Health

Health
11:28 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Lack of Revenue Limits Experimental Health Projects

Todd Wiseman/Blake Thompson

Texas received federal approval in May to begin more than 1,100 experimental projects that could transform the way health care is delivered to the state’s poor and uninsured.

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Health
2:41 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

That Employee Who Smokes Costs The Boss $5,800 A Year

A man smokes outside an office building in New York City in April. Smoking breaks cost employers almost $3,000 per year per smoking employees, a study says.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 7:42 am

Smoking is expensive, and not just for the person buying the cigs. Employers are taking hard looks at the cost of employing smokers as they try to cut health insurance costs, with some refusing to hire people who say they smoke.

But figures on the cost of smoking have been rough estimates at best, with a very general estimate of $193 billion a year nationwide.

Researchers now say they're got much tighter focus on the number: $5,800 per smoker per year.

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Business
1:36 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

No Smoking Outside Starbucks Shops Starting Saturday

Don't sit down here and have a smoke with your coffee, Starbucks says.
Mark Memmott NPR

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 12:17 pm

Starbucks is moving its smoking ban outdoors.

Starting Saturday, according to signs posted in its more than 7,000 shops across the U.S. and Canada, "the no-smoking policy ... will include outdoor areas."

"Smoking will be restricted within 25 feet of the store and within outdoor seating areas," the notices read.

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Education
5:25 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Students Need to Be More Active, Report Says

A teachers advocate says prepping for standardized testing takes time away from physical activity.
Rune Mathisen, Texas Tribune

Students should be getting 60 minutes a day of physical activity, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine. That exercise could happen before, during or after school.

The study also recommends the U.S. Department of Education declare physical education a core subject.

Bill Kohl, who led the committee that wrote the report, says physical activity improves learning in the classroom.

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Health
10:52 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Fifteen Years After A Vaccine Scare, A Measles Epidemic

Luke Tanner, 7, gets vaccinated for measles at a clinic near Swansea, Wales, in April. Wales is at the center of a measles outbreak that has been linked to one death.
Geoff Caddick AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 4:39 pm

Great Britain is in the midst of a measles epidemic, one that public health officials say is the result of parents refusing to vaccinate their children after a safety scare that was later proved to be fraudulent.

More than 1,200 people have come down with measles so far this year, following nearly 2,000 cases in 2012. Many of the cases have been in Wales.

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Health
11:01 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Angelina Jolie And The Rise Of Preventive Mastectomies

In sharing her decision to have a double mastectomy, Angelina Jolie has given voice to a dilemma more women are facing.
Carlo Allegri AP

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 12:03 pm

Angelina Jolie just became part of a medical trend: More women are deciding to have their breasts removed to reduce the risk of cancer.

Over the past decade, doctors have noticed a big increase in the number of women choosing prophylactic, or preventive, mastectomies.

Some, like Jolie, have a genetic mutation that makes it much more likely that they will have breast cancer. Her mother died of the disease at age 56. Jolie is 37. She wrote about her decision in The New York Times.

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Health
8:01 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Actress Angelina Jolie Shares Story Of Her Double Mastectomy

Actress Angelina Jolie at a news conference with Secretary of State John Kerry (in background) and other foreign ministers in London last month. They held a forum on how to reduce sexual violence against women in conflict zones — an issue she has often spoken about.
Alastair Grant PA Photos /Landov

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 7:48 am

Saying she is "writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience," actress Angelina Jolie reveals on the op-ed pages of The New York Times that she had a double mastectomy earlier this year to substantially reduce the chances she will develop breast cancer.

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Health
1:23 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Teens Who Text And Drive Often Take Other Risks

Dylan Young, then 18, posed for a photo as a vehicle cruised by North Arlington, N.J., in June 2012. Young was in a fender-bender accident caused by being distracted while texting and driving.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 10:21 am

Almost half of teenagers cop to texting while driving. And those texting teens are more likely to make other risky moves while in the car, too.

That includes not wearing seat belts, drinking and driving, and riding with a driver who's been drinking, a study just published in the journal Pediatrics finds.

Car crashes have long been the leading cause of death for teenagers, even before texting entered the scene.

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Texas
9:02 am
Mon May 13, 2013

From Austin to Boston: Artificial Limb Company to Help Marathon Bombing Victims Run Again

Courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics.

It’s been a month since the Boston Marathon bombings that injured more than 250 people. At least fourteen lost limbs.

Experts say it takes healthy, strong people about six weeks to recover enough from an amputation to begin considering their prosthetic choices. Austin-based Hanger Orthopedics, one of the largest prosthetics and orthotics companies in the US, says it’s ready to help.

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Health Care
11:24 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Why A Slowdown In Health Spending Is Starting To Look Real

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:46 pm

So you know all that talk about how the boatload of money going to health care will bankrupt the nation if something isn't done soon?

Well, it turns out that while politicians were bickering, the problem started taking care of itself. Well, a little bit.

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2013 Legislature
3:41 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Texas Nursing Homes Seeking More From Medicaid

Nursing Home professionals and some of their elderly patients gathered today at the Capitol to ask state lawmakers to give more for Medicaid funding.
Andrew Weber for KUT News

Nursing home professionals from all over Texas gathered today at the Capitol, asking lawmakers to expand Medicaid funding to care for more of the state’s seniors.

Paul Gerharter is director of nursing at Touchstone Communities, a provider of nursing home care in Central and South Texas. He says state budgets have lessened the number of nursing homes in the midst of a growing need for long-term care.

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Health
1:55 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

As New Flu Cases Rise In China, U.S. Steps Up Its Response

A child wears a mask near a closed section of a poultry market in Shanghai, where health workers detected the new bird flu, H7N9.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 1:23 pm

The toll from a new flu strain is mounting in China.

Forty-three people have been sickened and 11 have died from the virus, the World Health Organization said Friday.

The pace of infections has quickened over the past few days, with three to five cases reported daily.

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Business
2:22 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

What's Next for RunTex? Retail May Become Less of a Priority

RunTex owner Paul Carrozza says he's not sure if selling shoes will remain the focus of his business.
twitter.com/RunTex

RunTex is losing its prime store location on Riverside Drive and South First Street. The Austin-American Statesman reports the company is being evicted because they didn’t pay the $20,000/month rent. But there’s also the fact that the location is reportedly set to become a mixed-use development.

As far as criticism of his business decisions go, RunTex owner Paul Carrozza told KUT News he’s learned a “valuable lesson and an expensive lesson around expansion and what it takes to go from one store to five stores.”

Looking forward, Carrozza says RunTex will continue its commitment to fitness and creating a healthier Austin. He says that may mean that retail sales become less of a priority.

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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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