Health

Emerald O'Brien / KBIA

As mobile health technologies like Fitbits and Apple Health become more common, better health seems inevitable. But much of the data that users can now track never actually reaches their doctors.

That’s one of the problems University of Missouri psychiatrist Dr. Ganesh Gopalakrishna faced while treating his patients with various mental illnesses. While some of his patients were logging their activity, both mental and physical, he couldn’t get a good record of it.


school buses
Twix / Flickr

 A study that suggests a new strain of lice may be resistant to typical treatments comes as children are headed back to school, and some districts have loosened their attendance policies over students with the bugs.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that health experts say head lice aren't a sign of poor habits, as the tiny pests prefer clean hair. But those who work at Lice Busters say the social stigma attached to the lice remains, that only those living in dirty homes get infestations.

When 85-year-old retired farmworker and grandmother Amparo Mejia needed surgery on her spine because of a rare form of tuberculosis, she was able to pay for the procedure through emergency Medicaid. She was lucky. For many low-income immigrants – even those authorized to work in the US – it can be challenging or outright impossible to get health insurance. 

 

Over the weekend, the family of Jamyla Bolden buried their daughter — a bubbly fourth grader who loved to sing, dance and spend time with her friends.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Heroin continues to be a serious problem throughout the county. The Centers for Disease Control released data earlier this month that showed heroin use increasing among nearly every group – age, income, gender, etc. And according to the CDC’s report, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths heave nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013.

The White House announced earlier this month that it was determined to do something about this problem. It introduced the Heroin Response Strategy, which works to promote public health and public safety partnerships through a 15-state area. This new project aims to focus more on treating heroin addicts than on punishing them.


Hope Kirwan / KBIA

Each month at the Columbia Science Cafe, a researcher from the University of Missouri gives a presentation at Broadway Brewery as people enjoy a beer or a bite to eat.

While the world of research labs seems far removed from the dinner table, one associate professor at MU is bringing the two together.

Dr. Chris Pires is a botanist at MU. But when he describes his research, he often sounds more like a genealogist.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Following outcry from both students and faculty, University of Missouri-Columbia Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced Friday that the University will "defer implementation" of its decision last week that would have stopped graduate student health insurance subsidies.

The University will pay previously promised health insurance subsidies to eligible graduate students.

MU says this reversal of the decision comes after “conversations with external experts and leadership, along with consultation with peer institutions, compliance experts and internal constituents.” 

But, as the phrase "defer implementation" implies, the complicated issues behind MU's original decision have not changed. MU has just adjusted its current plan.

cindyt7070 Flickr

University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced Friday that the University will “defer implementation” of its decision last week that would have stopped graduate student health insurance subsidies.

The University will continue to pay health insurance subsidies to eligible graduate students.

When asked what had changed between last Friday and this Friday, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said simply “time.”

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Updated 8/21/15 at 12:40 p.m.

The University has reinstated previously promised health insurance subsidies for graduate students. 

 

Original Post:

University of Missouri- Columbia graduate students are considering walking out of classes next week, after finding out the university would stop providing health insurance subsidies. And some departments across campus are standing with those students.


U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

At the beginning of the summer, the US Department of Agriculture announced its goal to serve 200 million meals to low-income children through the summer meals program, which is 13 million more than it served last year. The USDA is also highlighting several new ways of reaching kids in rural areas of the country.

As the summer comes to a close, I spoke with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack about the program’s growth and the USDA’s success in serving rural communities.


Missouri's only state-run mental hospital has updated its non-discrimination practices to include gender identity.

That's despite the fact that Missouri's legal definition of discrimination does not include or protect sexual orientation or sexual identity.

Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The Chipotle Cultivate Festival had it all: an indie pop band on stage, long lines at the beer booths, folks hanging out on a hot summer day.

Sort of like a Grateful Dead concert, only with free burritos.

 

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

More than 1,700 people waited in line for hours to get free dental care at a clinic in Columbia, Mo. this month. The turnout for this clinic, called the Missouri Mission of Mercy, reveals a hidden crisis: the expense of dental care and lack of access are major obstacles for many throughout the state and the country.

Throughout the event, held July 31st - August 1st, a team of reporters from the KBIA Health & Wealth Desk spoke to the patients receiving treatment at the event, and the volunteers who made it all possible.

Heroin use and overdose rates are rising across many demographics, including race, age, gender and income.  One former addict, Jude Hassan, works at a St. Louis-area treatment center and is working to raise awareness of drug abuse and addiction.

Jude Hassan was once a typical high school student– active in school extracurriculars and just wanting to fit in. But before he completed his time at St. Louis-area Lafayette High School, he was using heroin eight to 10 times a day.

Now, after more than eight years of sobriety, he's sharing his personal experiences of heroin addiction with high school students and working to educate parents and teachers about how to spot opioid use. 


Congress established Medicaid fifty years ago today as a health insurance program for the poor, with the intention that the program would provide care just as good as what the rest of Americans receive. According to Rutgers University Medicaid scholar Frank J. Thompson, the program has done a lot of good, even if it hasn’t quite lived up to that early goal.

Hanaway Gov. Campaign

  Republican candidate for Missouri governor Catherine Hanaway says the penalty for selling aborted fetal remains should be a felony, not a misdemeanor.

The opening bars of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” echo through a bustling therapy gym as 13-year-old Courtney Turner practices her physical therapy for the day: lip syncing.

A rare infection attacked Turner’s nervous system last year, leaving her almost completely paralyzed. Her doctors called it “a lightning strike”: Once a bubbly preteen who ran track and cracked jokes with her twin brother, she’s spent the past seven months undergoing intense rehabilitation therapy at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital. During that time, Turner has slowly started to regain some of her muscle movement and reflexes like swallowing food.  

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

One Saturday afternoon at a backyard cookout, St. Louis architect Dan Rosenberg enjoyed a cheeseburger – a food he’d enjoyed many times before.

That night, a couple hours after he went to sleep, he woke up with a searing pain in his stomach.

“Let’s be clear here,” Rosenberg says, “this was like a nine on the ten-scale.”


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Boone County Recorder of Deeds Nora Dietzel said June 26 was a busy morning for her.

That’s when the US Supreme Court announced their decision requiring all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Dietzel said she got a call almost immediately from one couple who’d had their application on file for almost a year.

Chickens in coops
Kathleen Masterson / Harvest Public Media

  Scientists have developed a vaccine strain that is 100 percent effective in protecting chickens from bird flu and testing is underway to see if it protects turkeys.

Rosemary / Flickr

  Health officials in Boone County says seven suspected cases of mumps have been reported in the Columbia area.

Scientists at Washington University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new tool to study how specific brain cells affect behavior.

The miniature, wireless device can inject drugs into the brains of live mice.

Joe Gratz / Flickr

  A federal appeals panel has reversed a lower court's rejection of a challenge to the Affordable Care Act brought by a Missouri lawmaker fighting required birth control coverage in his state-sponsored insurance plan. 

Every Mother Counts

Every two minutes a woman somewhere in the world dies giving life.

Ninety-nine percent of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth occur in the developing world.

The good news is that in most countries the rate of maternal mortality has been going down. The bad news is that in eight countries the rate is going up.

Rosemary / Flickr

  Planned Parenthood says a Columbia clinic plans to resume providing abortions in August after hiring a new physician.

Veterans' homes across Missouri are about to get some much-needed upgrades.

Gov. Jay Nixon traveled to the veterans' home at St. James Friday where he told residents, staff and their families that their facility will soon be getting a $6.9 million upgrade.

The Planned Parenthood Center in Columbia has announced it will resume medically induced abortions at its local clinic.

Jack Howard / KBIA

The Veterans Health Administration has reported it found PTSD in almost one in three soldiers since 2001. Examining the disorder in veterans and how it is treated was the subject of 'Of Men and War,' a film shown at this year's True/False Film Festival. 

Lt. David Wells, a Columbia native, is one of the soldiers profiled in the film. He spoke with KBIA's Jack Howard about how an innovate treatment center in California helped him and how others with PTSD can find help. 

 


It's not easy for a child who has had mental health issues to make a successful transition into adulthood. But even children who have symptoms that are mild enough that they wouldn't be diagnosed are more likely to struggle with life as adults, a study finds.

Early Push To Require The HPV Vaccine May Have Backfired

Jul 14, 2015

Nine years after it was first approved in June 2006, the HPV vaccine has had a far more sluggish entree into medical practice than other vaccines at a similar point in their history, according to a report in Tuesday's JAMA.

This might not surprise those who remember the early days of the human papillomavirus vaccine, which was targeted at girls aged 11 and 12 to prevent a sexually transmitted infection that causes cancer — but which opponents quickly branded as a vaccine that would promote teenage promiscuity.

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