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

Photo by KUT News

O.K.  We're actually a couple of days early, since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010.  But advocacy groups have been celebrating/commiserating the anniversary for the last week…so we thought we'd give you a sampling of what's already out there.

Political parties are saying pretty much what each has been saying over the last year.  Democtrats seem to be keeping quite so far... but those on the "Right" are vocal about their displeasure.

African-Americans in Texas are more likely than whites to die from a host of diseases including diabetes, cancer, and HIV. But efforts to educate minorities about health risks through social media have largely fallen flat. Broadband access is limited in minority communities, government red tape restricts state agencies, and public health groups often fail to engage effectively with their social media followers.

Got Flu Shot?

Mar 1, 2011
Photo by KUT News

Warmer weather...bright sunshine...trees starting to's beginning to look a lot like spring!  But that doesn't mean that flu season's over.

Image courtesy D. Clow-Maryland

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating five infant deaths that have occurred in the past two weeks. Three of those deaths occurred while the child was sleeping with their parents in an adult bed. The other two deaths happened on what investigators call "unconventional sleep surfaces," like large pillow, couches or air mattresses.

Officials want to make sure parents know the ABC's of creating a safe sleeping environment for a child.

Photo courtesy of Chris Martino

Two Democratic lawmakers from Austin have filed bills they say would reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies in Texas.  The legislation would extend the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which provides low-income women with  family planning exams , health screenings, and birth control. 

The program is set to expire this December, and in a press conference this morning, Senator Kirk Watson and Representative Mark Strama said it saves the state $21 million a year by preventing pregnancies.  

Photo by Matt Largey/KUT.

Hundreds of people flocked to Murchison Middle School this morning for the chance to sled on fresh powder.  Cardboard boxes, Tupperware tops and even a Big Wheels tricycle with cardboard duct taped to the wheels passed for sleds.

Meantime, in Butler Park near the Palmer Events Center...

Nathan Bernier/KUT

Power generators kicked on as they were supposed to at Seton Medical Center Williamson and the Seton Edgar B. Davis Hospital, according to spokesperson Matilda Sanchez. Both hospitals are fully functioning.

Austin Regional Clinic, which operates eighteen clinics across Central Texas, has been affected by the rolling outages but is asking patients to keep their appointments. 

Image courtesy Texans Care For Children

With dramatic spending cuts to Texas' limited social services network expected in the upcoming state budget, a new report from an Austin non-profit suggests Texas children are already struggling compared to their United States counterparts.

Image courtesy Thomas Hawk

The Austin Police Department has released its annual list of local bars where drunken driving suspects reported having their last drink before getting behind the wheel.

West 6th Street bars make up the top four establishments on the list, with J. Blacks coming in at number one for the second year in a row. Twenty-nine drunken driving suspects who were arrested told police they had come from J. Blacks in 2010.

Cedar pollen
Image by Emily Donahue for KUT News

It's that time of the year again: the dreaded first three weeks of January when cedar pollen production peaks in Central Texas. People allergic to cedar are suffering particularly hard today because of pollen counts above 2000 grains per liter of air. Counts over 1,500 are considered "very high".  

Purple Stuff
Image courtesy Funktional Beverages

The makers of a legal drink that references a recreational drug say they are expanding distribution to more than 1,200 retail stores including twenty Signature Austin Convenience Stores in and around the city.

Image courtesy Photography

People have a lot going on this time of year. Party planning, family and friends in town, plus thinking about work next year and meeting those New Year’s resolutions.

For some, all of this can be too much. Michelle Magid calls it the holiday blues. She’s a psychiatrist at Seton Shoal Creek Hospital and an assistant professor at UT Southwestern in Dallas.

Little Bear J&D Produce
Image courtesy J&D Produce

A produce distributor in the south Texas town of Edinburg has recalled almost 7,000 cases of cilantro and parsley after samples in Michigan and the Canadian province of Quebec tested positive for salmonella.

Lex Frieden
Image courtesy the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

The University of Texas system is filled with experts researching a wide range of topics, but coordinating them to help the tens of thousands of Texans living with physical disabilities is no easy task. Just ask UT Health professor Lex Frieden. He was handed that responsibility at the beginning of the month. But says he is up for the job. Lex has lived in a wheelchair most of his life, and was one of the architects of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Austin's bustling non-profit community is brimming with need over the holidays. There's no way we can mention them all, but here are four charities that could use your help. Please add your favorite non-profit to support in the comments section below.

AG Abbott greets Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum outside courthouse
Photo courtesy Texas Attorney General

Attorneys General from Texas and 19 other states appeared in federal district court in Florida today to argue over the constitutionality of President Obama's new federal healthcare law.  Today’s oral argument was the final court proceeding for the suit.  U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is expected to rule on the law’s constitutionality sometime next year.

Image courtesy Activia

Ever see one of these Activia Yogurt commercials starring Jamie Lee Curtis?

Hand position for vaccination
Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Texas scored 7 out of 10 in public health emergency readiness, according to a new report issued today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust For America's Health. The study lauds Texas for improving health spending over the past couple years, but warns that the state's looming budget shortfall could reduce our ability to deal with epidemics and bioterrorism.

Image courtesy lambdachialpha

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is applauding a ruling from a federal district court judge in Virginia that invalidates a key provisions of the new health law.

Newborn baby
Image courtesy Nongbri Family