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. 

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.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Fried chicken is king in Texas. But it doesn't just taste great — making the perfect fried chicken is in intricate science. And to get at that science, we got the help of three key players from the North Texas chicken scene, who broke down the physics of the fry.

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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.

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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.

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.

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