Health and Wealth

Twice a day, Angela and Nate Turner of Greenwood, Indiana, take tiny strips that look like colored scotch tape, and put them under their tongues.

“They taste disgusting,” Angela says.


An attorney for the so-called “Medicaid 23” says his clients will appeal their convictions on trespassing charges, even though they face no jail time.

A Cole County, Missouri, jury on Wednesday acquitted 22 clergy members of obstructing government operations but found them guilty of trespassing when they refused to leave the Missouri Senate gallery during a protest in May 2014. The case of the 23rd defendant will be decided later.

At a small studio theater on the campus of the University of Indianapolis in June, it was standing room only for a performance of the original play, “Altered”,  an adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Lesli Butler played the role of Arachne, an expert weaver whose pride in her art had offended the goddess Athena.

“Without weaving I would not have found my identity, my life’s work,” recited Butler, “and to find one’s self in an art form is perfection.”

The trial of 23 people who protested Missouri’s failure to expand Medicaid began today in Jefferson City with jury selection.

The so-called Medicaid 23 defendants include many notable Kansas City clergy members, among them Sam Mann, Wallace Hartsfield and Vernon P. Howard Jr. They are accused of trespassing and obstructing government operations, both misdemeanors.

At 44-years-old Dave Adox was facing the end of his two year battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He needed a ventilator to breathe and couldn’t move any part of his body, except his eyes. Once he started to struggle with his eyes – his only way to communicate – Adox decided it was time to die.

Deana Kilpatrick smoked crack for the first time when she was 13 years old. “From there,” she says, “I really just spiraled down hill.”

For the next thirty years, drugs and alcohol were part of her life. Then last November, at the age of 43, she moved to Branson, Missouri looking for a new start. It was going pretty well until loneliness drove her to relapse a few months ago.


Missouri must pay more than $156,000 in attorneys’ fees after losing a court battle against Planned Parenthood over the revocation of its abortion license in Columbia, Missouri, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey on Monday awarded Planned Parenthood Great Plains (formerly Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri) all but $157.50 of the legal fees and expenses it sought after it prevailed in the case.

Eric Peters / U.S. Department of Agriculture

There's been a national spike in the number of deaths from opioid drug overdoses over the past 15 years and some of the biggest increases have come in the Midwest. Missouri is no exception and also holds the distinction of being the only state without a prescription drug monitoring database—a common tool for preventing abuse.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack head's the nation's initiative on rural opioid addiction. On Friday, Vilsack and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill will host a town hall meeting in Columbia to discuss the epidemic with media and invited guests. 

KBIA spoke with Secretary Vilsack earlier this week. 

Indiana governor Mike Pence is in the spotlight this week as the man Donald Trump has chosen as his running mate. His decisions about health and healthcare in Indiana have drawn attention from within and outside the state. And his record could be important in November, because his running mate doesn’t have a legislative record at all.

Promotional Video / MU Health

Every year, the US Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administer the National Health Interview Survey to help track the health of the various demographic groups that make up the county's population. But it wasn’t until 2013 that the survey included questions about sexual orientation.

One finding that emerged was that lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to be obese than their heterosexual counterparts. Jane McElroy, associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia, is the first to publish research on interventions to specifically address the issue. Her study was published in the current issue of Women’s Health Issues, and she came by the KBIA studios to discuss her findings.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Kristin Metcalf-Wilson said the activist in her couldn’t help leading cheers of “What do we want? Access. When do we want it? Always.” with those gathered Monday at Glenn’s Café to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision in the case Whole Woman’s Health et al. v. Hellerstedt.

Some of Missouri’s restrictive laws governing abortion clinics will likely face a legal challenge as a result of today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision knocking down similar restrictions in Texas.

But abortion-rights supporters and opponents in Missouri agree that it’s “too soon to tell’’ the specific effects of the high court’s 5-3 ruling on the Show-Me state, which long has had some of the nation’s strictest abortion laws.

turkletom / flickr

Saint Louis University will begin a human clinical trial this fall for a vaccine that seeks to prevent the Zika virus.

The university said Thursday that funding from the National Institutes of Health will fund the trial. Lead researcher Dr. Sarah George says the goal is to make sure the vaccine is safe and then measure the immune response to Zika.

The vaccine contains an inactivated version of the virus. After testing in St. Louis begins, the university plans a second study in Puerto Rico, which has been hit hard by the virus.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

In April the US Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] released new guidelines about the use of criminal records when denying or terminating a housing agreement.

To find out more about the new guidelines and what it could mean for Columbia residents, Rebecca Smith, from the KBIA Health and Wealth desk, sat down with Phil Steinhaus, the CEO of the Columbia Housing Authority.

On a rainy Tuesday morning in May, social worker Meghan Bragers drove up to Ferguson, Mo. to visit a 23-year-old expectant mother named Marie Anderson.

Anderson, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, was having a particularly difficult pregnancy.

“She’s been in a car accident, her car has been totaled, she’s having back issues, she’s having increased depressive symptoms,” Bragers said en route to the visit. “Things have gotten pretty difficult.”

Difficult, or as Anderson herself called it, “a tornado.”


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Tiffany Seda-Addington has been fighting for expanded access to naloxone for nearly three years. Ever since her best friend James Carmack died of a heroin overdose at his mother’s house.

“When James died,” Tiffany said. “It was immediately we have to do something.”

That “something” that she and others in Pulaski County, Missouri, decided to fight for was expanded access to naloxone, also known as Narcan. It’s the opioid overdose antidote that essentially brings a person dying from a heroin or opioid overdose back to life.


Services for Independent Living

Karla Gordon could barely contain her excitement. She had a surprise for her aunt, 96-year-old Helen Judah. Helen had recently fallen and was recovering at The Bluffs, a rehab facility for senior citizens in Columbia, but it was time for her to leave - and she was concerned about where she would get the necessary tools and equipment, like a walker, that allowed her to live independently.


Rebecca Smith / KBIA

A U.S. District Judge has ruled in favor of the Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic – issuing a permanent injunction that protects the clinic’s license to perform abortions.

In her ruling on Wednesday, US District Judge Nanette Laughrey granted a permanent injunction to the clinic, therefore preventing the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services [DHSS] from revoking the clinic’s license.

Laughrey wrote that the department likely bowed to political pressure and unfairly revoked the clinic's license compared to how other facilities’ licenses are handled.

University of Missouri Health System

 The University of Missouri will use a $3 million gift to fund a new regenerative orthopedic research center.

File / KBIA

  A jury in St. Louis has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $55 million to a South Dakota woman who claimed the company's talcum powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer.

Earlier this year, 69-year-old Aneita McCloskey needed her two front teeth filed down and capped.

“They were kind of worn down and they were also getting little tears and cavities,” she recalls.

Without dental insurance, McCloskey is on the hook for the full $2,400 cost of the procedure. She was given 18 months to pay it before she gets charged interest. That’ll be hard to do on her fixed income.

In years past she would have had to wait to see the dentist again until she could afford it.


Ryan Levi / KBIA

The Central Pantry on the north side of Columbia looks like a small grocery store. Ten aisles full of non-perishable food cut diagonally across the middle of the room. Crates of avocados, tomatoes and other fresh produce line one wall.

Jamie Sloan walks a cart full of groceries through the aisles to the checkout counter where she’s asked if she receives food stamps.

“Not anymore,” she says.


Adam Procter / flickr

The nursing school at the University of Missouri has received nearly $20 million in federal funds to expand research that has already reduced hospitalizations among nursing home residents in the St. Louis region.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was announced Wednesday by the university's Sinclair School of Nursing.

turkletom / flickr

Health officials say a pregnant Missouri woman who traveled to Honduras has the second confirmed case of Zika virus in the state. 

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

In stories about premature birth and premature babies you might have heard the term NICU? But what exactly is a NICU and what goes on there?

To find out, KBIA visited the NICU, or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, at University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital here in Columbia.


At Richard Logan’s pharmacy in Charleston, Missouri, prescription opioid painkillers are locked away in a cabinet. Missouri law requires pharmacies to keep schedule II controlled substances—drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl with a high addiction potential—locked up at all times.

Logan doesn’t stop at what the law requires.


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

Richard Logan’s pharmacy has been on the same street in Charleston, Missouri, for 40 years. Picture rows of wrist wraps, antacids and the like in front of the counter, and rows of prescription medications behind it.

It’s your typical pharmacy with one big “except.”


A federal judge says that Obamacare navigators may dispense advice to those looking for insurance under the federal health reform law.

U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith on Wednesday struck down provisions of a Missouri law that bars insurance navigators from giving advice about health plans. He ruled that the law is preempted by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Jason Pratt / flickr

Expectant parents might considering hiring a doula to assist with the childbirth process, but to many, the role doulas play in that process remains a mystery. To learn more about doulas's work, KBIA's Sara Shahriari spoke with local doula and student midwife Sabrina Bias – who became interested in the profession after hiring a doula and midwife to assist with one of her own births. 


Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

One year ago, while reporting on infant mortality rates in Kennett, Missouri, I met a 27-year-old expectant mother named Marylouisa Cantu. She was pregnant with her seventh child.

Her sixth child, a daughter named Alyssa, was born two years earlier and had spent two weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit due to complications from premature birth.


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