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. 

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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Patient-centered care. If you aren’t already familiar with this catchphrase, you will be soon.

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Millions of Americans suffer from a chronic ringing in the ears known as tinnitus. And for more than 10 million of them, the experience of hearing that sound is severe enough to seek medical attention.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

There may be a future for an ancient profession.

Scribes, who in times past worked on everything from translating religious texts to historical book keeping, are making a comeback in the doctor’s office. A growing number of physicians in Texas, and across the country, are hiring scribes to gather patient information and lighten their workload.

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How many days will you have to wait to see a doctor? Depends on where you live. A new study of fifteen metropolitan areas measured average wait time, and the winner? It’s Dallas.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

People living in one South Dallas neighborhood used to be three times as likely to die from diabetes-related complications than those in Dallas County overall. That grim statistic is changing, thanks to a prevention-focused health center at the Juanita J. Craft Institute.

Jay Mallin

A $7.75 million gift from Darwin Deason will launch the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and support the Deason Innovation Gym in Southern Methodist University’s Lyle School of Engineering.

My BuddyTag

Keeping track of your kids at a theme park or fair can be a challenge. That’s why Plano parent and engineer Willy Wu created a device called BuddyTag. There’s no GPS involved -- just a phone and a wristband.

If you’re looking to kick your health tech startup into high gear, Dallas-Fort Worth is a sweet spot to set up shop. Among DFW’s offerings: a roaring tech sector, startup meetups galore and top medical schools, to  name a few.

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A state district judge has ruled that Marlise Muñoz, the brain-dead North Texas woman who’s 22 weeks pregnant, must be removed from life support by 5 p.m. Monday.

The decision Friday afternoon comes after John Peter Smith Hospital declared publicly for the first time that Muñoz has indeed been brain dead since late November. The hospital also says the fetus inside Muñoz is "not viable."

For weeks, hospital officials had said she isn’t dead and that her condition is serious.

DFW NORML

Texas has some of the country’s strictest laws against marijuana — and they date back nearly 100 years. But new polls show growing support across the state to legalize marijuana use. This weekend, drug reform advocates are gathering in Dallas for the first major drug policy conference of 2014, hosted by Mothers Against Teen Violence.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA

The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History has a new learning space, where kids get some unusual playmates: scientists and researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Nearly A Quarter Of Health Marketplace Enrollees Are Young Adults

Jan 13, 2014

Nearly a quarter of the 2.2 million people who’ve enrolled in health coverage in the health law’s insurance marketplaces are young adults — the population that’s hardest to reach and yet most vital for the long-term financial stability of the new exchanges, the Obama administration announced Monday.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

For the past decade, UTD professor Orlando Auciello has been obsessed with growing diamonds. But instead of trying to create the biggest gem possible, he’s been trying to craft the thinnest possible layer of diamond. This thin coating could advance everything from hip implants to hydraulic pumps.

Texas Department of State Health Services

Don’t turn to the medicine cabinet for cough relief. Turn to the kitchen cabinet.

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The 73-year-old Masonic Temple in Downtown Dallas will soon be getting a major makeover. The building’s new owners, Stephanie and Hunter Hunt, will turn the 43,000 square foot building into a hub of creativity.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

How did Obamacare affect North Texans in 2013? It depends on whom you ask.

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Under Obamacare, nearly every American has to have health insurance or pay a penalty. One of the few exceptions is for people who are members of what’s called “health care sharing ministries.” The two largest sharing ministries – Samaritan and Medi-Share – have both nearly doubled their membership in Texas since the Affordable Care Act.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In the first two months of Obamacare, 14,000 Texans purchased insurance. One of them was Misty Parker. This so-called “young invincible” has a premium of $38 a month.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

“Who are the navigators?” That’s the title of a House Oversight Committee hearing in Dallas Monday looking at the people who help Texans sign up for health insurance through the federal exchange.

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What do candy canes, cranberry sauce and candied yams all have in common? Yes, they’re all holiday foods — but did you know they also cause bad breath? Bad breath expert Dr. Harold Katz has come up with a list of the five snacks you can avoid if you’re afraid of scaring off friends or family during the holidays.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Last minute shoppers are streaming in to Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic in West Dallas, seeking help to enroll in health insurance before the Dec. 23 deadline — that’s the date people have to buy insurance through the federal exchange so coverage starts Jan. 1.

United Health Foundation

The annual America’s Health Rankings report for 2013 has just been released. And while it shows American’s made considerable progress in their overall health, the state of Texas still comes in in the bottom half – at number 36. The main challenges? Physical inactivity and high number of uninsured.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

When a heroin epidemic swept through North Texas in the 1990s, it left at least two dozen young people dead. Then the drug seemed to go into hibernation.

Now the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says it’s seeing an alarming number of women from affluent Dallas suburbs buying heroin. And, for many, the addiction begins with prescription pain pills.

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The human genome has been in the spotlight for nearly a decade now, but some researchers say we can learn a lot about ourselves from sequencing the genomes of other animals — like snakes. A team of scientists led by a researcher at the University of Texas at Arlington sequenced the full genome of a Burmese python for the first time, and discovered just how extreme the reptile is.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

The hospital gown may be one of the least fashionable clothing items out there. But one Dallas company says it's possible to make hospital outfits functional -- and even fashionable.

Justin Turveen

Last year North Texas hospitals created more than 265,000 jobs and pumped more than 14 billion dollars into the economy. That’s according to a new report from the Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council.

Boston Scientific

More than two million people in Texas have at some point been diagnosed with asthma. And for some of them, inhalers and medications aren’t enough to stay out of the hospital. In 2010, the FDA approved the first non-medical treatment for severe asthma that involves inserting a heated metal device into the lung to make breathing easier. About 1,000 people across the country – and dozens in Dallas – have had the procedure. Now it’s time to review.

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The Texas Department of Insurance decided Friday to postpone the closure of the high-risk health insurance pool, according to the Texas Tribune. That pool serves 23,000 Texans who have trouble finding health insurance due to pre-existing health conditions, like cancer or diabetes.

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