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. 

How Doctors Are Using Data To Predict Child Abuse

Nov 21, 2016
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Doctors at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth are experimenting with data technology that could help predict neighborhoods where kids are most likely to be abused.

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Many of us assume the over-the counter medicines we buy will work for anyone, but you have to read the label to know if they’re really safe for you. A toxicologist explains what you'll see.

Texas Blows Bid For Funds To Combat Opioids, Tries To Keep Records Secret

Nov 20, 2016
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Faced with a rising death toll from opioid abuse, Texas public health officials in May decided to apply for a $1 million federal grant to purchase Naloxone, a drug that, if administered during an overdose, can save the life of a person addicted to heroin or pain pills. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

In the wake of the election, President Obama’s signature health care law is back in the spotlight. Republicans, including prominent Texans, have wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act since it was signed into law in 2010. Now, with control of the White House and Congress, Republicans have a better chance than before to dismantle it. 

The Future Of Medicare

Nov 15, 2016
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For half a century, Americans age 65 and older have relied on Medicare to pay for health care. Rising costs, though, have some wondering if the program will last.

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They're two problems that go well beyond mere “tummy trouble.” Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease sound similar – and share some similar symptoms – but one can have far greater consequences. Here's the difference between the two.

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On Monday, the full moon will be the biggest and brightest it’s been in almost 70 years.

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A recent CDC study found seven out of 10 U.S. adults, ages 65 and older, have hypertension, but nearly half do not have it under control.  A hypertension specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center says the reasons go further than just forgetting to take needed medication.

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President Obama may be leaving office, but his landmark healthcare legislation is still law of the land. Enrollment for the fourth year under the Affordable Care Act began on Tuesday. We traced Obamacare in Texas through the story of one family.

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It's often used as a major ingredient in sweets: desserts, lattes, even ale. But put all the sugar and cream aside, and pumpkin can also be a healthy food choice. 

Stephen Becker / KERA News

Four months before his granddaughter, Mariel, was born, American writer Ernest Hemingway shot himself in a cabin in Idaho. He struggled with addiction – and his suicide was one of several in the Hemingway family. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA

Most people love to hate cockroaches. Michael Bohdan, a former exterminator in Dallas, he loves them. He loves them so much he earned the nickname "Cockroach Dundee." He says the biggest roach in Dallas made him famous. 

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After a mammogram, no one wants to hear the words, “We found a spot on the image.” But it can be a problem for women with high density breast tissue – and it may or may not have to do with breast cancer. 

STEPHANIE KUO/KERA

In Texas, the Zika virus hasn’t had quite the impact as it has had in Florida or parts of Latin and South America. But the state has been vigilant in fighting the virus – with efforts like public awareness campaigns and mosquito repellent distribution to low-income mothers through Medicaid.

Annabelle Breakey

According to some research, two of every five women have sexual concerns or difficulties at some point in their lives. Yet no one has been able to create the “female viagra.” The most recent attempt, a pill called Addyi hasn’t met expectations. Still, big pharmaceuticals and startups are trying to tap into the female sexual health market.

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Some of the 24 million people in the U.S. with asthma, or inflammation that narrows the airways, suffer severe symptoms: Like persistent shortness of breath. The inability to speak in full sentences. Or a chest that feels closed. Two new studies tout possible new treatments for severe asthma. 

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Tucked in between the big box stores of West Fort Worth is a joint called Buttons — where the phones are always ringing and the funk is always playing.

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Update, Oct. 12: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is withdrawing its intent to classify Kratom, a leaf indigenous to Southeast Asia, as a Schedule 1 drug and opening a public comment period to last until Dec. 1.

Finger-Licking Good: The Science Behind Frying Chicken

Oct 12, 2016
Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Fried chicken is king in Texas. But it doesn't just taste great -- making the perfect fried chicken involves science. To get at the science of fried chicken, we got the help of three key players from the North Texas chicken scene. They helped break down the physics of the fry.

 

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Women  experience menopause around  51 years old, on average. But combing through 32 studies involving 310, 000 women, researchers in the Netherlands concluded menopause before the age of 45 may increase risk for cardiovascular disease and death. 

Want Healthier Kids? Let Them Eat Dirt

Oct 6, 2016
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Last month, the FDA banned the sale of soaps that contained certain antibacterial chemicals. Today on Think, Krys Boyd talked with microbiologist Brett Finlay about the problem with using these soaps, hand sanitizer and other cleaning products.

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Every year, thousands of patients volunteer to take part in clinical trials throughout the U.S.  They're a fundamental step in the approval process for the drugs we take — whether that’s Tylenol, Adderall or Prozac. Yet we hear very little about how the clinical trial process works: How are patients recruited? Who benefits?

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The extra lengths some go to for exercise.  Hot yoga’s grown in popularity over the years.  but exercise in a hot environment can be dangerous if you’re not careful. 

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Doctors say when it comes to trauma, bleeding out is the most preventable cause of death – and it typically happens before patients even make it to the hospital. With a rise in multiple-casualty events like the recent shootings in Washington and Houston and stabbings in Minnesota, one program aims to change the role of bystanders.

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The old saying goes “it pays to be nice.” Turns out a smile, saying good morning or paying the tab for the person behind you at Starbucks may payoff with  better health. A behavioral health counselor  talks about the health benefits of random acts of kindness. 

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Video gamers will opt to lose sleep if they're about to reach a new level or accomplish a satisfying goal. But some gamers can acquire what's called "sleep debt" if they're unable to stop playing, according to new research.

Why Doctors Are So Quick To Diagnose ADHD

Sep 19, 2016
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About 10 percent of American children are diagnosed with ADHD. There’s evidence, though, that suggests many people who have been told they have the condition may not.

Today on Think, Krys Boyd talked with Alan Schwarz, author of “ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic,” about kids who are misdiagnosed.

The KERA Interview

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There are more than three million cases of urinary tract infections in the U.S. each year. Antibiotics are the usual treatment. However, some believe cranberry juice can help.  

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The American Heart Association has recommended new limits on kids consuming sugar: Ages 2 to 18 should consume no more than 25 grams of sugar a day. No food or drink with added sugars for children younger than 2. 

Delcia Lopez / The Texas Tribune

Teladoc, the Dallas-based company that sued Texas over its telemedicine regulations, has a new ally in the Federal Trade Commission.

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