Health

Fitness, well-being, disease, medical research and issues related to Seton and St. David's Healthcare, Austin Regional Clinic and other health care providers in Austin and Central Texas

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Texas Tribune: Faced with a rising death toll from opioid abuse, Texas public health officials in May decided to apply for a $1 million federal grant to purchase Naloxone, a drug that, if administered during an overdose, can save the life of a person addicted to heroin or pain pills. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The fourth open enrollment period for the federal health insurance program is in full swing. People who can’t get insurance through an employer, Medicaid or Medicare can now buy private insurance through the Affordable Care Act until Jan. 31.

But there’s some uncertainty about the program’s future this time around.

Some tiny clusters of brain cells grown in a lab dish are making big news at this week's Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.

Known as "minibrains," these rudimentary networks of cells are small enough to fit on the head of a pin, but already are providing researchers with insights into everything from early brain development to Down syndrome, Alzheimer's and Zika.

Women across the country are rushing to get IUDs. Or at least, they're tweeting about rushing to get long-term birth control, according to a surge of messages on social media.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

In 2011, Texas started cutting millions of dollars from the state Early Childhood Intervention program (ECI). At the time, they estimated it would lead to 9 percent reduction in the number of kids that could enter the program. That includes kids with speech delays, Down syndrome, autism and other challenges.

It's one of the biggest medical mysteries of our time: How did HIV come to the U.S.?

By genetically sequencing samples from people infected early on, scientists say they have figured out when and where the virus that took hold here first arrived. In the process, they have exonerated the man accused of triggering the epidemic in North America.

Michael Stravato, via Texas Tribune

Believe it or not, Mexico's family planning policies are more progressive than the United States' in one pretty big way.

According to a new study from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project based at UT-Austin, Mexican-born women who recently gave birth have an easier time obtaining long-acting birth control like intrauterine devices (IUDs)  in Mexico than in the United States.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

As parents of newborns have been following pediatric recommendations of putting their babies to sleep on their backs to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, there has been a steep rise in babies with misshapen skulls. Now, doctors have increased prescribing orthotic headgear to correct the condition among infants.


Todd Wiseman for the Texas Tribune

Whoever wins this presidential election will have a lot of big decisions to make within their first year in office. One of those decisions is what to do about states, like Texas, that haven’t expanded Medicaid to more low income people under the Affordable Care Act.


Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Late last week, the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit about whether decreasing Medicaid reimbursements for programs providing therapies to infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays in Texas is legal, which means cuts are likely imminent.


Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

 A significant cut to the amount of money Texas pays therapists who treat children with disabilities was finally cleared to take effect — more than one year after state lawmakers originally ordered it — when the Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a lawsuit over the budget cut's legality.

Dell Medical School, via YouTube

Questions were raised during a Travis County Commissioner’s Court yesterday about how UT Austin’s Dell Medical School spends taxpayer money.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

For about a month now, Texas has provided mosquito repellant to low-income women and children. It’s in an effort to prevent the spread of Zika – just in case the virus infects local mosquito populations. 


KUT News

State lawmakers are discussing today what to do about a plan to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for groups that provide therapy to young children with developmental issues.

Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

Texas' rate of uninsured people fell to 17.1 percent in 2015 as part of a steady decline in the share of uninsured residents following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to new Census estimates released Tuesday.

The state's rate of uninsured fell two percentage points from 2014 to 2015, but Texas still has the highest percentage of people without health insurance in the country. Texas is also home to the largest number of uninsured people in the country with about 4.6 million uninsured residents. 

For some, there's a a glam factor attached to the vegan lifestyle. And these days, there seems to be a growing chorus singing the praises of the environmental and health benefits of a plant-centric diet.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Throughout this month, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is hearing public comment on its proposed changes to licensing standards, which advocates say are missing an important item: better caretaker to child ratios in day cares.


Wikimedia Commons

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that an unregulated herbal supplement known as kratom will be added to the list of controlled substances, which would effectively ban it. The kratom plant has opioid-like effects and, as KUT reported last month, some Austinites are using it as a safer alternative to pills or heroin. 


Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

Texas has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country. Until recently, teenage girls had a hard time getting access to affordable contraceptives through state health programs, and that’s an issue the state is tackling as it reboots its troubled Women’s Health Program.


Miguel Gutierrez, Jr. / KUT

Bill Gravell keeps a pair of camouflage boots in the backseat of his white pickup truck. They've been through pastures and farmlands, in the middle of plane and train crashes, he says.

Once, Gravell didn't chance to change out of dress shoes on his way to a body and ended up ruining those shoes. Now, he makes ready at a moment's notice.


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