health | KUOW News and Information

health

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

One of Donald Trump's first acts as president was to restrict access to abortion.

On Monday, he reinstated the so-called "Mexico City Policy," which forbids the US from funding any group that provides or promotes abortion overseas. The policy dates back to the Reagan era, was repealed by President Bill Clinton, reinstated by President George W. Bush and rescinded once more by President Barack Obama — before being reinstated on Monday.

Hundreds of people around the country are still suffering from complications linked to injections of tainted medicine produced at a Massachusetts pharmacy in 2012.

A nationwide outbreak of fungal infections was tied to the shipment of nearly 18,000 contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone, a steroid, made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

Amy Knickrehm of Seattle told reporters at a news conference Monday that her chronic pain and depression went undiagnosed for years because she had no health care.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

King County Executive Dow Constantine said he’ll fight to keep affordable health care for people currently covered under Obamacare. 

Constantine held a news conference with Public Health officials, local providers and patients three days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that begins the processes of rolling back the Affordable Care Act. 


As promised, President Trump got to work on Day One, spending some time in the Oval Office in between the inaugural parade and a trio of formal balls.

Trump signed an executive order Friday night directing government agencies to "ease the burdens" of Obamacare while the new administration and Congress work toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus presented Trump with the order, which he described as: "An executive order minimizing the economic burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pending repeal."

The voters who want Trumpcare

Jan 19, 2017

Bill Radke speaks with Seaview resident Nansen Malin about how health insurance motivated her vote for Donald Trump. Rising costs and falling quality led Malin to support the candidate vowing a repeal and replacement of Obamacare. She thinks that the incoming administration is her only hope for relief. 

Students will have to stay home from school in Spokane if they can’t prove immunity to mumps. The U.S is in the midst of the largest mumps outbreak in a decade, and it’s hit the Northwest.

One of the big questions about extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis is whether this severe form of the disease is on the rise due to a failure of medications or if it's spreading through the air.

A new study of more than 400 patients in South Africa finds, unfortunately, that the answer appears to be the latter. Airborne transmission is the driving force behind a spike in extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) in South Africa, according to a report just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services defended stock transactions he made as a member of Congress as "above board," while vowing he would not pull the rug from under any American with health care as result of replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia, faced the first of two hearings he'll have as the nominee for HHS secretary. Wednesday's was before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. It will not vote on Price's nomination; that's up to the Senate Finance Committee.

The first results from a major project to measure the reliability of cancer research have highlighted a big problem: Labs trying to repeat published experiments often can't.

That's not to say that the original studies are wrong. But the results of a review published Thursday, in the open-access journal eLife, are a sobering reminder that science often fails at one of its most basic requirements — an experiment in one lab ought to be reproducible in another one.

Cold and flu season means plenty of parents are trying to figure out whether their kid is too sick to go to child care or school.

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Brian Snyder/Reuters

If it sometimes seems like the idea of antibiotic resistance, though unsettling, is more theoretical than real, please read on.

Public health officials from Nevada are reporting on a case of a woman who died in Reno in September from an incurable infection. Testing showed the superbug that had spread throughout her system could fend off 26 different antibiotics.

Courtesy of Anne McTiernan

Bill Radke speaks with Anne McTiernan about her new memior called, "Starved: A Nutrition Doctor's Journey from Empty to Full." McTiernan is a research professor at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine and a member of the public health sciences division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

A Superbug That Resisted 26 Antibiotics

Jan 17, 2017

"People keep asking me, how close are we to going off the cliff," says Dr. James Johnson, professor of infectious diseases medicine at the University of Minnesota. The cliffside free fall he is talking about is the day that drug-resistant bacteria will be able to outfox the world's entire arsenal of antibiotics. Common infections would then become untreatable.

Before Luke Whitbeck began taking a $300,000-a-year drug, the 2-year-old's health was inexplicably failing.

A pale boy with enormous eyes, Luke frequently ran high fevers, tired easily and was skinny all over, except his belly stuck out like a bowling ball.

"What does your medicine do for you?" Luke's mother, Meg, asked after his weekly drug treatment recently.

The abortion rate in the United States fell to its lowest level since the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion nationwide, a new report finds.

The report by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports legalized abortion, puts the rate at 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (ages 15-44) in 2014. That's the lowest recorded rate since the Roe decision in 1973. The abortion rate has been declining for decades — down from a peak of 29.3 in 1980 and 1981.

Author Daniel Dawes.
Brigitte Martin Mack

The Affordable Care Act will be seven years old this March if President-elect Trump and the Republican Congress haven't repealed it by then. 

So far, more than half of all U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and eight (plus the District of Columbia) have legalized the drug for recreational use. Varieties of cannabis available today are more potent than ever and come in many forms, including oils and leaves that can be vaped, and lots of edibles, from brownies and cookies to candies — even cannabis gummy bears.

Eileen Donoher lives in Snohomish and commutes to the UW Medical Center. She has three small children. 'We can make it work,' she says.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The Seattle area is getting more expensive. People are finding new ways to adapt, like moving farther away for affordable housing.

But what happens when you still need to work in the city — say, at a hospital in Seattle’s core?

Abra and Matt Schultz, both 32, recently built a house in a middle-class neighborhood in Pottsville, Pa. Matt works as a carpenter foreman for a construction company. He and Abra, his wife, are right in Trump's wheelhouse — Republicans in Republican Schuylkill County.

The couple spent December trying to decide whether to buy health insurance or skip it for 2017. They voted for Trump because they were fed up with how much they are paying for health insurance.

Jamaica is facing a crisis as specialized nurses leave the island to take jobs in North America and Europe.

The exodus has forced Jamaican hospitals to reschedule some complex surgeries because of a lack of nursing staff on their wards.

James Moss-Solomon, the chairman of the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, says the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are, in his words, "poaching" Jamaica's most critical nurses.

"Specialist nurses is the problem. We have tons of regular nurses," he says.

When people turn in their used needles at the Needle Exchange, they get fresh supplies to prevent the spread of HIV and other blood-borne infections.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Seattle police officers are warning heroin users about dangerous purity levels after four people overdosed on Saturday. Three of the overdoses were fatal.

The Seattle Police Department believes the victims may have bought heroin from the same person. All overdoses occurred within hours of each other and in a similar geographic area.

Health officials in Washington state said there have been 151 cases of mumps have been reported statewide since the end of October. Only 46 were reported in the four years prior. Mumps has also been reported in Oregon this year.

Senator Patty Murray in the KUOW offices, Jan. 2016.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Just days into Congress' new session, major topics are on the table.

Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray says she will fight back against a Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood. This week House Speaker Paul Ryan said he wants to cut off federal financial support to the health organization.

Charity Hines didn’t have her ‘Go Bag.’

When she went into Kings County Hospital for a Week 40 checkup, she wasn’t in labor and did not expect to deliver a baby that day. During what she thought was a routine pelvic examination, the doctor kept going deeper. It was uncomfortable and confusing; when she hit what she figured was 10 on the 1-to-10 pain scale, she cried out, “What’s happening?”

As she recalled it, only then did the doctor explain she was probing the cervix to stimulate labor.

After multiple recent studies showing that feeding peanut-containing foods to infants can reduce the risk of peanut allergies, there are new federal guidelines for parents about when to start feeding their infants such foods.

For a revolutionary, Deepali Vishwakarma is more quiet and reflective than you might expect. She's in her 30s, small, with a round face that holds intense brown eyes and a shy grin.

White House 2014 World AIDS Day
Flickr Photo/Ted Eytan (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/2hT2Rem

Author David France faced the fear and reality of AIDS first hand as a gay man, an investigative reporter and a New Yorker. He was there when word of the illness spread through the gay community and was largely ignored by politicians, religious figures and the press.

He writes about that dark history and how a small group of activists forged a way out in “How To Survive A Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS.”

President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence were both on Capitol Hill Wednesday, making competing cases for and against Obama's signature health care law. Republicans have promised to make repeal of the Affordable Care Act their first order of business, once they control both Congress and the White House.

If you're looking for a diet plan that suits your lifestyle, a new list of rankings from U.S. News & World Report has you covered.

photo courtesy of UW Innovative Programs Research Group

Heavy alcohol use and binge drinking are on the rise in the military. And many service members with a problem don’t voluntarily seek treatment.

Research from the University of Washington found that allowing soldiers to assess the impacts of their drinking confidentially can help them cut down.


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