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Bodybuilder with rare disorder dies eating high-protein diet


Bodybuilder with rare disorder dies eating high-protein diet

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(CNN)Meegan Hefford, a 25-year-old bodybuilder, was found unconscious on June 19 in her Mandurah, Western Australia, apartment, according to CNN affiliate Australia News 7. Days later, Hefford was pronounced dead. Only after her death did her family learn that Hefford, the mother of a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, had a rare genetic disorder that prevented her body from properly metabolizing her high-protein diet.

 

Urea cycle disorder, which causes a deficiency of one enzyme in the urea cycle, stops the body from breaking down protein, according to the nonprofit National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation. Normally, the body can remove nitrogen, a waste product of protein metabolism, from the blood. However, a urea cycle disorder would prohibit this. Therefore, nitrogen, in the form of toxic ammonia, would accumulate in the blood and eventually reach the brain, where it can cause irreversible damage, coma and death.
“The enzyme deficiency can be mild enough so that the person is able to detoxify ammonia adequately — until there’s a trigger,” said Cynthia Le Mons, executive director of the foundation. The trigger could be a viral illness, stress or a high-protein diet, she added.
“There was just no way of knowing she had it because they don’t routinely test for it,” said Michelle White, Hefford’s mother and a resident of Perth. “She started to feel unwell, and she collapsed.”
White blames protein shakes for her daughter’s death.

‘Nuanced symptoms’

Since 2014, Hefford, who worked at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and studied paramedicine, had been competing as a bodybuilder.
It was only after Hefford’s death that White discovered containers of protein supplements in her daughter’s kitchen, along with a strict food plan. White understood then that her daughter, who had been preparing for another bodybuilding competition, had also been consuming an unbalanced diet.
Hefford was eating “way too much protein,” said White, which triggered her daughter’s unknown urea cycle condition. (For most healthy people, a high-protein diet, when followed for a short time, generally isn’t harmful, according to the Mayo Clinic.) Hefford’s diet included protein-rich foods, such as lean meat and egg white, in addition to protein shakes and supplements, her mother said.
“There’s medical advice on the back of all the supplements to seek out a doctor, but how many young people actually do?” White asked.
Le Mons said, “typically, there are nuanced symptoms that just go unrecognized” with mild cases of urea cycle disorder. Symptoms include episodes of a lack of concentration, being very tired and vomiting.
“Sometimes, people think it’s the flu and might even go to the ER thinking they have a really bad flu,” Le Mons said, adding that a simple serum ammonia level test, which can detect the condition, is not routinely done in ERs.
It’s unclear whether Hefford suffered symptoms of her condition. White, who hopes her daughter’s story will serve as a warning to help save lives, believes protein supplements need more regulation.
The Australian Medical Association says there’s no real health benefit to such supplements. And, while they may not be necessary for most people, they’re not dangerous to most, either.

Treatment

The estimated incidence of urea cycle disorders is 1 in 8,500 births. Since many cases remain undiagnosed, the exact incidence is unknown and believed to be underestimated.
“There’s a myth that this disorder only affects children,” Le Mons said, noting that one patient reached age 85 before diagnosis.
Regarding Hefford, Le Mons said that “this is not the first time this has happened.” Other athletes, who like Hefford were unaware of their condition, have died when a high-protein diet triggered their condition.

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Though there is no cure for urea cycle disorder, a balanced diet is all that is needed for some patients, according to the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation. Treatment may include supplementation with special amino acid formulas, while in some more severe cases, one of two forms of an FDA-approved drug may be prescribed. When these therapies fail, liver transplant may become necessary.
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Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reported to have been Killed.


Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reported to have been Killed

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters on Tuesday that it had “confirmed information” that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said in June that it might have killed Baghdadi when one of its air strikes hit a gathering of Islamic State commanders on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqqa, but Washington said it could not corroborate the death and Western and Iraqi officials have been skeptical.

Reuters could not independently verify Baghdadi’s death.
“(We have) confirmed information from leaders, including one of the first rank, in the Islamic State in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zor,” the director of the British-based war monitoring group Rami Abdulrahman told Reuters.
Baghdadi’s death had been announced many times before but the Observatory has a track record of credible reporting on Syria’s civil war.
Abdulrahman said Observatory sources in Syria’s eastern town of Deir al-Zor had been told by Islamic State sources that Baghdadi had died “but they did not specify when”.
Trump adviser says cannot confirm Islamic State chief’s death: Fox News
Pentagon: No information to corroborate Islamic State chief’s death
Iraqi and Kurdish officials did not confirm his death. The U.S. Department of Defence said it had no immediate information corroborate Baghdadi’s death.
Islamic State-affiliated websites and social media feeds have not carried any news regarding the leader’s possible death.
The death of Baghdadi, who declared a caliphate from a mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014, would be one of the biggest blows yet to the jihadist group, which is trying to defend shrinking territory in Syria and Iraq.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington in Cairo and Ellen Francis in Beirut; Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo and Phillip Stewart in Washington; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

 

Buckhorn’s not Running for Governor


Rodrick
I can not tell you how honored I have been by the hundreds of people who have encouraged me to run for Governor. Your kind words and offers of support inspired me throughout this process and I am forever grateful for your willingness to join me on this journey.

That being said, I am not planning to be a candidate for Governor in 2018. While I absolutely believe that the State of Florida needs a course correction and a new direction, the timing for me and my family would be a challenge. As the father of two daughters who are 15 and 11, the all consuming task of running for Governor would cause me to miss the milestones in their lives that I could never get back.

Furthermore, I have a job that I love. A job unlike many jobs in politics requires that I show up and do what I was hired to do. As the CEO of 4400 great city employees, we are focused on furthering the amazing transformation of Tampa that has occurred over the last 6 years. It is a job that I trained for, aspired to and am eternally grateful to the citizens of Tampa who gave me this opportunity.

For me, finishing Tampa’s next chapter is more important than starting mine. Absent extenuating circumstances, I intend to finish the job I was hired to do and prepare Tampa for the great things that are about to occur.

I am confident that there will be a number of good candidates on the Democratic side that can speak to the hopes and aspirations of our fellow Floridians. This is a pivotal election for our state and I stand ready to lend my voice to those who would articulate a message that would unite us as a state behind a common vision that ensures that we leave Florida to our children, not a state of diminished possibilities, but a state of unlimited opportunities.

Sincerely,

Bob Buckhorn