Vaccination rates against human papillomavirus have remained far lower than rates for other routine childhood and teen immunizations. But a big reason for those low rates comes from a surprising source.

It's not hesitant parents refusing the vaccine. Rather, primary care doctors treat the HPV vaccine differently from other routinely recommended immunizations, hesitating to recommend it fully and on time and approaching their discussions with parents differently, a study finds.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

This was not your usual bake sale.

"We’ve got some Bum Deal Brownies, Overcrowding Oreos, B.S. Banana Bread, Forget the Kids Fig Bars," laughed Darcey Pickard as she showed off the pastries parents had donated for Tuesday's “Half-Baked Sale” on the sidewalk outside the Seattle Public Schools district headquarters.

Alki Elementary School in West Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY ND 2.0)/

Jeannie Yandel talks to Brian Jones, a North Seattle dad who donated $70,000 to Alki Elementary School to help them keep a teacher and to make a statement on Washington state's education funding.  

A Seattle hospital employee works too far from the official lactation rooms, so she must find private spaces to pump. Often, that means she ends up sitting on the floor of a bathroom.
Courtesy of Anonymous

The lactation room wasn’t a room at all.

It was a corner of the lunch room in an old King County building in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood.

A shoji screen was set up for privacy, although cracks allowed people to see through. A vent blew in cold air.

The Grief I Chose: Placing My Baby For Adoption

Oct 8, 2015
Baby Benjamin before he was placed in his adoptive mother's arms.
Courtesy of Beth Roberts

Ten years ago, Nathan and I placed our firstborn son for adoption. 

I was barely 23 when I got pregnant with Benjamin. I had just graduated from Northwest University, a Christian college on the Eastside, and was preparing to spend two years in Jakarta, Indonesia, as an associate missionary. I got my acceptance letter to the program the same week I took a pregnancy test. 

There's a lot of worry about nearsightedness in children, with rates soaring in Southeast Asia as populations become more urban and educated. But maybe it also has something to do with how much Mom and Dad make you hit the books.

Firstborn children are 10 percent more likely to be nearsighted than latter-borns, according to a study published Thursday in JAMA Ophthalmology. And they're 20 percent more likely to be severely myopic.

Flickr Photo/Eierschneider (CC BY 2.0)/

Jeannie Yandel talks to Dr. Stanley Herring, co-director of UW Medicine's Sports Health and Safety Institute, about the safety of high school football players and other teen athletes. Herring is also medical director of Spine, Sports and Orthopedic Health at UW Medicine and a team doctor for the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Mariners. 

Herring said he would allow a child to play football, or another sport, only under these terms: The program has well-trained coaches; there is an emergency medical action plan in place; coaches, parents and athletes were educated about the risk of all injuries – not just concussions; and there was a plan for practices and games that limited unnecessary exposure to injury.

The writer Ursula K. Le Guin in 2012.
Photo © 2012 Laura Anglin

“If you have a person who is both male and female, what’s the pronoun you use?”

Ursula K. Le Guin posed that question in 1988 when she came in to the KUOW studios for an interview with Ross Reynolds.

Such a little bandaid for a big ouch!
Courtesy Bond Huberman

When writer Eula Biss was pregnant, she absorbed some of the fear about vaccines.   

“Fear is almost contagious itself, and so I caught some fears,” she told KUOW’s Jeannie Yandel.

Children of anxious parents are more at risk of developing an anxiety disorder. But there's welcome news for those anxious parents: that trajectory toward anxiety isn't set in stone.

Therapy and a change in parenting styles might be able to prevent kids from developing anxiety disorders, according to research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry Friday.

Back when Grant Hosford's older daughter was in first grade, she signed up for an extracurricular class, building robots with a programmable Lego toy called Mindstorms. Hosford, a dot-com entrepreneur, came to visit the class and was startled to see that Naomi, who loves science and math, was both the only girl there and the youngest by a couple of years.

"My first reaction was not, 'Oh, I'm going to go build a coding company.' My first reaction was, 'What can I build for my daughter that will help her down this path?' "

So you finally get the chance to meet one-on-one with your child's teacher — now what?

Like a good Scout, be prepared: Educators agree that doing your homework before a parent-teacher conference can make a big difference.

Imagine a town crier walking down the street outside shouting through his bullhorn: "All of the young people should go get the new meningitis A vaccine." And adding that it's free.

That's one of the ways that health practitioners are combating what they call "vaccine hesitancy" — refusing a vaccine when it is offered or available.

It's a topic that has made headlines this year, when an outbreak of measles focused attention on U.S. parents who'd not vaccinated their kids, fearing unproven side effects.

Soon after their wedding, Dr. Mimi Lee and Stephen Findley decided to create five embryos. Lee had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she worried that treatment would leave her infertile. Now that they're divorced, Lee wants to use them; Findley, however, does not.

Those embryos are at the heart of a court case that will soon decide a very modern problem: Which member of a divorced couple gets control of their frozen embryos?

The infant room at Learning Way School & Daycare in White Center, where director Jeri Finch says she does her best to make sure parents update their children's immunization records regularly.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Under Washington state law, children are supposed to be fully immunized to attend daycare or preschool.

But no one knows how many kids in child care centers are actually vaccinated, because the state’s not keeping track.