Health

Health
3:22 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

National Alzheimer's Plan Could Help With Texas' Large Burden

Because of sheer population size, Texas faces a big challenge when it comes to Alzheimer's disease.
Photo courtesy jamelah via Flickr

The Obama Administration has unveiled a plan to address Alzheimer’s disease.

It has five broad goals for addressing the disease and helping families facing challenges from it, with an end- goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s by 2025.

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Health
10:58 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Pounding Away At America's Obesity Epidemic

In the United States, more than 78 million adults and 12 million children are obese.
Jessica Dimmock HBO

Originally published on Mon May 14, 2012 11:37 am

The numbers are staggering: One-third of Americans are obese; another third are overweight. Some 26 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes. An additional 79 million more are pre-diabetic. Thanks to these figures, the children of today have a good chance of becoming the first generation of Americans to die at younger ages than their parents.

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Health
3:55 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Eyes Overworked? Put Down the iPad for '20-20-20' Vision

Brief breaks from computer screens fight eye strain, a doctor says.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Most students would agree that cramming for finals is painful. 

But one overlooked stressor is eye strain, which can result in computer vision syndrome. A recent BBC article noted 90% of matriculating students in major Asian cities are suffering from nearsightedness.

According to Dr. Benjamin Warta, a VSP optometrist with Vision Care Specialists in Denver, Colorado, people that engage in daily or extended work, reading, or entertainment viewing on a screen near their face – “close work,” as Dr. Warta calls it – tend to show a definite increase in eye-strain.

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Health
11:33 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Recalculating The Health Bill In McAllen, Texas

Branded: Hospitals in McAllen, Texas, may not be as costly as first thought.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 10:43 am

Remember McAllen? It's the Texas border town that became synonymous with wasteful medical spending during the nation's big health care debate. Even Barack Obama was talking about it.

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Health
1:20 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Local Seniors Staying Physically, Socially Active

Some older Austinites stay active and give back through volunteering.
Photo courtesy sheilaz413 via Flickr

May is Older Americans Month — and every year.  more people fit into that category. The Administration on Aging says more than a quarter of Americans will be 60 or older by 2030.

The YMCA of Austin hosted a luncheon today for seniors to encourage them to stay physically and socially active. Research shows older adults are facing more problems with obesity than in decades past and seniors tend to spend less time socializing as they age.

Denise Thomas is the owner of Home Instead — an in-home care agency. She’s working with the YMCA to honor several area seniors who are bettering their lives and the lives of others by staying active and volunteering for groups like Meals on Wheels.

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Women's Health
2:23 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

When Religious Rules And Women's Health Collide

Hospital rules can affect a woman's options for care.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 3:18 pm

When you go to the hospital these days, chances are good that it will be affiliated with a religious organization. And while that may might just mean the chaplain will be of a specific denomination or some foods will be off limits, there may also be rules about the kind of care allowed.

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Health
11:46 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Even A Small Slowdown In Obesity's Rise Would Save Big Money

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 11:04 am

Slowing the rising rates of obesity in this country by just 1 percent a year over the next two decades would slice the costs of health care by $85 billion.

Keep obesity rates where they are now — well below a 33 percent increase that's been expected by some — and the savings would hit nearly $550 billion over the same 20 years.

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Women's Health
3:17 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Texas Asks for Time Transitioning to New Women's Health Program

Texas is asking for federal assistance transitioning to its own women's health care program.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/dennissylvesterhurd

Today, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission delivered a proposal to the Obama administration outlining plans for transitioning the state's Women’s Health Program from a mostly federally funded program to one that runs on state money.

In it, the state has asked that the federal government pay for the program through October. Federal funds were initially supposed to be phased out by April 30.

Thanh Tan is a reporter with KUT’s political reporting partner The Texas Tribune. Expanding on a report the Tribune published today, Tan says the plan outlined today still doesn’t account for where Texas is going to get the money to fund the Women’s Health Program.

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Health
2:49 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Texas Medical Board Approves Adult Stem Cell Guidelines

Texas physicians will soon have to heed new guidelines regarding the use of adult stem cells.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/bwjones

The Texas Medical Board has approved guidelines for the use of adult stem cells.

The new rules say that the procedure must be part of a clinical trial and have the approval of the Food and Drug Administration or an institutional review board. Leigh Hopper, a spokesperson for the Texas Medical Board says these institutions will make sure the use of adult stem cells is safe, ethical and that patients give informed consent.

Hopper says board members felt that since patients already have access to adult stem cells, the procedure needs to be regulated.

“Since this is occurring right now, the majority of the board felt that it was important to put some sort of framework in place to protect patients,” said Hopper.

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Smoking
4:55 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

No Ifs, Ands or Butts: UT Officially Smoke Free

A new policy prohibits lighting up on the UT campus.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/perspective

The University of Texas at Austin has kicked the smoking habit.

The UT System Board of Regents approved the policy this week. So while there are no signs up yet – and ashtrays can still readily be found around the 40-acres – smoking is no longer allowed. UT-Austin Human Resource Services director Adrienne Howarth-Moore says those no-smoking signs will be up soon.

"We have already received an order of our tobacco free campus signs,” Howarth-Moore says. “And so we are developing a plan for implementing those exterior signs, so that they will be prominently displayed for not just our campus community but for the variety of visitors and the general public that come to our campus on a daily basis."

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Health
4:16 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Teen Birth Rates Down in Texas

The number of babies born to Texas teens is at lowest level in decades.
Photo courtesy Liz Davenport via Flickr

The rate of teen pregnancies in Texas fell by 15 percent from 2007 to 2010.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of 15 to 19 year-old girls having babies in Texas dropped from nearly 62 in every 1,000 to about 52 per 1,000.

54,281 Texas teens gave birth in 2007. That number went down by 6,530 to 47,751 in 2010.

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Austin
10:52 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Don’t Bee Cruel: Item Calls to Relocate, Not Eradicate, Feral Bee Colonies

Pointing to their value as pollinators, a City Council item discourages eradication of feral bees.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/mommamia

A resolution on the Austin City Council agenda this Thursday has the city buzzing.  

Item 19 seeks to protect Austin bees, by essentially codifying a long-standing but informal practice of relocating wild colonies instead of exterminating them.

Joe Staudt, program supervisor for Health and Human Services’ Environmental Health Services department, said that every spring bees start thriving in Austin. People end up calling pest removal companies and have them eradicate the bee hives – which could prove detrimental in the long run.

The resolution before council is “just putting into writing essentially what we’ve been doing for years,” Staudt tells KUT. When someone calls the city to report a feral hive or bee swarm, they’ll be advised that it’s preferable to relocate the bees instead of destroying them, and then they’ll be provided a list of companies that can help.

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Lance Armstrong
5:25 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Darrell K Royal and Friends Launch Alzheimer’s Research Fund

From left to right: Lance Armstrong, Edith Royal, Darrell K Royal and Matthew McConaughey in the Texas Senate today.
Photo courtesy of the Darrell K Royal Fund for Alzheimer’s Research

A Texas initiative to fight Alzheimer’s disease was announced today, featuring some familiar faces.

The Darrell K Royal Fund for Alzheimer’s Research was unveiled today at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Alzheimer's Disease at the Texas Capitol. On hand was former Longhorns coach Royal and his wife Edith Royal, flanked by Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and actor Matthew McConaughey.

The idea behind the Royal Fund is to kickstart Alzheimer’s research in the state. A press release characterizes the fund as “a vehicle that funds collaborative research in Texas, and promotes sharing of discoveries and treatment strategies nationwide.”

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Health
12:21 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Texas Planned Parenthood Clinics Bracing for Komen Cuts

Image by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood — which has performed breast cancer screenings and mammograms with Komen grants for the last five years — is hitting home for clinics in Dallas, Austin and Waco.

Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region reports that its six-year partnership with Dallas-based Komen has performed 720 clinical breast exams and risk assessments for poor women under the age of 40. Over the last three years, the North Texas Planned Parenthood chapter in Dallas has used Komen dollars to provide about 580 mammograms to poor women. And in Waco, Planned Parenthood of Central Texas has relied heavily on Komen funds to screen, diagnose and treat women across 10 counties. In 2010, the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program, in conjunction with Komen funding, provided 609 Central Texas women with mammograms, 292 with diagnostic services and 329 with cervical cancer screenings. Twenty-four Medicaid-eligible women with breast or cervical cancer received treatment.

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Health
5:35 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Komen Drops Support of Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood clinical assistant Nicki Bailey discusses the new abortion laws with a patient in Austin.
Eric Schlegel, Texas Tribune

The Dallas-based breast cancer prevention group Susan G. Komen for the Cure has halted its financial support of Planned Parenthood, yet another blow to the family planning organization that provides abortions in some of its clinics. 

Planned Parenthood alleges that Komen — which was founded in 1982 by Nancy Goodman Brinker, a former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary under George W. Bush, to honor her deceased sister — succumbed to rising political pressure.

"Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count," Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement posted on the organization's website.  

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Health
12:48 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

Study: Nine Out of Ten Preschoolers' Lunches At Unsafe Temperatures

Lunches like this one should contain at least two ice packs according to a new UT study.
Photo by Kelsey Sheridan

A University of Texas study found that 90 percent of bag lunches brought to school by preschool students were kept at temperatures that could result in food-borne illnesses.

The researchers took the temperatures of 700 preschoolers lunch's at nine different Texas child care centers. Forty-five percent of the lunches had at least one ice pack and 39 percent had none.

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Health
2:46 pm
Fri July 22, 2011

All Texas College Students Need Meningitis Vaccine

Meningococcal disease is an infection caused by a bacterium called neisseria. meningitidis or the meningococcus, pictured here under 1150x magnification.
Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection

A new state law passed by the 2011 Legislature requires any college student under 30 who attends classes on a Texas campus must be vaccinated against meningitis. Previously only students who lived on campus needed one.

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Texas
5:23 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

Texas Obesity Ranking Ticks Higher

Photo by Foshydog http://www.flickr.com/photos/foshydog/

Texas is the 12th most obese state in the U.S., according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011. The report is from the non-profit research group Trust for America’s Health.

Texas has been slowly creeping up the list for the past two years, ranking 14th in 2009, and 13th in 2010. The obesity rate in Texas for adults is 30 percent.  Fifteen years ago that number was 16 percent. 

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