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. 

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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Immigrants from Mexico tend to be healthier than their American-born counterparts. However, a new study shows Mexican immigrants who come to the U.S. before the age of 14 are more likely to have alcohol and drug problems as adults.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

For the more than 30 million Americans with significant hearing loss, hearing aids aren’t always a perfect solution. Sometimes they’re too expensive, sometimes too tricky to use. At the Callier Center for Communication Disorders, a workshop helps people of all ages learn to maximize their communication skills – with and without technology.

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At Children’s Medical Center in Dallas you can see the future for some pharmacists – and it’s not working behind a counter or in a lab. Find out why Children’s has put more pharmacists in the emergency department than any other pediatric hospital in the country.

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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