins to turn in a direction that is not in coalition with the way the other eye is working. Your eye may decide to turn inwards, towards the centre of your face; the scientific word for this kind of turn is esotropia. Alternatively, your eye may decide to turn outwards, towards the outside edge of your face. The medical term for this term is exotropia. Strabismus can affect your vision intermittently or the eye turn may be a constant force in your vision. Lack of alignment in your sight will cause you to experience double vision.

If your vision is distorted by Strabismus it can make the affected eye exceedingly lazy in its actions. The medical term for having a lazy eye is Amblyopia. In order for your optical display to work at its maximum, each eye must perfectly align with the image you are looking at. If your eye has a slight turn, this will knock off the essential alignment needed for 20/20 vision. Your good eye will try and compensate for the eye that is affected with Strabismus; because of the confusing messages sent to your brain, your vision will decrease. This decrease in visions is known as Amblyopia.


Both eye conditions tend to manifest themselves early in childhood. Vital first treatment for both conditions is required during this early stage; catching the vision problem early will help the optician to treat the problem before it causes serious damage to the sight. Unfortunatley, children who have either Strabismus or Amblyopia, will seldom develop a normal line of vision. Treatment for both conditions is the same. Perscription glasses will enable each eye to correct its line of vision. Sometimes, in the case of lazy eye, a patch will be worn on the good eye; this will hopefully make the ‘lazy’ eye work harder in correcting its focus.


1. Strabismus and Amblyopia are both medical conditions that affect the eye.
2. Strabismus is a condition that makes the eye unsure of its visual alignment.
3. If the eye is affected with Strabismus, it will cause the sufferer to encounter double vision.
4. A common term for Amblyopia is Lazy Eye.
5. Amblyopia is often associated as a degenerative eye condition caused by the eye having Strabismus.
6. Amblyopia and Strabismus both manifest themselves in early childhood.
7. Treatment for both conditions is the same. Prescription glasses and eye patches are the preferred method of treatment.
8. Unfortunately both conditions can cause permanent damage to a child’s sight.


10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s – Term Life

Memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. There are 10 warning signs and symptoms. Every individual may experience one or more of these signs in different degrees. If you notice any of them, please see a doctor.

10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s:

Memory loss that disrupts daily life
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.
Challenges in planning or solving problems
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
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Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
What’s a typical age-related change?
Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.
Confusion with time or place
People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.
What’s a typical age-related change?

Vision changes related to cataracts.
New problems with words in speaking or writing
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).
What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
What’s a typical age-related change?
Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.
Decreased or poor judgment
People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Making a bad decision once in a while.
Withdrawal from work or social activities
A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.
Changes in mood and personality
The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.


How to Prevent Birth Defects of Cleft Lip: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

A birth defect is a complication that occurs to a baby during its development in the uterus. The majority of birth defects happen during the first trimester (3 months). A birth defect may bring about change in how the body appears, functions, or both. About 4% of babies born have natural birth defects that occur regardless of the conditions of the pregnancy.[1] However, defects can have a number of other causes, including infections, chemical exposure and drug and alcohol abuse.[2] There are steps you can take to prevent birth defects and increase the chances of bringing home a healthy and happy baby.


Changing Your Lifestyle

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    Avoid alcohol. Do not drink any beer, wine, liquor or any other form of alcohol during conception or pregnancy. There is no safe amount of alcohol that you can drink during pregnancy, and when a woman drinks, the alcohol passes from her bloodstream into the fetus.

    • Prenatal exposure to alcohol can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). One of the most severe of these disorders is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS is the major known preventable cause of intellectual disability in the United States.
    • Drinking during pregnancy can also lead to a miscarriage and stillbirth. [3][4]
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    Quit smoking. There is no safe amount of smoke that a pregnant woman and baby can be exposed to, so always avoid smoking cigarettes and secondhand smoke during conception and pregnancy.

    • Tobacco intake increases the risk of a premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate, and death. Women who smoke while pregnant are more likely to have a miscarriage. Smoking has also been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).[5]
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    Speak to your doctor about medications. Particular over-the-counter and prescription drugs, referred to as “teratogens,” carry a high risk of causing birth defects. If you are taking medication, speak with your physician before conceiving.

    • Teratogenic drugs are most dangerous between the first and eighth week of pregnancy, a period when many women may not realize they are pregnant. Thus, it is very important to consult with your doctor if you are taking medication and wish to conceive.
    • There are a number of drugs that fall under the teratogenic category, including some antibiotics, lithium, thyroid and cancer medications, blood-thinners, acne medications, male hormones, anti-epileptic drugs, antidepressants and more. A helpful list and description of high-risk medications can be found here.[6][7][8]
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    Refuse or quit using illegal drugs. The consumption of drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin can lead to serious complications during and after pregnancy. These and other illicit drugs should be avoided at all costs during conception and pregnancy.

    • Cocaine, heroin and other illegal drugs can cause premature birth, low birth weight, defects in the heart, and other complications for a newborn. In addition, a baby born to a mother who uses cocaine or heroin during pregnancy may enter the world addicted to these drugs and experience painful withdrawal symptoms.
    • The use of cocaine while pregnant can produce babies with defects of the limbs, intestines, kidneys, urinary system, and heart. It can also cause microcephaly, a condition that leads to the development of an abnormally small brain, can be caused by cocaine use. Cocaine also often causes placenta abruption, which can be fatal to both mother and fetus.
    • Heroin use can cause respiratory problems, hypoglycemia, intracranial hemorrhaging (bleeding in the brain), and other defects. [9][10][11] Heroin and other opiates also cause a withdrawal syndrome in the neonate which is very hard to treat.
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    Avoid exposure to environmental toxins. There are many everyday solvents, insecticides, and toxic fumes that may cause birth defects, and you should avoid situations in which you may be exposed to such agents.

    • The list of potentially dangerous toxins is long, and exposure can occur in a number of different ways: refinishing furniture or painting, agricultural work, ingesting polluted water, living near a hazardous waste site, and so on.
    • The most common toxins a mother might come into contact with are pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides), solvents (gasoline, paint thinner, nail polish remover), and colorants (metallic dyes, furniture paint, fabric dye). For a longer list of harmful toxins, see here.
    • For a more thorough description of the potential harm caused by environmental toxins, and the situations in which exposure can occur, see here. [12]

Preparing Your Body

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    Plan for your baby. Because the largest number of birth defects occur during the first 3 months of gestation, it is very important to know if you are pregnant. Indeed, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor before you become pregnant in order to discuss your family and medical history.

    • Planning for pregnancy with the advice of a doctor is particularly important for women who already have a child with a birth defect.
    • Planning your pregnancy allows you time to break bad habits like smoking and drinking, and to prepare your body for the big event.
    • You may also request a pre-pregnancy or early pregnancy screening test in order to spot potential or real birth defects. The types of tests include a carrier test to see if you or your partner carry potentially harmful genes, as well as screening and diagnostic tests that can determine risks for and detect genetic disorders. [13][14]
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    Take folic acid. This B vitamin is crucial to preventing neural tube defects in a baby’s brain and spine, including anencephaly and spina bifida, respectively. It is recommended that expectant women take at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. You should begin taking folic acid a minimum of 3 months before you become pregnant.[15]

    • The safest approach is to make sure you are taking 400 mcg of folic acid daily before you become pregnant, and continue taking this amount at least through the first three months of the pregnancy.
    • Good sources of folic acid are cereal, spinach, beans, asparagus, oranges and peanuts. However, the easiest way to obtain the recommended amount of folic acid is by taking a multivitamin. Make sure to speak with your doctor about the use and benefits of folic acid. [16][17]
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    Change your diet. Particular foods may contain toxins dangerous to both you and your unborn child, including mercury, salmonella, listeria, shigella, and E. coli, and thus should be avoided before conception and during a pregnancy.

    • Avoid eating fish such as swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel, as they may contain high levels of mercury, which can lead to hearing and vision problems, as well as brain damage.
    • Do not eat raw fish or shellfish during pregnancy. Avoid eating sushi and sashimi, oysters, clams and scallops.
    • Food poisoning can also be very dangerous to an unborn child. Make sure to fully cook poultry, meats and eggs, and avoid luncheon meats, hotdogs, and foods that contain raw or partially cooked eggs (hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, eggnog, and more).[18][19][20]
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    Lead a healthy lifestyle. The healthier your body is, the lower the chances are that your newborn will have a birth defect. It is thus important to eat a balanced diet, engage in regular exercise, and control your bodyweight.

    • A balanced diet will include the following: 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day; 2-3 portions of (low-fat) dairy products a day; protein-rich foods every day; and 2 portions of fish a week. Be careful to check each food for potentially high levels of mercury or other toxins. For more information on maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy see here.
    • Speak with your doctor before beginning or continuing an exercise regime, particularly if you have any medical conditions (heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.) that may pose a risk to you and your baby.
    • 30 minutes of low-impact exercise each day is recommended for pregnant women. Healthy activities include riding a stationary bike, swimming, low-impact aerobics and, particularly, walking. Be careful to stay hydrated and avoid overheating.
    • Obesity increases the chances a newborn will have birth defects, including heart complications and spina bifida. Thus, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep your weight under control before a pregnancy. An ideal body mass index (BMI) is between 20 and 25, while a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.[21]



Maintaining a Healthy Body

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    Get chronic conditions under control. If you have a physical condition that may put added strain on your body during pregnancy, or create a risk for your baby, speak with a doctor about ways you can get it under control.

    • Uncontrolled Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes put women at greater risk of miscarriage, and can cause several different birth defects in a newborn’s brain, spine, heart, kidneys, and other areas of the body.[22]
    • Gestational diabetes can affect all women, but women who are over the age of 25, obese, have a family history of diabetes, or are of a non-caucasian background have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. This can cause excessive birth weight, preterm birth, low blood sugar and potentially type 2 diabetes in your baby.[23]
    • Pay particular attention to epilepsy, obesity, and high blood pressure when you are planning a pregnancy, and speak to your physician about the risks these conditions pose to a pregnancy.[24]
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    Take precautions against infection. Particular infections can cause birth defects, and thus you should carefully avoid situations that may cause infections, and make sure your vaccinations are up to date.

    • Rubella (German measles) is a particularly dangerous cause of birth defects in children. Make sure to speak with your doctor before you become pregnant in order to have your blood tested for immunity against this infection.
    • Toxoplasmosis can cause hearing and vision problems, as well as intellectual disabilities. The parasite spreads through the eating of unwashed vegetables and raw or undercooked meat, as well as through contact with animal (particularly cat) feces. Make sure to wash and cook vegetables and meat, use gloves when gardening, and (if you can) avoid emptying litter boxes.
    • Cytomegalovirus can cause hearing and vision problems, as well as intellectual disabilities, and spreads through children’s urine and other bodily fluids. If you are around children on a regular basis, it is recommended that you use gloves when changing diapers and wash your hands regularly.[25][26]
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    Visit your doctor on a regular basis. Consulting your physician before and during your pregnancy is crucial to preventing birth defects in your baby. Visit your physician before you become pregnant to discuss your family and medical history, and begin prenatal care as soon as you know that you are pregnant.[27]