health | KUOW News and Information

health

Mammography can prevent deaths from breast cancer, but it's not a perfect test.

It misses some cancers, especially in women with dense breast tissue, and flags abnormalities for follow-up tests that turn out to be benign, among other issues. So there's a lot of interest in additional tests that might make screening more accurate in women who have dense breasts.

Social Security alone consumes nearly a quarter of the federal budget.

At this week's vice presidential debate, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence spoke about how the administrations they hope to join would deal with the challenges facing safety net programs like it.

Social Security

The Challenge

Nurse practitioner Kim Hamm talks in soothing tones to her 14-year-old patient as she inserts a form of long-acting contraception beneath the skin of the girl's upper arm.

"This is the numbing medicine, so you're going to feel me touch you here," she says, taking the teen's arm. "Little stick, one, two three, ouch. And then a little bit of burn."

Seattle Children's Hospital

Emily Fox talks with Dr. David Breland, medical director of the Gender Clinic at Seattle Children's Hospital. The new clinic will provide mental health services, pubertal blockers and hormone therapy for people aged 8 to 21.

Mike Cruse is the father of a new baby. His daughter Olivia was born in July. But like most fathers in the U.S., he doesn't get paid parental leave. That means his wife, Stephanie, will have to take care of the baby mostly herself — an already difficult task that may be even harder for her since she's dealing with postpartum anxiety.

Cruse, who manages the warehouse for a lighting company, had to take vacation days from his job to stay home and help for those first 10 days. Now he has no vacation left for the next calendar year.

Human life spans have been increasing for decades thanks to advances in treating and preventing diseases and improved social conditions.

In fact, longevity has increased so much in recent decades that some researchers began to wonder: What is the upper limit on human aging?

Let your kids eat dirt, it's good for them

Oct 4, 2016
dirty kid
Flickr Photo/Benjamin Chan (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/cxSLUm

Bill Radke speaks with University of British Columbia professor B. Brett Finlay about his book, "Let Them Eat Dirt." Finlay's research shows that parents don't need to fear germs as much as they do. Finlay says bubble wrapping kids to keep them clean denies them many good microbes that help keep them healthy. 

On her first day back at work after giving birth, Tricia Olson drank copious amounts of coffee, stuffed tissues in her pocket, and tried not to cry. After all, her son Gus was just 3 weeks old.

Olson, 32, works for a small towing company and U-Haul franchise in Rock Springs, Wyo., and she could not afford to be away from work any longer.

"The house bill's not going to pay itself," she says, her voice breaking in an audio diary she kept as part of a series on the challenges facing working parents airing on NPR's All Things Considered.

Most of us have been tempted at one time or another by the lure of sugar. Think of all the cakes and cookies you consume between Thanksgiving and Christmastime!

But why are some people unable to resist that second cupcake or slice of pie? That's the question driving the research of Monica Dus, a molecular biologist at the University of Michigan. She wants to understand how excess sugar leads to obesity by understanding the effect of sugar on the brain.

Dakota Keogh and her daughter Adrienne, who applies makeup. Keogh recently came out as transgender to her family.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Dakota Keogh remembers that age when boys and girls start to go their separate ways, about four or five.

“I felt like I got caught in the wrong tide,” she says. “I wanted to be over there.”

File photo of a flu shot.
Flickr Photo/Fort Meade (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1jxhkty

It’s that time of year again — the start of flu season.

Health officials say don’t wait: Get a flu shot. Already, they’re getting reports of small clusters of people with the flu. 

Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Tokyo Institute of Technology has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries about "autophagy" — a fundamental process cells use to degrade and recycle parts of themselves.

Ohsumi, 71, is a professor emeritus at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Yokohama, Japan. As the sole winner, Ohsumi will receive more than $930,000.

A Winchester Safes representative sets the lock on one of several gun safes on display at the 35th annual SHOT Show, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Las Vegas.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Kim Malcolm talks with Dr. Joseph Simonetti about the public health implications of safe firearm storage. His research finds that adolescents with risk factors for suicide are often easily able to access guns in their homes. Simonetti is Instructor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.

Washington’s troubled Western State Hospital has been plagued by ineffective management, staff reductions and turnover. That’s according to a “root cause analysis” report released Thursday.

The federal government has announced a new rule that guarantees the rights of patients and families to sue long-term care facilities.

The rule, released Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, bans so-called pre-dispute binding arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts, which require patients and families to settle any dispute over care in arbitration, rather than through the court system.

The rule applies to facilities that receive money from Medicare or Medicaid — which is nearly all of them.

Federal health officials are urging all Americans to get their flu shots as soon as possible, and are especially concerned that too few elderly people are getting vaccinated.

"Flu is serious. Flu is unpredictable," Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters during a joint briefing Thursday with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. "Flu often does not get enough respect."

The Americas Are Now Officially 'Measles-Free'

Sep 28, 2016

The Americas are now free of measles, the first region in the world to achieve that goal, the Pan American Health Organization announced this week. The success is credited to the effectiveness of mass vaccination programs over the past 22 years.

Eating well has many known benefits. But a good diet may not be able to counteract all the ill effects of stress on our bodies.

A new study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, suggests stress can override the benefits of making better food choices.

The list of preventive services that women can receive without paying anything out of pocket under the health law could grow if recommendations from a group of mostly medical providers are adopted by federal officials later this year.

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times health reporter JoNel Aleccia about the closure of eight locations of the Seattle Pain Center and how the former patients are turning instead to emergency rooms to treat chronic pain. 

People who have reached their later years may think it's primarily a time to relax, not to increase their physical activity. Not so. Previous research has suggested that exercise can improve memory and reverse muscle loss in older adults, among other benefits.

Two often-overlooked medications might help millions of Americans who abuse alcohol to quit drinking or cut back.

Public health officials, building on a push to treat people who abuse opioids with medications, want physicians to consider using medications to treat alcohol addiction. The drugs can be used in addition to or sometimes in place of peer-support programs, they say.

Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg are smiling, standing in front of a backdrop emblazoned with the question: "Can we cure all diseases in our children's lifetime?" They're announcing a $3 billion initiative to achieve that goal, and they're calling it Chan Zuckerberg Science.

No sickness in the whole world by the time today's babies, like the couple's 9-month-old daughter Max Zuckerberg, are old folks?

Vancouver, B.C. -- A meeting of business and political leaders from Washington state and British Columbia has resulted in two agreements. One of those agreements hopes to speed up treatments for cancer. The other would create a border-straddling effort to boost innovation.

About one in five children in the United States shows signs of a mental health disorder — anything from ADHD to eating disorders to suicide.

And yet, as we've been reporting this month, many schools aren't prepared to work with these students. Often, there's been too little training in recognizing the problems, the staff who are trained are overworked, and there just isn't enough money.

Bill Radke talks to Washington State University professor Deborah A. Christel about a recent study she co-authored on plus-sized women and athletic clothing. In the study, she found that a majority of plus-sized women, or women who wear the size 16 and over, had to shop in the mens' clothing section to find athletic clothing that fit them. 

Kim Malcolm talks with Dr. Jeffrey Duchin about the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at the University of Washington Medical Center. Duchin is health officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County.

The King County Council has unanimously approved the master plan for the $400 million Best Starts for Kids initiative voters passed last fall.

Half of the Best Starts for Kids funding will go toward early childhood efforts, like programs that send nurses on regular home visits with low-income moms and babies, a new system for infant and young child mental health, and increased spending on public health services for pregnant women and children.

Many people struggling with opioid addiction can't find a doctor to provide medication-assisted treatment, even though it's highly effective. One reason could be that doctors who are qualified to prescribe the medication typically treat just a handful of patients.

I'm the health reporter covering the Zika story here at WLRN in Miami, and I'm a pregnant woman.

When Florida Gov. Rick Scott made free Zika testing available to all pregnant Floridians through the Florida Department of Health, I was one of the more than 2,200 women who took him up on the offer.

Pages