health

Virginia Mason Medical Center is warning hundreds of patients to get tested for hepatitis-B, after a lapse in screening practices. Friday, the hospital announced it has notified 650 patients that they could have been exposed.

Jess Thom says the word "biscuit" about 16,000 times every day. Her brother-in-law counted once.

That's just one of the tics that Thom, a London-based performance artist, has to manage as part of her life with Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary vocal or motor tics. Specialists say the condition affects as many as 300,000 children in the United States, though many are undiagnosed.

Thom has had tics since childhood, but she wasn't diagnosed until her 20s.

When McDonald's came to the Soviet Union in 1990, the company insisted that workers smile. That didn't come easy. But customers grew to like it — and workers did, too. What happens when you change a norm?

Not a single school district has told the state of Oregon how it plans to test for radon gas. Every district in the state is required to do so by September 1.

Philadelphia has approved a tax on soda — and it's the first major U.S. city to do so. Now, a legal fight is brewing between the city and the soda industry.

The bill passed Philadelphia's City Council by a vote of 13-4.

Mayor Jim Kenney supported the tax. After the law passed, he called it "a historic investment in our neighborhoods and our education system."

Will Genetic Advances Make Sex Obsolete?

Jun 16, 2016

Stanford law professor and bioethicist Hank Greely predicts that in the future most people in developed countries won't have sex to make babies. Instead they'll choose to control their child's genetics by making embryos in a lab.

Adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can carry the Zika virus.
Flickr Photo/NIAID (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/GhRvGn

Bill Radke talks with Dr. David Fleming of Seattle-based global health organization PATH about the public health response to the Zika virus.

If coffee is your favorite morning pick-me-up, read on.

The World Health Organization's cancer research agency has given coffee the green light. The group concludes that coffee does not pose a cancer risk, and experts say a regular coffee habit may even be protective of good health.

Days after the deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., the American Medical Association says it is adopting a policy calling gun violence in the U.S. "a public health crisis," and it says it will actively lobby Congress to overturn 20-year-old legislation blocking research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tennis champion Maria Sharapova wasn't breaking any rules when she took her first dose of meldonium a decade ago.

But her continued use of the heart medication after the World Anti-Doping Agency banned it on Jan. 1 prompted the International Tennis Federation to announce last Wednesday that Sharapova would be suspended for two years. She appealed the suspension Tuesday, and a decision is expected by July 18.

Caleb Banta-Green is a UW professor and a member of the King County heroin and prescription opiate task force.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Bill Radke speaks with Caleb Banta-Green, an opiate addiction expert and a member of the King County Heroin and Prescription Opiate Task Force. Banta-Green wants to see access to medication-assisted treatment for opiate addiction expanded. He says stigma attached to that kind of treatment is a barrier. 

A few months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a startling map that showed the parts of the U.S. that could harbor mosquitoes capable of carrying Zika.

Many readers, including myself, thought, "Zika could come to my town! It could come to Connecticut! To Ohio and Indiana! Or to Northern California! Oh goodness!"

The map made it look like a vast swath of the country was at risk for Zika, including New England and the Upper Midwest.

Well, not quite.

Millennials May Be Losing Their Grip

Jun 13, 2016

Millennials, the thoroughbreds of texting, may lag behind previous generations when it comes to old-fashioned hand strength.

In a study of Americans ages 20-34, occupational therapists found that men younger than 30 have significantly weaker hand grips than their counterparts in 1985 did. The same was true of women ages 20-24, according to the study published online by the Journal of Hand Therapy a few months back.

The first time Ray Tamasi got hit up by an investor, it was kind of out of the blue.

"This guy called me up," says Tamasi, president of Gosnold on Cape Cod, an addiction treatment center with seven sites in Massachusetts.

"The guy" represented a group of investors; Tamasi declines to say whom. But they were looking to buy addiction treatment centers like Gosnold.

Despite Rise Of Superbugs, Syphilis Still Has A Kryptonite

Jun 10, 2016

Lola Stamm fell in love with the bacterium that causes syphilis when she was in grad school.

Other bacteria are rod-shaped or blobby. Treponema pallidum, the syphilis culprit, is a long, skinny corkscrew — and it slithers.

"Under the dark-field microscope they look like little snakes," says Lola Stamm, a microbiologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "It's really rather creepy, but they're just fascinating organisms."

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