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. 

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A study from cardiologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Resources has found that exercise can reverse damage to the heart in a sedentary adult – if he or she does enough exercise in time. 

While Texas' infant mortality rate is lower than the national average, a new study shows wide differences in rates across different areas of the state and among different racial groups.

Almost the same number of Texans who signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the last enrollment period signed up this time, according to the federal government. The figure took experts by surprise because there were federal cuts in funding for outreach and assistance.

Radiological Society of America

The horror stories about football and brain damage keep flowing out of the NFL, but surprisingly, little is known about how the sport affects the brains of young players. 

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Recently released guidelines have lowered the definition for high blood pressure, which increases the number of people identified as having hypertension and being at risk for serious medical problems because of it.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

For years, Ramey Market in Fort Worth’s historic Stop Six neighborhood has been an utterly unremarkable convenience store selling the typical assortment of sundry items, snacks and sodas. It was just the closest place to buy cigarettes or lottery tickets or beer.

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Late last year, a woman gave birth to a baby via a transplanted uterus — the first ever in the United States. And it happened in Dallas: The boy was born at Baylor University Medical Center.

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When civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson in November announced he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he joined a long list of famous people — and thousands of other Americans — who live with the neurological condition.

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Texas is first in flu according to Walgreens, and both the Dallas County and Tarrant County health departments are tracking a steep uptick in the number of positive tests.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this year's vaccine is thought to be about 32 percent effective, just like last year's.

Photos provided / Graphic by Molly Evans

In September of 1982, a 12-year-old girl and six adults in and around Chicago died suddenly and mysteriously. Hundreds of investigators looked into the cases and discovered that all the victims had taken Tylenol laced with cyanide.

Texas is over-reporting some of its maternal mortality data, a national study released today found.

The study, from the University of Maryland Population Research Center and published in the journal Birth, is a follow-up to a study released in August 2016 that found the maternal mortality rate in Texas had doubled in a two-year period.

Zach Copley / Flickr

The value of the digital cryptocurrency bitcoin has been all over the map recently, reaching a high of about $20,000 per coin late last year to nearly $14,000 this week. That's a big leap for something that was worth just a dollar in 2011. 

But what exactly is bitcoin?

Photo: Courtesy of Children's Health System; Graphic: Molly Evans, KERA News

This year was full of breakthroughs in health, science and technology. Telemedicine made its mark in Dallas, "baby boxes" became a thing, and researchers got one step closer to understanding what causes blurry vision for astronauts.

Revisit three of our favorite Breakthroughs stories from the year below.

A day after President Trump said the Affordable Care Act "has been repealed," officials reported that 8.8 million Americans have signed up for coverage on the federal insurance exchange for 2018 — nearly reaching the 2017 number in half the sign-up time.

That total is far from complete. Enrollment is still open in parts of seven states, including Florida and Texas, that use the federal HealthCare.gov exchange but were affected by hurricanes earlier this year.

Molly Evans / KERA News

Images from the moon landing and other major space moments of the 1960s are familiar to many Americans. But what about the sounds? NASA recorded thousands of hours of audio tapes from the Apollo missions that have sat unheard in storage for decades.

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In the midst of cold and flu season, you also want to guard yourself against pneumonia. It’s a common disease with about a million cases a year requiring medical care. But it's also easy to mistake for other medical problems.  

IN OUR OWN VOICE: NATIONAL BLACK WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE AGENDA

A new survey shows black adults in Texas and around the country have a lot of concerns about reproductive health. Experts met in Dallas this week to talk about the findings and their implications.

Elizabeth Ann Colette/Wikimedia Commons

The Trump administration is guaranteeing Texas $135 million to continue helping more than 450,000 uninsured children and pregnant women if Congress doesn’t renew authorization the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Molly Evans / KERA News

Robots are assuming more and more roles in our daily lives. They can ask us about our day, play songs for us and, as one study from the University of Texas Arlington shows, can perform Shakespeare with us, too. 

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A new FDA-approved cell therapy holds promise for treating a form of blood cancer called multiple meyeloma. UT Southwestern Medical Center will soon begin clinical trials of CAR-T therapy to find out if it can succeed where older treatments have failed.

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Herbs and spices definitely enhance the flavor of food, but some believe, on their own, they can do the same for your health. A clinical dietitian at Parkland Hospital says there’s some truth to that, but there are limits.

People who experience frequent migraines may soon have access to a new class of drugs.

In a pair of large studies, two drugs that tweak brain circuits involved in migraine each showed they could reduce the frequency of attacks without causing side effects, researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Baylor University Medical Center / Facebook

Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas announced it has delivered the first baby born in the United States to a mother who received a uterus transplant.

This week, Colorado became the first state to notify families that children who receive health insurance through the Children's Health Insurance Program are in danger of losing their coverage.

Texas Falling Behind In HPV Vaccinations, Study Says

Nov 29, 2017
Courtesy University of Texas System Office of Health Affairs

Texans are falling behind the rest of the country in getting vaccinated against the most common sexually transmitted infection — making them more vulnerable to several types of cancer, a new study says.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Trying to keep up with medical terminology and acronyms during a doctor’s visit can be tricky for anyone. Imagine if you and your doctor didn’t speak the same language. 

Angelia Soloman watched out the window of her ranch house in northeast Houston as the floodwaters rose up to the windowsills.

She huddled inside with her three adopted children (ages 12 to 15), a nephew and her 68-year-old mother. "They were looking and crying, like, 'We're gonna lose everything,' " said Soloman. "And I'm like, 'No, it gonna be OK.' "

When the water began rushing under the front door, filling up the house like a bathtub, Soloman led her family outside, and plunged into a river of water up to her chest.

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An estimated 660,000 Texans aren’t aware they have diabetes, and far more don’t know just how at risk they are for the disease. 

Prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be Type 2 diabetes. Your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to completely normalize your blood sugars.

The condition has no symptoms.

Photo courtesy of Eric Frey

Medical school students today are trained to diagnose complicated diseases, they’re rarely trained to engineer the solutions themselves. Soon, Texas A&M will start training doctors to also be engineers.

GlaxoSmithKline via Associated Press

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new vaccine for shingles. Zostavax has been the only product on the market for the last decade. Now, Shingrix appears to be more effective against the painful, viral rash.

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