Science and Technology

Eight Missouri counties received an “F” grade in The American Lung Association’s recent“State of the Air” report card. The latest report was released Wednesday – grades U.S. counties and cities on air quality. 

Out of the 17 counties with enough data available to issue a score, only Boone County received an “A” grade. And here’s the list of the counties that failed: Clay, Clinton, Jasper, Jefferson, Perry, St. Charles, St. Louis, and St. Louis city. Researchers used air quality data between 2009 and 2011 for the grading.

Harum Helmy / KBIA News

If you think all cowboys are of the rugged, silent and stoic Marlboro Man type – think again. Some cowboys write poetry.  

Every year since 1998, for a weekend in April, a group of cowboy poets Missouri and its surrounding states gather in Mountain View, Mo., near West Plains. They spend three days in town, usually from Friday to Wednesday, giving poetry performances, playing folk songs, telling classic cowboy stories. The gathering, also known as the Missouri Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival, is one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest. 

Wash U center aims to increase collaboration on global health

Apr 18, 2013

Researchers from all over the world are gathering today at Washington University for a conference on global health.

The event is the first to be organized by the university’s recently-created Center for Global Health and Infectious Disease. St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra spoke with the Center’s director Bill Powderly about its mission.

MIZ-GYT provides free STI testing for students

Apr 18, 2013
Bridgit Bowden / KBIA

The University of Missouri Student Health Center offers free sexually transmitted infection testing Wednesday and Thursday as part of an education campaign called “GYT.”

“Get Yourself Tested,” or GYT, is a national campaign to promote STI testing for college students.  At MU, the Wednesday and Thursday event dubbed “MIZ-GYT” offers free HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea tests.   

Libby Hicks, a graduate assistant at the Student Health Center, said part of the program is to reduce the stigma of getting tested. 

File Photo / KBIA

Last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control announced a nationwide shortage of TUBERSOL, a product needed for tuberculosis skin testing.

According to the alert, TUBERSOL manufactures notified the CDC that 50 dose vials of TUBERSOL were unavailable and 10 dose vials were limited.

On Wednesday, the City of Columbia announced the shortage in a press release.

The Community Health Center of Central Missouri is set to provide dental services at a new clinic in Callaway County next month. The new Fulton clinic is one of four of the center’s branches. CEO Don Holloman said the organization decided to extend its services to Fulton after an assessment revealed there is a growing population of people in the area without access to dental care.

Power Up conference explores technology for people with disabilities

Apr 16, 2013
Michael Losch / KBIA

New technology that can assist the disabled is rapidly developing, and a conference in Columbia this week is putting a spotlight on that technology. 

About 500 people, including educators and disability advocates are gathered at this week’s Power Up 2013 Conference and Expo to explore how technology can help in the everyday lives of the disabled.  The conference, taking place at Columbia’s Holiday Inn Executive Center, features 62 different presentations about devices to help people with a range of disabilities. 

Volunteers Clean up Columbia

Apr 15, 2013

Volunteers collected almost 1,500 bags of trash Saturday in the city’s annual Clean Up Columbia service day.

Leader Nancy Pelosi / Flickr

Every Friday, KBIA's Health & Wealth Desk talks about the week's most interesting articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues. 

'Redneck reality' and rural portrayal in cable television

Entertainment newspaper The A.V. Club muses on A&E's popular reality show Duck Dynasty, saying the show is the 21st century incarnation of old rural-themed sitcoms that once dominated network television. Think Petticoat JunctionThe Beverly Hillbillies, and Hee-Haw. It's an interesting read, but we were especially interested with the author's take on ways the television shows have to negotiate the rural-urban political disparities. 

While the rural-themed programming of days gone by tended to depict the small Southern town as a bucolic haven for good-hearted folk, redneck reality is more apt to acknowledge the social and economic ills of the subcultures it depicts. These shows are sanitized for the protection of viewers with blue-state sensibilities; when they occur at all, political discussions tend to center on generalized platitudes about freedom and family, rather than specifics that might turn off half the potential audience.


H/T: The Rural Blog

Did headlines about death rates at rural hospitals tell the wrong story?
The Daily Yonder is killing it with their opinion pieces this week. 

Case in point: A new report made headlines last week, saying death rates are rising at rural, geographically isolated hospitals. But an opinion writer for the Yonder says news reports are not telling the real story of these so-called critical access hospitals:

The patients in the small rural hospital with heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia have become a select population. A large proportion has decided that they are through paying all the human costs of the miracles of modern medicine. They have made the decision to stay in familiar surroundings near home and family. 

The researchers found that 13.3% of the patients at critical access hospitals with one of the three conditions died, compared to 11.4 % of the medical center patients. Given all the terrible tools that modern medical centers have to work with, I’m amazed they only manage a small difference in patient survival over the most basic, little country hospitals in America. 

Healthy Lunch Ideas / Flickr

We all know the way to a healthy body is a balanced diet and exercise. But we also know that’s easier said than done. However, with almost one-third of Missouri children ages 10 to 17 overweight or obese, it’s becoming more and more important to instill healthy habits young.

This week on Intersection, two dietitians and an exercise expert shared doable tips for parents to keep kids on the right track.

University of Missouri Health Care

Doctor David Fleming of the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine is the new president-elect of the American College of Physicians, the nation's largest medical specialty organization.

Fleming was elected to the post Thursday, and will spend the rest of the year as president-elect until his official term begins in 2014. He says he is already planning for what will be the most pressing aspects of his term.

nomadsoul1 / dreamstime

In his proposed budget, President Barack Obama wants to delay cuts to federal payments to hospitals, keeping the payments intact for an extra year. That could affect the debate over expanding Medicaid in Missouri.

Through what’s called the disproportionate share hospital payments or DSH payments, the federal government gives money to hospitals that provide a lot of free care to patients who are uninsured and can’t afford services. The Affordable Care Act, though, includes significant cuts to DSH payments.

Rachel Wittel / KBIA

Missouri social justice advocates are calling for communities to transform energy economies into clean, climate-friendly ones. The organization Coal Free Mizzou hosted a panel Tuesday to encourage the use of energy-renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal options, rather than nuclear and fossil fuels.

Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.

Google has selected a Kansas City company to test Google Glass, the search giant's wearable computer device.
The Kansas City Star reports that Engage Mobile will join other Google Glass testers. The goal is to prepare Google Glass for launch next year.

IntelFreePress / Flickr

  Almost gone are the days when physicians collect your medical records in yellow manila folders stacked ceiling-high behind the nurses’ counter.

More and more medical professionals in the U.S. are using an electronic health records system to do things like store patient data, call up medical records and even prescribe medications. A Department of Health and Human Services survey found that in 2011, 35 percent of all U.S. hospitals have adopted an electronic health records system. It's a pretty rapid growthin 2009, only 16 percent of U.S. hospitals use the system.

Many of these electronic systems are so handy they even have decision-making software—a tool that helps physicians make treatment recommendations and diagnoses.

“The idea is that a physician can open one up and maybe use one to diagnose whether a patient has appendicitis and decide whether they want to operate,” said Victoria Shaffer, an MU psychologist who studies the decision-making side of the electronic health records system.

Not all patients like this high-tech diagnoses tool, though.

Every week, KBIA’s Health and Wealth Desk curates the week’s most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues

This week’s topics: guns in rural schools and how low health literacy affects rural cancer patients. 

Tony Webster / Flickr

There’s a certain allure to crime scene forensics. What else could explain the immense popularity of the CSI television franchise.

Missouri Capitol
File Photo / KBIA

Missouri’s Republican-led House on Tuesday struck down Democrats’ attempts to include Medicaid expansion in the state’s budget.

If that scenario sounds familiar to you, it’s because these rejections have happened a few times before. On Feb. 25, two House committees rejected Rep. Jake Hummel’s (D-St. Louis) bill to expand Medicaid under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. On March 14, the Senate Appropriations committee voted down the Senate Democrats’ version of the expansion bill.

Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) was in one of the committees that struck down Rep. Hummel's Medicaid expansion proposal. Barnes has since introduced his own version of the expansion -- outlined in House Bill 700

Every week, KBIA's Health & Wealth Desk curates the week's most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues. 

Rural post offices in crisis

roxeteer / Flckr/Creative Commons

The City of Columbia is encouraging people to turn off the lights in their homes and buildings this Saturday in celebration of the annual Earth Hour event. Earth Hour is a global program that promotes energy savings, and Columbia has participated in it each year since 2008.

Lukas Udstuen / KBIA

Debbie Lose-Kelly says she spends her entire life in avoidance of the everyday chemicals like fragrances, shampoos or laundry detergents. She lives with severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity — an illness that most in the medical community aren’t convinced is an actual disease.

Null Value / Flickr

If you’re a crime show junkie, you’re probably well-acquainted with Elliot Stabler’s temper (NSFW language), Jimmy McNulty’s attitude and Horatio Caine’s shades . But do you know how violent crimes really get solved?

Libby Burns / KBIA

This is the second in a two-part discussion about health literacy and the healthcare reform.  

Not knowing what the online health insurance marketplace looks like might be problematic for Missourians. 

As part of the Affordable Care Act, Missouri’s uninsured can choose to buy insurance from the state’s health exchange come October. The exchange is an online marketplace where anyone who isn’t already insured will be able to compare and purchase private insurance plans. Some uninsured Missourians would be eligible for help with the cost, too.  

Missouri has missed the deadline to create its own marketplace or start a state-federal partnership. So, the federal government is setting it up. The problem is, even though the marketplace is supposed to be open for enrollment in about six months, no one knows what it looks like yet.

“We’re losing time that could be useful in helping people understand and prepare [for the exchange],” said Catina O’Leary, the director of Health Literacy Missouri, a nonprofit group that’s working to make health care topics more understandable for Missourians. “It would be really great if we could manage people’s expectations and start training on what they’re going to need to know.”

But here's what we know so far: 

University of Missouri Health System opens new wing

Mar 19, 2013
MU Hospital

University of Missouri Health System officials and UM System President Tim Wolfe officially opened the new patient care tower at the MU Hospital at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday morning.

stephenjohnbryde / Flickr


Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.

Missouri Department of Tourism / flickr

Health officials are investigating the cause of an outbreak of illnesses during a recent gathering of the Missouri Coroners' and Medical Examiners' Association.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that 40 to 50 members of the group became ill during a three-day conference at a Jefferson City hotel. About 100 members of the association attended the conference.

Every Friday, KBIA’s Health and Wealth Desk curates the week’s most interesting (or so we think) articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues.

Osteopathic Physicians: An Answer To Rural Health Care Needs?

It’s no secret the U.S. is facing a shortage of primary care physicians – especially in rural areas, which is home to some 20 percent of all Americans, but only has 9 percent of all physicians. Compared to specialized medicine such as surgery and cardiology, primary care does not pay as well – and the average student loan debt for med school graduates is $161,290. Only about 24 percent of MD graduates lean to primary care. That’s not the case with recent osteopathic medicine graduates, though.  

Spencer Thomas / Flickr

This week, we'll hear about efforts to increase the amount of ethanol added to gasoline, and learn about out the potential benefits of owning a dog.

Annie Trout / KBIA

The University of Missouri Children’s Hospital celebrated the opening of a new waiting area for its newborn intensive care unit. Hospital officials said accommodating families for longer periods and overnight stays is an important aspect of neonatal intensive care units.

The new waiting room, located right next to the NICU, includes a living room, kitchen, two flat screen TVs and shower facilities.

On Tuesday evening, about 50 family members, supporters, and health care professionals got a preview of the new waiting area.