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. 

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Scientists are thinking up new ways to prevent Zika and west Nile Virus in Texas. Still, some say the older ideas might be better.

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Millions of people use statins to lower cholesterol, but some have complained about muscle pain after taking the drug. A recent study from the Cleveland Clinic found links between the pain and the medication. 

In North Texas, we’re all about convenience. The drive-through Starbucks, burger joint, even drive-through bank. Still, there aren’t any drive-through health clinics. But there are clinics on wheels — they’re run by Parkland Health & Hospital System. The clinics have been crisscrossing Dallas for more than a decade, serving the people in the community who need it most.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

If you grow up in a stable home, with supportive parents, it can be hard to see all the paths that lead to homelessness. But they’re there — like trap doors in a dark house.

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Speak too long or too loud and you can end up hoarse or worse if you don’t learn to use your larynx correctly. It's the sound source for the human voice, and it regulates breathing and swallowing. 

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Women are graduating from medical school in greater numbers than ever before. In 1970, women made up under 10 percent of graduates. Today, it’s nearly 50 percent. When it comes to who is getting published in top medical journals, though, women are behind. Doctors say the gender gap in medical research isn’t just an academic concern — it has implications for our health.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

Cataracts, the clouding of eye lenses, are the leading cause of curable blindness worldwide. They’re incredibly treatable, but for people who have lost their ability to see clearly, not being able to get the surgery can mean a life with no livelihood.

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About 50,000 people are diagnosed with some form of head and neck cancer each year, most often older men. But research indicates an increase among younger people - partly because of an rise in cases of the HPV virus.

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Dr. Helena Ndume is sometimes called a miracle doctor. That’s because she’s returned the gift of sight to more than 30,000 people in her home country of Namibia, in southwestern Africa, by treating cataracts. She’s in Fort Worth this week, where she’ll train local doctors to do surgeries overseas.

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If a hospital is doing well financially, what does that say about its patients? Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center evaluated the relationship between a patient’s health and a hospital’s profit.

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Millions of people use various types of fitness trackers (wrist bands, clip-ons and smart watches) to help keep in shape. However, some online product reviews question their reliability.

Imagine this. You're a 15-year-old student in a remote village with maybe a couple of hundred residents, miles from the nearest town. There's no TV. Cellphone service is spotty. The dirt road to your village floods regularly. Your link to the outside world is the family wind-up radio.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Several buildings in downtown Dallas have been turned into makeshift conference centers, classrooms and deal sites for entrepreneurs and investors. It’s part of Dallas Startup Week. We caught up with one of key players in the local startup scene to find out what’s new.

In the U.S., we guzzle down data – on our phones and computers – and generally don’t think much about where all that content is stored. It’s stored in places called data centers, and they’re a fundamental part of the infrastructure of the 21st century. The problem: Many of them are stuck in the past. A few companies building data centers in Texas though are trying to boost energy efficiency.

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Sepsis is the body's overwhelming response to infection. It's potentially life-threatening, and recently killed actress Patty Duke. More than 200-thousand cases of sepsis are reported each year, but you can survive it if it’s caught early. 

If you want to see a doctor and don’t have health insurance, you might want to head to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on Saturday -- it's hosting a health clinic for adults and kids. 

Illustration/Molly Evans / KERA News

You’ve probably heard of the credentials M.D. and Ph.D. -- maybe RN or NP. How about PSc.D. or D.PSc.? Those letters signify someone practices pastoral medicine -- some call themselves doctors of pastoral medicine.

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In our series, "Vital Signs,"  living with artificial devices like stents, valves and grafts intended to improve blood flow to the heart. Doctors in the U.S. insert the devices in about a million procedures each year. But after that, the work falls to the patient.

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Sold over-the-counter, activated charcoal can be beneficial when used by a medical professional. But some people use it on their own for such things as high cholesterol, hangovers or stomach pain at serious risk to their health.

Editor's note: This post was originally published on March 28 and has been updated to reflect the announcement from the World Health Organization terminating the "Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa." WHO notes that "all three countries have now completed the 42 day observation period and additional 90 day enhanced surveillance period since their last case that was linked to the original chain of transmission twice tested negativ

How Autism Diagnostics Overlook Girls

Mar 24, 2016

One in 68 kids in the U.S. is affected by autism, with boys receiving four times as many diagnoses as girls. New research suggests that that disparity may be the result of girls on the spectrum getting overlooked and misdiagnosed.  

Texas Christian University

Last week, the NFL admitted for the first time that football is linked to brain damage. It’s something researchers have documented for years. Now, a new study conducted at Texas Christian University shows a component of fish oil could help reduce the brain-damaging effects of head trauma.

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Lactose Intolerance is a common problem - about 65 percent of the human population has it. And while it can’t be cured, it’s rarely dangerous and you can manage lactose intolerance.

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Last year, Texas legalized limited medical use of cannabidiol oil, which is derived from marijuana. Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth is undergoing trials to see if that compound can be used to treat children with a severe form of epilepsy.

Elyse Barnard

Meet Hallie: for much of her young life, the 7-year-old Denton 2nd grader, has been looking for something you can’t buy in a store: She’s searching for someone who could save her life. There’s a chance you could help.

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Head lice is a common problem among kids.  The CDC estimates the parasitic insects infest between six and 12-million children, ages three to 11, each year.  But Texas and at least 24 other states have reported cases of so-called super lice, which are harder to eliminate.

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At least two North Texans ended up in the hospital after using a synthetic opioid called U-47700 at a recent party. One is in ICU. Other cases involving the drug across the country led to deaths. 

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Photographing yourself with a smartphone seems harmless. But a man in Washington state died February 28 after accidentally shooting himself in the face while posing with a gun. And at least 49 others here and abroad have died from selfie-related accidents.

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State health officials want to close one of the oldest psychiatric hospitals in Texas. Timberlawn Mental Health System in East Dallas has had a series of violations, including a suicide and fights between patients, dating back to 2009.

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