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. 

UNT Health Science Center

Studies suggest that Mexican-Americans have an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. They're about 1.5 times more likely to develop the disease than non-Hispanic white Americans.

Researchers at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth are trying to find out why.

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Your blood pressure reads higher at a clinic than in other settings. Many thought white coat hypertension was simply stress or nerves, but a recent study suggests there may be more to it.

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Exercise can play an important role in maintaining physical health. But it also can contribute to your mental well-being. 

UT Southwestern

We're learning more about depression and its impact on our daily lives, but there's still a long way to go when it comes to understanding how it affects teenagers, specifically.

Dr. Madhukar Trivedi with UT Southwestern Medical Center is leading a program in North Texas schools as part of long-term research to identify, study and treat teenagers with or at risk for depression.

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Artificial sweeteners are great for maintaining taste while cutting the calories, but they can work against you if you’re not careful.

Samantha Blackwell was working her way through a master's degree at Cleveland State University when she found out she was pregnant.

"I was 25, in really good health. I had been an athlete all my life. I threw shot put for my college, so I was in my prime," she says with a laugh.

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Sugar-sweetened beverages are leading sources of added sugars in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But many aren't aware just how much sugar is in every swallow. Too much can lead to health problems. 

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The rising use of e-cigarettes among teenagers has doctors worried about long-term health risks and calling for more regulation of the devices.

A hundred years ago, the world was struck by a nightmare scenario.

World War I was still raging. And then a suspicious disease appeared.

Tim Park for The Texas Tribune

Texas served thousands more people in its women’s health and family planning programs last year compared to the year before. But it’s impossible to say if the number of women accessing such services has returned to the levels they were at before massive budget cuts during the 2011 legislative session.

Brandon Wade / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

North Texas seems to be a prime place for dinosaur discovery, with numerous fossils spotted through the years by professional paleontologists and avid collectors alike. Among the most recent finds: a prehistoric crocodile that apparently liked to eat dinosaurs.

Courtesy of Parkland Hospital

At last month’s State of the Homeless address, Cindy Crain, the outgoing president and CEO of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, confirmed one of the demographic trends that has worried her the most: The homeless in Dallas are getting older and sicker.

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Cancer treatment often involves chemotherapy and other toxic drugs, but a recent study again suggests hope of an organic approach.

In the study, Ajay Goel, director of gastrointestinal research at the Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, found that grape seed extract can fight colon cancer.

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Physical fitness, diet and mental stimulation all contribute to good brain health. But you also need water — and lots of it.

On average, the human body contains about 60 percent water. Nearly all bodily systems depend on it, including the brain.

Courtesy of UT Dallas

Along with our basic needs for nutrition, how we feel can play a role in what we choose to eat and how much we eat. A new study from the University of Texas at Dallas examines the reasons behind "emotional eating" with a focus on kids and how dietary habits develop in early childhood. 

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A recently published study of 191 women found those who were highly fit in middle age decreased their risk for dementia by 88 percent compared to those who were moderately fit.

As opioid-related deaths have continued to climb, naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses, has become an important part of the public health response.

When people overdosing struggle to breathe, naloxone can restore normal breathing and save their lives. But the drug has to be given quickly.

On Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory that encouraged more people to routinely carry naloxone.

Citing salmonella concerns, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a mandatory recall for kratom products made by a Las Vegas company — and the federal agency says it's the first time it has ever taken such an action after a company ignored a federal request for a voluntary recall.

Courtesy of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission

A left-leaning grassroots organization called the East Dallas Persistent Women released a report last week finding that Healthy Texas Women — a state program intended to provide low-cost women’s health services — is riddled with errors on its website.

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Updated, April 16

More than 150 people in North Texas and thousands more across the state have died from the flu this season.

One person in Parker County, 13 people in Denton County, 24 in Collin County, 33 in Tarrant County and 80 in Dallas County have died from the virus.

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The number of drug overdose deaths related to opioids is on the rise in Texas.

In 2016, more than 2,800 people died from an overdose, resulting in a 7.4 percent jump from the number of fatalities the previous year, according to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Recent studies suggest even moderate consumption of coffee – one to four cups a day – may reduce the odds of colon cancer developing or recurring.

Kerstin Taylor’s home is evidence of a life rebuilt. It’s filled with her grandmother’s paintings, Christian crosses, photos and stuffed animals.

“They all have names,” she said in reference to those stuffed animals. “That has to do with, truly, the family I never had – my broken family.”

Centers For Disease Control

Hospitals in Texas and across the country are doing a better job these days in stopping the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in health care settings.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these so-called "superbugs" still kill up to 23,000 people a year.

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More than eight million people have peripheral arterial disease or PAD, but relatively few know what it is. Ignoring the signs can have serious consequences.

Some of the state’s leading physicians vetted ideas this weekend to reduce the deaths of women while pregnant or shortly after giving birth.

Rachel Ralph works long hours at an accounting firm in Oakland, Calif., and coordinates much of her life via the apps on her phone.

So when she first heard several months ago that she could order her usual brand of birth control pills via an app and have them delivered to her doorstep in a day or two, it seemed perfect. She was working 12-hour days.

"Food was delivered; dinner was often delivered," Ralph says. "Anything I could get sent to my house with little effort — the better."

Government health agencies have spent more than two decades shying away from gun violence research, but some say the new spending bill, signed by President Trump on Friday, will change that.

That is because, in agency instructions that accompany the bill, there is a sentence noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.

Sherry Alvarez says she knew there was something different about her son since he was about 9 months old. Back then Sherry says his pediatrician told her there was nothing to worry about, " 'Boys are a little slower than girls, so let's just wait until his second birthday.' " We aren't using Sherry's son's name to protect his privacy.

By her son's second birthday, Sherry says she was getting desperate. She didn't know why he wasn't talking yet or showing affection like other kids. At 2 1/2, he was referred to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

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Souping, similar to juicing, has been popular in recent years as way to detox the body and to lose weight, but eating only soup for days at a time can cause problems, if you’re not careful.

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