Health/Science/Tech | KERA News

Health/Science/Tech

Every week, KERA explores the latest in health, science and technology in North Texas through two main series, Vital Signs and Breakthroughs.

Charts at UNT Health Science Center's Human Movement Performance Lab.
Credit Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

Vital Signs

In Vital Signs, Sam Baker taps into the expertise of local health care leaders to provide insight into your everyday health and well-being.

Breakthroughs

In Breakthroughs, KERA reporters delve into the latest health-related technologies developed in North Texas and across the state. From the Zika virus to fried chicken, no scientific topic is off limits. 

Learn more in-depth multimedia projects: Surviving Ebola, a look at how Ebola made its way to Dallas and the lessons local hospitals and governments learned; Growing Up After Cancer, the journey of one North Texas boy with cancer; and The Broken Hip, an in-depth look at how a fall can change everything. 

El Paso residents place flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Saturday mass shooting at a shopping complex.
Associated Press

News of the El Paso shooting hit close to home for Julio Acosta. His family came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was two, and he grew up in North Texas, where the suspected shooter lived.

Acosta sees the attack as the culmination of ongoing anti-immigrant attitudes and policies.

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The Texas heat makes air conditioning nothing less than a necessity, but it also can make for health-related problems if you’re not careful.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

One in 6 people will have a mood disorder, according to a new UT Southwestern study that looks at how the medical community can better treat depression. UT Southwestern's Dr. Madhukar Trivedi talks with KERA's Think host Krys Boyd about the people we should look to for early detection -- primary care physicians.

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Individual household cleaning products are considered safe when handled correctly. But the North Texas Poison Center says mixing any of them is a bad idea.

Could it happen here? It's a question a lot of people ask in the wake of a traumatic event.

Even if you're not directly connected to the events in El Paso, Gilroy or Dayton, chances are you've felt the weight of them.

Melody Stout and Hannah Payan comfort each other during a vigil Saturday night for victims of the El Paso shooting.
Associated Press

Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas needs to do a better job of addressing its mental health care challenges after a deadly mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart.

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More than 3 million people are diagnosed each year with the spinal disorder spondylolisthesis, in which  one bone slips onto another. It can impact both adults and children and is common among teenagers involved in athletics.

New research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last month is shedding light on why the disease affects more women than men.

According to the association, two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women, and researchers point to a number of factors that could contribute to this discrepancy.

At the dedication of the St. Dymphna Center at the St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Dripping Springs last February, Father Charlie Garza told parishioners the story of Christopher Rosilier, who had “set the tone” for the previous five years of his pastoral work.

Carter Blood Care

Time's running short for Carter BloodCare. The Texas-based blood bank says blood collections are not keeping pace with transfusion needs of hospital patients.

www.medtronic.com

About 250,000 people each year get pacemakers implanted to help maintain a steady heartbeat. Infection rates from the procedure are low in the U.S. But a simple mesh envelope is helping to reduce that rate further. 

Syeda Hasan

At the Terrell State Hospital, about 30 miles east of Dallas, there are now 20 more inpatient beds for veterans in need of psychiatric care.

Graduate student Shahab Haghayegh has long had trouble sleeping. But when the biomedical engineering student began his doctoral program at the University of Texas at Austin five years ago, his issues worsened. "I would go to bed at 3 or 4 a.m. and wake up at 8 a.m.," he says. The exhausted Haghayegh was getting an average of just 4 or 5 hours sleep a night.

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A new study disputes previous ideas about a link between vitamin D and cardiovascular disease.  A North Texas cardiologist talks about what prompted the idea in the first place.

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working to make health care more efficient and accessible. The MISSION Act, which went into effect last month, allows those enrolled in the VA health care system to visit approved "community care providers."

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met with other health care leaders in Austin on Tuesday to discuss the need for "disruptive" strategies to address the growing number of HIV infections in Central Texas.

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Summer heat in Texas at or near 100 degrees is uncomfortable, but also dangerous if you’re not careful. An emergency medicine physician warns not to take the heat for granted.

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Overthinking is not in itself a medical term, but research shows the habit can have real impacts on our well-being. Oftentimes, overthinking involves focusing on the negative — rehashing the past, dwelling on bad experiences or worrying about the future.

Associated Press

The federal government is warning Americans to brace for a "floodier" future.

Government scientists predict 40 places in the U.S. will experience higher than normal rates of so-called sunny day flooding this year because of rising sea levels and an abnormal El Nino weather system.

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A vaccination can prevent 90% of cancers caused by human papillomavirus or HPV. But Texas has been slow to embrace it. Denton County's public health director looks to his own region for possible reasons for the low vaccination rates.

From Texas Standard:

Texas Standard has covered the dangers nurdles pose to marine life on the Texas coast. Now, the Texas Observer reports that Formosa Plastics, a petrochemical company outside of Port Lavaca, can be held liable for violating state and federal pollution laws after a federal judge ruled against the company last week.

Nurdles are small pieces of plastic that look like hail.

Associated Press

After a motorcycle accident and the surgeries that followed, Travis Rieder became addicted to pain medications. Rieder, director of the Master of Bioethics degree program at Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, talks about the agonizing process of weaning himself off the drugs. 

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New scientific evidence suggests the blue light coming from LED lighting may be harmful to your eyes. There are preventive steps you can take. But a local ophthalmologist thinks it’s not cause for worry.

Vanessa Fernandes

Vanessa Fernandes and her son Armande Patel are about to talk for the first time about what their family went through in 2015. They sit at a conference room table, tucked away on the first floor of a shopping mall where Fernandes is an executive at a major retail store. Her son is in college, studying finance. 

From Texas Standard:

For some Texans, a mosquito bite can cause more than just an itch. From yellow fever to West Nile virus, there's a long history of mosquito-borne diseases in Texas, some of them causing serious harm or even death.

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Previous research has warned about consuming too many sugary drinks. But a new study has linked sugary drinks and supposedly healthier natural fruit juices to an increased risk of premature death.

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The way we navigate the world has transformed with the advent of GPS devices, but some researchers say overreliance on that technology can affect our natural wayfinding abilities. 

Dr. Louise Aronson says the U.S. doesn't have nearly enough geriatricians — physicians devoted to the health and care of older people: "There may be maybe six or seven thousand geriatricians," she says. "Compare that to the membership of the pediatric society, which is about 70,000."

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Cardiogenic shock happens when your heart suddenly can't pump enough blood to your body. Whether it results from a severe heart attack or not, cardiogenic shock can be deadly if it's not treated immediately.

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The World Health Organization has redefined burnout as a syndrome tied to chronic workplace stress that "has not been successfully managed."

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