Health

Health
7:19 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Austin and Travis County Partner for National Public Health Week (Update)

National Public Health Week goes from April 1 to April 7.
flickr.com/proimos

Update: The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department is holding a meeting this afternoon to present and outline key goals and objectives of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).  The action-oriented plan is designed to improve the health of Austin and Travis County residents. It will highlight community health issues like obesity and access to primary care.

The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. at City Hall.

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Science
10:47 am
Sat March 30, 2013

Austin Student Scientists Get Major Recognition for Diabetes Research

A diabetes patient prepares to check her blood glucose level. A pair of Austin siblings are developing a program to mitigate diabetes.
CDC/ Amanda Mills

A brother and sister team of young scientists from Westwood High School are finalists in a national science competition.

Priya and Naveen Arunachalam are both finalists in the Exploravision contest. The contest attracted nearly 16,000 students nationwide in a competition to design future technologies that could change the world.

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Health
5:20 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Mental Health, Physical Health: $10M Program Looks to Help Both

State Health Services is participating in a $10M study to provide incentives to non-elderly Medicaid recipients to improve their health.
Flickr user Images of Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

Texas is trying to help some Medicaid recipients with behavioral disorders improve their health. 

The state’s health department has embarked on a $10 million dollar project aimed at preventing people with mental health or substance abuse issues from developing chronic diseases.

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Health
2:57 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Gates Foundation Says It's Time For A Snazzier Condom

An estimated 15 billion condoms are manufactured each year and 750 million people use them.
ederk iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 11:02 am

Last summer Bill Gates and his foundation held a competition to reinvent the toilet. Now he's hoping to do the same for condoms.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is putting up $100,000 to the best proposal for a more fun and pleasurable condom.

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Health
7:56 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Concern Grows as Obesity Soars Among Texas Latinos

From left to right: Mary Bastos, Alain Guerra and Marispy Fitzpatrick taught Zumba dance to dozens of people at a public event at the Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin on March 23, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Latinos are Texas’ fastest-growing population group. And they are grappling with soaring obesity rates. According to the Department of State Health Services, almost 40 percent of Hispanics are obese. To combat the health crisis, cities as well as state lawmakers are aiming to get Latinos exercising and eating healthier.

The Texas State Demographer’s office expects that by 2030, nearly six million Latinos will be obese. That number could soar to almost nine and a half million by 2040. All that adds up to a looming health crisis, with potentially high costs for the state.

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Health
1:04 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Tuberculosis Rates Falling in Travis County, Texas and Nation

Scanning electron microscope image of mycobacterium tuberculosis, responsible for tuberculosis.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanofi-pasteur/

This Sunday is World T-B Day, a day to help raise awareness about the health and economic affects of tuberculosis.

The rate of tuberculosis cases in Texas is going down by an average of 4 percent annually. In Travis County, the number of cases has dropped steadily over the past few years after a recent rise in cases.  There were 37 cases in 2012, 52 cases in 2011 and 67 in 2010.

Travis County Clinic Manager Rosalinda Castaneda says tuberculosis is treatable, as long as the proper medication is taken.

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Texas
9:40 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Williamson County Named Healthiest in Texas

The county health rankings are a checkup on nearly all of the nation's counties, including 221 in Texas.
flickr.com/jstephenconn

Williamson County is ranked as the healthiest county in the Lone Star State, according to a collection of  county health rankings

The study from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that Williamson County is the healthiest county in Texas this year, ahead of Collin County in Northeast Texas.

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Health
8:05 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Austin School Kids Make Average Grade on Obesity Scale; Texas Lawmaker Wants to Shed Program

AISD students ranked just above average in fitness levels in 2012, but the program that calculates the obesity rates in children is the target of a bill in the legislature.
Office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Austin Independent School District teachers may tell their students they’re special, but numbers never lie. And the numbers say that they’re (just a bit) above average.

Thankfully, that’s not a bad thing.

This interactive map from the office of Comptroller Susan Combs displays the body mass index rates of over 2 million students in public schools across Texas. The measurements are based on statistics from the Fitnessgram, a program which measures the fitness levels of Texas public school students from grades three to 12. And it's also the target of a bill in the state legislature that would end the program.

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Sports
3:08 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Doctors: Bench Athletes At First Concussion Sign

Robert Monges, a coach for James Lick High School, checks tight end Dominic Brewster for a concussion during a football game played in Morgan Hill, Calif., in 2006.
Patrick Tehan San Jose Mercury News/MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 10:34 am

Figuring out whether a child who might have a concussion should stay in the game just got easier, thanks to this one-word answer from the nation's neurologists: No.

Today the American Academy of Neurology chucked 15-year-old rules that confused pretty much everybody, from parents and coaches to kids and doctors.

Instead of talking about various symptoms and concussion grades, the neurologists now say that the best offense is defense.

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Drugs
10:05 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Neurologists Warn Against ADHD Drugs To Help Kids Study

Ten milligram tablets of the prescription drug Adderall. The drug is used to treat ADHD and is used by some students to boost their academic performance.
Jb Reed Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 8:48 am

Adderall and other ADHD medications are among the most prescribed drugs in America.

Quite a few of those pills don't end up being used to treat ADHD, though. They're used as "smart drugs" or "study drugs" by students who find the pills give them a mental edge.

The American Academy of Neurology now says: Stop that.

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Health
3:10 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

GOP Caucus Opposes Medicaid Expansion - With Caveats

So far, Gov. Rick Perry is standing firm on not expanding Medicaid, and has not expressed particular interest in any other states' compromises.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

House Republicans on Monday agreed not to expand Medicaid as called for under the federal Affordable Care Act — but left the door open to doing it if the Obama administration grants Texas enough flexibility.

“The current path as proposed is unsustainable from a fiscal standpoint,” said caucus chairman Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe. He said the caucus would continue to “propose solutions on the issue, which we’re formulating and will continue to do so throughout the session.” 

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Health
1:00 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

UT is Now Smoke-Free - But How Will the Policy be Enforced?

UT-Austin is now officially smoke-free, with all 15 temporary smoking areas going away.
flickr.com/smorchon

The University of Texas at Austin is now officially, 100 percent smoke free. 

The policy takes full-effect today. But it started last year when the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas announced it would not fund research for any institution that allowed smoking on-site. In April, UT set up 15 temporary smoking locations. But those go away today.

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Health
11:22 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Parents, Just Say No To Sharing Tales Of Drug Use With Kids

Have a talk about avoiding drug use early and often. And don't overshare.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:55 am

It's a moment many parents dread — sitting down to talk with their kid about drugs. What should they say? Will the conversation have any effect? And should they mention their own youthful indiscretions?

Parents can get advice from the family doctor or pediatrician and places like the Partnership at Drugfree.org (formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America), though there's not been much evidence to back up the recommendations.

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Women's Health
4:48 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Morning-After Pills Don't Cause Abortion, Studies Say

Plan B is one of two emergency contraceptives available in the U.S.
UPI/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 3:51 pm

The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.

Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion?

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Health
11:49 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Overdose Deaths From Narcotics Keep Climbing

Hydrocodone pills, the generic version of Vicodin, shown at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 5:12 pm

For the 11th year running, deaths from drug overdoses rose in the U.S in 2010.

Pharmaceuticals were involved in more than half of the 38,329 overdose deaths that year.

Opioid painkillers, such as hydrocodone, or Vicodin, were the most common prescription drugs implicated. They were cited in 16,651 fatalities, or 44 percent of the total.

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Health
11:00 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Report Finds 'Systemic Failures' at State Hospitals Led to Patient Abuse, Neglect

flickr.com/ashleyrosex

A new report finds serious breakdowns in procedures and safeguards by state-run hospitals across Texas.

The year-long investigation was by Disability Rights Texas—an organization designated by federal law to protect people with disabilities.

The report is titled “Turning a Blind Eye" and is focused on systemic failures within the state agencies that Disability Rights Texas says dismissed patient safety.

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Health
8:52 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Another Way to Celebrate Valentine's Day: Learn CPR

When CPR is performed immediately after cardiac arrest occurs, a victim's survival rate can triple.
flickr.com/leppre

If your Valentine goes into cardiac arrest during dinner, Austin-Travis County EMS wants you to know how to help.

Austin-Travis County EMS is hosting free, hands-only CPR training sessions at Barton Creek Square mall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. 

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Hunger
5:53 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

More Austinites Looking for Food

The United Way says the number of people asking about food banks is up by half.
KUT News

Calls to the area’s health and human services hotline asking for information about food pantries were up 55 percent over the past year, according to a report released this week by United Way for Greater Austin.

The nonprofit group says the jump represents calls from people who can’t provide food for their families that day or within the week.

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Health
1:13 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Four Loko Cans Will Now Make Clear They're Loaded With Alcohol

Popular fruit-flavored malt liquor Four Loko
Haraz Ghanbari AP

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 11:32 am

Cans of the popular flavored malt beverage Four Loko will soon sport an "Alcohol Facts" label to make it plain they pack a potent punch.

The changes are part of a final settlement announced Tuesday between the Federal Trade Commission and Phusion Projects, whose products have been blamed for hospitalizations and deaths among young people.

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Health
6:51 am
Tue February 5, 2013

FMLA Not Really Working For Many Employees

Jeannine Sato holds her 2-year-old son, Keni; 5-year-old Hana is held by her father, Mas Sato. Jeannine decided to leave her job when her employers said she could take six weeks off after giving birth to her first child or risk losing her job.
Courtesy of Jeannine Sato

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 12:47 pm

Twenty years after President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, workers' rights groups say many employees still must choose between their family or their job.

They're marking the anniversary with calls to expand the law, and for Congress to pass a new one that would provide paid leave.

What Falls Under The FMLA?

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