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Features Health & Wellness

In the midst of the holiday season, just after devouring a traditional turkey feast and right before finishing her Christmas shopping, Marian McDowell went to the doctor for a routine checkup. At just 52 years old, she expected the doctor's visit to be a quick in-and-out, but it ended up being anything but.

McDowell's doctor sat her down and told her that her life was at risk, and she needed to take immediate action to get healthy, or face devastating implications. Her cholesterol levels were concerning, and blood tests searching for other health factors such as diabetes raised some red flags. McDowell's family has a history of heart disease, and with a predisposition and family connection, McDowell's doctor told her she needed to act fast.

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Families from three Western North Carolina counties lined up in the parking lot of the Franklin Fun Factory on Sunday to have their car seats checked by certified technicians for the 2nd annual Buckle Up, Baby safety clinic.

Certified technicians with the Macon County Sheriff's Office, the Franklin Police Department, and the Highlands Police Department checked about 60 car seats on Sunday, and helped educate parents on the importance of child passenger safety. During the event, technicians found that about 60 percent of the car seats checked were improperly installed, and needed to be corrected. Five of the car seats had to be replaced by officers because they were expired, had been recalled, or had been in an accident.

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Western Carolina University recently joined 19 North Carolina universities, colleges, organizations and health agencies in the creation of a new statewide alliance designed to increase minority representation in the health professions.

Called the North Carolina Alliance for Health Professions Diversity, the partnership between academic institutions and state agencies will work to reduce disparities in health status and health care by increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the state’s health care workforce.

Representatives from the participating schools and organizations came together March 27 at Winston-Salem State University to sign a memorandum of understanding launching the new alliance. Rebecca Lasher, assistant professor of social work, represented WCU at the signing ceremony.

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The North Carolina Chapter of March of Dimes announces the introduction of legislation aimed at detecting Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) in infants. The Baby Carlie Nugent Bill/House Bill 698 sponsored by Representative Charles Jeter (Mecklenburg), Representative Donny Lambeth (Forsyth) and Representative Gale Adcock (Wake) will add SCID testing to the state newborn screening panel.

SCID is a defect in which a baby is born without an immune system, thus causing the most common of ailments and vaccinations to be life threatening as the baby’s body cannot defend itself.

“Delayed diagnosis of SCID not only has a devastating consequence on the affected infant but also on the family. Without the proper treatment, these infants die from infection before their first birthday,” said Dr. Rebecca Buckley, Pediatric Immunologist and SCID Bone Marrow Transplant Specialist at Duke University. “Many times these infants are seen by multiple physicians before the diagnosis is even considered, because the patient appears outwardly normal and SCID is thought to be very rare. The family of course is frustrated and devastated while watching their infant’s health worsen before their eyes.”

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