health

Earlier this spring, headlines around the world trumpeted an exciting bit of news that seemed too good to be true: "Eating chocolate ... can even help you LOSE weight!" as Britain's Daily Mail put it.

The Department of Defense says an attempt to ship inactive anthrax samples resulted in live samples being sent to labs in nine U.S. states and to a U.S. Air Force base in South Korea.

Fears of exposure to the potentially deadly disease prompted officials to advise four civilian workers to get preventive care; more than 20 military personnel are also being monitored. The samples were sent via commercial shipping companies, but the Pentagon says there is "no known risk to the general public."

Seattle's proposed ban would apply to people lighting up tobacco products. Washington state law prohibits marijuana smoking in public places.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Seattle officials want to ban smoking in all public parks, but some opponents say the crackdown would unfairly target homeless people.

A park advisory board will take up the issue for a possible vote Thursday night.

As KUOW's Liz Jones reports, public opinion is mixed.

Seattle Doctor Takes Cancer Treatment To Developing World

May 27, 2015
Mother and son in the children's ward at Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala.
KUOW Photo/Joanne Silberner

Forty-two-year-old Corey Casper is tall, thin, and a bit hollow-eyed from all his responsibilities. He’s a cancer doctor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He performs research and trains young doctors in Seattle and Uganda. And in his own quiet way, he wants to make a difference in the world.

Lee Townsend with the Metroplitan Improvement District checks his "hotspots" in Belltown for litter...and worse.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Over the past year, street sweepers in downtown Seattle saw a dramatic increase in the number of syringes on the ground. But those numbers have declined since March. They’re a data point in the larger debate over policing and drug use downtown.

Col. Kenneth Trzepkowski, chief of palliative care at Madigan Army Medical Center, unfolds one of the handmade quilts donated to the hospital for the palliative care patients.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Caring for the nation's veterans at the end of their lives can be a complex task. Service members — especially combat veterans — can struggle with guilt, abandonment and regret.

The Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs are working to help them. At one Army hospital in Tacoma, its mission is to make those last days meaningful.

Officials from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare are asking people to take precautions around ground squirrels after a squirrel south of Boise tested positive for plague.

Flickr Photo/torbakhopper (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Shilo Murphy, executive director of the People's Harm Reduction Alliance, about their new initiative to hand out free meth pipes.

Dr. Sara Jackson, left, and Linda Johnson were part of Open Notes, a national study that gave patients access to their medical records.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Do you wonder what your doctor scribbles in the chart during your visit?

Patients at Harborview Medical Center got to read their medical records, including their doctors’ detailed notes. For some, that access prompted them to become more involved in their health care.

Stephanie Packer was 29 when she found out she had a terminal lung disease.

That's the same age as Brittany Maynard, who last year was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Last fall, Maynard, of Northern California, opted to end her life with the help of a doctor in Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide is legal.

Oregon lawmakers will consider a proposal that would allow women to get oral contraceptives and contraceptive patches without a doctor's prescription.

The new American Fitness Index is out, with some good news and bad news. Five metro areas fell five or more slots; nine others rose by five or more places. The rankings tally several criteria, from rates of smoking, diabetes and obesity to access to parks.

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about new mental health policies and how the state will pay for them. 

At schools that offer comprehensive sex education, students tend to get the biology and the basics — they'll learn about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, how to put a condom on a banana and the like.

But some public health researchers and educators are saying that's not enough. They're making the case that sex ed should include discussion about relationships, gender and power dynamics.

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