health | KERA News

health

This is shaping up to be the worst year for whooping  cough in Texas since the 1960s. State officials report nearly 1,700 cases of pertussis so far in 2013. About half of those are in North Texas.

Nicole Studer

For most runners, finishing a marathon is the pinnacle. But for ultramarathoners, 26 miles is little more than a training run. So what drives someone to run 100 miles in one stretch? For 20 hours? We followed a Dallas ultramarathoner as she prepared to take on one of America’s most grueling races.

It seems like the Midwest is a hotbed for medical mysteries these days.

Earlier this week, scientists traced a brand-new virus to ticks in Missouri. Now disease detectives are hot on the trail of another puzzling pathogen in the heartland.

A pediatrician who spent years defending childhood vaccines against the likes of actress/activist Jenny McCarthy has launched an assault on megavitamins and dietary supplements.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

If you’re nearing the age of 65, and hoping to live a long, healthy life, Minnesota, Idaho, and Washington are looking a lot better than Texas.

Do Diet Drinks Mess Up Metabolisms?

Jul 10, 2013

It may seem counterintuitive, but there's a body of evidence to suggest that the millions of Americans with a diet soda habit may not be doing their waistlines — or their blood sugar — any favors.

As the consumption of diet drinks made with artificial sweeteners continues to rise, researchers are beginning to make some uncomfortable associations with weight gain and other diseases.

Older men are at high risk of suicide, and they're far more likely to kill themselves if they have access to firearms.

Doctors should ask relatives of older people with depression or cognitive problems if there are guns in the home, much as they might ask about whether it's time to take away the car keys, an academic paper says.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

You already search online for deals on things like plane tickets and hotels -- so why not an MRI or sonagram? That’s the premise of DealWell.com, a site that’s created a marketplace for health and wellness services.

Tjerrie Smit / shutterstock.com

A dental exam will certainly spot cavities, gum disease and other signs of poor oral health, but research is showing the mouth can also show early signs of health problems elsewhere in the body. Dr. Charles Wakefield is a professor and director of the advanced education in general dentistry residency program at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. He shares some examples in this edition of Vital Signs.

How Sunscreen Can Burn You

Jul 5, 2013

That sunscreen you dutifully spray throughout the day could actually get you burned.

We're not talking sunburn. We're talking people bursting into flames because they're wearing sunscreen.

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration recorded five incidents in which people were burned after their sunscreen caught on fire. One person was hurt after lighting a cigarette. Another stood near a citronella candle.

Just as we have internal clocks that help regulate the systems in our bodies, fruit and vegetable plants have circadian rhythms, too.

And a new study published in Current Biology finds there may be a way to boost some of the beneficial compounds in plants by simulating the light-dark cycle after crops are harvested.

So, how does it work?

Maybe we shouldn't be mimicking our caveman ancestors. The Scientific American published a piece raising questions about the evidence behind the "Paleo" diet. The diet, which is popular among the CrossFit crowd, consists of mostly meat, nuts, fruits and vegetables -- no dairy or processed grains.

Dallas Morning News

If you rode a wagon down what is now Oak Lawn in April of 1913, you would have passed four large canvas tents. There, beneath the shade of the oak trees, what looked like a campsite was actually the first medical clinic for babies in North Texas, and the precursor to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. 

Shutterstock

Teachers telling students to listen up at Winfree Academy Charter Schools might have to shout tomorrow. Two dozen students at the school are participating in an experiment to illustrate the dangers of hearing loss in teens due to loud sound exposure without hearing protection. For one full day, these high school students will re-create what it is like to experience hearing loss. 

Scientists have discovered what may be an important new risk factor for heart disease. And here's the surprising twist: The troublesome substance seems to be a waste product left behind by bacteria in our guts as they help us digest lecithin — a substance plentiful in red meat, eggs, liver and certain other foods.

Doctors say the research further illustrates the complicated relationship we have with the microbes living inside us, and could lead to new ways to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

bbcworldservice / cc flickr

For years, sheriffs and disability rights groups have complained about the lack of treatment for the growing number of mentally ill inmates in Texas. Now, state legislators are considering a bill that would allow private companies to offer mental health services to inmates.

The Da Vinci surgical robot is now a part of the Texas Health Denton team -- helping remove patients' gallbladders through a small incision right below the navel. There are thousands of da Vinci systems world-wide, and they aren't cheap. The machines cost over one million each, with an additional cost for annual maintenance. Still, the machines give surgeons an enhanced range of motion and ultimately leave the patient with minimal scarring.

Breast Cancer In Young Women Rising

Feb 27, 2013
Shutterstock

Young women are much less likely than older women to be diagnosed with breast cancer -- but research showing a tripling of advanced breast cancer cases in women under forty is for some doctors, a disturbing trend. 

Cracking The Code To Create Special Blood-Forming Cells

Feb 24, 2013
Shutterstock

In the near future, scientists may be able to reproduce blood-forming stem cells in a laboratory. That could save the lives of thousands of people suffering from diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers. The Dallas doctor who's brought us closer to this reality published the breakthrough in stem cell research in the national science journal Nature.

Hospitals across the country are turning to the neighborhood pharmacy to keep patients well after they return home from the hospital. The federal government began penalizing hospitals with high readmission rates in October, and although Texas hospitals are doing slightly better than the nation overall at preventing readmissions, some are looking to partner with pharmacies such as Walgreens to provide support for patients and follow-up care after hospital stays. Scott & White Healthcare, based in central Texas, recently announced its partnership with Walgreens.

Ash Wednesday, To-Go

Feb 13, 2013
JoAnne Pounds / Oak Lawn United Methodist Church

Like some ashes with your train ticket? How about with your hot chocolate? “Ashes To Go” is one way to participate in Ash Wednesday without even entering a church. Members of Oak Lawn United Methodist in Dallas decided to leave the confines of the church for the start of Lent -- the forty day period before Easter -- and give folks the telltale Ash Wednesday forehead treatment in some untraditional locations. 

4 Good Ways To Get Rid Of Unused Medication

Jan 7, 2013
Thirteen Of Clubs / Flickr.com

Disposing of unused prescription drugs the wrong way can have serious consequences. Jeena Connor, Director of Pharmacy Services at Methodist Charlton Medical Center, explains in this segment of Vital Signs.

North Texas has been more worried about West Nile virus lately -- with at least 35 deaths this year and hundreds of people sickened. But the granddaddy of mosquito-borne illnesses is still malaria, and NPR's Adam Cole explores how it spreads and how doctors have responded in this fun animated video. (Gin and tonic, anyone?)

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has declared a state of emergency because of escalating West Nile virus cases and deaths.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Some 40,000 people packed Fair Park’s two huge halls Thursday for free school supplies, health checks, hair cuts and more. 

Neil R (cc) flickr

The state of Texas and the Justice Department are beginning their arguments in a trial over Texas' new voter ID law, setting the stage for a legal battle over the federal Voting Rights Act.

Lawyers for Texas are arguing a 2011 law passed by its GOP-dominated Legislature that requires voters to show photo identification does not violate the Act, passed in 1965 to protect minorities' right to vote. The Justice Department - along with other intervening groups supporting the Justice Department's position - says the law disproportionately discriminates against minority voters.

Texans are wading through a flood of opinions on Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the healthcare law – and how that law may affect them. 

Frisco Citizens concerned about dangerous levels of lead found in the air, say they’re thrilled and relieved that the Exide lead battery plant in their community has decided to close.

Bill Zeeble

The owner of a Texas medical service provider is among seven people indicted in a health care fraud scheme that allegedly bilked Medicare and Medicaid of nearly $375 million.

Pages