Health

Health
9:52 am
Mon May 21, 2012

A Dire Sign Of The Obesity Epidemic: Teen Diabetes Soaring, Study Finds

Paris Wood, 14, has her measurements taken as part of a Chicago anti-obesity program.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon May 21, 2012 7:30 am

Karlton Hill was only 12 years old when when he found out he had diabetes. Even though he was only in seventh grade, Karlton knew what diabetes was; he had watched the disease destroy his great-grandmother's life.

"I was really upset. I cried," he says. "I didn't want any of this to happen to me. I was like, 'Why is this happening to me?' "

Public health experts have been worrying for years that the obesity epidemic would lead to an epidemic of Type 2 diabetes among kids.

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Health
3:35 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

CDC Tells Baby Boomers to Get Tested for Hepatitis C

Dr. Paul J. Pockros, a liver specialist at Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego, talks with hepatitis C patient Loretta Roberts in Jan. 2011.
Lenny Ignelzi AP

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 1:41 pm

When it comes to hepatitis C, things that happened to baby boomers back in the day can make all the difference.

One in 30 baby boomers is infected with virus, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And most of them don't know it. So, the CDC is moving ahead with a proposal that all baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) get a blood test to check for the virus.

The current guidelines call for testing when someone has known risk factors.

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Food
9:39 am
Thu May 17, 2012

How To Make Healthy Eating Easier On The Wallet? Change The Calculation

Dried beans and legumes are healthy and cheap.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 6:56 pm

If you're already a kale and lentils kind of person (we know there are a lot of frugal foodies out there) — you won't be surprised by this finding: According to a new study from some economists at the USDA, eating a healthy diet isn't necessarily more expensive than a diet loaded with sugar and fat. In fact, fruits and vegetables are often cheaper when you calculate the cost in a smarter way.

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Health
11:39 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Smoke and Work for UT? Get Ready to Pay More for Insurance

A $30 monthly health insurance premium will soon apply to University of Texas employees who smoke.
Image courtesy flickr.com/jacockshaw

In July, University of Texas employees who use the UT SELECT Medical plan will have to declare whether they use tobacco. And if they do, they will have to pay a $30 dollar premium every month starting in September.

The same goes for spouses and children who are on the plan. The maximum charge would be $90 per month, per family.

“During Annual Enrollment, all UT SELECT Medical plan participants will need to declare whether they are or are not a tobacco user,” the university’s Office of Employee Benefits writes. Approximately 200,000 employees, spouses and children are enrolled statewide in the UT SELECT insurance program.

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Health
11:09 am
Wed May 16, 2012

U.S. Funding of HIV/AIDS Fight Overseas Carries Other Benefits

A mother and child wait to receive treatment at the HIV clinic in Nyagasambu, Rwanda, in Feb. 2008. The clinic was built by the Washington-based Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation with a grant from the PEPFAR program.
Shashank Bengali MCT/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 5:10 pm

U.S. government spending to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries is also preventing death from other diseases, a new study finds.

Some experts worry the billions of dollars the United States spends to treat people with HIV in poor countries may crowd out prevention and treatment of other illnesses.

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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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Health
11:43 am
Thu May 3, 2012

UT Pledges $25 Million Annually for Medical School

UT pledged funding for an Austin medical school today.
KUT News

This morning, the University of Texas Board of Regents proposed approximately $25 million in annual funding for an Austin medical school, plus an extra $5 million for the first eight years, dependent on matching operational funds.

The move is a sign of rising momentum for a local medical school. The announcement comes soon after Seton Hospital announced a $250 million investment in the project.  

Austin state Senator Kirk Watson has lead the governmental push for a medical school. “The estimates have been up to two billion dollars in economic activity by having a medical school and affiliated activity around that,” he told the regents today. “We will expand access and options for treating the uninsured, and we’ll provide new therapies that are designed to improve the health of everyone in this region.” 

Women's Health
2:18 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Judge: HHSC Must Keep Planned Parenthood in WHP For Now

La'Tonya Ephraim speaks with Carrie Adney, a Women's Health Program client since last year, at Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services in Round Rock, TX.
Photo by Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

A district judge in Austin has ordered Texas to temporarily stop its enforcement of a rule that would have removed 49 Planned Parenthood clinics from the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program starting May 1.

In a 25-page opinion, United States District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the Planned Parenthood organizations that filed the lawsuit proved there could be irreparable harm to their clinics that rely on Women’s Health Program funding to help uninsured Texans access cervical and breast cancer screenings, birth control and STD testing. Yeakel also expressed doubt that the state could find enough providers by Tuesday to replace the Planned Parenthood clinics with other health providers.

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Health
11:51 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Texas Planned Parenthood Branches Will Vote on Merger

Planned Parenthood supporters rally at the Capitol on Tuesday morning.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

The boards of three regional Planned Parenthood branches — North TexasCentral Texas and the Capital Region — will vote today on a proposed merger designed to form a $29 million-per-year mega-organization with 26 clinics up and down the Interstate 35 corridor.

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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
12:40 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Should 'Pink Slime' Be Labeled?

Beef cuts that are used to make "pink slime" or lean finely textured beef were on display during a tour in March of the Beef Products Inc.'s plant in South Sioux City, Neb.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 12:06 pm

The fallout from the consumer backlash to so-called "pink slime" continues to hurt meat sales. Now, some companies are taking steps to label the product they call "lean, finely textured beef" in hopes that they can earn back consumer trust.

Tyson and Cargill, two multinational firms that sell ground beef containing the processed trimmings, say they have submitted labeling requests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in hopes that some customers will feel better about buying ground beef containing LFTB if it's labeled.

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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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