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. 

Jiya Bavishi was born deaf. For five years, she couldn't hear and she couldn't speak at all. But when I first meet her, all she wants to do is say hello. The 6-year-old is bouncing around the room at her speech therapy session in Dallas. She's wearing a bright pink top; her tiny gold earrings flash as she waves her arms.

"Hi," she says, and then uses sign language to ask who I am and talk about the ice cream her father bought for her.

Long hospital stays and frequent checkups are a drag. And they’re especially hard on kids who often fall behind in school and miss spending time with friends. To help these patients stay home, Children’s Medical Center in Dallas is trying to connect with kids using video and Bluetooth after organ transplants.

Figure 1

While you’re on Instagram looking at lolcats, artisan desserts and celebrity selfies, some doctors are on a different photo sharing app, called Figure 1, looking at gangrene, gallstones and rashes.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

If you like chili peppers, tomatoes or blueberries, you like bumblebees. The larger, hairier cousin of the honey bee is a social insect, and  especially good at pollinating the tasty crops mentioned above. What’s concerning is that bumblebees are on the decline, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has designated the American bumblebee as a “species of greatest conservation need.”

Parkland Health & Hospital System

Ten thousand babies are delivered each year in Parkland Memorial Hospital. This year, there was even a set of quintuplets. When the $1.3 billion dollar hospital opens in August, all those newborns and their mothers will be in a large building called the WISH Tower.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Before any healthy baby can be born, you’ve got to take care of mom. Tens of thousands of moms in Dallas rely on Parkland Hospital each year for checkups and prenatal care. In the new $1 billion Parkland, which opens in August, women are getting their own building that's outfitted with high-tech check-in kiosks and more privacy.

Maybe you've seen them in the gym, or even squeezed into them yourself: super-tight T-shirts, leggings, knee and calf sleeves, even tube tops. More and more athletes are wearing compression garments, hoping they will improve their performance and recovery.

But do they work? This is a question Abigail Stickford, a postdoctoral researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, wanted to answer.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

After a bone marrow biopsy left her with back pain a few years ago, Naveen Khan was given a set of physical therapy exercises to follow. And like many patients, she forgot how to do most of them by the time she got home.

Nihan Aydin / flickr

Trying to remember a grocery list or a phone conversation isn’t always easy. And it turns out, there are certain thoughts that may make these types of tasks even harder.

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Your toes may be numb and your lips chapped, but the cold isn’t all bad for your health. Here are three things to appreciate about cold weather.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Even though dozens of people in Dallas have heart attacks every day, most of them do not call 911. Instead, they wait, ignore the symptoms or drive themselves to the hospital.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

You might say the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital has an identity problem.

Inside, you could almost forget you’re in a hospital. The hallways look like art galleries, the bright patient rooms like spas, and the ER exam rooms like private law offices.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

The new $1.3 billion Parkland hospital is just the tip of the iceberg. Hospital construction has reached unprecedented levels in North Texas.

The Dallas medical district now has a skyline of its own.

The new Parkland Memorial Hospital and UT Southwestern’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital are the latest projects in a health care building boom that’s not projected to slow down any time soon.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Forget neon signs and puppies in the window. Glass-Media co-founder Daniel Black says digital displays are what’s hot for businesses.

There’s a new box to check on income taxes for 2014. Showing proof of health insurance for most folks will be easy as checking a box, but for others there are extra forms to fill out. Susan Hoff, with United Way in Dallas, helps sort through new tax time rituals.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. But there are people trying to make a difference for the millions of Americans who have the disease. Molly Meyer helps people living with Alzheimer’s rediscover lost memories, and create new ones through poetry.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Usually its IV poles being wheeled down hospital hallways. Today, it’s a harp.

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The U.S. is a bloodthirsty place. More than 12 million pints of blood products are used every year. With high demand and limited availability comes challenges, and business opportunities. 

UT Dallas

This year in Breakthroughs, we’ve reported on everything from Ebola-fighting robots and high-tech fall prevention to an academic rehab program for concussions. Here's a best of 2014 stocking stuffer for the New Year.

 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

If you’re trying to combine education with entertainment this holiday season you’re not alone. The aisles of kids toys are packed with high-tech gadgets promise to challenge the mind. So which ones are good?

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The deadline to sign up for health insurance for the New Year through healthcare.govis Monday, Dec. 15th.

A warning: Research shows consumers often choose a plan that’s not the best deal. We’ve got some tips for shopping health care.

University of North Texas

Spoons, forks, candelabra…The Dallas Museum of Art has the world’s largest collection of American silver objects from the 19th and 20th century. But curators and conservators don’t have much history on what they’re made of or how they were created. To investigate the artifacts, a scientist at the University of North Texas Dallas is using nano-scale tests.

Courtesy of Amy Ho

Text messages from your doctor are just the start. Millennial physicians are taking over hospital wards and doctors’ offices – and they’re bringing new technologies and new ideas about life-work balance.

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Hiring spiritual support, in the workplace?

Companies across the country have hired thousands of chaplains to offer spiritual support to employees. They say it's good for workers, and the bottom line.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A little travel tech could help you get to your turkey on time.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A healed body doesn’t always mean a healed brain.

Nearly half of all reported sports concussions occur during high school football. And even when a student is ready to get back on the field, they might not be ready to return to class.

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After two weeks of fearful medical news, Texas got some relief today. A sheriff’s deputy tested negative for Ebola. And no one else is showing symptoms.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

New technology out of Texas is making it harder for criminals to cover their tracks. A University of North Texas chemistry professor has created a device for the U.S. Department of Justice to analyze the tiny particles of inks, paints, and other materials criminals use to create counterfeit documents. It’s called a nanomanipulator.

After scientists discovered the nine planets in our solar system, and then re categorized Pluto as a dwarf planet… they moved on to finding planets in other parts of the galaxy. So far, they’ve discovered around 2,000 so-called exoplanets. Their luck hasn’t been as good with exomoons. But there’s a new research technique scientists at UT Arlington hope can help locate moons many light years away.

LVA

Airports and hospitals. Two places not generally on the top of a tourist must see list. But Spanish architect Luis Vidal has spent the last decade trying to change that — building airports that are destination and hospitals you don’t dread walking into. You can get a glimpse of his work at a new exhibit at the Dallas Center for Architecture.

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