Health

Austin district shifts to fewer school nurses, more telemedicine

Austin district shifts to fewer school nurses, more telemedicine

The Austin district this year is launching virtual health care throughout its schools, though skeptics question whether the move, while it promises to be more quick and convenient, is better for kids. The telemedicine will increase and quicken access to health care during school hours, district officials say, but it also means fewer registered nurses who help oversee the district’s youngest...
Are your vitamins putting you at higher risk for lung cancer?

Are your vitamins putting you at higher risk for lung cancer?

A new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, has found a link between high doses of vitamin B6 and B12 supplements and increased lung cancer risk, especially among men who smoke. Researchers recruited more than 77,000 adults ages 50-76 in Washington and collected data on the participants’ vitamin use over the past 10 years, including dosage information. They found that...
Commentary: New measures open Texans’ access to mental health treatment

Commentary: New measures open Texans’ access to mental health treatment

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, has spent much of her political career defending the rights of the state’s most vulnerable residents. She’s served on health and human service committees in the Senate for more than two decades, working on issues ranging from children’s welfare to elder care. She added to her legacy this session by championing two important mental health measures...
Central Health budget hearing sparks debate over medical school funds

Central Health budget hearing sparks debate over medical school funds

About an hour into a discussion on Central Health’s budget that became a debate over the health district’s relationship with University of Texas’ Dell Medical School, Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty announced he was fed up. “I have sat through two, three years of this stuff, and I’m, quite frankly, I’m kind of up to here with it,” Daugherty said...
UTMB lung experiment flies into space

UTMB lung experiment flies into space

Two hundred and fifty miles above the Earth’s surface, scientists have begun testing the limits of human biology. In the sterile environment of the International Space Station, cells are being prodded to grow and multiply. The goal is to grow human body parts, without the rest of the human attached. The experiment sounds like a plot for a science fiction movie. But it’s actually one of...
Austin nonprofit Care Communities to close its doors

Austin nonprofit Care Communities to close its doors

In a move that surprised some volunteers and stakeholders, Austin’s Care Communities announced that, because of financial challenges, it will stop providing free support for those living with HIV or cancer in Central Texas. The midsize nonprofit, which operated with an annual budget of almost $600,000, according to GuideStar.org, sent out a message Monday afternoon saying it would close its...
Major Austin benefactor James Armstrong has died

Major Austin benefactor James Armstrong has died

Much admired Austin philanthropist James Armstrong has died. He was 85. Armstrong supported the arts, social services and other causes. James Armstrong for American-Statesman. Robert Godwin for American Statesman Among his most beloved causes were Zach Theatre, Austin Lyric Opera and the Armstrong Community Music School. This is a developing story; check back...
Athletes get free health checkup

Athletes get free health checkup

Kale Sykes, a freshman at Hays High School, undergoes a heart screening Saturday with the help of Nova Domingo, a registered nurse, and sonographer Cristina Mendiola at the Heart Hospital of Austin. More than 150 students received a free heart screening, including an EKG and an echocardiogram. The screenings test for a serious heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the leading cause...
Trump signs McCaul pediatric cancer research legislation into law

Trump signs McCaul pediatric cancer research legislation into law

A new law, introduced by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and a group of bipartisan lawmakers, could make it easier for children with cancer to battle the disease with the help of adult cancer drugs. The Research to Accelerate Cures and Equity for Children Act – or RACE for Children Act – gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to require that adult cancer drugs be studied...
Austin’s nonprofit Care Communities to close its doors

Austin’s nonprofit Care Communities to close its doors

In a surprise move, Austin’s Care Communities has announced that it will stop providing free support for those living with HIV or cancer in Central Texas. Star Furniture store manager John Chronister, right, and Z Blair, a social worker with the Care Communities, arrange gifts that were part of the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring campaign in 2014. Andy...

Commentary: Rural hospitals are vanishing; keep Medicaid in Texas

First, there was hope for people in rural communities needing health care. As part of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid was expanded in 31 states and the District of Columbia, offering new coverage to millions and renewed hope for rural hospitals struggling to remain financially viable — many serving a high percentage of Medicaid patients. But now, since Congress’ unsuccessful attempt...
Commentary: U.S. health care is too big to fail. What Congress can do

Commentary: U.S. health care is too big to fail. What Congress can do

Republicans won control of Congress and the White House based largely on a single promise: They’d rid the world of Obamacare, despite that law’s reduction of the number of uninsured people in this country by 20 million. “Obamacare is death,” the president told us. After so closely tracking various iterations of GOP health care proposals, everyone from patient advocates to health...
Study: Drinkers more likely to live to 85 without developing dementia

Study: Drinkers more likely to live to 85 without developing dementia

SAN DIEGO — The University of California, San Diego claims in a new study that certain people who regularly consume moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol are more likely to live to 85 without developing dementia and other cognitive problems compared to people who don’t drink at all. The long-term study was largely based on white, middle-class men and women living in Rancho Bernardo, a master-planned...
Students create innovative devices to solve vexing medical problems

Students create innovative devices to solve vexing medical problems

SEATTLE — Last year, there was a national outcry after the price skyrocketed for a medical-injection device that counteracts the life-threatening symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. But for a team of students at the University of Washington, the price jumps for the EpiPen signaled an opportunity — a chance to invent a cheaper device that could do the same thing, only better. The team&rsquo...
What our Google searches reveal about the drug epidemic

What our Google searches reveal about the drug epidemic

The country’s ongoing drug epidemic, which claimed more than 59,000 lives last year, has left its trace on just about every aspect of American life: politics, religion, family, justice, birth and death. While most of us are familiar, by now, with the annual drumbeat of official statistics from places like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, online search data offers a window into...
For rural veterans, new approaches to health care

For rural veterans, new approaches to health care

REDWATER, Texas — On this long drive, across two state lines and endless fields of corn and cattle, Lynn Graham thinks about how it may be the quality of life, not the quantity, that matters. Graham, 55, has stage 4 liver and colon cancer. It is an 85-mile drive, cutting through Arkansas on mostly country roads, to the closest U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs medical center in Shreveport,...
Still sleepy every morning? You may need a sleep test

Still sleepy every morning? You may need a sleep test

Dear Mayo Clinic: I get between eight and nine hours of sleep most nights but still feel groggy in the morning. Would a sleep study help me figure out why I’m never rested? A: A sleep test may be beneficial. However, before you seek medical attention, consider several things about sleepiness. The most common cause of sleepiness is not sleeping long enough. Getting enough restful sleep is crucial...
Dell Medical School touts growing number of residents in new report

Dell Medical School touts growing number of residents in new report

The number of medical residents and fellows providing care in Travis County clinics and hospitals is up by 30 percent since 2012, according to a report released this week by the University of Texas’ Dell Medical School. In 2016, there were 287 residents working in county clinics and hospitals, up from 218 in 2012, the community benefit report says. That number is projected to grow to more than...
Eek! Are my solar eclipse glasses safe? Double check

Eek! Are my solar eclipse glasses safe? Double check

The news that Amazon has been selling eclipse glasses that are not safe for human eyes might have you in a panic before Monday’s eclipse. How do you know if yours are safe? The American Astronomical Society of the National Science Foundation has these guidelines:  Your glasses and handheld viewers should have the ISO 12312-2 safety standard on them. Before you stare into...
When the eclipse appears over Austin, DO NOT STARE AT IT

When the eclipse appears over Austin, DO NOT STARE AT IT

Staring at the sun is always a bad idea. It’s a bad idea even when the moon slides in front of the sun and blocks out most of the sun’s rays, as will happen on Monday for a little over two-and-a-half minutes. Basically, looking at the sun can give your eyeball a sunburn. Robert Rosa, an ophthalmologist at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine, explains in more...
Want to prevent Type 2 diabetes in your child? Follow these CDC tips

Want to prevent Type 2 diabetes in your child? Follow these CDC tips

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want parents to think about Type 2 Diabetes, that’s what used to be called adult-onset diabetes. It almost never happened to kids or teens, instead kids would get Type 1 or juvenile diabetes. Now with about one-third of American children being overweight, doctors are starting to see Type 2 diabetes in kids, sometimes as young...
Parents, study reminds you to keep your marijuana safe from your kids

Parents, study reminds you to keep your marijuana safe from your kids

A new study that will be published in the September issue of “Pediatrics” from the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at the rates of cannabis intoxication in toddlers in France, where marijuana is illegal. A marijuana leaf mascot poses with kids for a picture at the rally for medical marijuana. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2015 It looked at 235 children admitted...
Austin Answered: Are those algae blooms bad for your health?

Austin Answered: Are those algae blooms bad for your health?

Over her two-plus decades in Austin, Leslie Gompf has come to accept that every year or so, the drinking water “tastes too yucky for me to drink it.” She knows about the algae blooms that cause the taste. But lately she had several recent conversations that left her wondering if the algae emit toxins — and if anyone is monitoring the toxins. She has also wondered if they are fed...
UT scientists tinker with gene-mapping device to make DNA editing safe

UT scientists tinker with gene-mapping device to make DNA editing safe

Ilya Finkelstein chuckles when recounting the origins of the project that landed the University of Texas scientist and his colleagues in the prestigious academic journal Cell. According to a peer-reviewed article, they found a way for scientists to more safely use a new kind of gene editing technique called CRISPR — a technology that has embroiled much of the scientific world in seemingly fantastic...
Doctor on demand: How app culture is reviving the house call

Doctor on demand: How app culture is reviving the house call

Alison Mintzer and her family were on a flight from New York to Los Angeles when her daughter complained that she felt sick. By the time they landed, Mintzer’s normally uncomplaining 6-year-old said that her neck and ears hurt. When a fever soon followed, it was enough to convince her parents that she needed to see a doctor. Thousands of miles from their pediatrician, and unable to find one...
Doctors don’t provide enough information about drug side effects

Doctors don’t provide enough information about drug side effects

Several months ago I developed a stomachache after taking an over-the-counter medication for symptoms suggesting acid reflux. When I told the doctor about my reaction, she said the medication, which she had prescribed, should not have caused my stomachache. But the Food and Drug Administration lists stomach pain and upset stomach as among the drug’s possible side effects. The episode reminded...
Insufficient sleep may add more than an inch to waist, study suggests

Insufficient sleep may add more than an inch to waist, study suggests

By now, the connection between sleep and weight gain has been well established. Numerous studies have provided evidence that sleeping too little - less than five hours - messes with your hormones, slows down your metabolism and reprograms your body to eat more. But just how serious are the consequences in terms of numbers? A new study published in PLOS One takes a stab at this question by studying...
Commentary: How FACT Act would bring transparency to asbestos claims

Commentary: How FACT Act would bring transparency to asbestos claims

Most Americans have seen those TV ads touting “billions of dollars” set aside for victims of mesothelioma, the lethal cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Few realize that these funds are also at the center of a national controversy that disproportionately affects military veterans. Until the 1970s, the military used asbestos. No surprise, then, when studies show about one in three...
Teachers, parents, do you know how to Stop the Bleed? Class, kits give life-saving techniques

Teachers, parents, do you know how to Stop the Bleed? Class, kits give life-saving techniques

What would you do if someone was bleeding from a major trauma? Would you know what to do? Would you know that you probably only have a few minutes to save that person’s life, and that if the bleed was bad enough, an ambulance might not be able to get to you in time? Kristen Hullum, trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, instructs teachers...
Dozens of Carnival passengers sickened on 10-day cruise of South Pacific

Dozens of Carnival passengers sickened on 10-day cruise of South Pacific

Almost 100 passengers aboard a Sun Princess cruise ship suffered from norovirus symptoms during a 10-day cruise of the South Pacific.  A spokesperson for Carnival Cruises, its parent company, would not confirm the numbers of passengers affected, but said that the highly contagious virus was prevalent in the communities of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, ABC News reported.  The...
Even Beyonce can’t escape mom shaming when it comes to drinking and breastfeeding

Even Beyonce can’t escape mom shaming when it comes to drinking and breastfeeding

  Mothers of the world, stop your hating on one another. When Beyoncé posted this picture on Instagram of her having a glass of wine a few days ago, the haters came out. The assumption was that Beyoncé was nursing her twins, and, therefore, should not be drinking. Of course, we don’t know if Beyoncé is breastfeeding Rumi and Sir, who were...
At public meeting, Central Health’s reach, use of funds criticized

At public meeting, Central Health’s reach, use of funds criticized

Lack of transparency and inadequate health care service delivery were the two most common complaints lodged against Central Health during two public meetings this week, hosted by a consulting firm preparing an independent performance review of the Travis County health district. About a half dozen people attended each of the meetings — one Tuesday evening, another Wednesday evening — and...
Change coming for state employees’ health plans

Change coming for state employees’ health plans

A big change is coming to the state’s main health insurance plans that cover nearly a half million current and retired state employees and their dependents. On Sept. 1, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas will take over administration of the health plans under a new six-year, $281.2 million contract awarded in December by the Employees Retirement System of Texas. Blue Cross and Blue Shield won...
Back-to-school tips: Be healthy this school year

Back-to-school tips: Be healthy this school year

Did you remember to get your sports physical, your well-checks and your vaccinations up to date for the new year? Find those forms so your child has them on the first day of school or first practice if there is a question. Daniela Flores, 12, smiles as she receives an immunization at the Austin Independent School District and City of Austin Back-to-School Bash in 2011. Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN ...
Rolling Stones’ Ron Wood feared worst when diagnosed with lung cancer

Rolling Stones’ Ron Wood feared worst when diagnosed with lung cancer

The Rolling Stones’ Ron Wood revealed that he feared the worst after he was diagnosed with lung cancer three months ago. The 70-year-old guitarist said he thought it might be “time to say goodbye,” after a doctor performing routine tests told him that he “had this supernova burning away” on his left lung. The musician says he told the doctor to get it out of him. Wood...
For a long life, consider picking up a tennis racket

For a long life, consider picking up a tennis racket

You probably know that exercise is good for you, but do you know whether you’re better off riding a bike or swimming laps in the pool? Actually, if you want to get the biggest bang for your exercise buck, you should pick up a racket, new research reveals. An analysis of more than 80,000 adults who were tracked for nearly a decade finds that those who played tennis, badminton or squash had the...

You don’t need to go full vegan to get the vegan benefits

Cutting meat and dairy out of your diet is hard. Staying healthy while you do it can be harder. The wrong kind of exclusively plant-based diet, one that includes a lot of refined grains and sweetened beverages, can actually increase the risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new study from Harvard University. On the other hand, reducing your intake of animal products while boosting your consumption...
Researchers use Amish to study ill effects of secondhand smoke

Researchers use Amish to study ill effects of secondhand smoke

BALTIMORE — In bucolic Lancaster County, Pa., the Amish people grow their own tobacco. In keeping with traditional gender roles, the men smoke the tobacco in cigars, pipes or cigarettes, while the women largely tend not to smoke. A recent study of the Old Order Amish community by University of Maryland researchers has nonetheless found them to be just as susceptible to a scourge of modern day...

You know soda is bad for you. Kick the habit with these tips

It’s no secret that we shouldn’t be drinking so much soda. Study after study has linked the sweet drink with obesity and Type 2 diabetes, spurring many to switch to artificially sweetened drinks. But even diet sodas have come under fire, with a 2014 study in the American Journal of Public Health suggesting that diet soda isn’t promoting weight loss or helping people take in fewer...

Texas faces rising number of typhus cases

Texas is seeing a growing number of cases of typhus, a disease that was once thought to be almost eradicated in the United States. Texas Department of State Health Services data show there were more than 360 typhus cases in the state last year, compared with 30 cases in 2003. Most of the cases occurred in the southern portion of the state, the Houston Chronicle reported. More than 40 counties in the...
‘HEALTH, PUBLIC SAFETY CRISIS’ DOWNTOWN: City officials to increase lighting, police presence near ARCH homeless shelter

‘HEALTH, PUBLIC SAFETY CRISIS’ DOWNTOWN: City officials to increase lighting, police presence near ARCH homeless shelter

Austin officials plan to increase the lighting, police presence and street cleaning downtown at Seventh and Neches streets -- where the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless is located -- starting Aug. 15. Austin’s Ending Community Homelessness Coalition announced these plans, among others, for the area on Friday afternoon. “We have a health and public safety crisis in the downtown...
If you text in bathroom, phone could collect more germs than toilet

If you text in bathroom, phone could collect more germs than toilet

Here’s a habit you might want to flush: taking your smart devices to the bathroom. In 2015, Verizon posted a survey of its customers that revealed 90 percent used their phone in the bathroom. There are several reasons to leave your phone or tablet when you’re bathing, grooming or taking care of business according to a recent USA Today article by Brett Molina. Not the least of these is...
Former Georgia Satellite’s frontman Dan Baird battling leukemia

Former Georgia Satellite’s frontman Dan Baird battling leukemia

The former frontman of the Georgia Satellites, Dan Baird, is battling a major health issue. The musician, who currently fronts Dan Baird & Homemade Sin and performs in the Yayhoos, is undergoing treatment for an inherited form of leukemia. Baird, 63, was recently sent home from the U.K., where Homemade Sin was playing at the Ramblin’ Man Fair, and diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia...

5 things to know about rabies among Texas wildlife this summer

Summer in Central Texas means more people taking their pets outside and a higher risk of running across critters with rabies. Here are five things you should know: 1. Domestic and wild animals are at risk. Rabies is most commonly found in the state among bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, wild dogs and feral cats. According to state health officials, 751 animals tested positive for it last year...
Myrtle Beach water gave me flesh-eating bacteria, NC woman says

Myrtle Beach water gave me flesh-eating bacteria, NC woman says

The family of a North Carolina woman believes she contracted the deadly flesh-eating bacteria after swimming in the waters off Myrtle Beach, a popular vacation destination in South Carolina. On Facebook on Sunday, Marsha Barnes Beal asked users to prayer for her mother, Bonita Fetterman. “She came in contact with a life-threatening flesh-eating bacteria after putting her feet in the...
61-year-old grandmother loses finger to flesh-eating bacteria: ‘I’d rather lose finger than life’ 

61-year-old grandmother loses finger to flesh-eating bacteria: ‘I’d rather lose finger than life’ 

When Jane Durvin took her grandchildren swimming in the Rappahannock River on a hot summer day in Virginia last week, the last thing on her mind was the cat scratch on her finger, but that scratch could have cost her her life. Instead, the Essex County woman will lose a finger because the small wound became infected with flesh-eating bacteria from the warm, brackish river water. &ldquo...
Ex-Navy doc offers free surgery for transgender military patients

Ex-Navy doc offers free surgery for transgender military patients

An ex-Navy surgeon said she will perform free transgender surgery for military members already on her list after Donald Trump announced he would stop them from serving in the military. Dr. Christine McGinn made her comments on Saturday on CNN and said she would offer the free service to anyone affected by the new ban.  "If the commander-in-chief won't take care of our veterans, our veterans...
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