Health/Science/Tech | KERA News


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.


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. 

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Like many North Texans, Erin Peavey is spending more time at home these days. She and her family have made changes to their daily routine.


People still buy milk from cows, but far less than before. Here's an expert's look at why and whether milk’s still essential to our diets.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Billy Bob’s Texas is best known for bull riding, boot scooting, country singing and beer drinking. But like everywhere these days, when crowds of more than 10 people are a public health concern, the party’s on pause at the world’s largest Honky Tonk. This weekend, though, the entertainment complex is taking on a critical role for North Texas: helping replenish the region’s blood supply.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gives an update on the coronavirus at an earlier press conference on March 13, 2020.
Eric Gay / Associated Press

Governor Greg Abbott announced Wednesday afternoon that hospitals across the state are preparing for a rise in cases and that there will be an increase in statewide testing capacity for COVID-19.

2016 Dallas Homeless Camp
Tony Gutierrez / The Associated Press

The homeless population, including the thousands in Dallas, are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. Organizations serving them are seeking new and safer ways help.

doctor's office

This story is part of the KERA One Crisis Away series, Coronavirus And Life On The Financial Edge.

The fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic is putting into sharp focus the ways inequality makes responding to disease outbreaks more challenging. As public health and other officials seek to limit the spread of the virus, the decisions they make and the guidance they offer may be undermined by the large number of Texans living on the financial edge.


As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, public and private health care providers in North Texas are launching drive-thru COVID-19 testing centers, but the capacity for testing remains limited. 

Hypertension disproportionately affects African Americans at a higher rate, and hypertension is a risk factor for left ventricular hypertrophy.

Left ventricular hypertrophy, a thickening in the main pump chamber of the heart, strikes African Americans at a higher rate.

Long lines at Customs at DFW International on Saturday.

"I spent three or more hours in the most disgusting close contact with strangers that I've ever experienced."

That's what 21-year-old Californian Emma Swaim said about her Saturday night ordeal waiting in customs at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Denton resident Amanda Dolin and her children keep an open dialogue about how they're feeling.
Amanda Dolin

Growing up, Denton resident Amanda Dolin didn't understand why her mother spent days crying and struggling to get out of bed. Dolin wondered if she'd done something wrong, and she tried and failed to cheer her mother up.

"I knew that she was sick, but as a child, I didn't have a name for it," Dolin said.

Dolin's mother was diagnosed with depression, and eventually, she found effective treatment. When Dolin was a teenager, she began seeing a psychiatrist. That's when it clicked that she wasn't to blame for her mother's sadness.

Elizabeth Myong

As 34-year-old Lang Nguyen stood in line to vote in Irving last week, he took a sip of water and began to choke. 

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

The leading Democratic presidential candidates slammed the Trump administration on Thursday for its response to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

An electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Associated Press

Officials in Dallas and Tarrant counties have reported their first "presumptive positive" cases of coronavirus.

Coronavirus under microscope
National Institutes of Health / Via Associated Press

Collin County officials have confirmed two additional cases of coronavirus. They are family members of the Frisco man identified Monday as a “presumptive positive” case. 

Christian Gutierrez
Mark Felix / For The Texas Tribune

For Christian Gutierrez, preparing for a coronavirus outbreak is as much a financial consideration as it is a health one.

At what point should the Houston-area Latin dance instructor cancel his classes and forego his bread-and-butter income? If he feels sick with flu-like symptoms, should he take the over-the-counter cough medicine he’s stocked up on, or should he pay out of pocket to see a doctor about COVID-19 testing?


As city, county and state agencies make preparations for a possible spread of coronavirus throughout Texas, there are steps the public can take to help keep the virus at bay.

Ted Cruz
Senate Televison / Via Associated Press

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz said Sunday he will remain at his home in Texas after learning that he shook hands and briefly chatted with a man in suburban Washington who has tested positive for coronavirus.

11 Houston Hospital Workers Self-Quarantined After Contact With COVID-19 Patient

Mar 8, 2020
Memorial Herman Hospital
Macie Kelly / Houston Public Media

Eleven healthcare workers at Houston's Memorial Hermann are under self-quarantine for 14 days after learning they were in direct contact with a patient who later tested positive for COVID-19, the hospital announced Saturday. 

Office Of The Governor

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday that six of the state's 10 public health labs can now test for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Alan Diaz / Associated Press

At the University of Texas at Dallas Thursday afternoon, students walked around the campus wearing shorts and sandals, soaking in the sunny, 70-degree temperatures — ideal spring break weather.

For those going out of town for the break, coronavirus didn't seem to be a concern. 

Gao Xiang / Xinhua via Associated Press

As the coronavirus spreads worldwide, more than 90,000 cases have been reported and 3,000 people have died. But as U.S. states like Texas begin to take precautions against the virus, fear and misinformation about the threat grows.

Leena Robinson / Shutterstock

Tarrant County is getting ready for the potential spread of the new coronavirus in North Texas by preparing to test for the virus locally and updating the county's pandemic response plan.

scientist demonstrating test for new coronavirus
California Department of Public Health / Via Associated Press

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) now has the capability to test locally for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. It is the first lab in Texas to have local testing capability, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Editor's note, 6:05 p.m., March 16: This story will no longer be updated. Find our new U.S. map of coronavirus cases here.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. on March 13

An ambulance worker adjusts her protective mask
Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

School districts and counties across North Texas are preparing in case the new coronavirus makes its way to the region.

There have been no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus illness COVID-19 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Officials have announced nine deaths from the illness in Washington state, and New York and New Hampshire each announced a new diagnosed case. The virus is believed to have spread undetected in Washington state for many weeks. 

A man blocks the view as a person is taken by a stretcher to a waiting ambulance from a nursing facility where more than 50 people are sick and being tested for the COVID-19 virus
Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Health officials in Washington state said Sunday night that a second person had died from the coronavirus — a man in his 70s from a nursing facility near Seattle where dozens of people were sick and had been tested for the virus.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Doctors at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have developed a new approach for single breast reconstruction using a patient's own body tissue.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

A 96-inch water main burst in Houston Thursday. The result: Flooded streets, low water pressure, and water outages.

Certain physical symptoms may signal heart disease, but its not always clear. An intervention cardiologist talked with KERA Vital Signs host Sam Baker about clues that may indicate you have heart disease when you don’t have symptoms.

Dr. Philip Huang knows North Texans are worried about the potential spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.