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FILE: Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell smiles as he leaves the chamber after announcing the release of the Republicans' health care bill Thursday, June 22, 2017.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Bill Radke talks to Mary Agnes Carey, senior correspondent covering health reform and federal health policy for Kaiser Health News, about how healthcare policy changes will affect patients. 

Health premiums for Washington state residents who buy into the state exchange can expect an average rise of 24 percent next year.

If you buy individual health insurance through Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange get ready for sticker shock. Rates will go up by an average of 24 percent next year.

The first cases of West Nile virus in Washington State this year have been reported in Spokane County. 

1 In 5 Teens Reports A Concussion Diagnosis

Sep 26, 2017

Concussions have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, especially as professional football players' brains have shown signs of degenerative brain disease linked with repeated blows to the head. Now, a new analysis confirms what many doctors fear — that concussions start showing up at a high rate in teens who are active in contact sports.

Linda Hargrove discusses using Suboxone with her doctor Grant Scull during an appointment.
KUOW Photo/Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

Linda Hargrove takes white Suboxone tablets daily, dissolving them in her mouth. She’s used to the taste: chalky, not real bitter. Still, Hargrove sips juice from a straw to wash it down. 

People who buy individual health insurance in Washington state can expect another round of rate hikes next year.

“I’d say double-digit [increases] are almost a certainty,” state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said in an interview Thursday on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” program.

Republicans' complex health care calculations are coming down to simple math.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs 50 of the chamber's 52 Republicans to vote for a bill that aims to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and drastically reshape the Medicaid system. McConnell's office is planning to bring the bill up for a vote next week.

The non-binary option on Oregon's driver license application.
Oregon Department of Transportation

Washington state residents could eventually get a third option to designate gender on their birth certificates.

That new option would be "non-binary."

Executive Director of Shepherd's Counseling Services Janice Palm poses for a portrait on Thursday, September 14, 2017, at Shepherd's in Seattle. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

There is a crisis that many of us would rather not face — childhood sexual abuse. 

According to Janice Palm, who works with adult survivors of sexual abuse at Shepard’s Counseling Service, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18.

For years, the government has been trying to reduce the risk that legitimate biological research could be misused to threaten the public's health, but those efforts have serious shortcomings.

That's the conclusion of a report released Thursday by the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that examined existing practices and policies on so-called dual-use biological research.

San Diego has started washing its downtown streets with bleach in an effort to combat an outbreak of hepatitis A that has killed at least 15 people and infected nearly 400.

The infectious disease has largely infected homeless people in the coastal California city, and part of the issue is an apparent shortage of public restrooms in areas where the population congregates.

There's at least one thing Bill Gates and President Trump agree on: The media don't always get things right.

For Gates, the problem is with the foreign aid coverage.

"The nature of news is mostly to cover big setbacks," Gates says. "So if a little bit of money was spent improperly, that's what gets the news coverage, even though 99 percent of it was spent well."

This focus on failure leads to false impressions about the effectiveness of foreign aid, says Gates.

We don't usually think of adorable puppies as disease vectors, but they might actually be making people sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a Campylobacter outbreak in people and its link to puppies purchased from a chain of pet stores.

Two small-town hospitals in the Palouse have announced they plan to offer gender confirmation surgeries. The same surgeon would offer the procedure at Pullman Regional Hospital and Gritman Medical Center in nearby Moscow, Idaho.

Cancer drugs cost far less to develop than industry-backed research asserts, an analysis published Monday asserts. Research and development costs are a major reason that drug companies justify high prices, so this dispute has a direct bearing on the cost of medical care.

Almost one-third of people have stopped taking a prescription drug at some time without telling their health care provider, according to the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

Jonathan Guffey has chiseled youthful looks and, at 32, does not have the haggard bearing of someone who has spent more than half his life hooked on opioids. That stint with the drug started at 15 and ended — he says for good — 22 months ago. He has a job working with his family in construction, but his work history is pockmarked by addiction.

"I've worked in a couple of factories for a short amount of time, probably just long enough to get the first check to get high off of," Guffey says.

Of all the resources that hang in the balance as firefighters attempt to slow the growth of the Eagle Creek Fire, one stands out: the Bull Run watershed.

It’s 150 square miles of hemlock, fir and cedar trees just south of the Columbia River Gorge. The forest soaks up rain and fills the lakes and reservoirs that provide drinking water for close to 1 million people in Portland, Gresham, Beaverton and Tigard.

Climate Change Is Making Smoky, Unhealthy Air More Common

Sep 7, 2017

On Wednesday, as smoke blotted out the sun across the city of Portland, about a dozen people were hiding out from the smoky heat in the air conditioned Hollywood Senior Center – one of the county's designated cooling centers for those needing relief on the hottest days of the year.

Wearing an electronic air filter around her neck, Jennifer Young, who works at the center, flipped on the larger, high-efficiency particulate  filter she brought from home to purify her work-space air.

The top three nationally reported STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis and they are all on the rise in the Northwest and across the nation.

A smoky Seattle skyline is shown from N. Northlake Way on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

With smoke from wildfires filling Seattle’s skies, Dr. Jeff Duchin has some advice for people with respiratory conditions, pregnant women, diabetics, old people, infants and children: Don’t go out.

As Dr. Ruth Berggren digests the calamity affecting her new home state of Texas, she admits to some PTSD.

In 2005, she was an infectious-disease doctor at Charity Hospital in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit, and she became one of a small number of physicians left to care for 250 patients for six days, trapped by flooding and without running water or electricity.

Oregon is ablaze right now. With at least 25 active wildfires burning more than 282,000 acres, smoke inhalation is a major health concern for the Beaver State.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency have issued an air quality alert for Northeast Oregon until 6 p.m. Tuesday. Wildfires burning around the region are to blame, with smoke and ash creating unhealthy conditions in Portland, the north coast, the Columbia River Gorge, the Willamette Valley and beyond.

San Diego's homeless population has been hit hardest by the highly contagious hepatitis A virus.

The outbreak, which began in November, has spread after vaccination and educational programs in the city failed to reduce the infection rate. The virus attacks the liver.

Has Salt Gotten An Unfair Shake?

Sep 3, 2017

For such a simple compound, salt is complicated.

Sodium is a key element in table salt, and it's also essential for life. It helps regulate our blood volume. It shuttles nutrients into our bodies and brains. It allows our muscles to contract and our nerves to pulse with electricity. Yet for decades, we've been told to avoid it.

A disease that can be deadly to deer has been found for the first time in Washington. Wildlife managers are asking people to not give deer food or water — in hopes of minimizing the spread of the infection.

Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease — or AHD — is common in other western states. Washington’s first confirmed case was found in a herd east of Goldendale.

The disease is often fatal for fawns. It’s not a risk to people, pets, or livestock — it’s only transmitted from deer-to-deer.

Josh Hanagarne is a dad, a librarian and an author. He also has an extreme form of Tourette's syndrome. But he doesn't let it and his tics — his involuntary movements and sounds — stop him from living his life. He says he actually chose to work in a library because it was the quietest place he knew of.

Josh first started showing symptoms of Tourette's syndrome when he was in elementary school, about the same age that his son Max is now.

There's a health trend that researchers want the LGBT community to be aware of: Lesbian and gay adults over 50 are found to be in poorer health than heterosexuals, according to a University of Washington School of Social Work study.

BiliScreen is a new smartphone app that can screen for pancreatic cancer by having users snap a selfie.
Courtesy of the University of Washington/Dennis Wise

University of Washington researchers have created a smartphone app that could help users screen themselves for a range of diseases, including pancreatic cancer, by simply taking a selfie.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced what the agency calls a "historic action" — the first approval of a cell-based gene therapy in the United States.

The FDA approved Kymriah, which scientists refer to as a "living drug" because it involves using genetically modified immune cells from patients to attack their cancer.

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