health

The Food and Drug Administration is re-evaluating its definition of what counts as a "healthy" food.

The change comes as healthful fats — including fats found in nuts — are increasingly recognized as part of a good diet.

Currently, if a food company wants to put a "healthy" claim on its label, regulations stipulate that it must be very low in fat. The specific rules are complex, but, for instance, a snack food can contain no more than 3 grams of fat for a regular-size serving.

This means that many snacks that include nuts don't qualify as healthy.

Rebecca Benson, a public health nurse in King County, holds up a box now being given to parents for their babies to sleep in. Benson, who shared a bed with her own babies, now believes that giving babies their own space to sleep is preferable.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

When infants die in King County, the medical examiner investigates.

One hundred babies were found to have died of SUID – sudden unexpected infant death – between 2009 and 2015, according to data obtained by KUOW.


We love mom. Or, at least, we like the idea of mom — even if, as countless writers have taken to pointing out, being a mother is as complicated a job as it ever was.

Even recognizing the hardships of life in parts of the world — too-early marriages, too many pregnancies too close together with too little prenatal care, too little opportunity to make decisions for oneself, let alone for one's children — still, there are plenty of things to preoccupy us in the wealthy and healthy (by comparison) U.S.

This is your brain on information overload

May 6, 2016
Author and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin
Courtesy Photo/Peter Prato

With more and more information at our fingertips, the human brain is constantly sorting and filing an overwhelming amount of data.

In his book, “The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload,” neuroscientist Daniel Levitin breaks down hard science on brain productivity. He addresses simple things to help improve brain efficiency, like making lists and checking them off, taking breaks and allocating time.

The Food and Drug Administration is banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors as part of a broad set of regulations the agency finalized Wednesday.

With the rules that were more than two years in the making, the agency is expanding its authority over e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah tobacco, in much the same way it already regulates traditional cigarettes.

Seattle Food Rescue founder Tim Jenkins picks up food from Stock Box on James St.
KUOW Photo/Matt Martin

Up to 40 percent of food in the U.S. ends up in landfills. Seattle has been trying to tackle the issue with laws that require composting. But that's not enough for one local cyclist.

Tim Jenkins cuts sharply across tracks in the road as he jets through an intersection before the light changes. He has a child trailer attached to the back of his bike. But instead of carrying a small human, Jenkins hopes to fill the cart with food.

A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States — and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye.

Working through a self-help program online can prevent or delay major depression disorder in people who are vulnerable, a study finds. Similar programs have been used to treat depression, but this may be the first one tested to prevent it, the researchers say.

Online programs for mental health problems can be as effective as face-to-face treatment and offer some advantages: Low cost, available at any time and customizable. But they're not panaceas.

Chipping paint is a lead poisoning danger to kids.
Flickr Photo/Nancy Waldman (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/2Unkx2

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Seattle Times health reporter JoNel Aleccia about lead risks in Washington state. Children in the state have low risks of lead poisoning, but health officials say the biggest lead risks are not in the water; they exist in lead paint in old houses and other environments like some construction sites. 

Testing for lead in Washington schools is still voluntary seven years after the state passed rules to make it mandatory. That’s because state lawmakers never provided funding to pay for the testing.

Critical Drugs For Hospital ERs Remain In Short Supply

May 2, 2016

At some hospitals, posters on the wall in the emergency department list the drugs that are in short supply or unavailable, along with recommended alternatives.

Though it's the world's top infectious killer, tuberculosis is surprisingly tricky to diagnose. Scientists think that video gamers can help them create a better diagnostic test.

An online puzzle released Monday will see whether the researchers are right. Players of a Web-based game called EteRNA will try to design a sensor molecule that could potentially make diagnosing TB as easy as taking a home pregnancy test. The TB puzzle marks the launch of "EteRNA Medicine."

Hoping to keep your mental edge as you get older? Look after your heart, a recent analysis suggests, and your brain will benefit, too.

A research team led by Hannah Gardener, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami, analyzed a subset of data from the Northern Manhattan Study, a large, ongoing study of risk factors for stroke among whites, blacks and Hispanics living in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.

The stories are heartbreaking. An infant rolls off a bed and suffocates on a plastic bag. A one-month-old dies while sleeping between two adults.

According to a report on child fatalities released Friday by Washington state’s Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds, unsafe sleep conditions are the leading cause of death for infants in whose families have come into contact with the child welfare system.

As summer approaches, anxiety about Zika is growing in Gulf Coast states like Florida and Texas. The virus hasn't spread to mosquitoes in the region, and it may not, but experts are preparing nonetheless.

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