Health

Women's Health
12:38 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

'We Have No Choice': A Story Of The Texas Sonogram Law

iStockPhoto

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:19 am

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. But in some states, access to facilities that perform abortions remains limited.

In part, that stems from another Supreme Court ruling from 20 years ago that let states impose regulations that don't cause an "undue burden" on a woman's abortion rights.

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Health
5:29 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Cedar Fever: Why its Late and What to Do Now That its Here

Cedar fever season has finally arrived, much to everyone's disappointment.
flickr.com/23959586@N00/

The cedar fever season might have arrived a little late this year, but it is packing a punch now that it is here.

The Allergy and Asthma Center in Georgetown reported a pollen count of 6,646 grains per liter of air on Monday, a new high for the season. Caused by the pollen of mountain cedar (or ashe juniper) trees, cedar fever plagues Central Texas every winter, leaving its victims with a cough, sore throat, and a runny nose.

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Health
8:38 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Smoking Ban Proposed For Patios - And Its Backers May Surprise You

A city official says the ban is aimed at protecting children.
courtesy flickr.com/lindseykone/

Fewer than 1 in 5 Austinites identifies as a smoker, according to the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. And those who smoke are finding it harder to do so -- Austin bars, restaurants and parks ban smoking. Major employers like UT and Samsung prohibit smoking on their campuses.

Now there’s a push to ban smoking at bar and restaurant patios as well.

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Health
4:24 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Fees Waived for Water Coolers' Return to Hike and Bike Trail

Water coolers are poised to return to Austin's hike and bike trails, after the city waived permitting fees for the inspection process.
flickr.com/leftymgp

The familiar orange water coolers are poised to return to Austin’s hike and bike trail, after the city council agreed today to waive permitting fees for the businesses that operate the watering stations.

RunTex has been bringing water to Lady Bird Lake since 1990, but the coolers were removed last November after concerns about their security and sanitation. 

Paul Carrozza of RunTex estimates that his store spends $100,000 a year transporting water and ice to the trails. The store spends $3,000 a month in paper cups alone. 

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Health
4:08 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

UT Researchers Create New Bacteria Designed to Improve Vaccinations

Sixty-one new strains of bacteria created by UT researchers may improve vaccinations.
flickr.com/v1ctor

UT researchers have developed 61 new strains of genetically-engineered bacteria, which they say could improve and transform vaccines.

The strains of E. Coli are part of a new class of adjuvants, which are substances mixed in with vaccines that stimulate and improve the human body’s immune response to vaccinations. M. Stephen Trent, an associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at UT who worked on the research, said these new strains gives the medical field more options for vaccine development.

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Health
4:03 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Tamiflu Drug Availability Becomes Spotty in Texas

The Texas Department of State Health Services is encouraging people to get vaccinated as the flu continues to spread in Texas.
flickr.com/sanofi-pasteur

An early, widespread flu outbreak in Texas is putting a strain on the supply of the antiviral drug Tamiflu, a Texas Department of State Health Services spokesperson said Wednesday.

Tamiflu is a prescription drug that both fights flu symptoms and prevents the spread of the flu to the rest of the body. But because of Texas’ flu outbreak, Texas Department of State Health Services spokesperson Chris Van Deusen said there are small spot shortages of the drug.

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Health
1:56 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Possible EMS Program Would Expand Coverage

Flickr user edolnx, bit.ly/ZDRVTb

The Commissioners Court didn’t renew an Austin/Travis County EMS contract last night. They’ll wait until next week to do that. But county commissioners did show some love for a new proposal that would create a unit of paramedics roaming the city in trucks tending to those sick and injured Austinites in need of assistance.

Sounds familiar right? Strangely enough, they’re not ambulances. 

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Health
5:15 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Does Texas Rank Last in Mental Health Spending?

Texans gather outside the Capitol for a rally in support of mental health funding.
flickr.com/photos/ranchocanyon

Politifact: Does Texas Rank Last in Mental Health Spending?

Today President Obama is expected to release details of proposals from a gun violence task force convened in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings.

In the days following Sandy Hook, many experts and pundits spoke of the need for better mental health care and screening.

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Family Violence
4:53 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Local Nonprofits Join Forces to Address Family Violence

Two non-profits that deal with family violence are merging into the LIFT Alliance.
liftalliance.org
  • SafePlace and Austin Children's Shelter are coming together to form LIFT Alliance.

 Audio FileSafePlace and Austin Children's Shelter form LIFT AllianceEdit | Remove

Family violence affects more than 18,000 Austin women and children each year. Now two local non-profit groups are joining forces to address the problem.

SafePlace and Austin Children’s Shelter are coming together to form LIFT Alliance. The alliance will allow kids at the Austin Children’s Shelter to attend a school operated by SafePlace. In return, clients at SafePlace can take part in the teen parenting program at the children’s shelter.

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Military
5:49 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

U.S. Military's Suicide Rate Surpassed Combat Deaths In 2012

U.S. military suicides rose in 2012. Here, the Army's "Generating Health and Discipline in the Force" report, right, is seen last January. The reports was a follow-up to its "Health Promotion/Risk Reduction/Suicide Prevention" report.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 5:47 am

The number of suicide deaths in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year — more than the 295 Americans who died fighting in Afghanistan in 2012. The numbers were first reported by the AP; NPR has confirmed them.

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Health
11:15 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Hispanics Less Likely to Get Flu Shot

Hispanic adults are less likely to get vaccinated for the flu than non-Hispanic whites.
CDC/ Judy Schmidt

Hospitals and clinics in Austin and Travis County are reporting high levels of flu activity. Across Texas, six kids have died so far this year from flu-related illnesses.

Doctors say the best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Hispanics are 10 percent less likely to get vaccinated than non-Hispanic whites. According to a CDC survey, in March of 2012, less than 40 percent of Hispanic adults had been vaccinated. That's compared to around 50 percent of non-Hispanic white adults.

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Health
5:27 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Planned Parenthood Loses Bid for Injunction

Nicole Griffis, nurse practitioner, consults with a patient at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas.
Tamir Kalifa/Texas Tribune

Updated, Friday, 4:55 p.m.:

Travis County District Judge Stephen Yelenosky on Friday refused to grant Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary injunction to be included in the Texas Women’s Health Program. 

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Health
8:04 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Feeling Miserable? You're Not Alone, And The Flu Epidemic Has Yet To Peak

Reaching for relief: A customer at a pharmacy in New York City was grabbing some medicine on Thursday.
Andrew Kelly Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 10:50 am

If you haven't caught the flu yet or don't know someone who has, you might want to buy a lottery ticket today. You're one lucky person.

As The Associated Press writes, "from the Rocky Mountains to New England, hospitals are swamped with people with flu symptoms." More than 40 states report "widespread" outbreaks. The flu's been blamed for the deaths of at least 20 children, the AP adds.

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Health
5:48 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Checking Numbers on Orthodontia Spending

The state spent $184 million in 2010 on braces for kids under Medicaid.
via http://www.flickr.com/people/36948558@N03/

A new study by the Pew Center on the States gave Texas a D for its pediatric dental health, as a leading state legislator says the state of Texas spent more Medicaid money on orthodontia for children than all the other states combined.

The Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact unit wondered about that.
And KUT’s Emily Donahue spoke with Gardner Selby of the Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas to get the scoop.

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Health
5:53 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Does Texas Medicaid Spend Too Much on Braces?

Does Texas account for more Medicaid dental costs than any other state?

A new study by The Pew Center on the States gave Texas “D” for its pediatric dental health.  This as a leading state legislator says the state of Texas spent more Medicaid money on orthodontia for children than all the other states--combined.

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health
6:40 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Texas Low-Income Children Lack Dental Care

Low-income children often don't have school-based dental sealant programs.
flickr.com/steveritchie

A new report grading states on dental health gives Texas low marks when it comes to providing low-income children with dental care. The report from the Pew Center on the States finds Texas has been slow to improve access to dental sealants – which can prevent cavities.

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Health
5:59 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Can You Get A Flu Shot And Still Get The Flu?

Shea Catlin, a nurse practitioner, doses out flu vaccine to give a shot at a CVS Minute Clinic in Arlington, Va., on Jan. 3.
Barbara L. Salisbury The Washington Times/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:06 am

This year's flu season started about a month early, prompting federal health officials to warn it could be one of the worst in years. They're urging everyone to get their flu shots.

But like every flu season, there are lots of reports of people complaining that they got their shot but still got the flu. What's up with that?

Well, as Michael Jhung of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, there are lots of possible reasons.

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Women's Health
7:21 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

HHSC: New Women's Health Program Has Enough Providers

Nicole Griffis, nurse practitioner, consults with a patient at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas.
Tamir Kalifa, Texas Tribune

The Health and Human Services Commission on Monday said a new survey it commissioned shows the Texas Women’s Health Program has a greater capacity to serve impoverished women than its predecessor, a joint state-federal program that ended after the state moved to exclude clinics affiliated with abortion providers. 

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Health
7:13 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Why Exercise May Do A Teenage Mind Good

Members of the boys basketball team from Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, celebrate their 2012 state championship victory. Psychological research shows that sports camaraderie improves teenagers' mental health.
Charles Pulliam AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:02 am

It's well known that routine physical activity benefits both body and mind. And there are no age limits. Both children and adults can reap big benefits.

Now a study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, explores whether certain factors may help to explain the value of daily physical activity for adolescents' mental health.

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Health
5:01 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

New Facility for Alzheimer's Patients Not Nearly Enough

A new facility for older Austinites is scheduled to open soon in south Austin. It will serve those with memory impairments like Alzheimer’s or dementia. The “Silverado Senior Living” plans to house 90 people.  Right now, the only facilities like it are in Round Rock.  But, the needs of Austin’s elderly population continue to grow at a fast pace.

Silverado Senior Living is a private facility. Loren Shook is the company’s CEO.  He says “there are thousands of people within the city of Austin that are suffering from this disease [Alzheimer’s] and we are very confident there is sufficient resources in the market for people to afford our services ”

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