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.

University of North Texas Ph.D candidate Ethan McBride prepares the precursor to the illegal drug PCP in a trailer.
Credit Lauren Silverman / 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. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA

Amazon’s Alexa voice platform is getting smarter. At the start of the year, she knew how to do only 7,000 things. Now, she has more than 15,000 so-called skills. These include everything from turning off your lights, to finding a restaurant nearby, to playing NPR.

Thousands of patients at Parkland Health & Hospital were mailed letters urging them to be screened for colon cancer. Some received an at-home test kit as well.
UT Southwestern Medical Center

What, if anything, can convince people to get tested for colorectal cancer?

 

Researchers have tried a variety of methods — from reminding patients during yearly checkups to paying them — but there may be a cheaper, easier way to boost screening rates, using snail mail.

Shutterstock

Falling is a common problem in senior adults that can have serious consequences, including loss of independence, brain traumatic injuries and even death. 

Courtesy of Mi Habana

Depending on who you ask, there are many ways to cure a cold. Some people turn to brand-name cough syrup and others, to herbal teas.

In Texas, there’s a long tradition of combining both modern and alternative medicine — a tradition that patients rarely discuss with their doctors.

Shutterstock

Despite concerns about addiction and overprescription of opioids, the drugs are still considered an effective choice for acute or short-term pain. But the brain also can produce results just as effective.

Children's Health System

There are a number of differences between the shelters housing Harvey evacuees and the ones where victims of Katrina went 12 years ago. A big one is telemedicine. Children, especially, are being treated by doctors in remote locations.

 

Shutterstock

A group of researchers in the United Kingdom argues the standard medical advice of completing a course of antibiotics may do more harm than good. Most doctors believe it's become standard advice for a reason.

Shutterstock

With school back in session, students are having to readjust from their summer sleeping habits. 

Shutterstock

High-intensity interval training involves repeated brief bursts of very intense exercise mixed with longer periods of easy recovery. Sounds like something for younger people, but a new study of mice suggests older people might benefit, too.

Worried about Internet companies snooping on your online browsing? You might turn to something called a virtual private network to protect your privacy. But researchers say these networks can themselves be insecure.

Earlier this year, the federal government rolled back rules that would have prevented Internet service providers from tracking your activity online.

Shutterstock

President Trump called the opioid crisis in the United States a national emergency last week, and Texas has joined a coalition of states to investigate the role pharmaceutical companies have played in creating and prolonging the epidemic.

Shutterstock

Paramedics can respond to emergencies in minutes. But, an injured person could possibly bleed to death in less time. A government program called Stop the Bleed aims to train bystanders to help in the interim.

Charles Sykes / AP Photo

You don't hear about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, too often.

Only about one in 100,000 people contract ALS. That ratio included actor and playwright Sam Shepard, who died from the disease at age 73 late last month. 

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Nearly half a million plant specimens that are native to Louisiana will soon take up residence at Fort Worth’s Botanical Research Institute of Texas – also known as BRIT.

Shutterstock

Time spent outside in the heat is often uncomfortable, but as Texas marks more triple-digit days, it can be dangerous, leading to heatstroke and heat exhaustion if you're not careful.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

A new gene-editing technique developed in North Texas shows promise in stunting Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe genetic disorder that affects about one in every 5,000 boys.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Cancer patients face special challenges in addition to the disease — like complications from chemotherapy and weakened immune systems.

Hospitals are recognizing that cancer patients need special emergency care, too.

Surgeons have several options when it comes to rebuilding breasts after surgery related to breast cancer. But for replacing nipples, women have fewer choices.

A startup biotechnology company in San Antonio is working to develop a better way to rebuild nipples after cancer surgery. Two young scientists saw a niche and decided to try and fill it.

Shutterstock

Spuds, chips or fries, we consume a lot of potatoes in a lot of ways. Some are healthy and some not. It all depends on how you prepare them. But, there are plenty of health benefits in the vegetable itself.

Shutterstock

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel ushered in a new era for cancer treatment last week. The panel unanimously recommended the approval of the first treatment to fight acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a common blood cancer in children – with a patient’s own cells.

Shutterstock

Those of you wanting to shed some weight this summer might do well to be more mindful of the clock. A recent study suggests when you eat may be as important as what you eat.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have built a small, inexpensive sensor they say can tip you off if you're at risk for Type 2 diabetes — the world's leading cause of amputations, blindness and kidney failure.

NPR

This week, Republicans in Congress will try to rally votes behind a bill that proposes major changes to the way Americans get health care and how much they pay. 

Use this Q&A to explore how the bills would affect you.

Shutterstock

New research by the Environmental Defense Fund using federal data found detectable levels of lead in 20 percent of baby food samples.

While the Food and Drug Administration has determined safe levels of lead that can be ingested, a North Texas toxicologist explains that repeated exposure to small amounts of lead is the greater concern when it comes to kids' health and development.

Shutterstock

Birds and babies may seem like very different creatures, but a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center has uncovered parallels in how both species master language.

Dr. Todd Roberts, who's spearheading the research, explains how a network of neurons in the brains of zebra finches could expand our understanding of how people learn speech.

Shutterstock

The rate of liver cancer has been increasing in the U.S. — 38 percent between 2003 and 2012.

Texas has the highest incidence in the country of the most common form of liver cancer. The reason likely stems from a cluster of risk factors for the disease.

Shutterstock

A vote on the Senate's health care bill has been delayed until after the July 4 recess. If the bill is passed, it will roll back programs like Medicaid and Medicare, and the Congressional Budget Office predicts 22 million more people will be uninsured by 2026.

Shutterstock

A new study has found longer survival rates for women with Stage 4 breast cancer, the most severe form. 

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

At the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, researchers are doing something unusual: They’re making people fall down. It’s all happening at the Human Movement Performance Lab, where they’re mapping how people with Parkinson’s disease and other mobility issues react to jolts and falls.

Shutterstock

Many of you travelers will reach your summer vacation spot by plane, and for some, that will mean jet lag. And the more time zones you cross, the worse your symptoms can be.

However, there are possible ways to avoid the downsides of a long flight.

Pages