Health

Fitness, well-being, disease, medical research and issues related to Seton and St. David's Healthcare, Austin Regional Clinic and other health care providers in Austin and Central Texas

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The State of Texas is moving forward with a rule requiring abortion providers and hospitals to bury or cremate fetal remains from miscarriages and abortions. Groups are already gearing up to possibly sue the state over this rule, but the state could have a tough time defending it.

While the HIV/AIDS epidemic no longer looks as menacing as it did in the 1980s and '90s, efforts to stop the spread of the disease have hit a brick wall. The number of people getting infected with HIV each year peaked in 1997 at about 3.5 million. Prevention efforts — including HIV education campaigns, testing programs and the distribution of billions of condoms -- have slashed that figure dramatically. But progress stalled around 2010. Since then the world has tallied about 2 million new...

James Gathany/CDC

Texas officials have announced the first in-state transmission of the Zika virus in Texas. In a statement released this afternoon, the Texas Department of State Health Services said there was a “very likely” chance a Zika case in the Rio Grande Valley originated from a mosquito in the area. The Cameron County woman, who was not named, is not pregnant and has not visited any places with active Zika transmission, the department said.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Texas Tribune: Faced with a rising death toll from opioid abuse, Texas public health officials in May decided to apply for a $1 million federal grant to purchase Naloxone, a drug that, if administered during an overdose, can save the life of a person addicted to heroin or pain pills.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The fourth open enrollment period for the federal health insurance program is in full swing. People who can’t get insurance through an employer, Medicaid or Medicare can now buy private insurance through the Affordable Care Act until Jan. 31. But there’s some uncertainty about the program’s future this time around.

Some tiny clusters of brain cells grown in a lab dish are making big news at this week's Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. Known as "minibrains," these rudimentary networks of cells are small enough to fit on the head of a pin, but already are providing researchers with insights into everything from early brain development to Down syndrome, Alzheimer's and Zika. At a Sunday press conference at the neuroscience meeting, researchers said minibrains are helping them figure out how...

Women across the country are rushing to get IUDs. Or at least, they're tweeting about rushing to get long-term birth control, according to a surge of messages on social media. They're concerned that the Trump administration might end Obamacare provisions that require insurers to cover intrauterine devices and other contraception and cut funding for abortion and reproductive health overall. So women are looking for long-term solutions like IUDs: ones that will outlast a presidency. But they...

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

In 2011, Texas started cutting millions of dollars from the state Early Childhood Intervention program (ECI). At the time, they estimated it would lead to 9 percent reduction in the number of kids that could enter the program. That includes kids with speech delays, Down syndrome, autism and other challenges.

It's one of the biggest medical mysteries of our time: How did HIV come to the U.S.? By genetically sequencing samples from people infected early on, scientists say they have figured out when and where the virus that took hold here first arrived. In the process, they have exonerated the man accused of triggering the epidemic in North America. A team of researchers at the University of Arizona sequenced HIV virus taken from Canadian flight attendant Gaetan Dugas, the man called "Patient Zero"...

Michael Stravato, via Texas Tribune

Believe it or not, Mexico's family planning policies are more progressive than the United States' in one pretty big way. According to a new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project based at UT-Austin, Mexican-born women who recently gave birth have an easier time obtaining long-acting birth control like intrauterine devices (IUDs) in Mexico than in the United States.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

As parents of newborns have been following pediatric recommendations of putting their babies to sleep on their backs to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, there has been a steep rise in babies with misshapen skulls. Now, doctors have increased prescribing orthotic headgear to correct the condition among infants.

Todd Wiseman for the Texas Tribune

Whoever wins this presidential election will have a lot of big decisions to make within their first year in office. One of those decisions is what to do about states, like Texas, that haven’t expanded Medicaid to more low income people under the Affordable Care Act.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Late last week, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit about whether decreasing Medicaid reimbursements for programs providing therapies to infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays in Texas is legal, which means c uts are likely imminent.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

A significant cut to the amount of money Texas pays therapists who treat children with disabilities was finally cleared to take effect — more than one year after state lawmakers originally ordered it — when the Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a lawsuit over the budget cut's legality. Last year, a group of concerned Texans filed a lawsuit seeking to block the $350 million cut to Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, from taking effect. That...

Dell Medical School, via YouTube

Questions were raised during a Travis County Commissioner’s Court yesterday about how UT Austin’s Dell Medical School spends taxpayer money.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For about a month now, Texas has provided mosquito repellant to low-income women and children. It’s in an effort to prevent the spread of Zika – just in case the virus infects local mosquito populations.

KUT News

State lawmakers are discussing today what to do about a plan to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for groups that provide therapy to young children with developmental issues. Earlier this summer, the Texas Supreme Court halted a $350 million cut to early childhood intervention (ECI) programs right before they were supposed to go into effect. But it’s only temporary. That’s why the Texas Senate Finance committee will discuss what to do next. With recent news , though, the state has also been...

Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

Texas' rate of uninsured people fell to 17.1 percent in 2015 as part of a steady decline in the share of uninsured residents following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to new Census estimates released Tuesday. The state's rate of uninsured fell two percentage points from 2014 to 2015, but Texas still has the highest percentage of people without health insurance in the country. Texas is also home to the largest number of uninsured people in the country with about 4.6...

For some, there's a a glam factor attached to the vegan lifestyle. And these days, there seems to be a growing chorus singing the praises of the environmental and health benefits of a plant-centric diet. Perhaps nowhere is the embrace of a vegetarian diet more on display than in Berlin, Germany, dubbed a global vegan mecca for its growing array of restaurants (think: vegan kebabs, pizza and ice cream) as well as vegan street festivals — and even a vegan butcher . One pro-vegan group estimates...

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Throughout this month, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services ( DFPS ) is hearing public comment on its proposed changes to licensing standards, which advocates say are missing an important item: better caretaker to child ratios in day cares.

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