Health

Mental Health
3:08 pm
Sat August 30, 2014

How This County Program Keeps Mental Health Patients Out of Jail & In Treatment

The MCOT program kept 80 percent of patients in mental health crises out of county jails and emergency rooms.
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Ben Johnson is combing through a list of names, addresses and mental health histories in the driver seat of a Jeep Compass. He works for Austin’s Mobile Crisis Outreach Team, MCOT, a branch of Austin Travis County Integral Care comprised of 18 licensed mental health counselors who respond to mental health crises across the county.

Johnson is deciding who to visit today. Another patient has paranoia. In addition, she's having problems at home, and is in danger of losing her housing. 

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Health
7:45 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Build A Toothbrush, Change The World. Or Not

The MD Brush has an unusual grip that automatically angles the brush head at 45 degrees.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 9:08 am

Some people dream of climbing Mount Everest or riding a bicycle across the country. Mike Davidson's dream has been to create the perfect toothbrush, and now he thinks he's done it.

The saga of this brush tells a lot about the passion and persistence to take an idea and turn it into a product.

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Ebola
7:52 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Ebola Update: Spanish Priest Dies; WHO Gives OK To Experimental Drugs

A health worker cleans his hands with chlorinated water before entering an Ebola screening tent Monday at a government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone. The World Health Organization cites 1,848 cases of the deadly disease across West Africa.
Michael Duff AP

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 1:24 pm

Ebola continues to spread in West Africa. The latest figures from the World Health Organization cite 1,848 cases of the disease across the region, and 1,013 deaths. Ebola's victims also include a missionary priest who died in Spain after being evacuated from Liberia last week.

The missionary, Miguel Pajares, 75, died at Madrid's Carlos III Hospital, where he was reportedly being treated with an experimental U.S.-made serum called ZMapp.

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420
7:44 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Marijuana Apparently Unpopular in Texas

http://www.flickr.com/photos/prensa420/11875638094

Texas has one of the lowest rates of marijuana use in the country, according to a closely watched federal report. Recently released state level data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows less than five percent of Texas adults said they had used marijuana in the last month.

Among teenagers, six percent reporting having used marijuana in the last month. That rose to almost 14 percent for the 18-25 year old demographic. Only three percent of adults over 26 in Texas said they had used pot in the last month. The survey data was collected in 2010 and 2011. 

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Food
2:35 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Cheap Eats: Cookbook Shows How To Eat Well On A Food Stamp Budget

The Savory Summer Cobbler from the Cheap and Good cookbook features seasonal vegetables under a peppery biscuit crust.
Leanne Brown

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 12:27 pm

When Leanne Brown moved to New York from Canada to earn a master's in food studies at New York University, she couldn't help noticing that Americans on a tight budget were eating a lot of processed foods heavy in carbs.

"It really bothered me," she says. "The 47 million people on food stamps — and that's a big chunk of the population — don't have the same choices everyone else does."

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Abortion and Women's Health
1:03 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Federal Judge Rules Alabama Abortion Law Is Unconstitutional

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 11:33 am

A federal judge ruled on Monday that an Alabama law targeting doctors who perform abortions is unconstitutional, because it places an undue burden on women seeking an abortion.

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Ebola Outbreak
11:31 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Why U.S. Hospitals Are Testing People For Ebola Virus

Television trucks converged on Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Monday after it announced that it was screening a patient for Ebola virus.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 11:21 am

If you show up at a hospital emergency department with a high fever and you just happen to have been traveling in Africa, don't be surprised if you get a lot of attention.

Hospitals are on the lookout for people with symptoms such as a high fever, vomiting and diarrhea who had been traveling in parts of West Africa affected by Ebola, following instructions from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Monday, New York's Mount Sinai Hospital announced that it was evaluating a patient who had recently been in West Africa.

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Health
4:28 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Breast-Feeding Is Still Difficult For Many Moms

Amber Medel weighs her 3-week-old baby, Elijah, as lactation consultant Carol Chamblin takes note. Medel had problems breast-feeding and Chamblin encouraged her to use a breast pump to get the milk flowing more easily.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 9:19 am

When Elizabeth O'Connell was expecting her first child, she knew she wanted to breast-feed. And, she says, she sort of expected it to just happen, naturally.

That's not quite how it panned out. "I was experiencing very tremendous pain," she says.

At first she figured that was normal — but soon it became too much to handle. "I was devastated," she says. "The reality is nursing is a wonderful bonding experience, but when you're in pain, you aren't really thinking about that."

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Ebola Outbreak
11:33 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Ebola Moving Faster Than Efforts To Control It, WHO Chief Says

Liberian men walk past an Ebola banner at the Monrovia City Hall in Liberia on Thursday.
Ahmed Jallanzo EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 10:25 am

The head of the World Health Organization told leaders of the African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak that the deadly virus is "moving faster than our efforts to control it."

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Health
2:07 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

#HealthyChica Hopes to Get Austin Talking About Latina Body Image

Actress Sofía Vergara attends the Yahoo News/ABCNews Pre-White House Correspondents' dinner reception pre-party at Washington Hilton on May 3, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Credit Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Yahoo News

What do Latina women see when they see themselves represented in the media?

Austin-based nonprofit Latinitas and Univision Austin took to Twitter yesterday to sound off on the media’s portrayal of Latinas.

Latinitas co-founder Laura Donnelly-Gonzalez says the image of Latin American women presented in television and film is often that of a beautiful but petulant woman with little education.

“Most of the time [a Latina] is overly sexualized, she has a heavy accent and she’s put in these very dated roles,” Donnelly-Gonzalez says – an archetype not unlike Colombian actress Sofia Vergara’s character in ABC’s “Modern Family.”

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Health
11:59 am
Tue July 29, 2014

The Nearest Detox Facility for Austin's Uninsured & Indigent is Now in Waco

flickr.com/wstryder

One challenge many homeless people face is fighting addiction. And that battle could get tougher for some, as an Austin nonprofit that helps people recover from addiction has closed its detox facility – meaning new hurdles for the homeless and uninsured who need detox services.

This month, nonprofit Austin Recovery closed its detox facility. The detox process isn't pretty – in fact, it can be rather dangerous. Patients needed to be monitored around-the-clock by highly trained medical staff, just as if they were in a hospital setting.

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Health
4:32 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

2 Americans Catch Ebola In Liberia, As Nigeria Reports First Case

Dr. Kent Brantly (right) of Samaritan's Purse gives orders to treat Ebola patients through the doorway of the isolation ward in Monrovia, Liberia.
Courtesy of Samaritan's Purse

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 8:09 pm

News about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to go from bad to worse.

Last week a doctor leading the fight against the outbreak got sick in Sierra Leone. Now two American aid workers have tested positive for the virus in Liberia, and the outbreak has likely spread to a fourth country, Nigeria.

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Health
3:35 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S. Teens Still Lag In Getting Vaccinated Against HPV

Dr. Donald Brown inoculated Kelly Kent with the HPV vaccine in his Chicago office in the summer of 2006 — not long after the first version of the vaccine reached the market.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 9:48 am

Though the vaccine against human papilloma virus is highly effective in preventing certain forms of cancer, the number of preteens getting the vaccine is still dismally low, doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

"One of the top five reasons parents listed is that it hadn't been recommended to them by a doctor or nurse," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters at a press briefing.

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Abortion and Women's Health
2:38 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Report: New Law Led to Statewide Drop in Abortions

A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The clinic, one of 22 remaining abortion providers in the state, does not currently meet requirements that will take effect on Sept. 1.
Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

The number of abortions in Texas decreased by about 13 percent statewide and 21 percent in the Lower Rio Grande Valley following the passage of strict abortion regulations that went into effect last November, according to a report that academic researchers released Wednesday. 

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Affordable Care Act
11:44 am
Tue July 22, 2014

U.S. Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Decisions On Obamacare Subsidies

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:03 pm

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday dealt a significant blow to the Affordable Care Act, when it threw out an IRS regulation that governs subsidies. But before the ink dried on that decision, another three-judge panel hearing a similar case issued a decision that was completely opposite.

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Health
6:33 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Dogs Carry Kissing Bug Disease In Texas And Latin America

Dogs throughout Latin America carry the Chagas parasite — and boost the risk of people catching it. And it's not just shelter dogs, like these in Mexico, who are at risk. Even family dogs get the deadly disease.
Jose Luis Gonzalez Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 10:47 am

We often think about people spreading diseases around the world. This spring, vacationers brought chikungunya from the Caribbean to the United States. Businessmen have likely spread Ebola across international borders in West Africa. And health care workers have carried a new virus from the Middle East to Asia and Europe.

But what about (wo)man's best friend?

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Birth Control
10:45 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Most Employers See A Benefit In Covering Contraceptives

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 8:32 am

Despite questions raised by the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, women in most health plans will still be able to get their birth control covered with no out-of-pocket expenses.

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Health
11:49 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Leprosy Persists in Texas, But the Disease Is No Longer a Death Sentence

Debbie Mata is one of the few leprosy nurses in the country.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

For thousands of years, people have had an image of what life with leprosy is like. You might think it's been eradicated, but leprosy — now referred to as Hansen's disease — still affects hundreds of people in the U.S. every year. Many of those victims are in Texas but, with treatment, a life with leprosy is no longer a death sentence.

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Obesity and Weather
3:40 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Study: The Hottest and Coldest U.S. Places are Also the Fattest

UT researchers singled out the shady trail around Lady Bird Lake as promoting healthy activity during summer.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Rising summer temperatures could lead to expanded waistlines, according to a study announced today by University of Texas researchers.

Research from Paul von Hippel, an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, has shown that adults living in counties with the highest and lowest temperatures are the least active and by extension, the most obese. This especially holds true for areas with humid summers and dark winters.

Hippel and co-author Rebecca Benson, a UT doctoral student, studied each of the 3,000 counties in the United States, assessing different variables that could predict why some counties were more obese than others. Many of the counties in the Southeast account for areas with the highest rates of obesity. The mountain West, with cool, dry summers, represents the lowest proportion of obese adults.

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Health
8:17 am
Thu June 19, 2014

How Your State Rates In Terms Of Long-Term Care

Minnesota, Washington and Oregon topped the ranking, which looked at 26 variables, including affordability and whether patients could get good paid care at home. Alabama and Kentucky came in last.
Fred Froese/iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 10:58 am

In just 12 years, the oldest members of the huge baby-boom generation will turn 80. Many will need some kind of long-term care. A new study from AARP says that care could vary dramatically in cost and quality depending on where they live.

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