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. 

The State Fair of Texas has named the eight finalists for the 2013 Big Tex Choice Awards.  Each year, eight concessionaires are chosen to compete for the top prizes of Best Taste and Most Creative. Past winners include Fried Coke, Fried Beer, Fried Cinnamon Roll with  Bacon and Deep Fried Jambalaya.

The state of Kentucky’s got ‘Kynect,’ Idaho’s got ‘Your Health Idaho’, what’s the Lone Star State going to call its health care exchange? True, the exchange will be set up by the federal government, but Texas still gets to brand it.

Here’s a few ideas:

Klara Kim

State Health officials are warning about handling ‘live’ chickens in light of an ongoing, national Salmonella outbreak. Thirty-two Texans have become ill in what health officials say is the largest ever Salmonella outbreak linked to live birds.

Texas students had to get up to date on vaccinations to return to school today – especially the measles shot. An outbreak of the viral disease in North Texas has hit Tarrant County hardest. Many of the 15 cases traced back to a person who traveled out of the country where measles is more common. In this installment of KERA’s Vital Signs, Tarrant County epidemiologist Dr. Russell Jones talks about the importance of getting vaccinated.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

A long line formed outside the Dallas County Health and Human Services building on Friday. Most were parents waiting to get their child immunized before the first day of school on Monday.

Schools require that students be up to date on all of their required shots, but the recent outbreak of measles in North Texas may also have prompted some parents to take immunization more seriously.

BJ Austin

A year from now, the nation’s biggest hospital construction project will be finished.  As the new, 17-story Parkland Hospital takes shape, top contractors have found themselves with additional duties: conducting hard-hat tours for a preview.

Paul Hakimata Photography / shutterstock.com

Doctors usually clamp and cut the umbilical cord less than a minute after childbirth. But a study recently published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews suggests waiting longer would benefit a newborn. Dr. Sheri Puffer, an Ob-Gyn with Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, explains why in this edition of KERA’s series Vital Signs.

This is shaping up to be the worst year for whooping  cough in Texas since the 1960s. State officials report nearly 1,700 cases of pertussis so far in 2013. About half of those are in North Texas.

On Friday, we profiled Nicole Studer, a Dallas ultramarathoner competing in the Leadville 100 in Colorado this weekend. Studer finished the 100 mile race almost exactly an entire day after she started – in 24 hours and 25 minutes. That placed her ninth among women. Ashley Arnold won the race in 20 hours, 25 minutes, and Ian Sharman was the overall winner in 16 hours, 30 minutes.

Nicole Studer

For most runners, finishing a marathon is the pinnacle. But for ultramarathoners, 26 miles is little more than a training run. So what drives someone to run 100 miles in one stretch? For 20 hours? We followed a Dallas ultramarathoner as she prepared to take on one of America’s most grueling races.

robinsan

Texas is dead last in nursing home quality, according to a new state-by-state report card delivered this month from a Florida-based advocacy group.

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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.

Sarah Fields Photography / Shutterstock

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.

Thomas M Spindle / Shutterstock

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.” 

William Couch / Flickr

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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.

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