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Health

Inglis: Ann Richards warned us; now we march to protect women’s rights

Inglis: Ann Richards warned us; now we march to protect women’s rights

Inglis, a lifelong Austin resident, is a retired editor and neonatal intensive care nurse. You may reach her on her website, inglisopinion.com. I’ll be marching in the Texas version of the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. Why? Because women’s reproductive rights are being taken away, just as the late Gov. Ann Richards predicted. On a brisk night in October 1990, many of us...
When it comes to guns, will be boys be boys or should we do something about that?

When it comes to guns, will be boys be boys or should we do something about that?

State Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, holds a copy of the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States at an Open Carry Texas rally at the Capitol on Friday.
Want to eat better in 2017? Try ‘The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet’

Want to eat better in 2017? Try ‘The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet’

Back in 2009, when “The Engine 2 Diet” first came out, I jumped on the fire truck, trying an eating plan that focuses on plants, eliminates meat, fish, dairy and added oils, and limits sugar, salt and fat. For 28 days, I became a bean-, tofu- and vegetable-eating machine, and blood tests showed that my cholesterol dropped 40 milligrams. I felt great but struggled when it came to sticking...
UMC Brackenridge campus redevelopment raises affordability worries 

UMC Brackenridge campus redevelopment raises affordability worries 

Affordability was high on the minds of community members who went to a meeting Thursday night about one of the last big developments to come to downtown Austin: the University Medical Center Brackenridge hospital campus. The 14.3-acre site at 15th and Red River streets is owned by the board of Central Health, the Travis County agency charged with providing health care to low-income and uninsured residents...
Know how to keep loved ones with Alzheimer’s active

Know how to keep loved ones with Alzheimer’s active

We know that parents are often sandwiched and talking care of their parents as well as their children.
Is social media causing your kids to be depressed? New study says yes, another says maybe

Is social media causing your kids to be depressed? New study says yes, another says maybe

Too much screen time can take its toll. A study out of Hungary, of all places, looked at about 6,000 16-year-olds and found that 4.
Commentary: Texas nursing homes at tipping point

Commentary: Texas nursing homes at tipping point

Warren is president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association. Every day, caregivers in Texas nursing homes carry out the state’s duty to watch over the most vulnerable, frail and elderly of us. How well they accomplish that duty is largely up to decisions made in Austin. Those caregivers are struggling. That’s not news for many who work in long-term care or who have family in a facility...
Competitive diving behind her, Tanya Streeter fights plastic pollution

Competitive diving behind her, Tanya Streeter fights plastic pollution

We use a lot of plastic here on planet Earth. We sip from disposable plastic water bottles, carry purchases in throw-away plastic bags and eat with tossable plastic dishes and cutlery. Ever wonder where it all goes? Retired world champion free diver Tanya Streeter did. The 43-year-old Austin athlete appears in a new documentary called “A Plastic Ocean,” set for release later this month...
Seton ER doctors in Hays County now can teleconference with Dell Children’s

Seton ER doctors in Hays County now can teleconference with Dell Children’s

Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle now can teleconference with Dell Children’s. American-Statesman 2009 This week, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas expanded its reach by offering teleconferencing with emergency room doctors at Seton Medical Center Hays.

Baby born with microcephaly in Travis County has Zika virus, health officials say

Austin health authorities confirmed this week that a baby born in Travis County with microcephaly in September has the Zika virus. Although the infant’s case is the first confirmed case of congenital transmission of the Zika virus in Travis County, officials with Austin Public Health do not believe the virus was acquired locally. The baby’s mother emigrated last August from Central America...
Commentary: After a landmark win, fight for abortion rights continues

Commentary: After a landmark win, fight for abortion rights continues

Kumar is the medical director for Whole Woman’s Health clinics in San Antonio, Fort Worth and McAllen. Just when I thought last year’s historic Supreme Court win that upheld abortion access in Texas and across the country was reason to celebrate, the presidential election knocked me off my feet. As an abortion provider, I’m immensely grateful that the Supreme Court in June &mdash...
Doctors seeing more cases of RSV this year

Doctors seeing more cases of RSV this year

Look for signs of RSV such as wheezing and cough. photos.com 2007 This year cases of RSV — Respiratory syncytial virus — have been way up.
New guidelines encourage babies be given peanut foods to avoid allergy

New guidelines encourage babies be given peanut foods to avoid allergy

Parents, you are now encouraged to give your babies peanut products beginning at the age of 6 months — even earlier for some babies. An expert panel from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released new guidelines Thursday on when to introduce foods containing peanuts to infants. The recommendations come after recent studies showed that children who were given peanut products...
Commentary: Freestanding emergency rooms, medical costs threaten Texas

Commentary: Freestanding emergency rooms, medical costs threaten Texas

Montagne Martin is governmental affairs manager of the Texas Association of Business. Texas’ well-deserved pro-business reputation is being threatened by rising health care costs. Texas and Wisconsin spend more per capita on health care than any other state in the country, according to data from a recent report by the Health Care Cost Institute. Texans are also burdened with the highest out-of-pocket...
New official recommendations about preventing peanut allergies

New official recommendations about preventing peanut allergies

It’s safe to give babies peanut butter once they start eating food. It might also help prevent them from developing a peanut allergy.
Skeptical questions, but no ruling on Texas fetal burial rule

Skeptical questions, but no ruling on Texas fetal burial rule

After peppering lawyers on both sides with skeptical questions, a federal judge said Wednesday that he won’t decide the fate of the state’s fetal burial and cremation rule until closer to the end of January. A packed court schedule, including a separate challenge to state plans to remove Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid health provider, will delay a ruling until sometime during the week...
Judge’s questions could spell trouble for fetal burial law

Judge’s questions could spell trouble for fetal burial law

A Texas regulation requiring fetal remains to be buried or cremated ran into potentially serious trouble Tuesday when a federal judge raised questions about the rule’s scope and impact. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks abruptly halted a hearing on the constitutionality of the rule and ordered state lawyers to appear in his Austin courtroom, with answers, at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday — a half-hour...
New Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin site will allow twice the babies to be served

New Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin site will allow twice the babies to be served

The new Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin should open in March. Tuesday we toured the under-construction site of Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin’s new location, which is expected to open at the end of March.
Buda to resume fluoridating tap water this year

Buda to resume fluoridating tap water this year

After San Marcos residents in November 2015 voted to stop putting fluoride in their water, Buda and other cities that drew from the same water source were also cut off, whether they liked it or not. If they wanted to keep the fluoride, they were on their own. Buda officials say they are now just weeks away from launching a system that will again disseminate the additive, aiming to improve residents&rsquo...

U.S. judge in Texas blocks federal transgender health protections

A federal judge in North Texas on Saturday ordered a halt to another Obama administration effort to strengthen transgender rights, this time over health rules that social conservatives say could force doctors to violate their religious beliefs. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor granted a temporary injunction stopping federal health officials from enforcing rules that are intended to ban discrimination...
Planned Parenthood asks court to block ouster from Texas Medicaid

Planned Parenthood asks court to block ouster from Texas Medicaid

Planned Parenthood has asked a federal judge in Austin to block plans by Texas officials to kick the organization out of Medicaid. Calling state plans “nothing more than a politically motivated witch hunt,” Planned Parenthood asked U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in a late Friday court filing to issue an injunction or temporary restraining order allowing an estimated 11,000 low-income Texans...
Commentary: Metrics are the difference between good and bad policy

Commentary: Metrics are the difference between good and bad policy

Aiken is an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at University of Texas and the latest appointee to the Central Health Board of Managers. In Travis County, we are witnessing a robust debate about how public funds are being spent to improve health care for those who need it most. And in that debate, two words stand out: accountability and metrics. Being accountable to the taxpayer...

Hays County confirms its first case of travel-related Zika virus

Authorities in Hays County say a person who recently traveled to Puerto Rico has tested positive for the Zika virus, becoming the county’s first travel-related case of the disease. The person is not contagious and does not pose a threat to Hays County residents, the county said in a statement Thursday. Mosquitoes that carry the virus are native to Central Texas, but the patient is thought to...

Likely weekend rains may help curb Austin’s off-the-charts cedar pollen

The bad news: Scattered showers may dampen New Year’s Eve morning. The good news: Those showers could also bring some relief from the absurdly thick layer of cedar pollen floating in the Central Texas air. Cedar pollen counts reached a “very heavy” 21,952 grains per cubic meter on Thursday, irritating noses around the region. According to Allergy & Asthma Associates, the cedar count...
Hays County confirms its first case of travel-related Zika virus 

Hays County confirms its first case of travel-related Zika virus 

    Authorities in Hays County say a person who recently traveled to Puerto Rico has tested positive for the Zika virus, becoming the county’s first travel-related case of the disease on record. According to the county, the person is not contagious and does not pose a threat to any Hays County residents. The county said in a statement that the mosquitoes that carry the virus are native...
Five things to know for a safe and fun New Year’s Eve

Five things to know for a safe and fun New Year’s Eve

Before you bid good riddance to 2016, here are five things to know for a safe and fun New Year’s Eve: 1.Leave it to professionals: Unless you’re a licensed fireworks professional, you’re not allowed to set off fireworks in many cities, including Austin, Buda, Cedar Park, Kyle, Lakeway, Leander, Pflugerville, Round Rock and San Marcos. 2. Bring your pets inside: Every New Year&rsquo...
CVS fires back at Texas regulators in $30 million Medicaid fraud case

CVS fires back at Texas regulators in $30 million Medicaid fraud case

CVS Pharmacy, accused by the state of Texas of defrauding Medicaid of $30.5 million, is suing the state Health and Human Services Commission, claiming state officials approved the billing practices at the heart of the fraud case, court records show. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in state District Court, echoes complaints made by dentists and orthodontists who were accused of billing the state for unnecessary...
Commentary: Don’t bet against e-cigarettes yet

Commentary: Don’t bet against e-cigarettes yet

Fairchild is the associate dean of academic affairs at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. Green is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University. Over the past five years, tobacco control advocates have begun to strategize about a Tobacco Endgame, which envisions a tobacco-free future. Last week, the surgeon general played a pair of aces: kids...
After surviving Ebola, doctor returns to practicing medicine in Texas

After surviving Ebola, doctor returns to practicing medicine in Texas

A doctor who survived Ebola after contracting the virus while treating patients in Liberia has quietly returned to practicing medicine in Fort Worth. Dr. Kent Brantly, who resumed practicing family medicine about a year ago, now works at JPS Health Network, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He sees patients, teaches family medicine residents and works one day a week in labor and delivery...
Dentist says controversial restraint technique can help soothe younger patients

Dentist says controversial restraint technique can help soothe younger patients

While some providers said a new restraint technique can help children cope better at the dentist’s office, opponents say it can actually traumatize children.
Formerly conjoined twins move to rehab after emotional farewell from hospital staff

Formerly conjoined twins move to rehab after emotional farewell from hospital staff

Twin boys born conjoined at the head are now in rehab after being discharged from the New York hospital where they recovered for months following a successful separation surgery. Jadon and Anias McDonald have captured the hearts of the country as CNN followed their tricky separation at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center. Two months ago, the boys underwent a...
Commentary: What is to blame for our failed Child Protection System?

Commentary: What is to blame for our failed Child Protection System?

Hopkins and Peddycoart are in their final year of the Masters of Science in Social Work program at the University of Texas. Imagine a high-stress job with low-pay, long hours and where you were responsible for the lives of multiple children who live in potentially dangerous environments. Imagine doing this job without the proper education needed to adequately and swiftly make the observations and...

Commentary: Let’s make 2017 the year that we turn the tide for health

Dr. Harrellis the founder and CEO of It’s Time Texas, an Austin-based nonprofit that empowers Texans to lead healthier lives and build healthier communities. This time each year, many of us step off the scale, look ourselves in the mirror and swear that this will be the year that we lose weight — and keep it off! It should come as no surprise that this has become an annual ritual for so...

Austin police officer explains how cops respond to mental health calls

When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, the people nearby often call 911, but those dispatched to the scene are often law enforcement officers and not mental health professionals, and that poses a conundrum for authorities, said Austin police Lt. Brian Jones. Officers responding to these calls must be prepared for anything, even death. At least two deadly police shootings this year involved...
PolitiFact: Website distorts Texas’ Medicaid cuts

PolitiFact: Website distorts Texas’ Medicaid cuts

In case you missed it, Texas Republicans followed on Donald Trump’s election by wiping out aid to needy children. Except, we confirmed, that’s not so. A news-entertainment website, IfYouOnlyNews.com, topped a Dec. 4 post, pointed out to us by Facebook, with this headline: “Emboldened by election, Texas Republicans kill Medicaid funding for kids with disabilities.” The next...
Groundbreaking PTSD study could lead to better treatment for soldiers

Groundbreaking PTSD study could lead to better treatment for soldiers

Sean Brack knew he needed to get help after he came home from his third deployment to Iraq. In late 2010, he walked into a Fort Hood clinic seeking relief from the bursts of anger, nightmares and flashes of suicidal thoughts. Fort Hood was in the midst of an unfolding suicide crisis. The next year, a record 22 soldiers would kill themselves. “At that point it was a mill,” Brack remembers...
New cancer treatments part of health care upgrade for Austin area

New cancer treatments part of health care upgrade for Austin area

Building a new cancer-fighting immune system out of someone else’s bone marrow can be a traumatic experience for a patient. Ryan Smith is convinced that undergoing the procedure in Austin and enduring the sickness, dispiriting relapses and general rigors of recovery at home — as opposed to, say, at an apartment close to bigger medical centers in San Antonio or Houston — has significantly...

This holiday, let’s come through for Central Texans in need

In a year of horrifying violence and war, from Orlando to Aleppo to Berlin, and hardship caused by natural disasters near and far, it’s not surprising that many of us are spending this holiday season with a bit more soul searching and a desire to help. We believe strongly in following that urge — in devoting time, effort and money to causes that will help those who just need an extra boost...
Commentary: Looking for hope in all the right places

Commentary: Looking for hope in all the right places

Bost is a retired associate director of the Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas. The little 3-year old girl followed her father as he tended their backyard garden. The two shared a special bond and spent much time together outside. A favorite game was “Finding Earthworms” which is what they were doing today — only today Dad seemed a bit distracted and wasn&rsquo...
UT-designed autonomous robot might be rolling into a hospital near you

UT-designed autonomous robot might be rolling into a hospital near you

Seton Medical Center Austin is taking a first, cautious step into the world of robots programmed to function like people. The hospital system this week introduced Poli, a University of Texas-designed robot that — once the bugs are worked out — will assist nurses as they go about the business of taking care of people. Poli is vaguely anthropomorphic, with a head and a body and a limited...
Aggie dean explains why Hawaii beats Texas when it comes to health

Aggie dean explains why Hawaii beats Texas when it comes to health

Jay Maddock, who ran the University of Hawaii’s public health program for eight years before coming to Texas A&M to lead its School of Public Health, says Hawaiians are so much healthier for one main reason: Their state is willing to spend more to stay healthy. Hawaii spends four times more per person than Texas on public health, according to the America’s Health Rankings annual report...
Donald Trump's doctor in new interview: 'If something happens to him, then it happens to him'

Donald Trump's doctor in new interview: 'If something happens to him, then it happens to him'

Harold Bornstein, President-elect Donald Trump's doctor who made headlines for penning a letter that said Trump would be the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency," is back in the spotlight.
Central Health board kills proposed limits on board members’ speech

Central Health board kills proposed limits on board members’ speech

The Central Health board came close to barring its members from speaking ill of the organization, but ultimately scrapped that provision in the new code of conduct and ethics approved Wednesday night. The proposed policy originally contained a provision stating that board members of Travis County’s health care district “should not disparage the Board of Managers or its policies, Central...
Commentary: Texans need better education about Spice and K2

Commentary: Texans need better education about Spice and K2

Maxwell is research professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas. Recent reports of yet another round of Texans falling ill and requiring hospitalization after taking K2 is a sign we can do a better job of educating people and eradicating these dangerous chemicals. K2 and Spice are the popular names for chemical substances that attempt to mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol...

Planned Parenthood ousted from Texas Medicaid, plans to fight in court

Texas officials are yanking Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, potentially affecting health services for an estimated 11,000 low-income patients the organization serves. State officials have made good on a promise made more than a year ago to oust Planned Parenthood from Medicaid after they said undercover videos of fetal tissue practices showed that the organization was unsafe and professionally...
Texas finalizes move to oust Planned Parenthood from Medicaid program

Texas finalizes move to oust Planned Parenthood from Medicaid program

Texas officials are pulling Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood, potentially affecting health services for an estimated 11,000 low-income patients the organization serves. State officials have made good on a promise made more than a year ago to oust Planned Parenthood after they said undercover videos of fetal tissue practices showed that the organization was unsafe and professionally incompetent...
Whoa, baby: Naturally conceived quadruplets born in Georgia

Whoa, baby: Naturally conceived quadruplets born in Georgia

Multiples run in Kortney Miller’s family. But she’s the first to give birth to quadruplets. On Friday, Miller and her husband, Justin, welcomed four babies: Brandon, Brayden, Bryant and sister Kenlee. “I am doing so much better now that they are here,” Miller said in a hospital news release. Delivered at 29 weeks, each baby weighed about 3 pounds. The babies were...
Commentary: This holiday season, listen and converse — don’t debate

Commentary: This holiday season, listen and converse — don’t debate

Art Markman is a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas and founding director of the Human Dimensions of Organizations program. His latest book is “Brain Briefs: Answers to the Most (and Least) Pressing Questions about Your Mind.” As we look forward to holiday parties and dinners with family, some of us might have a little anxiety. There is political polarization...
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