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. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Treating complex hand wounds often involves wrapping gauze and bandages around the injury to the point of making any movement impossible. The “boxing glove” look is problematic because the joints in the fingers can easily become stiff — making it harder to recover mobility later on. Researchers at UT Arlington are developing a specialized glove that can deliver medicine to an injured hand to help speed up healing time and make the process less painful.

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According to the American Diabetes Association, studies show people with diabetes have a greater risk of depression than those without.  

Dr. Rhonda Goen, a psychiatrist with Parkland Hospital System, explains.

About 1 million Texans have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act since enrollment efforts began in 2013. That might sound like a lot, but Texas still has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country.

Nate Rice / The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

A North Texas scientist is working to revive a bird that went extinct 80 years ago.

This is no Halloween prank.

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Fans of red and green chili peppers rejoice. The taste and heat you savor also comes with some health benefits.  Sharon Cox, a dietitian with Parkland Hospital System, has some details.

Jonathan Bender

Even with the connections of a former NBA player, becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy.

Brian Cuban

As a teenager, a 20-something, and even into his 40s, Brian Cuban looked in the mirror and saw something that wasn’t really there. The younger brother of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has something called Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Dark Hour Haunted House

Every Halloween, millions of people pay to be scared. Did you know professional haunted houses use high-tech scare methods to make you scream? In 2014, we visited Plano’s year-round haunted house with a neuroscientist to find out what makes a good scare. 

Health Wildcatters

Ten young companies from across the world snagged a spot in the 2015 class of Health Wildcatters. Some entrepreneurs have developed products – one for reducing the risk of stroke, another for easy eye exams – others, health services – like fast access to specialists through telemedicine and bilingual wellness programs for employers. Each company gets $35,000 in seed money and space to work for three months.

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For months now, there’s been debate in the medical community about mammograms. When to start getting them? How often? How effective are they even?

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About 5 million people in the U.S. live with a condition causing the heart to weaken over time. Exercise can reduce the risk of heart failure, but a new study from cardiologists at U-T Southwestern Medical Center suggests adults need more exercise than the recommended federal minimum for a significant reduction.

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If you’ve ever wondered where your data is stored – maybe those family vacation photos, your medical records, podcasts – they could be here: in a highly-secure, grey building north of Dallas called Digital Realty.

Center for BrainHealth

This week, the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas is starting construction on a new institute – and it’s shaped like a brain.

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A new study of nearly 1,400 patients with an average age of 60 has identified midlife obesity as a risk factor for early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dr. Angela Bentle, a geriatrics and internal medicine specialist with Methodist Charlton Medical Center, has concerns about the results. But she says it’s still a reason enough to watch your weight.

Lauren Silverman/KERA News

Fewer African-American men applied to medical school last year compared to 1978. To find out why, we talked with medical students and doctors who are bucking that trend.

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About 120 over 80 is considered normal blood pressure. But blood pressure can run higher as you get older – around 140.  Doctors wanting to lower that systolic number finally have an ideal target thanks to a study of more than 9,300 seniors called SPRINT.

Wendi Bates

When Caitlyn Jenner shared her story of transition from male to female she put the transgender community in the spotlight. She also focused attention on a specific surgery, known as facial feminization.

Have you ever thought about what makes a face feminine? I’m not talking lipstick here, but something deeper.

According to one of the surgeons who pioneered facial feminization surgery, what makes a face feminine isn’t easy to define.

Center for Science in the Public Interest

In this edition of Vital Signs: caffeine. Rather than use the natural caffeine you get in food or drinks for stimulation, some instead mix in man-made caffeine powder for a bigger jolt.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A year after Ebola arrived in Dallas, it might seem like hospitals and clinics are back to normal – except for the leftover hand sanitizer pumps and the occasional sign warning about international travel.

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In this edition of Vital Signs, treating children with asthma. Doctors usually choose between two steroids to treat acute attacks that require a hospital stay. But a new study in the "Journal of Pediatrics" found one of the steroids – dexamethasone -- had additional benefits for hospitals, patients and their parents.

UNT Health Science Center

There’s a serious doctor shortage in Texas.

Catching up will be hard to do, but three new medical degree programs in the state are scheduled to open classes in 2018, including a joint program in Fort Worth between the UNT Health Science Center and Texas Christian University.

So what impact will the new schools have?

www.businessinsider.com

In this edition of our series, Vital Signs, a synthetic drug that’s caused chaos in Florida and has begun to show up in Texas. Flakka is a highly addictive substance sold cheaply over the Internet, and it’s posing a serious risk for the young people who use it. 

Mark Thiessen / National Geographic

Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, who discovered a new human-like species, is coming to Dallas. He’ll speak at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science Sept. 29. 

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As our devices get smarter, they also are at risk of more sophisticated cyber security attacks.

Yes, that car connected to the internet makes tracking trips and monitoring teen drivers easier, but it also means killing the motor with a few keystrokes is no longer science fiction.

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In this edition of our series on real-life health issues, Vital Signs: Children suffering from pain. The Food and Drug Administration has approved OxyContin for use with children ages 11 through 16. 

Cooper Neill / Texas Tribune

A year ago this month, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil entered Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas. On Friday, the hospital is releasing findings from an independent panel that reviewed what happened and what went wrong.

UT Southwestern

Four volunteers recently went on a zero gravity ride with the help of NASA in Houston – in the name of science.

Imagine you’re flying in a plane, high above the Gulf of Mexico — and then you start to fall. Eight thousand feet in just 30 seconds.

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Last week, Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk announced she’s taking a four-week leave of absence to seek treatment for depression. Today on Think, Krys Boyd talked to a UT-Southwestern psychiatrist about depression in the workplace.

UT-Arlington

UT Arlington professor Sahadat Hossain is standing on an enormous mound of dirt at the city of Denton landfill, smiling. Because he’s literally turning trash into treasure.

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We examine real-life health issues in our series, Vital Signs, and in this edition - saturated fats. We’ve long been told eating less of it prevents heart disease. But a study out this month in the journal BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) says it’s not that simple. Caroline Susie, a registered dietitian with Methodist Health System, explains.

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