Health Buzz: Toddler With Artificial Trachea Dies

How to interact with people with disabilities; consider the quantity and quality of calories


Little Girl With the First Bioengineered Organ Died Saturday

Hannah Warren was born nearly three years ago without a windpipe. In April, she received experimental surgery to receive a bioengineered windpipe at Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. At 2 1/2 years old, she was the youngest person to receive a bioengineered organ. On Saturday, Hannah died at the same hospital. The New York Times reports that her death followed complications from a second surgery performed about a month ago, which aimed to correct the improper healing of Hannah's esophagus. "Hannah was a pioneer … We knew going into this that she wasn't the best surgical candidate," Mark Holterman, a pediatric surgeon at the hospital, told The New York Times. "At this point … we're all just raw with pain."

How to Interact With People With Disabilities

You and your friend are at a restaurant, and the waiter asks your friend what she'd like to eat. And then the waiter asks your friend what you'd like to eat, too.

Are you invisible? Perhaps you're perceived to be incapable of making the decision, or articulating it. Or maybe, for some reason, the waiter feels fine talking to your friend, but uncomfortable talking to you. This perplexing situation is not so uncommon for some people living with disabilities. "I usually say, 'Excuse me, will you ask me the question, please?'" says Ryan McGraw, a 30-year-old yoga teacher with cerebral palsy. "It's dehumanizing."

So why would someone not address McGraw, who talks a little slower and has impaired movement and coordination?

"When people can't relax, they're fearful, and they simply choose not to interact with people with disabilities," says Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability. "And that's so unfortunate because it only perpetuates the stereotypes and fears that people have." [Read more: How to Interact With People With Disabilities]

Consider the Quantity and Quality of Calories

Calorie counts, and the very meaning of "calorie," have been recurrent themes in both the medical literature and the popular press of late, writes U.S. News blogger David Katz. Most recently, studies have suggested that calorie counts on menus seemingly do, and don't, help reduce calories consumed.

Closely related to the question of whether it helps to know calorie counts is whether all calories are created equal. Or, in the form of the question that has captured the popular imagination: Is a calorie really a calorie?

In my opinion, this question is abjectly silly no matter how you answer it. It's a silly question whether you think the answer is yes or no. Because of course the answer is both yes and no. [Read more: Consider the Quantity and Quality of Calories]

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