Breakthroughs | KERA News

Breakthroughs

Breakthroughs is a weekly series devoted to the latest innovations in health, science and technology — with a North Texas accent.

Explore special Breakthroughs multimedia projects: Surviving Ebola, a look at how Ebola made its way to Dallas and the lessons local hospitals and governments learned; Growing Up After Cancer, the journey of one North Texas boy with cancer; and The Broken Hip, an in-depth look at how a fall can change everything. 

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When it opens October 1st, this marketplace will not have any lines. At least that’s what we’re hoping. In Texas, the federally run health insurance marketplace (formerly known as “the exchange”), is an online shopping site designed to take the confusion out of buying private health insurance. So how will it work and who needs to shop there? We got the breakdown from Stacey Pogue of the Austin-based nonprofit, the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

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Money for the so-called health insurance “navigators” has arrived. The federal government announced Thursday that eight Texas organizations will receive a total of $10.8 million to train “navigators” to help uninsured Texans find coverage on the new marketplace set to open Oct.1.

Obamacare 101: Medical Home One-Stop-Shop For Health Care

Aug 14, 2013
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For years, this 6,000 square foot building was an Albertson’s grocery store. Now, Fort Worth-based JPS Health Network is giving it a makeover. In 2015, people won’t come to this strip mall to shop for bread or bananas, but instead for health care.

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The largest federally-owned wind farm is about to be built at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced today. The five-turbine project will power more than 60 percent of the plant once it is complete.

BJ Austin / KERA News

The Pentagon estimates that one in every five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffered at least one mild concussion.  Since 2007, the military has pumped about $700 million into research on traumatic brain injury. That research can be traced from Fallujah to Friday Night Lights.  

Like Florida, Texas is a popular state for sinkholes. There’s been several of them in the past decade — the biggest ate up a chunk of Daisetta (Liberty County, Texas) in 2008, and became a private pool for a 7-foot alligator!

Dickey's Barbecue Pit

Running a business like Dickey’s Barbecue Pit or La Duni Latin Cafe is about to get more complicated. There are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to the Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA or Obamacare), but there is general consensus that it will have a big impact on businesses.

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Dissecting prejudice is about as easy as picking apart a pomegranate. It’s a messy task that researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington have been working on for years.

It costs $13,660 for an American to have a hip replacement in Belgium; in the U.S., it's closer to $100,000.

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If you’re looking for work in Dallas-Fort Worth, your best bet is to look in the health care industry.

Webster and Associates

Three weeks after country singer Randy Travis was hospitalized for congestive heart failure and a subsequent stroke, he's finally leaving Baylor Heart Hospital in Plano, Texas. According to a press release, Travis has been relocated to an undisclosed physical therapy facility. 

Travis’ fiancée Mary Davis is quoted in the release: 

“Thanks to all the fans and friends for your continued prayers and support as Randy continues on the road to recovery.” 

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North Texas leads the state in the number of cyclospora cases – an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite. Federal health officials are trying to track down the source of a multi-state outbreak. They suspect contaminated produce.

IsItLowT.com

Do you know your T-score? That’s ‘T’ as in Testosterone. There’s a nationwide campaign that’s especially hot in Texas urging men to check their testosterone levels and get treated for what’s become known as "Low T. " We dive into the details behind testosterone replacement therapy.

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Nothing says end of summer like back-to-school immunizations. And while school's not in session yet, the time is right to think about whether your kid needs any booster shots to go along with that new backpack. We've rounded up some resources to help you out. 

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Hormone replacement therapy. Those three words sparked no small amount of controversy a decade ago, when the results of one of the largest clinical studies ever mounted showed women taking a combination of estrogen and progestin hormones had an increased risk for breast cancer

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If you’re nearing the age of 65, and hoping to live a long, healthy life, Minnesota, Idaho, and Washington are looking a lot better than Texas.

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U.S. News & World Report has released its annual hospital rankings, and several North Texas systems can boast nationally recognized specialties. But Children’s Medical Center in Dallas has something special to brag about, a number one ranking in pediatric orthopedics.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

You already search online for deals on things like plane tickets and hotels -- so why not an MRI or sonagram? That’s the premise of DealWell.com, a site that’s created a marketplace for health and wellness services.

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Since health savings accounts (HSAs) were authorized by congress ten years ago, they’ve been a hit with both employers and employees. The accounts, which are always paired with a high-deductible health plan, allow consumers to put away money for medical expenses without paying income tax on their savings.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

For someone who has Parkinson’s disease, movement can be the greatest challenge. That’s why doctors are urging Parkinson’s patients to hit the dance floor.

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Health insurance companies aren’t the only ones competing for your money as the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate deadline approaches. Scammers are also trying to get in on the confusion. According to Jim Quiggle, a national spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. There are a variety of tricks con artists use to get sensitive information – most often they’ll pose as representatives of government agencies.

Connor Industries

The Obama Administration is delaying part of the health-care reform law that requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance.  That's good news for Fort Worth small business owner Grady Payne, CEO of Connor Industries.

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The number of prescription painkiller overdose deaths in women increased 400 percent between 1999 and 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden says he’s never seen such a big increase. It’s nearly double the rise in overdose deaths among men during that time.

Stella Chavez / KERA News

It would be nice if triple digits were limited to paychecks, area codes, and padlocks. But that’s not the case in Dallas-Fort Worth. The summer’s first triple-digit temperature made an early arrival this week, and Friday was even hotter. Here are four tips to beat the heat.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Hundreds of mental health specialists from across the state are gathered today in Downtown Dallas for the 28th Annual Texas Council of Mental Health Centers Conference.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

The leading cause of blindness in adults in is age-related macular degeneration. More than a million Americans have it. And while there are some ways to keep the disease from getting worse, there’s no way to restore sight once it’s been lost. As part of KERA’s Breakthroughs project, Lauren Silverman reports on one North Texas woman who is among the first in the nation to have a new procedure that’s made it possible for her to see details she thought were lost forever.

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled its new HealthCare.gov website, featuring a 24/7 educational hotline for information about the health insurance marketplace set to open on October 1st. 

Illustration by Karen Carr

One hole in the ground of Alaska has revealed a second great surprise. Paleontologists from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas have uncovered a baby dinosaur in the same spot they uncovered a new species of dinosaur years ago.

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There are few things less popular than a colonoscopy. So it comes as welcome news to many that a new blood test might be able to detect colon cancer before it develops.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Government officials are at Parkland Hospital for a critical review that will determine if the Dallas County public hospital keeps federal funding, which accounts for nearly half of Parkland’s annual budget.

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