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. 

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports a 49 percent increase between 2013 and last year in what’s known as vaginal rejuvenation surgery. It’s the subject of growing controversy.

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A large number of patients at Dallas County’s Parkland Hospital System have Type 2 Diabetes. Unlike Type 1, Type 2 Diabetes doesn’t require insulin injections – at least not right away – but it’s just as serious if it’s not managed properly.

UT-Southwestern Medical Center

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. – it kills almost 130,000 Americans each year. Getting the right treatment as quickly as possible is key. 

Figure 1

While you’re on Instagram looking at lolcats, artisan desserts and celebrity selfies, some doctors are on a different photo sharing app, called Figure 1, looking at gangrene, gallstones and rashes.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

If you like chili peppers, tomatoes or blueberries, you like bumblebees. The larger, hairier cousin of the honey bee is a social insect, and  especially good at pollinating the tasty crops mentioned above. What’s concerning is that bumblebees are on the decline, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has designated the American bumblebee as a “species of greatest conservation need.”

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The initial symptoms suggest just about anything, but they may be signs of an inflammatory disease many don’t know about. Sarcoidosis can affect multiple organs – most often lungs and lymph glands.

Photos: Jeff Whittington/KERA Staff

WASHINGTON - Twenty two veterans take their own lives each day. That’s according to a study conducted by the Office of Veterans Affairs. Over the weekend, a small group of veterans hoped to shine a spotlight on the problem with a walk around the National Mall in Washington called Walk for the Voiceless.

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Texas cities again ranked among the most polluted in the nation in the American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2015” report released today. The report focused on ozone, also known as smog, and particle pollution. High ozone levels exacerbate conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease.

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Researchers are finding work stress can contribute to physical and mental health problems.

Mark Birnbaum / KERA News Special Contributor

KERA’s recent Breakthroughs series “Growing Up After Cancer” profiled a North Texas boy named Jude Cobler. He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when he was 5 years old. Earlier this month, Jude's leukemia relapsed.

Parkland Health & Hospital System

Ten thousand babies are delivered each year in Parkland Memorial Hospital. This year, there was even a set of quintuplets. When the $1.3 billion dollar hospital opens in August, all those newborns and their mothers will be in a large building called the WISH Tower.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Before any healthy baby can be born, you’ve got to take care of mom. Tens of thousands of moms in Dallas rely on Parkland Hospital each year for checkups and prenatal care. In the new $1 billion Parkland, which opens in August, women are getting their own building that's outfitted with high-tech check-in kiosks and more privacy.

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Tylenol and other products containing acetaminophen are prescribed often for pain relief. But there’s been ongoing debate about whether it does anything for lower back pain. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal says no.

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On your way into work this morning, there’s a good chance you were still sleepy. The good news is, you can fix that if you can find as little as 15 minutes. Tuesday on Think, sleep expert Dr. James Maas talked to Krys Boyd about the benefits of the power nap.

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The National Kidney Foundation says they send a half-million people to emergency rooms each year because of kidney stones - hard objects made from chemicals in the urine. They’re very small, but at a couple of centimeters or more, kidney stones can be quite painful. Dr. R. Carrington Mason, a urologist with Methodist Health System, explains what causes the pain.

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A Dallas Zookeeper went on a fossil hunt with his little boy at a construction site in Mansfield. And the 4-year-old picked up what turned out to be a dinosaur bone – likely 100 million years old. On Wednesday, scientists found another key bone.

Mark Birnbaum / KERA News Special Contributor

Surviving childhood cancer comes with costs. Survivors are at a higher risk for developing secondary cancers later in life. The treatments they receive as kids can affect their growth, their ability to have children, and even their learning. Then there’s the lingering fear of remission.

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If you don’t manage it carefully, diabetes can lead to several complications, including damage to the eyes. The most common form is also is one of the leading causes of blindness among adults in the U-S.

In our consumer health series, Vital Signs, Dr. Noel Santini, chief of Adult Medicine for Parkland Hospital’s Community Medicine Division, explains why regular screenings are key to dealing with diabetic retinopathy.

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Last week, Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk acknowledged that she sought treatment for prescription drugs during her campaign. On Tuesday's Think, KERA's Krys Boyd talked with a panel of addiction experts about the unique challenges in treating this type of dependence.

Mark Birnbaum / KERA News Special Contributor

Jude Cobler’s bone marrow transplant changed him physically, by altering his blood type. And emotionally, too, by creating an unbreakable bond with his brother, who helped save his life. For Jude and other cancer patients, a bone marrow transplant is really just the beginning.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

After nearly five years of construction, the new Parkland Hospital had its official dedication Monday.

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A new study suggests a vegetarian diet, or one based on vegetables and fish, could lower your chances of getting colon cancer. The study focused on 77,000 Seventh-Day Adventists. Dr. Ronney Stadler, a colorectal surgeon with Baylor Medical Center in Irving, explains for KERA's consumer health series, Vital Signs. 

Maybe you've seen them in the gym, or even squeezed into them yourself: super-tight T-shirts, leggings, knee and calf sleeves, even tube tops. More and more athletes are wearing compression garments, hoping they will improve their performance and recovery.

But do they work? This is a question Abigail Stickford, a postdoctoral researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, wanted to answer.

Cobler family

Cancer can take a toll on a kid’s physical health, but there are psychological effects, too. Many survivors experience anxiety, while some suffer from post-traumatic stress.

Christina Ulsh / KERA News

For all the breakthroughs in cancer care over the last few decades, sometimes the best treatment just doesn’t work. That’s what happened to 6-year-old Jude Cobler of Plano. 

Blue Bell

Blue Bell is expanding the recall of some ice cream products because of possible exposure to the listeria bacteria.

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Beginning late 2015, North Texas cancer patients won’t have to leave town to get proton beam therapy. It’s an advanced form of radiation treatment using energized particles or protons to destroy cancerous cells.

Dr. Andrew Lee is medical director of The Texas Center for Proton Therapy. He launched a similar operation at M-D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Lee talked about proton therapy for our consumer health series Vital Signs.

Cobler family

For all the breakthroughs in cancer care over the last few decades, sometimes the best treatment just doesn’t work. That’s what happened to 6-year-old Jude Cobler of Plano. 

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Google "coconut oil" and you’ll see this popular product touted for a range of uses: from cooking to its use as a health food to treat a variety of illnesses. But does coconut oil live up to those claims? 

Sharon Cox, a dietitian with Parkland Hospital System, talks about this in our consumer health series, Vital Signs.

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A study released in the journal Circulation found young and middle-aged women can have a harder time in various ways recovering from a heart attack than men. The study also found the poorer recovery was due in part to greater stress among women.

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