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. 

STEPHANIE KUO/KERA

An innovative program from Baylor Health Care System and the City of Dallas has been taking on diabetes with common sense. The fix is as simple as fresh fruits and vegetables.

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A new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center has found work productivity can be a key factor in measuring a patient’s recovery. The study’s lead author explains.

Courtesy of Tiffany Savage

Esther Savage loves a lot of things. She loves practicing her cartwheels. She loves light saber duels with her mom – and tickle fights. Her giddy laughter is infectious. And like many 5-year-olds, she loves singing along to "Frozen."

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A firestorm erupted after the maker of EpiPen announced steep price hikes for the life-saving injector device. It helps people who have potentially fatal allergic reactions.

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A new UT Southwestern Medical Center study of electronic medical records from six Dallas-Fort Worth area hospitals found 20 percent of patients had one or more unstable vital signs when they were released within 24 hours of discharge. Doing so can lead to serious consequences. 

UT Southwestern Medical Center

A study from UT Southwestern Medical Center shows that the brain in obese women acts like it's hungry, even when it's not. Dr. Nancy Puzziferri, who led the study that appears in the journal Obesity, talks about the findings.

Why We All Need Awe

Aug 23, 2016
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If you’ve ever been on a hike or stared up at the night sky in amazement then you know what it feels like to be awestruck. On Think, Krys Boyd talked with journalist Carlin Flora about why we need to seek out that kind of wonder in our everyday lives.  

How Screen Addiction Is Hurting Children

Aug 17, 2016
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The average child spends more than six hours a day on a smart phone, tablet or computer. So what is all that screen time doing to their brains?

Christopher Connelly/KERA News

One of the most difficult challenges for police after traumatic events, like the July 7 shootings, is getting officers the counseling and mental health services they need. Many have to be convinced to seek out help. But that “tough-guy” attitude of police departments in the past might slowly be melting away. 

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Results from a recently published study show men twice as likely as women to die from sudden cardiac death. It’s the largest cause of natural death in the U.S., causing about 325,000 adult deaths each year.

Here's Why Texas Students Wait Weeks For Basic Mental Health Services

Aug 9, 2016
University of Houston

By the fall of her sophomore year at the University of Houston, Mariellee Aurelio had already thought of several ways to kill herself.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

There are dozens of types of mosquitoes in North Texas -- more than 50, in fact. A mosquito hunter who works with the city of Denton helps explain the differences between the bugs.

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A biopsy involves removing tissue to find out if you have a disease or the extent of it. The FDA recently approved a less-invasive “liquid” biopsy for a certain form of lung cancer. But the possibilities are far greater.  

Children’s Health

For decades, Children’s Medical Center in Dallas has partnered with academic institutions, working within their own system to come up with ways to care for sick patients. Now, the model is shifting. They’re investing in tech startups to care for healthy kids. 

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It’s estimated more than 24 million Americans, age 40 and older, have cataracts. This painless clouding of the lens of the eye can cause serious problems.  But cataracts can be easily treated, especially if you catch certain symptoms early. 

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A recently-published study shows some weight loss medications actually do help, but they’re not cures. An expert in non-surgical weight loss at UT Southwestern Medical Center says users of the drugs need to be clear about what they’re taking.

National Institutes of Health / Kuhn and Rossmann research groups, Purdue University

The news about the Zika virus has accelerated this week. A newborn in the Houston area tested positive for Zika-related microcephaly. Doctors are also trying to figure out how an elderly Utah man was infected without transmission through sex or mosquito bites. These developments come as a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center finds that Zika can infect brain cells and hide itself from the immune system.

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Sales of meat substitutes are soaring because of concerns about personal health and the environment. But not all products are as healthy as advertised. Reading the nutrition label is important. 

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New research shows that children who often go hungry are twice as likely to have impulsive, violent behavior while growing up -- and later in life. Alex Piquero of the University of Texas at Dallas helped author the study, which is among the first to link childhood hunger with violence. 

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Fever, sneezing, a rash are obvious signals something may be physically wrong. But the body also sends “silent” signs you may ignore - signs of something far more serious. Here are six of them, according to Dr. Sentayehu Kassa, lead staff physician at Parkland Hospital's Vickery Health Center. 

SMU.edu/Illustration by Karen Carr

CT scans aren’t just for people -- they can also be used on dinosaurs.

An Alzheimer's Researcher On How To Curb The Disease

Jun 28, 2016
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Anyone who makes it into old age will have a brain that shows some signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Some people suffer symptoms, though, while others don’t. Today on Think, Lauren Silverman spoke with David Bennett, director of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, about new research into how we can keep our minds sharp and avoid dementia.

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Sweets laced with marijuana. Police are seeing more cases of pot-laced cookies and candies made and sold in states where recreational use of marijuana is allowed, and then imported into states like Texas where marijuana remains illegal. Moreover, they look like the kind of regular treats kids would consume.

In Cardiology, It's Still A Man's World

Jun 24, 2016
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Half of all medical students in the U.S. are women. But there’s one specialty they rarely go into: cardiology. Yesterday on Think, told Lauren Silverman talked with a panel of women heart doctors about why there are so few female cardiologist, how that affects patient care and what can be done to even out the numbers.

STEPHANIE KUO

In 2004, Steve Papania was patrolling Kirkuk, Iraq, as a rifleman in the U.S. Army. He’d enlisted immediately after 9/11.

Anti-Overdose Drug Becoming Easily Available In Texas

Jun 21, 2016
The Texas Tribune

Just before his 25th birthday, Miles McEntee died of a heroin overdose last June in the Austin apartment he shared with his younger sister. Kelly McEntee wonders if her son might still be alive if he or his sister, Taylor, had a dose of naloxone in the medicine cabinet.

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A study published in 2015 found more than half of American adults had diabetes or pre-diabetes in 2012. Managing the disease usually involves medication, especially insulin. But exercise can also be effective - even preventive at times. 

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Operating on the wrong patient or on the wrong limb, or giving the wrong medication – those are examples of medical errors. And those errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.  

www.webmd.com

The Food and Drug Administration has approved changes to the nutrition facts label on packaged and processed food, beginning with larger, bolder type to make it easier to read. What  you will and won’t find on the label has also changed.

Somewhere in the forests of Northeast Texas there is a tree, or maybe group of trees, where an invasive species is breeding.  It’s a beetle called the emerald ash borer (EAB), and it’s wiped out forests of ash trees since it arrived in the U.S. from Asia a few decades ago. If unchecked, it has the potential to decimate trees in Texas, but there’s a plan to fight the ash borer.

And, it sounds almost like something from a horror movie. 


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