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. 

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."

Bonnielin Swenor has devoted her life to studying visual impairment in older adults. But for a long time, she didn't often discuss the motivation fueling her work — that she herself has low vision.

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In response to the nation’s opioid crisis, Baylor Scott &White Fort Worth's emergency department is among a growing number across the country choosing to reduce their use of opioids to manage pain.

National Weather Service meteorologists noticed something puzzling on their radar screens in Southern California on Tuesday evening — a big green blob.

"It was very strange because it was a relatively clear day and we weren't really expecting any rain or thunderstorms," Casey Oswant, a NWS meteorologist in San Diego, tells NPR. "But on our radar, we were seeing something that indicated there was something out there."

Associated Press

New research shows fatal falls have nearly tripled in older Americans in recent years, rising to more than 25,000 deaths yearly.

Victoria Girgis was leading a public outreach session at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., when one of her guests noticed a string of lights moving high overhead.

"Occasionally, you'll see satellites, and they look kind of like shooting stars moving through the sky," Girgis says. "But this was a whole line of them all moving together."

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A recent study of people 65 and older found stroke survivors four times more likely to suffer a fracture than someone with no history of stroke.

Associated Press

Dr. Shaili Jain is a psychiatrist and post-traumatic stress disorder specialist at one of America’s top hospitals run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She joins Krys Boyd, host of KERA's Think, to talk about how the condition affects many aspects of sufferers’ lives – and about cutting-edge research that’s providing hope.

What's Doctor Burnout Costing America?

May 31, 2019

Doctor burnout is costing the U.S. health care system a lot — roughly $4.6 billion a year, according to a study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Everybody who goes into medicine knows that it's a stressful career and that it's a lot of hard work," says Lotte Dyrbye, a physician and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who co-authored the study.

School can be tough on kids who have overweight or obesity. They're often cruelly teased and bullied. And this type of bullying may lead to long-term consequences, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

The recent death of a Guatemalan child after a flu outbreak at the Customs and Border Protection Centralized Processing Center in McAllen is unsurprising, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.


No One Knows Why Rural East Texas Faces High Suicide Rates. And Resources To Help Are Scarce.

May 29, 2019
Christopher Collins / Texas Observer via The Texas Tribune

 

Under the Texas Capitol dome in the Rotunda.
State of Texas

State lawmakers have breathed new life into a major mental health bill with bipartisan support, after it was temporarily struck down by a North Texas Tea Party leader.

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Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Health have developed a new screening approach that can more quickly identify diseases hard to diagnose in kids.

Jason Dyke and his "bus family" get together for Texas A&M football games every year. Dyke says the encouragement and practical help they gave him after the death of one of his sons were inspirations for Carson's VIllage.
Courtesy Jason Dyke

Jason Dyke is a proud Aggie. Visit his home in Coppell, and you're greeted with a maroon Texas A&M University flag outside the front door. About 15 years ago, he and some of his college friends pooled their money and bought an old Texas A&M school bus. Dyke calls them his "bus family." 

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The American Diabetes Association has launched a public awareness campaign in Dallas County to battle an ongoing high rate of type 2 diabetes.

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