health

Colleen McDevitt / KUOW

Editor’s note: KUOW has omitted Fallon’s last name to protect the teen’s privacy.

When I was in middle school, I was like any other nerdy teen. I was in honors classes. I was getting straight As. I remember seeing my friends at the library every day. We would talk about Japanese anime and videogames and other stuff we liked.

Customers of Portland-based health insurance company Moda should rest assured their policies will be honored. That was the message from state regulators Monday after they announced a consent order meant to keep the company afloat.

Until very recently it was thought that just one bacterium was to blame for causing Lyme disease in humans. But it turns out that a second, related bug can cause it too.

In 2013, during routine testing of bacterial DNA floating around in the blood samples of people suspected of having Lyme disease, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., realized they were looking at something different.

Do you know any global health stories that should be getting coverage — but are overlooked by the media?

The problems with high lead levels in Flint, Mich.'s water started in April 2014, when the city switched water sources and began drawing its supply from the Flint River. The new water was harder, and government officials allowed it to corrode the city's pipes, leaching lead and other toxins into the tap water.

A photo from a 2011 project by the Daily Kent Stater. "A chaplain came to say a prayer for Rene when she was moved to hospice Monday morning, September 19. John and a few of his children were present at this time."
Flickr Photo/Kristin Bauer Photography

Dying patients in hospice and nursing homes aren’t always getting the care they need during the last days of their lives.

At 46 years old, Oliver Bogler's reaction to a suspicious lump in his chest might seem typical for a man. He ignored it for three to four months, maybe longer. "I couldn't really imagine I would have this disease," Bogler says. But when he finally "grew up" and went to the doctor, he was pretty quickly diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

You wouldn't think of calling a mosquito "man's best friend." But that's the nickname that biologist Denise Valle uses for Aedes aegypti, the species that's been spreading the Zika virus in Brazil and many other countries in Latin America.

I think "man's best enemy" might be better.

The thing is, this mosquito likes to live near humans.

Genetics researchers often discover certain snips and pieces of the human genome that are important for health and development, such as the genetic mutations that cause cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia. And scientists noticed that genetic variants are more common in some races, which makes it seem like race is important in genetics research.

New advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at preventing fetal alcohol syndrome has created quite a stir.

The CDC estimates that about 3 million women "are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy."

For Carnival in Brazil, lots of women don giant feather headdresses and skimpy bikinis.

But for a pre-Carnival event, Elaine Cuoto is dressed as a mosquito — complete with a long proboscis and gossamer wings.

She is part of a group of health workers dancing by a metro station in a working-class neighborhood of Rio's north zone. A few others are wearing mosquito costumes as well. And they're singing a catchy tune:

"If Zika attacks, use this number to report it, 7-4-6. Pay attention!"

For the past two years, Joseph Richardson has been trying to figure out how to keep young black men with knife and gunshot wounds from turning up again with similar injuries at Prince George's Hospital Trauma Center outside Washington, D.C.

Employers are pushing workers to get in shape and become more fit through workplace wellness programs. But if employers use body mass index as a yardstick for health, then that could unfairly penalize millions of Americans, a study finds.

Doctors contend that BMI's usefulness ends at a rough indication that a patient should be checked for things like high blood pressure or cholesterol.

"If you are a woman who is pregnant living in the U.S., there's one really important thing you need to know: You shouldn't go to a place that has Zika spreading."

These Are My Mom's Beautiful, Painful Hands

Feb 3, 2016
KUOW Photo / Shina Williams

I told my mom one day that I thought she was a very headstrong woman.

“What do you mean ‘strong?’” she asked me.

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