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CDC: Cholesterol levels continue to drop

CDC: Cholesterol levels continue to drop

ATLANTA -- U.S. health officials say only 13 percent of U.S. adults have high total cholesterol. That may seem incredible in a nation where two-thirds of adults are overweight.

Experts believe it's largely because so many Americans take cholesterol-lowering drugs, but dropping smoking rates and other factors also contributed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Tuesday. The numbers come from interviews and blood tests of nearly 6,000 U.S. adults in 2009 and 2010.

Years ago, the government set a goal that no more than 17 percent of U.S. adults have high total cholesterol. The goal was achieved about five years ago for women and more than 10 years ago for men.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the blood. Too much total cholesterol puts one at risk for heart disease.

Measles making a comeback?

ATLANTA -- Health officials say last year was the worst year for measles in the U.S. in 15 years.

There were 222 cases of measles reported. Most of the cases were imported - either by visiting foreigners or by U.S. residents who picked up the virus overseas.

Health official say outbreaks in the U.S. have been fueled by low vaccination rates in Europe and elsewhere.

There were no deaths in the U.S. but about a third of the people were hospitalized. At least two-thirds of the Americans who got the measles hadn't been vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the report Thursday. In a typical year, there are 50 to 60 cases of measles. The previous worst year was 1996, with 508 cases.

Earth Day weekend events

ATLANTA -- Half a million people are expected to pour into metro Atlanta for several festivals this weekend.

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However, the possibility of severe weather has organizers keeping their eyes on the sky.

11-year-old says she was shown classmate's sexting photo

DEKALB Co., Ga. (WXIA) -- An 11-year-old elementary school student in DeKalb County is claiming she was shown an inappropriate photo of a male classmate's body part -- by the assistant principal at her school.

The child's name is Azure Dasgupta; she is a student at DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts. Azure says she was wrongfully accused of sending a photo of a boy's private area to a female classmate.

Thursday afternoon, Azure and her mother held a press conference with their new attorney.

They say assistant principal Yolanda Beavers was investigating the potential sexting case and believed Azure had sent the picture, because Azure's name had shown up on the phone of the girl who received the photo.

This is when, according to Azure's family, Ms. Beavers called Azure into her office to confront her during school on Monday.

The 11-year-old said she was asked, "Have you been sending inappropriate text messages to your friends in school?"

Hope for people battling depression

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Feeling down sometimes is a normal part of life. But for people battling severe mental illness, the overwhelming emptiness and despair is all-encompassing and sometimes treatment just does not work.

But thanks to a team of doctors at Emory University's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and 17 participants in a clinical study, there's hope.

"For 20 years, I lived under this cloud of darkness and bleakness," explained Lisa, a 42-year old woman participating in a study about mental illness.

Half her life, Lisa has battled debilitating mental illness.

"When you suffer from depression, or any mental illness, all you can exist in, is that moment," Lisa said. "All you know is how terrible you're feeling."

That's where Dr. Helen Mayberg, her team, and an experimental treatment come in.

Rain clogs morning commutes

ATLANTA -- The much-needed rain that soaked metro Atlanta Wednesday morning caused several problems on local roads.

11Alive meteorologist Chesley McNeil says the rain should continue through mid-morning.

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11Alive Weather

Bartow County

A tractor trailer ran off the road on northbound I-75 near the Main Street exit. The Georgia Department of Transportation reported a diesel fuel leak and damage to a guardrail in this accident. The highway has since reopened.

Cobb County

Cobb County officials report slow-moving water on southbound I-75 at the ramp to eastbound I-285.

DeKalb County

CDC: Accidental kids' deaths down 30 percent

CDC: Accidental kids' deaths down 30 percent

ATLANTA -- Health officials say accidents are killing far fewer children and teenagers than in the past.

The death rate dropped about 30 percent from 2000 to 2009. One big reason was a decline in traffic fatalities, which annually account for half or more of kids' deaths caused by accidents. Childhood deaths from drowning, fires and falls also plummeted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the report Monday. The CDC did not examine causes for the decline.

Mississippi continued to have the worst numbers, with an accidental death rate in 2009 of 25 per 100,000 people ages 19 and younger. Massachusetts still had the lowest rate, at 4 per 100,000.

Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death for youths ages 1 to 19.