health

Public Health
12:11 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

UW Study Links Obesity To Socioeconomic Status

For years, researchers have been connecting the dots between socioeconomic status and obesity rates. A new study from the University of Washington makes those connections even stronger.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity looked at nearly 60,000 men and women in King County. It found that people in South and Southeast King County were much more likely to be obese. The biggest factors were education levels and home values.

Adam Drewnowski is the study’s lead author. He’s a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington and the director of the UW’s Center for Public Health Nutrition. He talks with Marcie Sillman.

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Mental Health
8:00 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Assaults Are "Constant Disruption" At State Mental Hospitals

The main entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash.
John Ryan KUOW

Violence is a “constant disruption” at the state’s two main psychiatric hospitals, according to a new report jointly commissioned by The Department of Social and Health Services and the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW union that represents much of the front-line staff at the hospitals. 

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Psychiatric Boarding
2:35 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Wash. Mental Health Advocates Pushing For Increased Funding Of Outpatient Programs

Emergency rooms in Washington often act as stop gap for those needing mental health care.
Flickr Photo/Michael J

Washington state is facing a crisis when it comes to providing beds for psychiatric care. On a per capita basis, according to a 2009 national report, Washington ranks at the very bottom.

When beds are unavailable at psychiatric hospitals and regional mental health providers, hospital emergency rooms are often a last resort. Mental health advocates say this is a huge problem, because in some cases, mentally ill people are housed in emergency rooms for months, without access to sufficient treatment.

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Food Safety
12:09 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Your Guide To Avoiding Foodborne Illness

Flickr Photo/snowpea&bokchoi

On Monday, the USDA issued a warning for salmonella contamination in packaged Foster Farms chicken. Nearly 300 illnesses in 17 states have been reported.

Today, the USDA is threatening to close the three Foster Farms facilities linked to the outbreak. This latest outbreak is just one of the many contamination stories we hear about each year.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that every year, roughly one in six Americans get sick from foodborne illness. How can you protect yourself? Marcie Sillman talks with Scott Meschke, microbiologist and professor Health Sciences at University of Washington.

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Nutrition Solutions
11:25 am
Thu October 10, 2013

How To Stay Energized During Fall And Winter

Burdock root is a natural way to keep the energy up in the cold, rainy months of a Northwest winter.
Flickr Photo/beautifulcataya

Are you ready to take the burdock root challenge? Burdock root is a high source of a complex starch that gives us the energy we need to get through the winter. Registered dietitian Mary Purdy says it is a prime example of the sort of food we should be intruding into our diet during the darkening days of fall and winter.

As we bundle up and spend more time inside we might be tempted to turn to pumpkin lattes and bonbons, but that isn’t the best way to tackle our diminished energy. Purdy is the host of the podcast Nutrition Nuggets; she says there are better ways then caffeine and sugar to keep your energy up during the fall and winter months.

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NIH Closure
2:37 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Cancer Patient's Hope For Treatment Thwarted By Shutdown

Flickr Photo/Nicki Dugan

Sharon Beatty of Everett was diagnosed with stage four melanoma in June. The prognosis isn’t good. She hasn’t responded well to chemotherapy, and her family was pinning its hopes on a vaccine trial at the Clinical Research Center of the National Institutes of Health.

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Open Enrollment
5:14 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Early Numbers For Wash. Health Exchange Look Strong

Washington state’s health exchange is one week old. To date, more than 9,400 people have enrolled for health coverage. More than half of them will be newly eligible for Medicaid when the program expands in January. In addition, 10,000 more people have filled out applications but have yet to hit the purchase button.

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Mental Health
3:24 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Psychiatric Boarding On The Rise In Washington State

Emergency rooms are the stop-gap for treating people with mental health concerns in Washington.
Flickr Photo/Michael B

Nationally, Washington state ranks dead last in providing beds for mental health treatment. As a result, people with severe mental illnesses often end up in emergency rooms where they don’t receive proper care. On average, they’re housed in emergency rooms for three days. In some cases, they wait months.

It’s a practice called “psychiatric boarding.” Mental health advocates say it’s dangerous for patients and  hospital staff. Brian Rosenthal is a staff reporter for The Seattle Times. He talked with Ross Reynolds about why psychiatric boarding has become an epidemic in our state.

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Food Safety
10:59 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Contaminated Foster Farms Chicken Infects 278 People

The salmonella bacteria that infected 278 people has been traced back to Foster Farms plants in California.
Flickr Photo/Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

The US Department of Agriculture reported on Tuesday that 278 people have been infected with salmonella following an outbreak likely originating from three Foster Farms plants in California.

Most of those people are from California, according to a statement, although the outbreak has reached 18 states. Fifteen are from Washington state.

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Health Exchange
10:01 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Washington Health Plan Website 'Cruising At 55'

Washington Health Benefit Exchange

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:00 pm

After a rocky start, Washington’s health plan finder website is now running smoothly. That’s according to a spokesman for the state’s Health Benefit Exchange.

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Ask The Plastic Surgeon
3:40 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

More Men Consider Plastic Surgery

Liposuction surgery procedure performed by cosmetic surgeon Dr. Vishal Kapoor.
Flickr Photo/Vishal Kapoor

The number of men going under the knife in 2012 for cosmetic reasons is 30 percent higher than a decade ago. What men are having done is changing too. Dr. Phil Haeck joins Ross Reynolds to talk about trends in plastic surgery. Haeck has been a plastic surgeon in the Northwest for 27 years and is the ­former president of the American Society for Plastic Surgeons.

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Philanthropy
2:05 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Fighting Breast Cancer: To Pink Or Not To Pink?

Flickr Photo/Jeffrey

It's October: the month of Halloween, fall weather and pink. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and its symbol is the pink ribbon.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is one of the largest breast cancer charities in the world. It partners with corporations to brand pink ribbon product lines for the month of October: pink Purina pet food, pink Yoplait yogurt and pink buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, to name a few.

But critics say the branding benefits companies more than charity. Steve Scher talks with Dr. Samantha King, director of Queen's University school of kinesiology and health studies and the author of "Pink Ribbons, Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy."

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Affordable Care Act
2:01 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

The (Head) Doctor Is In: Physicals Would Include Mental Health

The US faces a shrink shortage: An estimated 62 million Americans will become eligible for mental health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, but there aren’t enough psychiatrists to treat them.

What to do?

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Ask The Dietitian
9:10 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Natural Ways To Avoid Seasonal Illnesses

Oranges and other foods with beta carotene are converted to vitamin A in the body and are recommended by nutritionist Mary Purdy to ward off illness.
Flickr Photo/Ivan Chang

There is no denying it, autumn has arrived with a bang: the rain, the low temperatures, shorter days and everyone huddled inside together creates the perfect germ-spreading storm. While many people are going out to get their flu shots, there are also a variety of natural ways to ward off illness.

We decided to ask an expert, registered dietitian Mary Purdy. Purdy is the host of the podcast Nutrition Nuggets and she joins us to explain how we can keep a healthy immune system.

Faith-Based Health
8:56 am
Thu October 3, 2013

PeaceHealth And The Affordable Care Act

PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center, Longview, Wash.
From PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center's Facebook page.

The battle over the Affordable Care Act has brought the federal government to a partial shutdown, but changes to our health care system due to the law have already begun reshaping the industry.  This includes private hospitals and public ones, for-profit and nonprofit, secular and faith-based institutions

PeaceHealth is a Catholic-affiliated nonprofit that runs nine hospitals and 73 medical practices in Alaska, Oregon and Washington. The company has entered into partnerships with public hospitals in Skagit and Snohomoish counties and recently agreed to send patients with complex issues to UW Medical facilities.

The ACA and the relationship between hospitals that operate under sometimes contradictory directives are top of mind for Alan Yordy, PeaceHealth’s chief mission officer. He talks with Steve Scher about what he calls one of the greatest social experiments in the history of developed nations around the world.

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