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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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.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Hundreds of people with Parkinson’s have brought their voices back to life through a unique program in North Texas.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Teams at Startup Weekend Dallas had less than two days to come up with an idea for a product and present a business plan. The group with the most successful pitch, according to the five-judge panel, was Virtual Visit. Virtual Visit provides a way for families to stay connected with the day-to-day care of family members living in skilled nursing facilities.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Flight running late? Searching for baggage? Forget standing in line. Send a tweet or Facebook message. A growing number of airlines are hiring social media first responders to help with customer relations, and Southwest Airlines has just joined the club. They now have nine “social care” representatives working seven days a week, eighteen hours a day.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

The football players at SMU will be wearing something new under their helmet this season. At the first game of the season, SMU’s Mustangs will all be wearing helmets outfitted with ballistics-grade kevlar.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Nearly a quarter of Texas business owners are foreign born. These entrepreneurs brought in a total income of $10 billion dollars in 2010. Still, immigration is a sticking point, and some Texas entrepreneurs are pushing for more high-skilled visas.

Laerdal Medical

Maybe you’ve seen a baby doll that cries or hiccups, but how about one with a pulse? At UT Arlington’s College of Nursing, teachers put students through the paces of emergency scenarios remotely, using computer-programmed baby manikins.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

It’s back-to-school time for twelve innovative startups in Dallas. Today, Health Wildcatters, the Southwest’s first healthcare seed-accelerator, announced which companies were chosen for the second class of the Dallas-based accelerator. Five have Dallas ties.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In Texas, four medical centers serving veterans have some of the nation’s worst wait times for new patients. In Dallas, it takes an average of forty days to schedule an appointment with a VA doctor.*

A new wing at Texas Health Arlington will take adolescents, adults, and the elderly battling mental health problems like substance abuse, stress, anxiety and severe depression.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Drones have gotten international notoriety because of their ability to take out bad guys (and, at times, bystanders). Sometimes, they’re described as killing machines. But drones can also save lives.

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If you take a virtual stroll through the iTunes store or Google Play you will find nearly a hundred thousand health apps. Everything from fitness trackers to blood glucose monitors. Out of all these apps, only about 100 have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration. Some lawyers are calling for more regulation.

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Outlining end of life wishes is not exactly a popular task. But one North Texas company is making it easier.

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Gaming moved from the video arcade to military bases and flight schools years ago. The next set of gamers could reshape health care.

UT Arlington

Commercial wind turbines stand more than a hundred feet tall, with blades nearly as long. The wind turbines developed by engineers at the University of Texas at Arlington are a bit smaller… just half than the size of an ant.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Is it something in the water? Because according to Guinness World Records, several North Texas women are among the most prolific producers of breastmilk in the world.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Diane never thought about getting a tattoo. Or plastic surgery.

But this year, after a double mastectomy, she did both.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Out of the Closet is not your average thrift shop. Yes, the Dallas store offers a selection of clothing and furniture, but now it also offers free HIV testing and is about to open a community pharmacy.

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The number of Texans enrolled in Medicaid has grown by 80,000 despite the Texas Legislature's decision last year to reject the program's expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Alcon Labs

Who needs Google glasses when you can have smart contact lenses? Google released its smart lens technology earlier this year, a partnership with pharmaceutical giant Novartis could help bring it to the masses.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

At the Mothers Milk Bank of North Texas, the morning milk delivery still exists. Except here, the milk comes from moms across the country.

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By the year 2050, one in five Americans will be 65 or older. Texas has the third largest population of older adults in the U.S. and the population will jump to 20 percent of its overall population in the next decade. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A robot named da Vinci was born a decade and a half ago. And since then, doctors have used the system to perform more than a million surgeries worldwide. It has revolutionized the way surgeons remove tumors. The next big leap? Da Vinci’s cousins nipping out those tumors before they become a problem.

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The Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado just wrapped up its opening week devoted to health issues. What were some the top takeaways? Here’s three: robotics, aging and making vegetables sexy.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Can companies like Unilever and Pepsi help make us healthier? This week at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, corporate insiders reflect on their role in creating a healthy society.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A Texas border town is not the first place that comes to mind as a health-care pioneer. But despite waves of immigration and border challenges, Brownsville was chosen this week as one of six communities out of 250 around the country that’s created a – quote –culture of health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation presented the honor – and a $25,000 dollar check – to each community at this week’s Aspen Ideas Festival.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

The Aspen Ideas Festival has begun in Colorado. And the focus this week is health, with extra attention on new medical technology.

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This week, at the Aspen Ideas Festival the focus is on health. From robotics to the future of healthcare and Hollywood’s power to improve health, experts from across the world are talking big ideas in the mountains of Colorado. KERA will be there, and we have this preview of the festival. 

About one in four adults has a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In 2013, KERA teamed up with Mayor Mike Rawlings and the Dallas Morning News for “Erasing the Stigma,” a symposium that looked at how the community work together to better identify and help young adults struggling with mental illness.

 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Mental health issues can leave people feeling isolated and ashamed. To counter misconceptions about mental illness and help connect people with resources, the Texas Department of State Health Services is launching Speak Your Mind Texas, a conversation about mental health traveling to cities across the state.

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