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. 

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.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

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

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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.

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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.

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