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 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on health care reform could affect all Texans, including the nearly six million without health insurance. Local health care experts say the required coverage for everyone could make people healthier, but clog waiting rooms. And it could ultimately change the way health care is paid-for and delivered.

Courtney Collins / KERA

Texasis one of 26 states fighting the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care legislation at the Supreme Court where hearings began Monday. About 25 percent of the Texas population is uninsured, that’s close to six million. KERA’s Courtney Collins spoke to people at a Dallas hospital and bookstore about how mandated health coverage would impact them.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Mar 26, 2012
Svein Halvor Halvorsen / (cc) flickr

Be aware that prolonged times of sitting still while traveling or while at the office can be dangerous. Blood clots can form in deep veins of the arms and legs, torso or pelvis, or the neck. In this KERA Health Checkup, Dr. Ana Lorenzo of Vein Care Solutions tells Sam Baker deep vein thrombosis or DVT can be a serious condition.

Nutrition & Children

Mar 19, 2012
KidfreshFoods

March as National Nutrition Month is being used to raise awareness about healthier eating. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked with Meridan Zerner, a registered dietitian with Cooper Aerobics, about nutrition and children. She said many kids don’t always get the nutrients they need despite their parents’ efforts.

Planned Parenthood clinics across the state have a little more time before the must turn away patients in the state’s Women’s Health Program. KERA’s BJ Austin says funding was to be cut Wednesday, but new regulations issued over the weekend allow patients to be seen through April 30.

Coming of Age ... Immunizations

Mar 12, 2012
*MarS / (cc) flickr

Under a change to Texas law, adults can now track their immunizations through a state registry database that was formerly only available for children. But once adolescents turn 18 their records are purged unless they request otherwise. Texas doctors are worried about the loss of those records.

WebMD.com

March is National Nutrition March.  In a KERA Health Checkup, some advice on the subject for people 50 and older. Sam Baker talked with Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at U-T Southwestern Medical Center.

Qnexa & Weight Loss

Mar 5, 2012
Jelly Mark

The Food and Drug Administration next month is expected to say if it will approve Qnexa. A diet pill promising a ten percent weight loss could offer hope to a nation with an obesity rate near 35 percent. But Tammy Beaumont is concerned. In a KERA Health Checkup, the Weight Management Director for Methodist Health System talks to Sam Baker about the way you should manage weight loss, even if you used Qnexa. 

Parkland's Board of Directors met with federal hospital inspectors Friday to go over a plan to fix serious safety and patient-care problems identified by an independent auditor. 

Board members Cobie Russell and Jerry Bryant say it’s going to be a huge job.

Russell: We have our marching orders. There’s no question about that. It’s a heavy load, but nothing we can’t do.

Bryant: It may take more than the hands and feet than we have internally to do it. And I think the Board would agree we will provide the resources that are required.

Vitamin Supplements

Feb 27, 2012
shannonkringen

Many people take some form of vitamin supplement to begin the day. But taking vitamins doesn’t come without potential risk. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Susan Rodder, a clinical nutrition instructor at U.T. Southwestern Medical Center. To start, do you need vitamin supplements if you maintain a balanced diet?

Thursday night KERA Channel 13 and public television stations across the state will air an hour-long program on obesity, its link to hunger and what Texans are doing to combat the problem.

Parkland

Dallas and Tarrant counties lead the state in infant deaths. They’ve been the highest of all urban areas in Texas for more than a decade. KERA’s BJ Austin reports county health officials don’t know why, and are working to figure it out.

In a KERA Health Checkup, a look at how doctors access an artery to check your heart for suspected blockage. It’s called percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI. Most doctors go in through the hip or groin. But a growing number are choosing to access the wrist area instead.  Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Joshua Jacobi of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Parkland Hospital officials say they are making big changes after failing two critical safety inspections last year, and a new, independent audit found patients ignored in the emergency room, and dirty operating rooms. KERA’s BJ Austin reports.

Fitness Vs. Heart Disease

Feb 13, 2012
Kanaka Menehune (cc) flickr

Personal trainer Bobby Whisnand is partnering with the American Heart Association’s campaign to raise awareness about heart disease. He talked with Sam Baker about steps we can take to reduce the chances of developing heart disease.

Women And Heart Disease

Feb 13, 2012

The American Heart Association this month is drawing attention to heart disease – particularly in women.  Nearly eight million women in the U.S. live with the disease, but few believe it’s their greatest threat. That shouldn’t include a nurse with the title of E-R Cardiac-Stroke  Coordinator, but in a KERA Health Checkup, Karen Yates of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center told Sam Baker she learned her lesson the hard way.

First Lady Michelle Obama joined more than 200 students from Dallas’ Moseley Elementary this morning. KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports the first lady came to watch teams of top chefs create nutritious school lunches.

Parkland Hospital says it will not release an independent audit that found safety problems in 15 hospital departments. KERA’s BJ Austin says that’s not what Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wants to hear.

Basics of Blood Pressure

Feb 6, 2012

Recent study results by researchers at the University of Exeter indicate measuring blood pressure in both arms instead of one can be a useful indicator of the likelihood of heart trouble. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Jane Sadler with Baylor Medical Center at Garland.

Parkland Hospital’s Board could have more to say today about an independent audit that found safety problems in 15 departments. KERA’s BJ Austin reports.

What Is Stomach Flu?

Jan 30, 2012

Sneezing, coughing and nausea this time of year might prompt you to diagnose yourself as having stomach flu. But it may not be flu at all. Sam Baker talked about this in our KERA Health Checkup with Dr. Melissa Gerdes of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Pros And Cons Of Caffeine

Jan 23, 2012
jennybach (cc) flickr

It’s estimated as many 90 percent of American consume caffeine at some point during the day: maybe coffee, tea, soda or energy drinks or various foods. Caffeine has benefits, but it can be harmful if we consume too much. Sam Baker talked about this in a KERA Health Checkup with Dr. James Bibb of  UT Southwestern Medical Center.

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January is National Glaucoma Awareness month. More than two million people are believed to have the eye disease. But in a KERA Health Checkup, glaucoma specialist Dr. Linda Fain Hatton explains why some call it a “silent thief of sight.”

Argonne National Laboratory (cc) flickr

Dallas is launching three pilot programs for electric cars and charging stations. KERA’s BJ Austin says the city wants to be ready when electric cars really start to sell.

Steven Lee (cc) flickr

Sleep apnea is a common disorder with potentially dangerous results if left untreated. Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. David Luterman, Medical Director of the Sleep Center at Baylor Medical Center at Dallas.

Parkland Hospital is focused this week on ways to deal with higher than normal emergency room volume. KERA’s BJ Austin says the Dallas County Hospital wants to avoid a repeat of last week’s “red alert” – when patients had to be diverted to surrounding hospitals.

New and transfer students at Texas public and private colleges and universities must get a meningitis shot or they can’t move into the dorm or attend classes. KERA’s BJ Austin says that deadline is creating big demand for the vaccine.

kreep (cc) flickr

Many of us need more sleep than we know. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked with Dr.  Bradley Jones, an internal medicine physician at Baylor Medical Center at Irving, about problems associated with sleep deprivation and what to do about it.

Shutterstock

North Texas is one of two dozen U.S. locations selected for the "Partnership for Patients" initiative. It's a public-private collaboration to improve patient safety and reduce hospital acquired infections. KERA's BJ Austin reports.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation is getting two million dollars to create a network of regional hospitals to tackle the problem of infection control. Foundation President Kristen Jenkins says the money comes from the Affordable Care Act and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Nihan Aydin / flickr

Tis the season for good cheer. But, for some, the holidays can bring about the opposite. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked with Dr. Randy Basham, an associate professor of social work at U.T. Arlington, about holiday depression and what can be done about it.

Dr. Basham: For the most part, around the holidays, people are concerned about a lot of things: End of the year, comparing themselves to where they were the year before. If they've had any loss in their life, it's become an anniversary season. There's commercialization.

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