Health/Science/Tech | KERA News

Health/Science/Tech

Every week, KERA explores the latest in health, science and technology in North Texas through two main series, Vital Signs and Breakthroughs.

Charts at UNT Health Science Center's Human Movement Performance Lab.
Credit Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Vital Signs

In Vital Signs, Sam Baker taps into the expertise of local health care leaders to provide insight into your everyday health and well-being.

Breakthroughs

In Breakthroughs, KERA reporters delve into the latest health-related technologies developed in North Texas and across the state. From the Zika virus to fried chicken, no scientific topic is off limits. 

Learn more in-depth 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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It’s called junk food for a reason.

It contributes no nutritional value, but you don’t have to avoid it to maintain long-term health.

Many Texans are struggling to afford health care, according to a new survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation.

The study found more than half of those surveyed (55 percent) said it is difficult for them and their families to afford health care; a quarter said it is "very difficult."

Senate Democrats, who are divided on abortion policy, are instead turning to health care as a rallying cry for opposition to Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Specifically, they are sounding the alarm that confirming the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals judge could jeopardize one of the Affordable Care Act's most popular provisions — its protections for people with pre-existing health conditions.

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Failure to remove your eye makeup on a regular basis can eventually cause serious problems, like inflammation and irritation, according to a local ophthalmologist.

The Trump administration said Saturday that it is temporarily halting billions of dollars of payments designed to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT News

It’s been 50 years since Dr. Kenneth Cooper wrote “Aerobics,” the best-seller that helped launch the country's fitness movement.

His son, Dr. Tyler Cooper, continues the family legacy at the Dallas-based Cooper Aerobics Center. He talked with KERA’s Lee Cullum on the TV program "CEO" about how fitness research is changing — and what can be done to get children in better shape.

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After years of warnings to limit our consumption of eggs, a recent study suggests eating one a day might actually lower rates of heart disease and risk of stroke.

A local cardiologist says the benefits depend on who's eating the egg.

Courtesy of UNT Health Science Center

With hot summer days bearing down on North Texas, so are the summer bugs.

Illnesses from mosquito, tick and flea bites have tripled in the U.S., with more than 640,000 cases reported from 2004 through 2016, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control.

Michael Allen, who leads the Tick-Borne Disease Research Laboratory at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, says there are many reasons for the spike.

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The American Cancer Society recommends you should begin screening for colon cancer at an earlier age. For a long time, that was 50. Now, it’s 45.

The fact that rural, economically disadvantaged parts of the country broke heavily for the Republican candidate in the 2016 election is well known. But Medicare data indicate that voters in areas that went for Trump weren't just hurting economically — many of them were receiving prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

The fear of family separation is not new for many immigrants already living in the U.S. In fact, that fear, heightened in recent weeks, has been forcing a tough decision for some families. Advocates say a growing number of American children are dropping out of Medicaid and other government programs because their parents are undocumented.

Marlene is an undocumented resident of Texas and has two children who are U.S. citizens. (NPR is not using Marlene's last name because of her immigration status.) One of her kids has some disabilities.

Rachel Osborn knows kids who slept in the immigrant detention centers in Texas that have dominated recent headlines.

"We have kids who will say that was the worst part of their journey," Osborn says. "They were traveling for weeks and the hardest part was being in this freezing cold room where, you know, they were fed a cold sandwich and had a thin blanket to shiver under."

And they had no parent or caregiver to comfort them and make them feel safe.

Courtesty SMU, UCLA

A new study from Southern Methodist University shows that empathetic people — those who are generally more sensitive to the feelings of others — receive more pleasure from listening to music, and their brains show increased activity in areas associated with social interactions.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

From paralyzed Texans trapped in bed for hours on end to children denied care vital to keeping them alive, a recent investigation by The Dallas Morning News revealed how the state is failing to provide care for some of its most vulnerable citizens. Lawmakers will meet this month to see what they can do about it. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Texas turns out plenty of medical school graduates, but there are not enough residencies to help retain them, a local doctor says. And that imbalance is contributing to a shortage of physicians in the state.  

That's why Medical City Healthcare, UNT Health Science Center and HCA Healthcare are joining forces to create about 500 new residencies over the next five to seven years. 

Abortion providers across Texas filed a lawsuit in federal court today, challenging a slew of “burdensome” laws that have made legal abortions harder to obtain in the state.

Texans think the Legislature should expand Medicaid to more low-income people and make health care more affordable, according to a survey released today from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Courtesy of Drive.ai

One of the nation's first self-driving car services will be coming to North Texas next month. 

Only about a third of kids in Texas are getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is linked to several cancers. The state ranks 47th in the country for its vaccination rate, according to the Texas Medical Association.

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The American Cancer Society ranks lung cancer as the second most common cancer in both men and women.

A screening program was created for those most at risk, but researchers report fewer than 2 percent of eligible current and former smokers have sought the scans.

Two-thirds of Texas hospitals offering maternity services are taking part in a statewide initiative aimed at reducing maternal mortality.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

In 2015, Parkland Hospital in Dallas became the first major hospital system in the country to screen each and every one of its patients for suicide risk — at each and every visit. In March, the hospital extended those screenings to children as young as 10.

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Research has found a combination of the DASH and Mediterranean diets can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improve brain health.

UNT Health Science Center

Studies suggest that Mexican-Americans have an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. They're about 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than non-Hispanic white Americans.

Researchers at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth are trying to find out why.

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Your blood pressure reads higher at a clinic than in other settings. Many thought white coat hypertension was simply stress or nerves, but a recent study suggests there may be more to it.

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Exercise can play an important role in maintaining physical health. But it also can contribute to your mental well-being. 

UT Southwestern

We're learning more about depression and its impact on our daily lives, but there's still a long way to go when it comes to understanding how it affects teenagers, specifically.

Dr. Madhukar Trivedi with UT Southwestern Medical Center is leading a program in North Texas schools as part of long-term research to identify, study and treat teenagers with or at risk for depression.

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Artificial sweeteners are great for maintaining taste while cutting the calories, but they can work against you if you’re not careful.

Samantha Blackwell was working her way through a master's degree at Cleveland State University when she found out she was pregnant.

"I was 25, in really good health. I had been an athlete all my life. I threw shot put for my college, so I was in my prime," she says with a laugh.

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Sugar-sweetened beverages are leading sources of added sugars in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But many aren't aware just how much sugar is in every swallow. Too much can lead to health problems. 

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