Health

Health
4:51 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

So Far, Texas Sees Fewer West Nile Cases Compared to Last Year

Texas has seen only half the amount of West Nile Virus cases compared to this time last year, but the Department of State Health Services says the virus is unpredictable and could increase as summer swelters on.
flickr.com/nagamori

After an unprecedented outbreak of West Nile virus in Texas last year, the state has seen half of the reported cases compared to this time last year.

But, despite the decrease, the Department of State Health Services says environmental factors and the disease's unpredictability don't necessarily guarantee a safe summer for Texans.

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Health
1:38 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Austin African-Americans Face Mental Health Care Barriers

Some mental health professionals have found difficulty among African American in Austin. The Hogg Foundation is looking to address concerns of both patients and caregivers.
ocw.jhsph.edu/

Yesterday was Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates progress and societal advancement of African-Americans in Texas. While there is plenty to celebrate, some advocates in Austin are still trying to promote mental health and overcome treatment barriers for African-Americans in Austin.

And, although African-Americans are just as likely to encounter mental health problems as the rest of the population, there are fewer options when it comes to seeking help.  

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LGBT
10:58 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Growing Up Gay and In the Closet: One Austin Woman's Story

LGBTQ Youth are more likely to have suicidal thoughts or behavior than heterosexual youth. A Town Hall will be held tonight to discuss the issue.
flickr.com/mr-pi

Austin resident Alyshia Foster grew up outside Dallas. When she was nine, she started taking medication to deal with depression.

“There had been this festering ugliness and self-hatred and I felt it was killing everything beautiful about it and I didn’t know what it was," Foster said.

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HPV
5:09 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Study Finds College Students Misinformed on HPV Risks

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the nation. About 75 percent of Americans will contract the virus during their lifetime, and younger populations face the greatest risk.

Research indicates that almost three quarters of new HPV infections occur in people between 15 and 24 years old. But a recent study conducted by researchers at Texas State University found that many college students are unaware of or misinformed about the risks posed by HPV.

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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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Women's Health
2:37 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Judge Reluctantly Approves Government Plan For Morning-After Pill

This brand may have a near-monopoly in emergency contraception.
AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:11 pm

An obviously unhappy Judge Edward Korman has approved the Obama administration's proposal to make just one formulation of the morning-after birth control pill available over the counter without age restrictions.

But in a testily worded six-page memorandum, the federal district judge made it clear he is not particularly pleased with the outcome. He has been overseeing the case in one way or another for more than eight years.

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Health
10:05 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Texas Ranks 39th in National Survey of Senior Health

According to a national study, Texas has one of the highest rates of poverty among senior citizens.
flickr.com/safari_vacation

Texas and its capitol city are increasingly touted as great retirement destinations. But according to a recent study, the state ranks 48th in money spent on senior healthcare and 39th overall, in a national survey by United Health Foundation.

The study from the health care giant found that 820,000 Texas seniors were physically inactive, which led to nearly 20 percent of seniors spending at least a week in intensive care in the final six months of their lives.

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Health
11:15 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Austin's Uninsured Food Workers Might Get Some Relief

Diners enjoy a fundraiser crawfish boil at Lenoir in April, part of a series of events raising money for uninsured service industry workers.
Courtesy Austin Food For Life

Austin's food scene is booming, but how are its workers faring?

The city has long had HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians) as a stopgap for musicians without health care. As Austin’s food scene rises to national prominence, Karla Loeb and her partner Brian Stubbs have seen a similar need for the city's chefs, busboys, servers and even farmers.

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Health
9:00 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Protesters Get Unexpected Medicaid Meeting with Gov. Perry

Connie Paredes with the Texas Organizing Project spoke to the media after she had a conversation with Gov. Rick Perry about Medicaid expansion on May 22, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Health care protestors who interrupted Gov. Rick Perry during a speech yesterday afternoon were surprised that he offered to meet with them in exchange for letting him continue his talk.   

Gov. Perry has called Medicaid “broken” and a “fool’s errand.” Despite his adamant stance against expanding the entitlement program, at least 20 protesters with the Texas Organizing Project wanted to discuss it with him.

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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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Hunger
7:32 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Non-Profit Asks Travis County for Money to Deliver 10,500 Meals

http://facebook.com/mealsonwheelsaustin

A non-profit organization that provides food to elderly and homebound people is asking Travis County for money to help deal with the sequester. Those across-the-board federal spending cuts include about $120,000 that would have gone to a local Meals on Wheels program that pays for food to be delivered to senior centers run by the city or the county. 

The organization is requesting $61,000 from Travis County to pay for the "Congregate Meals Program." 

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Families
5:08 am
Wed May 15, 2013

New Center Can Supervise Court-Ordered Parental Visits

Flickr/Camilla Nilsson http://www.flickr.com/photos/49365126@N07/5489383908/

Victims of spousal abuse in Austin have a new option if their children are to receive supervised visits with the other parent. Travis County has opened PlanetSafe at 11th and Nueces, a supervised visitation and safe exchange center.  Its grand opening is today. 

The facility is operated by the local non-profit Safe Place, and was established with the help of $600,000 in federal grants from the Office of Violence Against Women. Travis County supplied the use of the building for a nominal rent and is paying for staffing. 

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Health
7:16 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Should Legal Blood Alcohol Limit Be Lowered?

Mock DWI Crash
Flickr/Shanana Rain Golden-Bear http://www.flickr.com/photos/52283904@N04/7630626680/

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on states to toughen drunk driving laws, but Mothers Against Drunk Driving says there are better ways to fight drinking and driving.

The NTSB recommends lowering the legal blood alcohol limit to 0.05 percent from the current 0.08 percent.

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Health
6:52 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Health Officials Warn to Reduce Consumption of These Gulf Fish

Small shark hooked in Gulf of Mexico
Flickr, Jim Mullhaupt http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimpic/7808892188/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Texas health authorities are expanding their warning that some people should not eat certain fish from the Gulf of Mexico.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says high levels of mercury mean women of childbearing age and children 12 and younger should eat no amount of species, including Blackfin tuna, blue marlin, king mackerel, wahoo, shark or swordfish.

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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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Health
7:38 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Austin Wants Your Old Drugs

The City of Austin wants to help you dispose of expired drugs.
Bobby Blanchard/KUT News

The City of Austin is offering a free, easy and anonymous way to dispose of expired prescription drugs.

The city will host its annual drug take-back day this Saturday at three locations around town, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The three take-back locations in Austin are Cornerstone Church, City of Austin Household Hazardous Waste Facility and Barton Creek Square Mall. At these locations, residents can anonymously drop of drugs and syringes in a way that is environmentally safe.

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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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Health
7:44 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Military Suicides: A Story From the Edge

Andrew O'Brien is trying to draw attention to PTSD and suicide among soldiers.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Almost once every hour a U.S. military veteran takes his or her life. The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that 22 veterans commit suicide every day, on average.

Austin veteran Andrew O’Brien almost become one of them. He survived a suicide attempt in 2010, after returning from a 12-month deployment to Iraq. Now he’s telling his story to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder and military suicides. 

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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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Health
5:00 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Take Two Aspirin and Call... Yourself: The Technology and Ethics of Self Diagnosis

Dr. Andrew Ellington teaches Biochemistry at UT-Austin and says the time and available technology are right for expanding people's access to tools for diagnosing illness themselves, before visiting a doctor..
University of Texas at Austin

Imagine this scenario: your throat aches; you're sneezing; and you feel chilly and fatigued. A cold? Maybe. The flu? Possibly. You sneeze into a specially formulated tissue, and the resulting color transformation in the tissue gives you your answer.

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