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

It’s state softball playoff season, and some girls are gearing up with face masks.

Softball is one of the safest high school sports in Texas. But serious injuries do happen – especially at positions like third base or pitcher, where screaming line drives can do major damage. At least one North Texas school district, Richardson, is requiring all girls who play third to wear face masks in the field.

One in five. That’s how many people who break a hip after age 50 die within a year. Why? What makes recovery easy for some and impossible for others? Here’s a recap of our Twitter chat for The Broken Hip.

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Each year traumatic injuries  — things like falls or car accidents — account for 41 million emergency department visits and 2.3 million hospital admissions across the country. Traumatic injuries happen when you least expect it, and often times they can be prevented. Join KERA and Baylor Healthcare experts for a Google + Hangout Monday at 10:00 a.m. to learn how to avoid serious accidents, and what steps to take if they occur.

Startup accelerators Tech Wildcatters and Health Wildcatters are moving downtown, into a building that’s been vacant for decades.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Hospitals can often get you healthy; they have more trouble keeping you well. One in 5 Medicare patients discharged from the hospital is back within 30 days. Repeat trips to the hospital are expensive — by some estimates they cost the government $17 billion Medicare dollars a year. Parkland Hospital’s Center for Clinical Innovation is pioneering a new approach to keeping patients well — and it isn’t focused on what’s done in the hospital.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Americans procrastinated enrolling in health care — and Texans are no exception. With just a month left to sign up, more people enrolled after March 1 than in the first five months of open enrollment. The total number of Texans to sign up through the federal marketplace is 733,757.

Solis Women’s Health Mammography

Breast imaging is a multi-billion dollar industry. And in spite of concerns over when, and whether, to begin breast cancer screening, every year nearly 40 million mammograms are done in the U.S. The largest breast imaging company in the country is based in North Texas, and it’s modernized its approach to generating, and keeping up with demand.

Patients in the South want their doctors to trade in pen and paper for electronic charting. That’s the takeaway message from a survey of more than 4,000 patients conducted by the consulting firm Software Advice.

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Spanking is far more common than parents like to admit.

That’s what researchers at Southern Methodist University found in a study published in the American Psychological Association.

UT Dallas

You could try and improve your memory by spending hours online memorizing lists of obscure vocabulary words, but new research shows you might be better off picking up a challenging, new hobby – like digital photography or quilting.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

In the days leading up to the birth of my son, I had a gut feeling it would be a breeze. My mom, after all, was only in labor for seven hours total with three children. And four of those hours were with me, the most stubborn of the Collins kids.

My pregnancy had been easy: I was a week overdue, but worked my normal schedule until the day before my doctor wanted to induce. A lot of first-time moms need drugs to get labor started; induction is downright commonplace. The birth part was going to follow suit; I just knew it.

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Can a new telephone system save lives?

If you’re a hospital, the answer is yes. For years, John Peter Smith Health Network struggled with its outdated phone system and communications network. Now, it’s hoping to save money, and lives, through an upgraded communications system created by Irving-based NEC Corporation of America.

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On average, every four minutes someone dies of a stroke.

Strokes are also the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. But technological and medical advances can help diagnose a stroke early. And early diagnosis and treatment for strokes can mean the difference between life and death.

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Even if you don’t need to stay up late Monday night to finish taxes, you might want to. Starting after midnight there will be what’s called a “blood moon.” It’s a full lunar eclipse, and it’s the first of a rare series of eclipses over the next two years.

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Testosterone replacement therapy does not affect Caucasian men and Mexican-American men the same. In fact, a new study published in the  Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, shows Caucasian men may be at risk of brain damage from the treatment.

UT Dallas

Ordinary sewing thread can have superhuman power. That’s according to researchers at UT Dallas who discovered fishing line and sewing thread can be cheaply converted to powerful artificial muscles — no Rumpelstiltskin required.

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In Texas, the association between marijuana and crime goes back more than a century. One hundred years ago, the state made marijuana use illegal, and it remains that way both for recreational and medical purposes today.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A shortage of medical specialists, combined with a glut of newly insured patients has put some rural Texas hospitals in a bind.

Brittany Lynk / North Texas International Visitors Center

A group of female entrepreneurs from two dozen countries across the world visited Dallas this week. As part of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership program, the women got a chance to meet with North Texas entrepreneurs.

UT Dallas

The concussion crisis has sent shock waves through the football world from the NFL all the way down to pee-wee leagues. A researcher at UT Dallas has developed a device to measure the force of hits and determine whether there’s been a brain injury.

Louisiana State University

Parkland introduced its new CEO on Monday – the first new CEO in thirty years. Dr. Fred Cerise previously headed Louisiana State University’s charity hospital system. This week, Parkland is inviting the public to meet the new CEO at a series of events hosted by Dallas County commissioners.

According to WFAA, the husband of Marlise Muñoz will not be billed for his wife’s two month stay at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth. Marlise Muñoz, the North Texas woman who was brain dead and pregnant, stayed at JPS Hospital for 62 days, against the wishes of her family. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In television dramas, CPR is often successful. The nurse or doctor is able to resuscitate lifeless body within minutes, simply by pushing on their chest. Unfortunately, in the real world, less than 20 percent of people who receive CPR in a hospital actually survive.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Millionaire couple Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt are on a mission to save marriages in Dallas. Their goal is to bring the tools – in both Spanish and English – to fix broken relationships.

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If you’re a Medicare patient, finding a doctor in Texas can be a challenge.  And there’s a chance Congress is  about to make the task even harder.

In Texas, only 58 percent of doctors take new Medicare patients. That’s partly because reimbursement rates are so low.

Workplace wellness is already a six-billion-dollar-a-year industry, and it’s growing. Employers are searching for programs that are both good for the beltline and the bottom line. The result? They’re gamifying corporate wellness programs.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

The crowdfunding trend – where people pool their money to back everything from arts projects to new gadgets – has hit home. Literally. Investors are now pooling their money online to buy real estate. And the first crowdfunded real estate transaction just took place in Dallas.

New Crop Of Tech Wildcatters In Dallas

Feb 28, 2014
Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A select group of fourteen startups will work, sleep, eat, and breath together in Dallas for the next three months. Tech Wildcatters, a seed accelerator that started in 2010, has announced its newest, and largest, class of startups from across the world. Of the fourteen companies, five are from Texas.

The Lone Star State is home to more than 50 Fortune 500 corporate headquarters. Part of what Tech Wildcatters offers startups is direct access to these well-established companies.

Let the roast begin: Five North Texas coffee shops have been nominated for the 2014 KRUPS Best Brew Awards: Crooked Tree Coffeehouse, Cultivar Coffee & Tea Co., White Rock Coffee, Avoca Coffee Roasters and Oddfellows.

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Throughout last year, we reported on the spike in cases of whooping cough across North Texas and the rest of the state. (Last September, the state issued a whooping cough alert.)

The numbers are in for last year – and they don’t look good.

Statewide, 3,908 cases were counted -- the highest since the 1950s. About 11 percent of patients were hospitalized. Five deaths were reported.

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