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. 

WebMD.com

March is National Nutrition March.  In a KERA Health Checkup, some advice on the subject for people 50 and older. Sam Baker talked with Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at U-T Southwestern Medical Center.

Qnexa & Weight Loss

Mar 5, 2012
Jelly Mark

The Food and Drug Administration next month is expected to say if it will approve Qnexa. A diet pill promising a ten percent weight loss could offer hope to a nation with an obesity rate near 35 percent. But Tammy Beaumont is concerned. In a KERA Health Checkup, the Weight Management Director for Methodist Health System talks to Sam Baker about the way you should manage weight loss, even if you used Qnexa. 

Parkland's Board of Directors met with federal hospital inspectors Friday to go over a plan to fix serious safety and patient-care problems identified by an independent auditor. 

Board members Cobie Russell and Jerry Bryant say it’s going to be a huge job.

Russell: We have our marching orders. There’s no question about that. It’s a heavy load, but nothing we can’t do.

Bryant: It may take more than the hands and feet than we have internally to do it. And I think the Board would agree we will provide the resources that are required.

Vitamin Supplements

Feb 27, 2012
shannonkringen

Many people take some form of vitamin supplement to begin the day. But taking vitamins doesn’t come without potential risk. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Susan Rodder, a clinical nutrition instructor at U.T. Southwestern Medical Center. To start, do you need vitamin supplements if you maintain a balanced diet?

Thursday night KERA Channel 13 and public television stations across the state will air an hour-long program on obesity, its link to hunger and what Texans are doing to combat the problem.

Parkland

Dallas and Tarrant counties lead the state in infant deaths. They’ve been the highest of all urban areas in Texas for more than a decade. KERA’s BJ Austin reports county health officials don’t know why, and are working to figure it out.

In a KERA Health Checkup, a look at how doctors access an artery to check your heart for suspected blockage. It’s called percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI. Most doctors go in through the hip or groin. But a growing number are choosing to access the wrist area instead.  Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Joshua Jacobi of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Parkland Hospital officials say they are making big changes after failing two critical safety inspections last year, and a new, independent audit found patients ignored in the emergency room, and dirty operating rooms. KERA’s BJ Austin reports.

Fitness Vs. Heart Disease

Feb 13, 2012
Kanaka Menehune (cc) flickr

Personal trainer Bobby Whisnand is partnering with the American Heart Association’s campaign to raise awareness about heart disease. He talked with Sam Baker about steps we can take to reduce the chances of developing heart disease.

Women And Heart Disease

Feb 13, 2012

The American Heart Association this month is drawing attention to heart disease – particularly in women.  Nearly eight million women in the U.S. live with the disease, but few believe it’s their greatest threat. That shouldn’t include a nurse with the title of E-R Cardiac-Stroke  Coordinator, but in a KERA Health Checkup, Karen Yates of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center told Sam Baker she learned her lesson the hard way.

First Lady Michelle Obama joined more than 200 students from Dallas’ Moseley Elementary this morning. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports the first lady came to watch teams of top chefs create nutritious school lunches.

Parkland Hospital says it will not release an independent audit that found safety problems in 15 hospital departments. KERA’s BJ Austin says that’s not what Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wants to hear.

Basics of Blood Pressure

Feb 6, 2012

Recent study results by researchers at the University of Exeter indicate measuring blood pressure in both arms instead of one can be a useful indicator of the likelihood of heart trouble. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Jane Sadler with Baylor Medical Center at Garland.

Parkland Hospital’s Board could have more to say today about an independent audit that found safety problems in 15 departments. KERA’s BJ Austin reports.

What Is Stomach Flu?

Jan 30, 2012

Sneezing, coughing and nausea this time of year might prompt you to diagnose yourself as having stomach flu. But it may not be flu at all. Sam Baker talked about this in our KERA Health Checkup with Dr. Melissa Gerdes of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Pros And Cons Of Caffeine

Jan 23, 2012
jennybach (cc) flickr

It’s estimated as many 90 percent of American consume caffeine at some point during the day: maybe coffee, tea, soda or energy drinks or various foods. Caffeine has benefits, but it can be harmful if we consume too much. Sam Baker talked about this in a KERA Health Checkup with Dr. James Bibb of  UT Southwestern Medical Center.

e_monk (cc) flickr

January is National Glaucoma Awareness month. More than two million people are believed to have the eye disease. But in a KERA Health Checkup, glaucoma specialist Dr. Linda Fain Hatton explains why some call it a “silent thief of sight.”

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Dallas is launching three pilot programs for electric cars and charging stations. KERA’s BJ Austin says the city wants to be ready when electric cars really start to sell.

Steven Lee (cc) flickr

Sleep apnea is a common disorder with potentially dangerous results if left untreated. Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. David Luterman, Medical Director of the Sleep Center at Baylor Medical Center at Dallas.

Parkland Hospital is focused this week on ways to deal with higher than normal emergency room volume. KERA’s BJ Austin says the Dallas County Hospital wants to avoid a repeat of last week’s “red alert” – when patients had to be diverted to surrounding hospitals.

New and transfer students at Texas public and private colleges and universities must get a meningitis shot or they can’t move into the dorm or attend classes. KERA’s BJ Austin says that deadline is creating big demand for the vaccine.

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Many of us need more sleep than we know. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked with Dr.  Bradley Jones, an internal medicine physician at Baylor Medical Center at Irving, about problems associated with sleep deprivation and what to do about it.

Shutterstock

North Texas is one of two dozen U.S. locations selected for the "Partnership for Patients" initiative. It's a public-private collaboration to improve patient safety and reduce hospital acquired infections. KERA's BJ Austin reports.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation is getting two million dollars to create a network of regional hospitals to tackle the problem of infection control. Foundation President Kristen Jenkins says the money comes from the Affordable Care Act and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Nihan Aydin / flickr

Tis the season for good cheer. But, for some, the holidays can bring about the opposite. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked with Dr. Randy Basham, an associate professor of social work at U.T. Arlington, about holiday depression and what can be done about it.

Dr. Basham: For the most part, around the holidays, people are concerned about a lot of things: End of the year, comparing themselves to where they were the year before. If they've had any loss in their life, it's become an anniversary season. There's commercialization.

The Food and Drug Administration requires makers of most prepared foods to list nutritional information on the package. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked to a registered dietician with U.T. Southwestern Medical Center about how to make sense of what's on the label. Lona Sandon begins with Percentages of Daily Value.

Dallas, TX –

Often during holiday periods, you'll hear more appeals for blood donations. People tend to get busier around this time, so fewer come in to give. But Dr. Jeanie Chiu of Carter Blood Care says the need for blood remains the same. She talked about this with Sam Baker in this KERA Health Checkup.

Dallas, TX – On this World AIDS Day, the Dallas County number of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases is rising. KERA's Bill Zeeble has more on the worrisome trend, and some efforts to reverse it.

There was a time, says Mark Brown - not his real name - when a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. Brown, who is gay and in his 40s, says it was not that long ago.

Dallas, TX –

Thanksgiving's past with plenty of Christmas, New Year's and holiday party food and drink still ahead. But in our KERA Health Checkup, Dr. Christopher Ray of the Center for Healthy Living and Longevity at the University of Texas at Arlington told Sam Baker you can avoid the potential weight gain by keeping track of the calories you intake and balancing them with exercise - or just plain simple movement.

Dallas, TX –

In a recent report, the American Pediatrics Association and other medical groups advised cholesterol screening for all children nine to 11 years old. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Jeff Schussler, a cardiologist with Baylor University Medical Center. He says some nine to 11 year old children already are being screened.

Dallas, TX – A new report about children's health in Dallas County shows nearly one third live in poverty and child abuse and neglect cases increased 39% over the past decade. KERA's BJ Austin says authors of the report hope the "numbers" will be a call to action.

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