Health

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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Women's Health
5:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Women's Health Program Still Has Provider Problems

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Ben Philpott's story on the WHP providers list.

The new state-funded Texas Women’s Health Program began on Jan. 1. It provides low income women in Texas with basic health screenings and contraception. State officials said the new program began with more capacity to serve clients then the program had when it was federally funded. But at least one state lawmaker believes there’s a problem with the agency’s list of providers.

Austin Democrat Donna Howard has been worried about the Women’s Health Program since the state said it would create its own version of the program. That came after the state moved to exclude clinics affiliated with abortion providers – such as Planned Parenthood – from participating, which led the federal government to announce it was pulling all funding. Howard was worried when she wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services Commission asking for information about new providers.

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Health
5:17 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Texas Takes Over Women's Health Program

The Texas Women's Health Program became fully funded by the state on January 1st.
Texas Tribune

The state of Texas launched its Women’s Health Program this week. Texas is funding the program on its own because the federal government pulled money after the state blocked Planned Parenthood from participating.

The Texas version still serves low income women who would qualify for Medicaid if they became pregnant. It will cover about 110,000 women between 18 and 44 years old with free well-woman exams, basic health and certain family planning services.

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Women's Health
1:56 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Judge OKs Planned Parenthood's Removal From Women's Health Program (Update)

Planned Parenthood’s “Don’t Mess with Texas Women” tour bus made a stop near the University of Texas in Austin in March. A Texas judge OK'd the group's removal from the new Women's Health Program.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Update: Here's a statement from Gov. Rick Perry: 

“Today’s ruling finally clears the way for thousands of low-income Texas women to access much-needed care, while at the same time respecting the values and laws of our state. I applaud all those who stand ready to help these women live healthy lives without sending taxpayer money to abortion providers and their affiliates.”

Original post: A judge has ruled against granting Planned Parenthood a temporary restraining order that would prevent it from being kicked out of the state’s new Women’s Health Program.

Texas officials plan to launch a new program on Jan. 1 that will provide family planning services, well-woman exams and more, but will exclude clinics affiliated with abortion providers – mainly Planned Parenthood, which historically has provided over approximately half the services in the program.

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Health
3:28 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

How Two Doctors Turned a Dashed Anniversary Into an Online Medical Exchange

Doctors Tracey Haas (top) and Tim Gueramy (bottom, left) created Docbook MD for online consulting.
Tim Gueramy and Tracey Haas, docbookmd.com

On the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s likely that your doctor’s office may be closed at some point.

But doctors are never really off. There’s always someone on-call to take care of emergencies. And that someone could be from the Gueramy-Haas household here in Austin. The two-doctor home took some valuable lessons from a day of back-to-back emergencies and turned them into a better way to care for their patients.

Picture this: you’ve been married to the love of your life for almost a year. You’ve carefully selected the restaurant where you’ll have dinner on your anniversary, and you’ve made sure every detail is meaningful. When the big night arrives, everything is just as you’d imagined it: Both of you look sharp. The appetizers arrive. And … we’ll let Tracey Haas take it from here:

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Women's Health
1:29 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Judge to Rule on Planned Parenthood's Inclusion in Women's Health Program (Updated)

Signs reading "Don't Mess With Texas Women," at a rally in support of keeping Planned Parenthood in the new Women's Health Program.
flickr.com/scatx

Update: A decision on whether to allow women in Texas to receive government subsidized health screenings through Planned Parenthood will not be issued until hours before the organization could be cut off by the state.  

Visting judge Gary Harger today delayed a decision until Monday, Dec. 31 at 1:15 p.m. over whether to extend the temporary restraining order requested by Planned Parenthood. The order would ensure continued funding for Planned Parenthood through the Texas Women's Health Program, at least until another hearing on Jan. 11. 

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Women's Health
2:15 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Top Texas Stories of 2012: The War Over Women’s Health

Planned Parenthood supporters rally on the south steps of the Texas Capitol on March 8, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

When state lawmakers pushed to remove Planned Parenthood from Texas’ Women’s Health Program as part of an anti-abortion agenda, some questioned whether the state could absorb the cost of the change.

We still don’t know, because at year’s end, the legal battle over whether Texas can exclude Planned Parenthood – currently the largest provider in the program– is still being fought.

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Health
8:08 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Caution: Walking Under The Influence Of Mobile Devices

He better not be talking to his mom.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:50 pm

Here's an experiment you can try. But please be the scientist and not the test subject.

Watch people cross the street and note whether they're yakking on the phone, texting or bopping to tunes while they do it. If you're really ambitious, time how long it takes them to cross.

This past summer researchers from the University of Washington did it. They watched more than 1,100 pedestrians at the 20 intersections in Seattle that racked up the most pedestrian injuries over the last three years.

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Health
3:51 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Austin HIV Planning Council Looking for Volunteers

A recruitment fair of HIV Planning Council members is tonight at City Hall.
flickr.com/andymccarthyuk

The Austin Area Comprehensive HIV Planning Council is looking for volunteers.

Federal legislation for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program requires “that we have a board with committee members that reflect the make up of the community,” says the council’s John Waller. Recruiting new members is a normal part of the council’s charge, but Waller says with a new chair and other members recently having completed their terms, the council is looking for new members.

The council needs different types of volunteers: HIV positive Austin residents that use programs funded by Ryan White grants; local social and medical service providers; and community leaders.

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Health
1:00 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Buzz Off: Bedbugs Unfazed by Ultrasonic Devices

Bedbugs are becoming a common nuisance in many places. But cheap ultrasonic devices advertised as bedbug repellents don't work, scientists say.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 7:04 am

With bedbugs bunking just about everywhere these days, people battling the bloodsucking insects may be tempted to try their hand at driving them away.

But ultrasonic bug zappers, which retail for less than $25, aren't the solution, say entomologists who tested some of the devices.

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Women's Health
12:01 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Lawmakers Could Restore Family Planning Funds

Microgestin birth control from Planned Parenthood.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

When state lawmakers passed a two-year budget in 2011 that moved $73 million from family planning services to other programs, the goal was largely political: halt the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics.

Now they are facing the policy implications — and, in some cases, reconsidering.

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Women's Health
9:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

'Morning After' Pill Advocates Want Age Rules Revisited

Currently, you need a doctor's prescription to obtain emergency contraception, such as Plan B, if you are younger than 17.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:20 am

Friday marks a not-so-happy anniversary for some of President Obama's biggest supporters: It's exactly one year since Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided not to lift the age restrictions on availability of the so-called morning-after pill, Plan B.

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Pakistan
4:49 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

A Polio Outbreak In Pakistan Reveals Gaps In Vaccination

A child is inoculated with the polio vaccine at a traffic checkpoint just outside Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. Roadside vaccinations help health workers reach children in mobile populations.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:55 am

Pakistan has made a lot of progress this year in wiping out polio. There are signs that one type of poliovirus is gone and transmission of other strains seems to be slowing.

But a recent outbreak of polio there has health officials concerned about the overall effectiveness of the effort to eliminate polio in that country.

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Health
4:25 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Computerized Health Records Breeding Some Digital Discontent

Electronic medical records can have drawbacks, too.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:50 pm

Two years and $8.4 billion into the government's effort to get doctors to take their practices digital, some unintended consequences are starting to emerge.

One is a lot of unhappy doctors. In a big survey by Medscape, an online site for doctors, 38 percent of the doctors polled said they were unhappy with their electronic medical records system.

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Health
8:16 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Texas Cancer Research Agency Gave Out $11M Without Review

A new controversy faces CPRIT.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The state’s cancer research agency has revealed it handed out an $11 million grant without reviewing the proposal.

It’s the latest challenge facing the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT.

The grant was awarded to Peloton Therapeutics in June 2010, making it one of CPRIT's first grants.

The cancer research institute says the oversight was discovered during an internal review.

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Health
8:49 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Texas Researchers Developing New HIV Vaccine

A single-dose vaccine against HIV is being patented by a Texas group.
Amanda Mills, Centers for Disease Control

The San Antonio-based Texas Biomedical Research Institute has applied for a patent for a new genetically engineered HIV vaccine. This new vaccine would provide lifelong protection from the disease with a single dose.

The vaccine is designed to target the cells that line the body’s surface structures. which are the point of entry into the body in approximately 90 percent of HIV cases. Once HIV enters the body through these cells, it quickly spreads to the lymph nodes and other organs, where it replicates throughout the body. The new vaccine would stimulate the body’s outer layers and cells to generate cells that produce antibodies to HIV. 

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Health
8:59 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Pflugerville Lifts Boil Water Notice (Update)

Some Pflugerville residents should boil tap water or drink bottled until further notice.
flickr.com/ag2r

Update: The City of Pflugerville says “The boil water notice is now lifted. Chlorine levels are now at required levels and water is safe to drink.” You can read more here.

Original post (Nov. 20, 7:02 a.m.): The City of Pflugerville is telling people in several subdivisions to boil their water until further notice. The city says a routine check of  the water revealed the chlorine level is too low.

People who live in Pflugerville Heights, Spring Trails, Springbrook and Enclave should boil tap water for at least two minutes before drinking, cooking and making ice.

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Health
3:19 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Holiday Shoppers, Read This Report on Dangerous Toys

Joy Diaz, KUT News

The holiday shopping season is here. But a consumer advocacy group wants to make sure you don’t buy toys that could endanger the health of children.

One example is the Fisher‑Price Dora the Explorer Guitar pictured above, according to Ilya Slavinski with the Texas Public Interest Research Group. 

“The National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders recommends that no toy should be above 85 decibels. And this Dora Guitar clocked in at 93 decibels,” Slavinski said. “It’s dangerous and can lead to hearing loss.”

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Health Care
4:31 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Computer Issues May Complicate Launch Of Health Insurance Exchanges

Problems with a computer system could delay work on health insurance exchanges.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 2:34 pm

Online insurance markets set to begin selling health coverage to consumers next October may be hampered by software delays.

State regulators learned late last week that an electronic system most insurers will use to submit their policies for state and federal approvals won't be ready for testing next month, as originally planned. The lag is being blamed on the wait for several regulations from the Obama administration that are needed to update the software.

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