Five stories that have North Texas talking: The Lone Star State responsible for a third of 2012 West Nile outbreak, Angelina Jolie shines a spotlight on personal health journey, the future of the Mavs uniforms is in your hands and more.
Though many people may have suspected it, the CDC confirmed yesterday that 2012 was a record setting year for West Nile Virus deaths, and Texas was the epicenter. Nationwide, 286 deaths were reported, the highest total since the disease was first reported in the U.S. in 1999. About of a third of all West Nile virus cases in 2012 came from Texas.
According to the Dallas Morning News Dallas County sustained the biggest blow with a 20th West Nile related death confirmed just last week. Tarrant County, Denton County and Collin County were among the other worst hit counties in the nation. Health officials are speculating that higher-than-normal temperatures that influenced mosquito and bird abundance could be one of the reasons behind the 2012 outbreak.
- Turning The Lens On Herself: Heralded as both Hollywood royalty and a devoted philanthropist, Angelina Jolie is in the spotlight this Women’s Health Week for a different reason. This spring, she made the decision to have a preventive double mastectomy after learning she has a genetic predisposition to cancer. Jolie has a mutation in the BRCA1 gene which makes her odds of breast cancer higher than 80 percent and her chances of ovarian cancer about 50/50. In an honest and detailed editorial in the New York Times, Jolie explains that she hopes other women with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer will pursue genetic testing and consider all their options. KERA profiled a few women with BRCA mutations this past fall, read their stories here. For a list of Women’s Health Week activities in North Texas, click here.
- From Defense To Dentistry: Military research has ended up in a lot of civilian perks; GPS, the microwave, even cargo pants. But a North Texas dental student has a battlefield breakthrough to thank for his future livelihood. A car accident last year amputated Amar Patel’s arm, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing his dental education. KERA’s BJ Austin spoke to Patel about his state-of-the-art prosthetic which will allow him to work as a dentist thanks to its multi-articulated hand.
- HBCU’s Appeal To All Races: A new report reveals that Historically Black Colleges and Universities are becoming more and more racially diverse. NPR News’ Tell Me More revealed that since 1980, Asian enrollment at HBCU’s has jumped 60 percent and Hispanic and Latino enrollment has seen a whopping 123 percent increase. Texas is seeing particularly dramatic increases in these areas. Experts say the nurturing, family-like environment of the HBCU as well as traditionally low tuition could be the reason for the increased and diverse interest.
- Project Runway, Mavs Edition: If you think the Dallas Mavericks uniform is looking a little tired, you’re not alone. Owner Mark Cuban says it’s time for an overhaul, but he’s eschewing the traditional design approach and looking to the fans instead. He’s not offering much in the way of a carrot on a stick; pride (and maybe a few seats court side) is all he’s promising if your design is picked. From his blog: “Who will own your design? The minute you post it, the Mavs will. If you think its horrible that the Mavs own your design. Do not post. If you think its cool that the Mavs could possibly use your design and you will have eternal bragging rights, then post away. If we really like your design and you, I may even throw in some tickets.” So mega fans, get out those sketchbooks, this opportunity is only open until May 31st.