Health

Central Health approves $26 million for Sendero, but sets conditions

Central Health approves $26 million for Sendero, but sets conditions

Shortly after rescinding its decision to shut down its nonprofit health insurance provider, Central Health’s board voted Saturday to allocate $26 million for Sendero Health Plans and keep the program in operation for at least one more year. But it must meet certain conditions to receive the funding, which include strict reporting with explicit outcome measures and objectives provided to Central...
UT creates device to detect mosquito species common for disease

UT creates device to detect mosquito species common for disease

Standing just three matchboxes tall, a new device out of the University of Texas is expected to make surveillance of a mosquito species known for carrying deadly diseases quick and easy. Researchers created a tool with which users can crush a dead mosquito and add a mixture of chemicals to it. After a half-hour wait, the blend is poured into a small 3D-printed box, where blue LED lights are cast onto...
Central Health rescinds previous vote to cut Sendero Health Plans

Central Health rescinds previous vote to cut Sendero Health Plans

Sendero Health Plans might continue to exist for at least another year after Central Health board members Saturday voted unanimously to rescind an earlier budget decision that had shuttered the nonprofit insurer. The board at press time had not decided whether and how to fund Sendero, which provides low-cost insurance to 24,000 low-income Travis County residents. But after hearing hours of public...
Central Health board votes to give $26 million to Sendero Health Plans, sets conditions to keep it operational

Central Health board votes to give $26 million to Sendero Health Plans, sets conditions to keep it operational

7:30 p.m. update: The Central Health board voted unanimously Saturday to allocate $26 million to Sendero Health Plans to keep it in operation for at least another year, but stipulated several conditions. The money will not be spent until CEO Mike Geeslin presents a viable strategy for expanding the Central Health Premium Assistance Program.  Sendero must also report explicit outcome measures...
CDC approves nasal-spray vaccine for flu season

CDC approves nasal-spray vaccine for flu season

After advising the public to avoid the nasal-spray version of the flu vaccine for the past two years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now giving it the green light. A favorite of the needle-averse, the spray did not appear to work as well against H1N1, a strain of the flu, in the past few seasons, the CDC said. But it’s expected to work better this year, said the CDC and Dr...
Eye exam shows promise in predicting Alzheimer’s years before symptoms

Eye exam shows promise in predicting Alzheimer’s years before symptoms

ST. LOUIS — Using an easy eye exam, researchers at Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis were able to detect evidence of Alzheimer’s disease in patients before they had symptoms of the disease. The findings, involving 30 patients, were published today in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology. Scientists estimate that Alzheimer’s-related plaques begin accumulating in the brain two...

Huge clinical trial collapses, research on alcohol remains befuddling

Research on alcohol consumption is in a pickle. There’s no question that pounding one drink after another is bad for your health. Things get murkier when it comes to “moderate” drinking. What does that mean? What’s the limit? Can a health-conscious person serenely order a second round? The alcohol industry has long embraced the notion that alcohol in moderation not only won&rsquo...

HPV-related cancer rates are rising. Vaccine rates are rising, too

Cancers linked to the human papillomavirus have increased significantly over the last 15 years in the United States, with throat cancer now the most common HPV-related malignancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 43,000 people developed HPV-associated cancer in 2015, compared with about 30,000 in 1999, the CDC said. At the same time, the CDC said, HPV vaccination...

Google’s revamped fitness app tracks ‘Move Minutes’ and ‘Heart Points’

Google’s trying to get you off the couch by simplifying the look of its Fit app to measure just two things: how much you move and how good that is for your heart. The company redesigned the app in partnership with the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization to reflect both the amount that people move every day and the intensity of that movement. It also looks more like Apple&rsquo...
Want to be healthier? Pick up the pace

Want to be healthier? Pick up the pace

Everyone knows that walking is one of the best exercises for health, which is why physicians regularly recommend 150 minutes a week. But that’s a measure of volume. What about walking speed? Does that make a difference? A recent paper indicates the answer may be yes. Previous research had focused only on total amounts of exercise in minutes, or steps. A team of epidemiologists in Sydney looked...
Hurricane Safety: 6 scary, infectious illnesses you can catch from floodwater

Hurricane Safety: 6 scary, infectious illnesses you can catch from floodwater

Hurricanes can leave behind tons of damage, including flooding. But did you know that treading through the wrong kind of water can cause illnesses or even death? Floodwaters and standing water are often contaminated, posing several risks, such as infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries. Here are six sicknesses you should beware of in the aftermath: Drinking or eating...
CDC: Life expectancy in U.S. declines for second year in a row

CDC: Life expectancy in U.S. declines for second year in a row

For the second year in a row, the life expectancy of Americans got shorter. >> Read more trending news  According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the overall life expectancy in the U.S. was 78.6 years, down .1 from the previous year. Men can expect to live 76.1 years, down from 76.3. Women held steady at 81.1 years. During the...
Junk food linked to higher risk of cancer, study says

Junk food linked to higher risk of cancer, study says

It’s no secret junk food is bad for your health. In fact, too much of it can increase your risk of several diseases, including cancer, according to a new report. >> Read more trending news  Researchers from health institutions in France recently conducted a study, published in the PLOS journal, to explore the link between cancer and foods that were labeled by the Nutrient Profiling...
Jury awards boy $30 million in botched circumcision; award could increase

Jury awards boy $30 million in botched circumcision; award could increase

A jury in Clayton County, Georgia has awarded a boy $30 million for a botched circumcision, and the award could rise even higher as deliberations continue. >> Read more trending news  The verdict came down in the first phase of deliberations Friday, and the jury is expected to deliberate over whether to grant punitive damages, according to state court officials. The boy was 18-days-old...
US Alzheimer’s, dementia burden to double by 2060, CDC warns

US Alzheimer’s, dementia burden to double by 2060, CDC warns

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday revealed that the country’s burden of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will double by the year 2060. >> Read more trending news  In 2014, 5 million Americans — or 1.6 percent of the population — felt the burden of the diseases. The figure is expected to grow to 13.9 million, equating...
How to keep kids safe online, on social media

How to keep kids safe online, on social media

Parents probably were horrified at the news of  Cody Wilson, maker of the 3-D printed gun, being accused and arrested for sexual assault after meeting a 16-year-old girl online. What can parents do to make sure their children don’t become targets on social media or websites? In the Raising Austin column, we’ve featured many experts in parenting or internet...
Health premium increase for retired teachers unlikely in 2019

Health premium increase for retired teachers unlikely in 2019

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas appears unlikely to raise health insurance premiums for retired teachers under the age of 65 next year amid pressure from state officials. A board committee of the pension and health care system on Thursday followed a staff recommendation to keep premiums and deductibles the same. The full board likely will agree to the decision Friday. The board has been considering...
5,000 Medicare patients shut out from Austin Regional Clinic

5,000 Medicare patients shut out from Austin Regional Clinic

A contract dispute between Austin Regional Clinic and UnitedHealthcare has left an estimated 5,000 Medicare patients without access to their physicians, according to clinic officials. Patients who are enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage plan were notified through mail by the insurance company last week that Austin Regional Clinic would no longer be in their network starting next...
9-year-old girl dies from Type 1 diabetes after blood sugar drop during sleepover

9-year-old girl dies from Type 1 diabetes after blood sugar drop during sleepover

A small-town community in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania is dealing with a huge loss. >> Read more trending news  Sophia Daugherty, 9, a fifth-grader at Laurel Elementary School, died Wednesday from complications of Type 1 diabetes. Her family said she suffered an extreme blood sugar drop during a sleepover last weekend and was found unresponsive Sunday morning. The girl was hospitalized...
Millions of US teens are vaping marijuana; FDA launches crackdown amid ‘epidemic’

Millions of US teens are vaping marijuana; FDA launches crackdown amid ‘epidemic’

A new report from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that more than 2 million American teens have used an e-cigarette to vape marijuana >> Read more trending news  The new data, based on a representative sample of middle and high school students questioned in the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey, showed 8.9 percent of the 20,000 students...
What to know about the deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus found in Atlanta

What to know about the deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus found in Atlanta

The DeKalb County health department in metro Atlanta recently announced that a mosquito in the area tested positive for the deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus. >> Read more trending news  “It’s a very serious illness if it is to infect a person,” Ryan Cira, the environmental health director for the DeKalb Board of Health, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, though...
Central Health sets public hearing for Saturday on future of Sendero

Central Health sets public hearing for Saturday on future of Sendero

Central Health is continuing to weigh the future of its nonprofit insurance provider, Sendero Health Plans, and will hold a special meeting on Saturday, where members of the public will be allowed to speak. Travis County commissioners on Tuesday delayed voting on the health district’s proposed $258 million budget for fiscal 2019, after several people spoke out against Central...
Central Health to reconsider budget, hold hearing about ending Sendero

Central Health to reconsider budget, hold hearing about ending Sendero

Within days of being diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of cancer, about a year ago, Austin artist Chia Guillory began treatment. Today, she’s in remission. Guillory was able to receive care immediately, she told the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, only because of the subsidy she receives from the county’s health district, Central Health, for her health insurance through Sendero...
Deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus found in mosquito in metro Atlanta

Deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus found in mosquito in metro Atlanta

The DeKalb County health department announced Tuesday that a mosquito tested positive for the deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus. >> Read more trending news  Humans rarely become infected and cases are uncommon in Georgia, Ryan Cira, the environmental health director for the DeKalb Board of Health, said. However, 33 percent of people who are infected with EEE die and others...
Can drinking whole-fat milk, eating dairy lower heart disease risk?

Can drinking whole-fat milk, eating dairy lower heart disease risk?

Many health conscious grocery shoppers tend to flock toward low-fat milk and dairy products, but new research suggests whole-fat dairy may be better for your heart than you think. >> Read more trending news  An analysis of 136,384 individuals across 21 countries and five continents found that higher intake of whole milk and yogurt was associated with lower risk of cardiovascular events...
Black women exposed to toxic chemicals in hair products, study shows

Black women exposed to toxic chemicals in hair products, study shows

Black women are potentially exposed to dozens of hazardous chemicals through the products they use on their hair, according to a recent study from Silent Spring Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to identifying and breaking the links between environmental chemicals and women’s health. The study, which measured a range of hormone-disrupting chemicals in hair products marketed to black...
Are household disinfectants making kids overweight? Study finds possible link

Are household disinfectants making kids overweight? Study finds possible link

Obesity affects nearly 1 in 6 children in the United States, according to new data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State of Obesity report. And new findings from the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveal there may be more contributing to that stat than overeating. Overweight children are approximately five times more likely to be obese or overweight as adults, increasing...
These wines – and wine cocktails – can see you through a dinner party

These wines – and wine cocktails – can see you through a dinner party

Here’s a dinner plan: Start by opening a bottle of Montenidoli Chianti and letting it air - decanted, if possible. Then enjoy a Pampelonne wine cocktail while you cook. When you begin to eat, whether nibbles or a more formal first course, switch to either the Attems Ramato Pinot Grigio, Ken Forrester Old Vines Chenin Blanc or Esprit Gassier rosé. Wow your guests with the Chianti at the...
This spicy stir-fry only takes a few minutes to cook

This spicy stir-fry only takes a few minutes to cook

Five-spice powder gives this stir-fry its intriguing taste. The flavors delicately glaze the ingredients. The spice is a pungent mixture of star anise, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed and Szechwan peppercorns. You can use it to add a different flavor to other rice or vegetable dishes. The dish has several ingredients, but once they’re assembled they take only a few minutes to cook. This stir-fry...
Low-dose aspirin has no benefit for healthy, older people, brings risks

Low-dose aspirin has no benefit for healthy, older people, brings risks

Doctors have long-touted the benefits of a low-dose aspirin, or baby aspirin, for older patients. The treatment was said to help prevent cardiovascular disease or dementia. But a new study found it may do more harm than good, the Washington Post reported. Researchers said that the treatment could lead to an increase of bleeding in the digestive tract and brain. Scientists looked at more than...
Number of opioid prescriptions remains unchanged, Mayo Clinic finds

Number of opioid prescriptions remains unchanged, Mayo Clinic finds

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Despite increased attention to opioid abuse, prescriptions have remained relatively unchanged for many U.S. patients, research led by Mayo Clinic finds. The research, published in The BMJ, shows that opioid prescription rates have remained flat for commercially insured patients over the past decade. Rates for some Medicare patients are leveling but remain above where they...
Polio survivor is one of last iron-lung users in U.S.

Polio survivor is one of last iron-lung users in U.S.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While waiting for a bus to take her home from work, Mona Randolph’s head felt like it was going to split open. She had a fever, chills. The sights and sounds of the world intensified. Her nerves were on edge. She was 20 years old, three days into a new job and three months away from getting married. It was 1956. A year before, the government had approved a vaccine for...
Doctor’s orders: Let children just play

Doctor’s orders: Let children just play

Imagine a drug that could enhance a child’s creativity, critical thinking and resilience. Imagine that this drug were simple to make, safe to take, and could be had for free. The nation’s leading pediatricians say this miracle compound exists. In a new clinical report, they are urging doctors to prescribe it liberally to the children in their care. What is this wonder drug? Play. &ldquo...
Editorial: Lawsuit to kill Obamacare would hurt many Texans, too

Editorial: Lawsuit to kill Obamacare would hurt many Texans, too

It’s no secret Attorney General Ken Paxton opposes the federal health care law. But his animus toward the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, runs so deep that he is now leading a stampede of Republican state attorneys general over a cliff to attack the most vital pieces of the law — recklessly disregarding the health consequences for Texans and the political...
Central Health board votes to shut down Sendero Health Plans

Central Health board votes to shut down Sendero Health Plans

After years of financial instability for its nonprofit health insurance provider, Travis County’s health care district is shutting down Sendero Health Plans in the next two years, potentially forcing its 24,000 members to find new health coverage plans. Central Health board members voted 4-3 Wednesday night to allocate $24 million to the nonprofit in fiscal 2019 and start plans to suspend it...
Texas tops states again in uninsured rates, but Travis County improves

Texas tops states again in uninsured rates, but Travis County improves

While Texas continued to top out as the state with the highest percentage of uninsured residents, Travis County saw its percentage of insured people increase nearly three points in 2017, according to new U.S. Census Bureau numbers released Thursday. About 11.9 percent of Travis County residents were uninsured last year, compared with 14.4 percent in 2015, the Census Bureau reported. Among the 10 most-populated...
Vampire facial made popular by Kim Kardashian causes HIV, hepatitis scare in New Mexico

Vampire facial made popular by Kim Kardashian causes HIV, hepatitis scare in New Mexico

A spa in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been shut down as state officials urge customers to get tested for a number of bloodborne illnesses related to the spa’s “vampire facials,” including HIV, and hepatitis B and C, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  State inspectors began an investigation after a client at the VIP Spa developed an infection, ...
ASA Moody Medical Clinic is a one-stop HIV center

ASA Moody Medical Clinic is a one-stop HIV center

Crusading for a time when the rate of new HIV cases in our area drops to zero,  AIDS Services of Austin ceremoniously unveiled its new one-stop  ASA Moody Medical Clinic on Cameron Road on Monday. Ross Moody, Greg Casar and Kathie Tovo at the opening of the ASA Moody Medical Clinic. Michael Barnes/American-Statesman Generously supported by the  ...
Eggs sold in 3 states recalled amid salmonella fears

Eggs sold in 3 states recalled amid salmonella fears

Before you make eggs this week, it's important to know that Gravel Ridge Farms recalled cage-free large eggs because they might be contaminated with salmonella. The company said it recalled packages containing one dozen and 2 1/2 dozen eggs in cardboard containers with UPC code 7-06970-38444-6. The recalled eggs have "best if used by" dates of July 25, 2018, through Oct. 3...
Best Austin parties after Labor Day, Game Day

Best Austin parties after Labor Day, Game Day

We survived Labor Day and Game Day and now it’s time for the great Austin social machine to crank it up. These are some upcoming parties I hope to make. Sept. 9:  Picnic Bombazo for Puerto Rican Cultural Center. 701 Tillery St. Sept. 10:  Opening of ASA Moody Medical Clinic. 7215 Cameron Road. Sept. 13: “ I Saw...

How to choose the best sunscreen for your skin – and the Earth, too

In July, Hawaii became the first state to ban the sale of sunscreens with the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, because of the reported damage they cause to coral reefs as they wash off swimmers’ bodies in the ocean. “Just three drops of oxybenzone in an Olympic-sized swimming pool is enough to damage coral larvae,” says Nathan Donley, senior scientist for the Center for Biological...

A traumatic brain injury may increase the risk of suicide, study says

Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability in young adults in the developed world. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. Though the reasons for any particular suicide are often inscrutable, research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that at least a fraction of the blame could be placed on traumatic...
ER or urgent care clinic? Here’s where to take an injured child

ER or urgent care clinic? Here’s where to take an injured child

Summer is fading like so many bathing suits on a clothing line, but for kids, this time of year is when they’re at increased risk of preventable injury. Some local pediatric emergency doctors say that half of the traumatic injuries they see each year happen between May and September. More specifically, July and August are when the number of deaths from excessive heat, drownings, motor vehicles...
Do the benefits of youth sports outweigh the risks?

Do the benefits of youth sports outweigh the risks?

Participation in youth sports has declined over the past decade for a variety of reasons: an increased interest in video games and other activities, a growing concern about the long term effects of injuries, and the cost can be prohibitive. A recent nationwide survey commissioned by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association found while more than four out of five parents surveyed believe the...
Most older drivers outlive the age at which they can drive safely

Most older drivers outlive the age at which they can drive safely

Older drivers outlive the age when they’re capable of driving safely by seven to 10 years, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said, but more than 80 percent of them never talk with their family or doctor about it. When they do have that conversation about driving safety, the AAA found, in 15 percent of cases it came after a crash or traffic infraction. The AAA Foundation said that in 2016...
Probiotics are ‘useless in many cases,’ study finds

Probiotics are ‘useless in many cases,’ study finds

Do you often reach for yogurts, chocolates and other products with probiotics to keep your health in check? Your efforts may be in vain, according to a new report.  >> Read more trending news  Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel recently conducted a study, published in the Cell journal, to determine the effectiveness of probiotics, which are live...
CDC reminds everyone who can, to get a flu shot this year

CDC reminds everyone who can, to get a flu shot this year

It’s September and the kids are back to school. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about the flu and how to prevent getting the bug from taking over your family.  It may seem early, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already issued its vaccination guidelines when it comes to influenza this year. Normally the flu will start creeping in during the late fall through...
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