Health

Is It Time To Make Medical And Family Leave Paid?

Apr 22, 2015

It's been more than 20 years since passage of the landmark Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for medical or family reasons without losing their jobs.

Hidden inside all of us are likely thousands of viruses — maybe more. They just hang out, harmlessly. We don't even know they're there.

But every once in a while, one of these viral inhabitants might help us out.

Young people infected with a type of herpes virus have a better immune response to the flu vaccine than those not infected, scientists at Stanford University report Wednesday. In mice, the virus directly stops influenza itself.

Hope Kirwan / KBIA

Representative Jay Barnes of Jefferson City is sponsoring a bill this legislative session that would help develop health clinics at underserved Missouri schools.

House Bill 320 is still in committee, but this is the second year that Valley Middle School in House Springs, Mo. has served students in their in-school health clinic


Round 2 in the legal battle over Obamacare hits the Supreme Court's intellectual boxing ring Wednesday.

In one corner is the Obama administration, backed by the nation's hospitals, insurance companies, physician associations and other groups like Catholic Charities and the American Cancer Society.

In the other corner are conservative groups, backed by politicians who fought in Congress to prevent the bill from being adopted.

j.stephenconn / flickr

A measure to create a database to monitor the prescription of drugs such as addictive pain killers is moving forward in the Missouri House.

Today is my 22nd day back from Liberia, which, as any reporter or health worker who has been in this Ebola hot zone will tell you, is a good day. Yesterday was the last day that I had to report my temperature to the CDC. I've passed the 21-day incubation period for the virus. My temperature is 98.6 degrees. I'm in the clear.

But three weeks ago, I wasn't feeling so good.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

When Mary Ratliff moved to Columbia from Mississippi in 1959, she was leaving one of the epicenters of American segregation and the burgeoning civil rights movement. But that doesn’t mean she escaped experiences of racism and segregation in her new home.

“It was subtle here when I first came," Ratliff said. "In fact I've made the comment many times, that Columbia is 'Big Little Dixie.' It wasn’t a whole lot different from Mississippi.”


Update at 3:05 ET: The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday afternoon that the state can require Cassandra to continue treatment.

Her mother, Jackie Fortin, said she's disappointed by the decision. "She knows I love her and I'm going to keep fighting for her because this is her decision," Fortin said. "I know more than anyone, more than DCF, that my daughter is old enough, mature enough to make a decision. If she wasn't, I'd be making that decision."

Here's our original story, reported Thursday morning:

New research finds that eating an avocado per day, as part of an overall diet rich in healthy fats, may help cut the bad kind cholesterol, known as LDL.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University recruited 45 overweight participants who agreed to try three different types of cholesterol-lowering diets. Their study was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Missouri lawmakers pre-filed more than 500 bills over the past month that they plan to take up during the next legislative session, which begins on Jan. 7. Here’s a selection of bills related to health care that St. Louis Public Radio’s Health Desk will be keeping an eye on in 2015:   

HB 282: Consumer Rate Review on Health Insurance Plans

Some researchers who study the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome got an early Christmas present: permission to resume experiments that the federal government abruptly halted in October.

Many girls are beginning puberty at an early age, developing breasts sooner than girls of previous generations. But the physical changes don't mean the modern girls' emotional and intellectual development is keeping pace.

Two doctors have written a book called The New Puberty that looks at the percentage of girls who are going through early puberty, the environmental, biological and socioeconomic factors that influence when puberty begins, and whether early puberty is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer.


Obesity is the number one public health issue in Missouri – it affects more than 30% of adults and nearly one in seven children between the ages of ten and seventeen.

Michael Cote / flickr

A respiratory illness is sending hundreds of kids to hospitals in ten states, including Missouri.  

"When I wake up in the morning, I will pray to God to give me strength and focus," says 21-year-old Sorie Fofana.

When Dr. Robert Zarr wanted a young patient to get more exercise, he gave her an unusual prescription: Get off the bus to school earlier.

"She has to take a bus to the train, then a train to another bus, then that bus to her school," says Zarr, a pediatrician at Unity Health Care, a clinic that serves low-income and uninsured families in Washington, D.C. So the prescription read: "Walk the remaining four blocks on the second bus on your route to school from home, every day."

Think about people dying from drinking too much, and you probably think of the classic disease of alcoholics, cirrhosis of the liver. Or perhaps an alcohol-fueled car crash. But there are many more ways to kill yourself with alcohol, unfortunately, and they account for 1 in 10 deaths in working-age adults, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Six months ago, Kara Welter drastically changed her diet by eliminating food that contains wheat, rye or barley.

“I don’t eat gluten,” said Welter, a 41-year-old marketing executive in Kansas City. “I happened to just try it because I was having stomach issues for years. And it turns out within three days, I stopped having stomach issues.”

Welter’s gluten decision stemmed from what she read online. Medical tests showed that she did not have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, the disorder that causes the immune system to reject the gluten.

Nixon open to GOP-backed Medicaid plan, but with changes

Apr 3, 2013
File photo / KBIA

Governor Jay Nixon says he could support the House Republicans’ alternate Medicaid proposal, but only if some crucial changes are made.  He met with the GOP caucus today to discuss his Medicaid expansion proposal and their plans to reform the system.  Nixon told reporters that any proposal still needs to expand Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Courtesy of I Am Breathing Film

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Festival.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

Eight months after doctors diagnosed him with a disease that attacked his nerve cells, successful British architect Neil Platt became paralyzed from the neck down.  As the down-to-earth, often humorous Neil struggled to figure out his legacy for his young son, filmmakers Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon gained intimate access to the Platt family in Neil's last months. 

The film, I Am Breathing, will get its North American premiere at this year's True/False Film Festival. Neil described the film as "a tale of fun and laughs with a smattering of upset and devastation." 

Datchler / Flickr

LGBT Missourians are disproportionately impacted by various health problems according to the Missouri Foundation for Health’s August 2012 “Responding to LGBT Health Disparities” report. These statistics paint a picture of how LGBT Missourians experience the world.

stethoscope
vitualis / Flickr

A wealth of factors are leading to poorer health outcomes within Missouri’s LGBT community.

health conference
Viktorija Mickute / KBIA

Public health officials from across the state are gathered in Columbia Thursday to discuss how to make at Stoney Creek Inn.

Melons
Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

The Indiana farm that recalled cantaloupes linked to a Salmonella outbreak that has killed two and sickened 204 is now recalling its watermelons. Chamberlain Farms issued the voluntary recall because the melons could be contaminated with Salmonella Newport.

Foodborne illness is always a danger for farmers, grocery stores and customers alike.

Folks in the western Missouri city of Nevada are getting the chance to make examples of themselves when it comes to health and wellness.

The town is embarking on an initiative to improve the health of its citizens and the quality of health care they receive.

The Kansas City-based health care technology company Cerner is teaming up with local officials on the initiative. The city's hospital will spend $10 million on an electronic medical records system that will allow information to be shared with the town's two dozen doctors and medical experts in bigger cities.

Warming temperatures may have you wanting to spend more time outdoors. But warm weather can mean more unhealthy air.

hospital interior
flickr

The Health Psychology Department in the Missouri School of Health Professions has released a study saying stress contributes to cognitive decline in women with breast cancer. 

The State Department of Health and Senior Services has now confirmed seven cases of E. coli infection. 

Hannibal smoking ban sparks debate

Apr 5, 2012

A new smoking ban was passed in Hannibal after much debate between both city officials and community members.

File / KBIA

Legislation that would allow employers to block insurance coverage for birth control, abortions and sterilizations, all for religious reasons, has passed a Missouri Senate committee.