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The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

ATLANTA -- Eight year old Ava Bullard is playing with her sisters, riding their bikes on their long country driveway. It is a simple act that defies those who said she would never talk, those who said she wouldn't function in the real world.

Ava was not a typical baby, or toddler.

Her mother Anna says, "You couldn't interact with her."

MORE | Complete coverage of The Autism Gap

Ava did not play with toys. Did not speak. Could not dress herself. Did not interact with her parents or sisters. Slept two hours a night. She was in her own world.

Anna says, "It's like she looked straight through me. She would just...it's like you weren't there, if you were in the room with her."

Anna Bullard took Ava from doctor to doctor for months. One doctor told the family Ava was 'just weird.'

Atlanta recruiting 5,000 volunteers for cancer study

Atlanta recruiting 5,000 volunteers for cancer study

ATLANTA -- Sixty years ago, 1 million men and women signed up for the first-ever Cancer Prevention Study. They filled out surveys every few years. And the information from those million Americans led to a dramatic discovery.

Doctor Alpa Patel with the American Cancer Society is the lead researcher on CPS3, the third generation of the cancer prevention studies.

MORE | Join the Cancer prevention Study 3

"The first study was actually set up to specifically address the question of whether not smoking caused lung cancer, and it provided the first evidence that in fact smoking is what was the causal fact, causal factor with the increase rise in lung cancer death rates we were seeing in men at that time," she said.

Piedmont Henry Hospital to offer free heart health screenings

Piedmont Henry Hospital to offer free heart health screenings

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga– In honor of Heart Month, Piedmont Henry Hospital will be offering heart health screenings on Tuesday, February 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wal-Mart in Stockbridge on Hudson Bridge Road.

“Prevention is key to beating heart disease,” said Shelly Selby, director of Cardiovascular Services and Critical Care at Piedmont Henry Hospital. “Knowing what puts you at risk such as smoking, being overweight, high blood pressure and family history is a start. Making the lifestyle adjustments necessary to combat the disease is the next step.”

Those interested in taking control of their heart health can receive a free total cholesterol screening and cardiovascular risk assessment at the annual heart health screening event, courtesy of Piedmont Henry. No fasting is required for the total cholesterol screening.

For more information on heart health screenings at Piedmont Henry Hospital, call 678-604-1040.


Clayton State students offering free dental services

Clayton State students offering free dental services

MORROW, Ga. -- Dental hygiene students at Clayton State University are hosting a service day where they will provide free oral health screenings and X-rays for the community.

The services will be offered Tuesday, Jan. 22 beginning at 1 p.m. at the Clayton State Dental Hygiene Clinic in the university's student center.

"Unfortunately, many in our community have experienced poor oral hygiene due to a number of reasons such as lack of dental insurance and low income," dental hygiene professor Dr. Gail Barnes said in a statement. "Students and patients provide mutually beneficial services that last long after the appointment is over."

Last year's free clinic served 14 new patients.

To make an appointment for a screening or X-ray on Jan. 22, call 678-466-4920.

How to avoid the ER during the holidays

How to avoid the ER during the holidays

ATLANTA -- The holidays are often is the busiest time for hospital emergency rooms. Collectively, the Piedmont Healthcare-affiliated hospitals in Atlanta, Fayetteville, Newnan, Stockbridge and Jasper saw nearly 40,000 patients last year in the emergency rooms during the holiday season.

Avoid a trip to the hospital with the following tips:

Hampton ES teacher honored by Falcons

Hampton ES teacher honored by Falcons

HAMPTON, Ga. -- A dedicated physical education teacher from Henry County has been recognized by the Atlanta Falcons for her hard work promoting a healthy lifestyle to her students.

Merry Watkins is the Falcons' 2011-12 First Down for Fitness Teacher of the Year. She teaches at Hampton Elementary School.

"Merry genuinely cares for her students, and it shows every day," Hampton Elementary principal Dr. Debra Collins said in a statement. "She is truly a one-of-a-kind educator with a heart for children and a passion for their well-being."

Watkins emphasizes physical fitness in her classes, but she also focuses on cooperation and community, fostering positive relationships among her students.

Students receive free eye exams

Students receive free eye exams

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Nearly 70 students in Clayton County received free eye care and new glasses last week.

OneSight, a nonprofit that provides free glasses to disadvantaged children, sent its Vision Van and a team of volunteer doctors and lens technicians to the county.

The Vision Van is equipped with two exam areas, a frame-fitting section and a glasses manufacturing area.

"This allows our local volunteers and staff from our business in McDonough to come to these kids and others in the Atlanta area so that we can provide eye care to people who can't afford it," OneSight project manager Dawn Yager said of the van.

OneSight is a charitable initiative of Luxottica, the world's largest eyewear company.