Health

Health
2:56 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

New Rules Would Curb How Kids Are Sold Junk Food At School

Michelle Obama eats lunch with school children at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., in 2012. The first lady unveiled new guidelines Tuesday aimed at cracking down on the marketing of junk food to kids during the school day.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 2:06 pm

If you want to teach kids to adopt healthier eating habits, it's probably unwise to give them coupons for fast food chains at school.

And those advertisements for sugary sodas on the gymnasium scoreboard? Seems like another mixed message schools are sending kids.

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Health
12:06 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Online Doctor Ratings About As Useful As Those For Restaurants

Would a doctor dressing neatly affect your rating?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 9:58 am

If you're looking to go out for dinner, see a movie or plunk down big bucks on a new TV, chances are you'll look online for help with the decision.

Lots of people are now checking out potential doctors that way, too. Online ratings are becoming part of how many Americans shop for a physician, according to a study in the latest issue of JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

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Two Guys on Your Head
10:28 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Life After Loss: How to Reshape, Move On and Let it Go

Credit holykaw.alltop.com

A traumatic event in life is like a scratch on a record. Every time the record player, or your mind, runs over the scratch, it skips. 

This skipping record thought pattern is called rumination. Until we’re able to fill the scratch, it will keep skipping. So how do we fill the scratch, move on and heal?

On this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the various ways we live with and explain grief, and they offer some strategies that might help it make sense.

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Aging in Texas
9:10 am
Fri February 14, 2014

In Texas, Elderly Population Gets Help from Increasingly Older Caregivers

Henrietta City, left, helps Betty Finn at her apartment in Austin on Feb. 12, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

As older Americans make up a greater percentage of the population, more of them are finding themselves in need of home care workers.

That workforce is aging as well, and Texas is no exception. 

Take Henrietta City. She's in her early 60s and she helps Betty Finn in her early 80s every week. On a recent afternoon that meant trying to hang a clock on a wall of Finn’s apartment, but the work takes a lot of different forms. 

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Austin
4:42 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS Decision to Drop Cigarettes Reverberates in Austin

Today the CVS Pharmacy chain announced it would be dropping all tobacco sales from their retail locations. CVS has 25 locations in Austin.
flickr.com/blile59

On Wednesday, the CVS Pharmacy chain announced that on Oct. 1, all locations would cease selling cigarettes and tobacco products.

With nearly 13 percent of Austin adults calling themselves active smokers, the decision could have a lasting effect on the city.

The move was applauded by entities including the American Cancer Society and the White House. Dr. Philip Huang, medical director for Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services, has similar praises for the pharmacy chain.

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Texas
3:17 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Hospital In Texas Removes Life Support From Brain-Dead Woman

Timm Hobbs, along with his two sons, Keegan and Layton, were part of a group near John Peter Smith Hospital supporting the decision of JPS in the case of Marlise Munoz and her baby earlier this month.
Ben Noey Jr. MCT/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:08 am

A Fort Worth, Texas, woman who was 14 weeks pregnant when she was found unconscious and brain-dead after suffering a pulmonary embolism, has been taken off life support after a weeks-long court battle by the hospital to keep the ventilator on.

A ventilator that had kept Marlise Munoz's heart and lungs functioning for two months was switched off at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, a family attorney said.

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Texas
3:16 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Judge Orders Pregnant, Brain-Dead North Texas Woman Removed From Life Support

Marlise Munoz, right, has been on life support since November. Her husband, Erick, is on the left.
Facebook

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 5:04 pm

A state district judge has ruled that Marlise Muñoz, the brain-dead North Texas woman who’s 22 weeks pregnant, must be removed from life support by 5 p.m. Monday.

The decision Friday afternoon comes after John Peter Smith Hospital declared publicly for the first time that Muñoz has indeed been brain dead since late November. The hospital also says the fetus inside Muñoz is "not viable."

For weeks, hospital officials had said she isn’t dead and that her condition is serious.

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Health
4:44 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Call the Midwife: Natural Childbirth Available at Seton Medical Center

Women can now give birth with the guidance of a certified midwife at Seton Medical Center in Austin.
Morgue File

Austin women looking for a natural childbirth now have another option: they can give birth at Seton Medical Center with the guidance of a midwife.

Today, Seton announced a collaboration with the Austin Area Birthing Center welcoming certified nurse midwives into the delivery room.  

Some women want to give birth with little medical intervention – but sometimes complications arise, requiring a hospital delivery. Others want the guidance of a midwife – but prefer the peace of mind a being in a hospital. Now, this is possible at Seton Medical Center.

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Texas
11:12 am
Mon January 20, 2014

In These Gyms, Nobody Cares How You Look In Yoga Pants

Kendall Schrantz, center, stretches after a class at Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth.
Lauren Silverman for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:46 am

If you want to lift weights or use the treadmill at Downsize Fitness, you have to be at least 50 pounds overweight.

Kendall Schrantz is a fan – and a member.

The 24-year-old has struggled with her weight since she was in the second grade. The looks she got at other gyms made her uncomfortable.

But now she drives more than an hour to Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth three times a week, just to exercise.

"It's worth every single penny I paid for gas," she said. "It's worth the time I spend on the road, the miles."

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Health
8:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Child is Season's 9th Travis County Flu Death

H1N1 virus as seen through an electron microscope
CDC

Nine deaths from influenza in Travis County this flu season represent just one measure of how severe the season has been.

Dr. Phil Huang, Medical Director of the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, notes that cases started showing up earlier in the season, toward the end of 2013, and that patients under the age of 60 were among the most severely affected. 

"Definitely what we're seeing is worse than what we've seen in some past seasons," Dr. Huang said, "and also the population that's being affected with some of the more severe illness is a younger population than what we were seeing." 

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Health
5:30 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Pregnant Woman Kept On Life Support Despite Family's Wishes

Erick and Marlise Munoz are pictured with their first child, Mateo, who is now 15 months old. (Courtesy of the family)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:13 pm

A 33-year-old Texas woman named Marlise Munoz has been connected to life support machines for more than a month, after she collapsed on the kitchen floor of her home.

Her husband says she would not have wanted to be kept alive this way, but the hospital has refused to follow that wish, citing a Texas law that forbids medical officials from cutting off life support to a pregnant patient.

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Health
1:46 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Defibrillators Save Lives, But Experts Say They're Scarce in Austin

Photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/mloberg/

All the holiday stress, dehydration and alcohol consumption at this time of the year can lead to something called “holiday heart syndrome.” It’s an irregular heartbeat that often presents in people who are otherwise healthy.

If someone collapses around you, you might be able to save their lives with an automated external defibrillator, or AED. But public health experts say there aren’t nearly enough of them out there. 

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Health Care
8:11 am
Wed December 11, 2013

14,000 Texans Signed Up for Obamacare Plans

The Obama administration says technical tweaks to the health care website are making it easier for Americans to sign up for insurance.
healthcare.gov

Early technical issues with the new healthcare marketplace, HealthCare.gov, brought serious criticism to an already controversial government initiative. But a new report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services suggests that the tides may be turning for Obamacare.

By the end of November, coverage plan enrollment numbers for Texans had jumped to 14,000 – that’s up from 3,000 the month before.

And many more Texans are on their way to enrolling. According to the same report, nearly a quarter of a million Texans have applied for coverage and are waiting to choose a Marketplace plan. Those numbers are actually the second highest in the nation for states that are supported or fully run by a federal (rather than a state-implemented) healthcare Marketplace.

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Health
7:52 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Heroin In The 'Burbs: Women Moving From Pain Pills To The Hard Stuff

Sara Kendall, 26, lives in Oak Cliff with her son Jaxon. Kendall got hooked on prescription pain pills in high school, and then heroin. She got sober with the help of Nexus Recovery Center in Dallas, which she still visits to share her story.
Lauren Silverman KERA News

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 9:57 am

When a heroin epidemic swept through North Texas in the 1990s, it left at least two dozen young people dead. Then the drug seemed to go into hibernation.

Now the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says it’s seeing an alarming number of women from affluent Dallas suburbs buying heroin. And, for many, the addiction begins with prescription pain pills.

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Childhood Obesity
11:28 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Could a 'Healthy Food Zone' Keep Fast Food Away from Austin Schools?

A “healthy food zone” ordinance on track for 2016 could prohibit new fast food restaurants from opening near schools and parks.
flickr.com/dno1967b

A “healthy food zone” ordinance could be in the works for areas surrounding Austin schools, parks, recreation centers, libraries and child care centers. And that could potentially mean a prohibition on new fast food restaurants in those areas.

In an effort to battle childhood obesity, the City of Austin and Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services have developed a Community Health Improvement Plan. One of the priorities in the plan is creating healthier environments for children. To that end, the plan has an objective of creating “healthy food zones” around specific areas by June 2016.

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Health
2:01 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Maps: Austin Health Disparities at Birth

In areas that are orange and red, the percentage of women with inadequate prenatal care exceeds the Travis County average.

A new study shows how Travis County’s low-income areas are home to inadequate prenatal care and troublesome birth outcomes – including a racial disparity in neonatal intensive care unit admissions.

The study, released at the Birth Outcomes Summit at Dell Children’s Hospital, uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Texas Department of State Health Services.

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Halloween
1:16 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Austin Dentists Will Buy Back Your Kid's Halloween Candy

Don’t get too attached: A national program has dentists buying back Halloween sweets, and shipping the treats to troops overseas.
flickr.com/tifotter

Here’s a new Halloween practice some dentists see as a treat: Halloween candy buybacks.

Once the little ones have finished trick-or-treating this year, Austin pediatric dentists are ready to buy back their Halloween candy –  at a buck a pound.

The buyback program is a part of Operation Gratitude. Annually, Operation Gratitude sends more than 100,000 packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and letters of support – including Halloween candy – to U.S. service members deployed in hostile regions.

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Breast Milk
1:06 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Austin's Nonprofit Breast Milk Bank Needs Donations

Austin's breast milk bank launched a campaign this week to promote donations in the Austin area.
Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin

A report this week in the journal Pediatrics on the risks of  unregulated breast milk – covering sharing between friends, but also Internet sales – found three-fourths of the study samples were contaminated with bacteria.

The populations most at risk from such milk are newborns with significant health issues. They’re children like Nina DeGuire. Now a year old, she was born with a serious heart problem that required a series of surgeries and made it hard for her to take formula. Her mother Lani says she had no choice but to find donated breast milk.

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In Black America Podcast
3:09 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

Life Is Sweet for 'Chocolate Heals' Author Marcia L. Williams

Marcia L. Williams, author of “Chocolate Heals: Life Is Sweet.”

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Marcia L. Williams, author of “Chocolate Heals: Life is Sweet.”   

After being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, Williams decided to help others who may be experiencing tough times. Her love for baking was the perfect vehicle to get her message of hope out to those in need. Determined to provide inspiration to others after her diagnosis, she has pledged to impact the people in her own backyard – other cancer survivors and their families and friends.

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Affordable Care Act
9:02 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Houston Gears Up For Obamacare, Despite GOP Opposition

Enroll America outreach worker Rosy Mota (right) talks about the federal health care law with a CVS customer.
Carrie Feibel

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 7:26 am

Two high-profile Texans are fighting the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Rick Perry has loudly dismissed the law, and fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor this week to rail against it at length — 21 hours and 19 minutes to be exact.

On the other side of the issue, you have Rosy Mota and her clipboard, standing at the door of a CVS pharmacy in one of Houston's Latino neighborhoods, stopping shoppers.

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