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. 

Wheeler Cowperthwaite / flickr

Over the past 8 years, there’s been an almost 40 percent increase in people living with HIV in Dallas County. That’s according to a new study by the Texas Department of State Health Services. 

UT Southwestern Medical Center

With Type-2 diabetes, the body’s ability to produce needed insulin declines. Doctors often recommend lifestyle changes and the drug metformin after an early diagnosis. But an eight year study by U.T. Southwestern Medical Center has found early intensive treatment of insulin and a drug regimen may be a better strategy. In a KERA Health Checkup, the author of the study, Dr. Ildiko Lingvay, talks about the results.

Andre.abu / flickr

A second West Nile virus death is reported in Dallas County.  

Andre.abu / flickr

A Dallas man who lived near downtown is this year’s first West Nile virus fatality in Texas, and most likely in the country.  

UT Southwestern

More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s, a mind-robbing disease without a cure. And that number is expected to triple as baby boomers age.

DISD: Immunize Now

Jul 16, 2012

Immunizations are required for all Texas public school students. District leaders say now’s the time to get the required shots, or your child could be turned away from class.

jimtimimages / flickr

Governor Rick Perry is turning down a state health insurance exchange and expansion of Medicaid. Those are two key provisions in the federal health care overhaul.

US EPA

Air pollution watches are common this time of year. They’ve been around since 2000, but rarely does anyone say what they mean. In a KERA Health Checkup, Robert Kent, Director of Environmental Programs for the North Texas Commission, explains the alerts are a warning about ozone in the North Texas air.

A new report puts Texas among the worst in the U.S. for state health care services and delivery. State officials say officials say they’re working on improvements.

BionicTeacher / Flickr.com

The heat we’ve been having at or around 100 degrees is uncomfortable, but also dangerous if you’re not careful. In this KERA Health Checkup, a talk about heat-related illnesses with Dr. Ketan Trivedi. He heads the emergency department at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. 

jimtimimages / flickr

The Supreme Court’s decision on the healthcare law threw many lawmakers in Washington for a loop. Now the Texas congressional delegation is examining how to proceed.

Janine Khammash / KERA

The day after the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the federal healthcare law, people are trying to figure out how it will affect them.

rp4prez2008 / (cc) flickr

Dallas, Tarrant and Denton counties recently confirmed their first human cases of West Nile Virus. Dr. Cedric Spak says most people bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile will never know it. But in this KERA Health Checkup, the infectious disease specialist said West Nile is a potentially serious disease of two variations.

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com" target="_blank">Shutterstock</a>

Under the federal health care law, Texas will receive the most health insurance rebates of any state. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies that spend less than 80 percent of premiums on actual health care to rebate customers.

Courtney Collins / KERA

Health Department officials worry a case of West Nile virus this early in the season could mean more to come. One survivor hopes citizens will take this threat seriously.

Parkland Hospital says it will not ask for a tax increase next year. That’s in spite of millions of dollars the hospital must spend after failing a series of critical federal inspections.

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">shutterstock.com</a>

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this week.  It might not be that affordable for some.

David Bruce Jr. / (cc) flickr

Study results being released today in 'Circulation' magazine confirm what KERA reported two years ago- that repeated chest compressions have dramatically improved the survival rate for cardiac arrest patients.

medicinenet.com

For those suffering from osteoarthritis - a disease resulting from wear and tear on joints - a joint replacement is sometimes needed after all other attempts at pain relief have failed. But a successful replacement depends in part on a proper fit of the implant to the bone. Dr. Bruce Bollinger is an orthopedic surgeon in Fort Worth, and one of two doctors in Texas trained in a recently FDA approved method of custom-fitting knee implants to patients. 

medicinenet.com

It’s a painful, often limiting disease resulting from wear and tear on joints. Osteoarthritis in some form will affect one in two Americans in their lifetime. About 27-million adults have it now. In a KERA Health Checkup, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bruce Bollinger talks about treatments and describes osteoarthritis.

Dr. Barry Fields / CDC

A hotel near DFW Airport is shut down after a case of Legionnaire’s Disease. It’s a bacteria-caused illness with symptoms similar to pneumonia.

jimtimimages / flickr

The Supreme Court will rule this month on the federal health care law – as early as this week. BJ Austin talked with health care policy expert Anne Dunkelberg and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Queen Roly / Flickr

It’s the second most common cause of missed work in this country after back pain. About 30 million or more people in America suffer from migraine – often in the form of debilitating headaches. But in a KERA Health Checkup, Deborah Friedman of UT Southwestern Medical Center said the types of migraine can vary.

Shutterstock

It contributes greatly to a successful pregnancy, but not all moms-to-be receive prenatal care. Those who do sometimes overlook common warning signs during pregnancy. Dr. Wayne Farley is Medical Director of the Advanced Maternal and Newborn Institute at Medical City in Dallas. In a Health Checkup, Dr. Farley described some of those.

colin_n / Flickr

Your medicine chest may contain everything from actual medicine to personal grooming items. But in this KERA Health Checkup, some ideas for what should be in the medicine chest from Dr. Shaun Murphy, a general practitioner and chairman of Dallas Medical Specialists. He told Sam Baker the most important item is a list of your prescription medications.

bobbyyb78 / Flickr

Faced with a medical problem, many people opt for the emergency room or they contact their primary physician. But in today’s Health Checkup, we look at when to use a third option: urgent care centers. Sam Baker talked with Dr. Sarah Holder, medical director of the Quick Care Clinic at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas. 

Most surgeries involve a doctor’s hand working inside the body. But each year more doctors and patients are opting for a robotics-assisted approach. There’s more precision and greater visibility for doctors with 3-D imaging, plus less scarring and faster recovery for patients.  But the approach has its critics.

Scientists say there’s enough wasted energy in Texas to power our lights for centuries. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports on SMU researchers and a business who are turning waste heat from oil and gas wells into electricity.

A plant that grows quickly and cheaply in Texas may become an alternative to building materials that are non-biodegradable, and may someday change the way businesses like Brown's Boat Repair in Mesquite operate. 

Today we continue in the spirit of Earth Day with the first in a series of stories, “Going Green: The Practical Payoffs." We’re taking you to the UT Arlington campus where a biomedical engineering student has come up with a way to get a special kind of bacteria to eat food waste. The process creates energy in an environmentally-friendly, money-saving way. KERA’s BJ Austin says the young inventor hopes to take his microbial fuel cell from the lab to the workplace.

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