Health

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.

DVIDSHUB / flickr

Last week, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences announced it will open a medical school in Joplin, the first new medical school in Missouri in more than 40 years. The school is expecting to matriculate 150 students in its first class in 2017, and between 150 and 160 students in each subsequent year. KBIA’s Bram Sable-Smith spoke with Dr. Marc Hahn, president and CEO of the university, about the needs the new school will be filling for that region of the state. 


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

This story is part of our series "Shortage in Rich Land" on Missouri's Bootheel region. Click here to see all of the stories.

Anthony Smith has a spiel he will deliver many, many times today.

“I’m Anthony Smith with the Family Counseling Center," he says, "and today is identified as the 'point-in-time count' for the state of Missouri. The governor’s office does this annually. We try to conduct a winter count to identify individuals who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless in our community.”


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

This story is part of our series "Shortage in Rich Land" on Missouri's Bootheel region. Click here to see all of the stories.

It’s a cold afternoon in Kennett, Mo. The lawns in this low-income housing neighborhood are still wet from yesterday’s rain. And just inside the door of her mother’s brick home, 27-year-old Marylouisa Cantu sits on a couch, pregnant and draped in a blanket.

Her mother beckons, through the storm door.

“Come in, come in.”


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


St. Louis-based Monsanto lined up its experts for a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, to challenge last week’s determination by a World Health Organization committee that the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer could be dangerous to people with frequent exposure. 

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

This story is part of our series "Shortage in Rich Land" on Missouri's Bootheel region. Click here to see all of the stories.

It’s early morning. The sun is shining brightly on the corrugated metal siding of the Otto Bean Medical Center in Kennett, Mo., and inside the building, Judith Haggard is pricking the soles of her patient’s feet with a pin.

Otto Bean is part of the SEMO Health Network, a Federally Qualified Health Center which operates several clinics across southeast Missouri.

Haggard is a nurse practitioner and one of the ranking medical providers here at the clinic, which has no full-time doctor. She has just 15 minutes to spend with her patient, a 71-year-old diabetic on Medicaid.


A team of 17 cancer experts assembled by the World Health Organization has ruled the most commonly used herbicide a “probable carcinogen.”

There's a researcher at the RAND Corporation who has been building a reputation as a curmudgeonly skeptic when it comes to trendy ways to fight America's obesity epidemic.

The Columbia Housing Authority board held a meeting Tuesday night and unanimously voted to ban smoking inside their units. 

Many scientists are failing to live up to a 2007 law that requires them to report the results of their clinical trials to a public website, according to a study in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

A Growing Number of Births Happen Outside Hospitals

Mar 11, 2015
PEASAP / FLICKR

A growing number of births in the United States are happening outside of hospitals, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported two percent of births in Missouri took place in homes, birth centers, and in family practices in 2013. The number of out-of-hospital births has been on the rise since 2006 in Missouri because it’s becoming an attractive alternative for some families.


Kyle Norris

A popular New Year’s resolution for many people is to get in better shape by exercising and eating healthier. At the Boonslick Heartland YMCA, Assistant Director Vanessa Dorman wanted to bring those looking to lose weight together.

“I can’t tell you how I thought of it,” Dorman said. “But people are always concerned about their fitness in January, so I decided to make a program to make it official.”


With yet another do-or-die test of Obamacare before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, the justices were sharply divided.

By the end of the argument, it was clear that the outcome will be determined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy. The chief justice said almost nothing during the argument, and Kennedy sent mixed signals, seeming to give a slight edge to the administration's interpretation of the law.

Judging by the comments from the remaining justices, the challengers would need the votes of both Roberts and Kennedy to win.

If you’re in the market for fluorescent light bulbs, you might talk to Chris Smiley. In the past few weeks, she’s been trying to sell off what’s left of Sac-Osage Hospital.

“Casework, lighting, plumping, sinks, toilets. Anything you want,” Smiley says.

That’s not in her job description. She’s actually the CEO of Sac-Osage, a hospital in Osceola, Mo., that closed in September.

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.

Toronto Star Feels Backlash Over HPV Reporting

Feb 26, 2015

The Toronto Star recently published an investigation into a possible connection between Merck's Gardisil vaccine and illnesses in teenage girls. This vaccine is to help prevent HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer for women. Fifteen days later took down the piece. They took it offline. Missouri School of Journalism professors Earnest Perry, Judd Slivka and Amy Simons discussed the issue on KBIA-FM's media criticism program, "Views of the News."

Once the story was initially released, people began to “hammer” them, Slivka stated.


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.

Alex / Flickr

It’s generally known that women tend to live longer than men. But what’s less known is how the same longevity can be a  financial burden for women.

Last month, the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the MU Institute of Public Policy released a report called Status of Women in Missouri. According to the report, women make up two-thirds of the Missourians aged 65 and older who are living in poverty.

“Their lives are much longer but then you couple that with the pay gap,” said Wendy Doyle, President and CEO of the Women's Foundation.

New Help on the way for Patients with Autism

Feb 25, 2015

A new project is underway to help better prepare physicians who work with patients with Autism. The ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) Autism project plans to deliver specialized training to Missouri physicians and primary caretakers who work with patients with Autism here in Missouri. MU’s Thompson Center for Autism created the program with the help of the Missouri Telehealth Network. 

For years, Truman Medical Centers’ chemotherapy unit sat in an open room located in an unrenovated portion of its mid-1970s hospital near downtown Kansas City, Mo.

Only a few feet separated each chemotherapy patient – seated in recliners next to their IV poles – and the ground-floor pharmacy sat several stories below the oncology unit.

The case of Terry Cawthorn and Mission Hospital, in Asheville, N.C., gives a glimpse of how some hospital officials around the country have shrugged off an epidemic.

Cawthorn was a nurse at Mission for more than 20 years. Her supervisor testified under oath that she was "one of my most reliable employees."

hitthatswitch / flickr

A Missouri Republican wants to require preschools and daycare centers to tell parents if there are other children attending who have not been vaccinated against measles or other illnesses. 

If you like a cup of coffee and an egg in the morning, you've got the green light.

A panel of top nutrition experts appointed by the federal government has weighed in with its long-awaited diet advice.

A highly contagious disease was sweeping across the United States. Thousands of children were sick and some were dying. In the midst of this outbreak, health officials did something that experts say had never been done before and hasn't been done since: They forced parents to vaccinate their children.

It sounds like something that would have happened 100 years ago. But this was 1991 — and the disease was measles.

Courtesy of Aaron Banks

Aaron Banks, a Columbia native, spent more than a year investigating crimes by listening to phone calls from prison inmates to their friends, family and children. He said the conversations with children really struck a nerve with him. 

“They would be asking when am I going to see you again? why aren’t you at home? And that kind of stuff. It was just heartbreaking to hear that sort of thing," he said.

Banks said these overheard conversations began to affect his relationship with own children, so he began to spend more time at home and this made his craft beer hobby more difficult.


For 15 years, Carla Price and her husband's sex life was great. But then things began to change.

"Before, I would want to have sex," says Price, who is 50 and lives in central Missouri. "But over the years my sexual desire has just dwindled to nothing."

Price has no idea why. She's healthy. She's not really stressed out about anything. And she's still totally crazy about her husband.

"It's not that our relationship got boring," Price says. "Because it's actually the opposite — we became closer as we got older together."

BPA-free isn't good enough anymore if you're trying to sell plastic sippy cups, water bottles and food containers.

The new standard may be "EA-free," which means free of not only BPA, short for bisphenol A, but also free of other chemicals that mimic the hormone estrogen.

The U.S. surgeon general lists 21 deadly diseases that are caused by smoking. Now, a study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine points to more than a dozen other diseases that apparently add to the tobacco death toll.

To arrive at this conclusion, scientists from the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and several universities tracked nearly a million people for a decade and recorded their causes of death.

Andy Lamb / Flickr

Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver, often causing liver cancer or cirrhosis. Although they share a name, it is completely different from hepatitis A or B so current hepatitis vaccines don’t guard against hep C.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 3.2 million people in the United States have hepatitis C. But Bruce Burkett, Founder and Director of the Hep C Alliance, said the disease often goes untreated simply because people don’t know they are infected.

 


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