Science and Technology

Science, Health and Technology
4:17 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Flooding causes state of emergency in Pulaski County

Light rain falls Tuesday morning on the MSU campus. Additional rains throughout the region on top of already saturated soil is causing flash flooding
Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency after heavy rain caused flash flooding in the south-central part of the state. Nixon has spoken with emergency responders in Pulaski County and Waynesville, assuring them the region will get help.

A child was killed and several homes and businesses damaged after several inches of rain last night and this morning caused flooding in Waynesville. The Highway Patrol deployed extra troopers, a rescue helicopter and other assets to help emergency responders. Nixon's executive order also activates the Missouri State Emergency Operations Plan, allowing state agencies to coordinate directly with local jurisdictions on emergency services.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:34 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Oops: MO HealthNet sent 1,357 people's private info to wrong addresses

Credit Orin Zebest / Flickr

Talk about a paperwork nightmare: a so-called “software error” caused Missouri’s Medicaid agency, also known as MO HealthNet, to send mail containing private information of 1,357 program participants to the wrong address for almost two years.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:24 am
Mon August 5, 2013

FDA launches new gluten free rules

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Walk down a grocery store aisle or open a restaurant menu.

Gluten-free labels are everywhere.

Gluten is a starchy protein compound found in products made from wheat, barley and rye. It’s what gives dough a chewy texture. But up until this point, there has been little oversight on what qualifies as gluten-free and what doesn’t.

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Accident
3:05 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

18 injured in Montgomery County I-70 bus accident

This post will be updated:

Missouri Highway Patrol Troop F spokesperson Sgt. Paul Reinsch says 18 people were injured in a bus that overturned near mile marker 170 in Montgomery County around 1:20pm Friday. 

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Under the Microscope
7:05 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Exploiting the soybean; Ozarks watershed gets 'Blueways' designation

The theatre in the West Plains Civic Center was the site of the Congressional Hearing on the Blueways Designation for the White River Watershed, which has since been rescinded by the federal government.
Credit Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

On this week's show, we'll discover some lesser known uses of soybeans, and hear about a decision to redesignate a the White River Watershed in the Ozarks.

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Science, Health and Technology
6:57 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Crowd packs field hearing on 'Blueways' designation

The theatre in the West Plains Civic Center was the site of the Congressional Hearing on the Blueways Designation for the White River Watershed, which has since been rescinded by the federal government.
Credit Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

The term “Blueways” has some Ozarks residents seeing red.  At least, that was the case at a Congressional field hearing Monday in West Plains over the “National Blueways Program.” 
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Science, Health and Technology
4:38 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

PSC: Ameren owes electric customers $26.3 million

Credit Christopher S. Penn / Flickr

Ameren Missouri customers can expect to see a slightly lower bill after state regulators determined the utility owes its electric customers slightly more than $26 million for failing to include some revenue in its calculations.

The Missouri Public Service Commission approved an order Wednesday for the St. Louis-based company to refund the money to customers. But Ameren Missouri won't be sending out checks. Instead, the $26.3 million will be applied by adjusting a fuel charge that customers otherwise would pay.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:00 am
Tue July 30, 2013

'Several Days' Before Callaway Nuclear Reactor Will Be Back Online

Ameren Missouri

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 5:49 pm

Missouri's lone nuclear reactor remains shut down while workers and officials continue to investigate what caused a small fire at the Callaway County plant Friday night.

Ameren Missouri spokesman Cleve Reasoner said it'll be several days before the plant is back online.

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Science, Health and Technology
7:27 am
Mon July 29, 2013

National, state car seat recommendations differ

Credit treehouse1977 / Flickr

Missouri law requires kids to be in rear-facing car seats at least until the age of one.  But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children stay rear-facing until age two.   "Because pediatric patients, their neck muscles are not strong enough to withstand forces on an impact when they're forward facing until they're at least two-years-old," Lana Martin, a trauma nurse clinician at CoxHealth in Springfield, said. Under Missouri law, kids less than four-years-old or less than 40 pounds must be in an appropriate child safety seat.

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Science, Health and Technology
2:47 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Scientists in the Corn Belt make great strides in soybean science

University of Missouri plant scientist Melissa Mitchum inspects a plant for soybean cyst nematode in her greenhouse.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts the nation’s farmers will deliver a record 3.42 billion bushels of soybeans this year. The USDA is also forecasting that this year for the first time Brazil will overtake the United States as the world’s leading producer of soybeans. That means the pressure is on American soybean farmers like Brian Flatt, 41, to eke out even more soybeans from his fields.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:21 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Mo. Dept of Insurance makes rules for online health care marketplace "navigators"

Credit jfcherry / Flickr

The Missouri Department of Insurance has filed an emergency rule for the licensing of people that will help state residents search for health plans on an online marketplace. Legislation signed this year by Gov. Jay Nixon creates state requirements for the helpers, who are called navigators.

People applying for a state license will need to pass an examination. The cost for applying will be $25 for individuals and $50 for an entity. Licenses will be valid for two years. Requirements for a navigator license will include being age 18 or older, living in Missouri or keeping a business in the state. Those wanting to be navigators also should not have committed any acts that would grounds to refuse an insurance producer license.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:47 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Scientists make gains in soybean science, hospitals use medicinal leeches

Credit m_schipp22 / Flickr

On this week's show, we'll hear about a recent breakthrough in soybean science, and learn about the use of medicinal leeches in one Missouri hospital.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:22 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Pioneering Sex Researcher Virginia Johnson Is Dead At 88

(Courtesy Becker Medical Library, Washington University School of Medicine)

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 3:21 pm

Updated 10:52 a.m., 11:33 a.m., 11:53 a.m., 12:11 p.m., and 4 p.m. May be updated further.

Virginia Johnson, one half of the famed Masters and Johnson research team on human sexual behavior, has died at the age of 88, her son Scott tells St. Louis Public Radio.

Johnson was a resident of The Altenheim senior living community in St. Louis. The facility has also confirmed her death.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:54 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Cooper County hospital faces possible closure

Credit morrissey / flickr

Cooper County Memorial Hospital in Boonville is in trouble. It lost more than $1 million dollars last year and has been running a deficit since 2007.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:46 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Monsanto subsidiary will face jury about use of toxic chemicals in everyday products

Credit Hazel Motes / flickr

 

 

Missouri state appeals court has ruled that a jury should decide whether a former subsidiary of Monsanto that manufactured toxic chemicals is responsible for illnesses caused by the widespread use of those chemicals in everyday products.

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Science, Health and Technology
4:58 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

New tick disease discovered in Missouri

lone star tick
Credit Center for Disease Control

 

Federal health investigators have confirmed that ticks carry a new virus that sickened two Missouri men.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:09 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Joplin tornado-damaged yards have high lead levels

Two years after a tornado tore through Joplin, excavation work continues on yards that revealed high levels of lead after being disrupted by the storm.

The Joplin Globe reports most of the lead found in the yards was discovered where a tree was uprooted. Other mine waste was exposed where foundations and driveways were before the tornado.

The city says of the 1,091 yards sampled for lead in Joplin's disaster zone after the May 22, 2011, tornado, 426 needed the excavation of lead-contaminated soil. As of last week, 182 of those properties had been excavated.

Science, Health and Technology
5:37 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Emerald ash borer found in Perry County

Credit USDAgov / Flickr

A quarantine of wood products from Perry County is likely, after the discovery of an insect that kills ash trees.

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Science, Health and Technology
10:50 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Webb City wants to go from polluted mining town to environmental destination

This is just off route 66 in Webb City, MO
Credit Pete Zarria / Flickr

A former mining town in southwest Missouri wants to turn land polluted with zinc and heavy metals into a prime nature attraction.

Webb City Administrator Carl Francis says the city has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for about $3 million in funding for the 1,500 acre project. He says it would lessen the effects of the contamination and could change a previously barren area into wetlands.

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Under the Microscope
5:06 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Agricultural groups concerned about toxic grass; food hubs try to grow local farms

Rancher Roger Zimmershied poses with some of his cattle on his ranch just south of Sweet Springs, Mo. Zimmershied recently switched from Kentucky 31 tall fescue to MaxQ tall fescue in two of his pastures.
Credit Jake Godin for Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we'll hear why a popular grass for feeding cattle may be doing more harm than good, and learn about the popularity of food hubs.
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Science, Health and Technology
4:23 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

New bill requires health insurance counselors be licensed

Missouri State Capitol
Credit File / KBIA

 Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill that now requires insurance counselors or navigators to be licensed by the state.

The counselors are required to get the license in order to help consumers search for their insurance options on an online marketplace called a health insurance exchange. The exchanges are set to start on October 1st  of this year as part of the Affordable Care Act.  

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Science, Health and Technology
2:54 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

MU Health Care named one of the 'Most Wired' hospitals in the nation

Credit KBIA file photo

  For the third year in a row, the American Hospital Association has named MU Health Care as one of the “Most Wired” hospitals in the country.

The recognition is given to hospitals that work to adopt the newest health-care information technology. Spokesperson Bryan Bliven says as the technology continues to evolve, the benchmarks of the Most Wired list changes every year.

“The gait is always rising,” Bliven says. “It’s very good to keep the designation and it’s a challenge each year and we’re really happy to meet it for the third year in a row.”

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Science, Health and Technology
5:18 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

MU to host international conference on nuclear fusion

University of Missouri
Credit Adam Procter / flickr

 

The University of Missouri is hosting an upcoming international conference on low-energy nuclear reactions.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:12 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

New law allows physician assistants more freedom

A physician assistant examines a patient.
Credit US Navy/Wikimedia / Creative Commons

A law that takes effect Aug. 28 will give physicians assistants more freedom to provide care in areas of Missouri with a shortage of doctors.

Currently, physician assistants must be supervised by a doctor located within 30 miles of where they practice. And a doctor must be present 66 percent of the time they are caring for patients.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the new law will allow the supervising doctor to be up to 50 miles away. The doctors also will have to spend only half of a day on site for every 14 days the physician assistant practices.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:03 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Missouri, Kansas see increase in drowning deaths

Missouri River.
Credit KBIA file photo

Drowning deaths have risen dramatically in both Missouri and Kansas this year.

State officials say that before this weekend, 24 drownings had been reported this year in Missouri, four more than all of last year. And in Kansas, 12 drownings had been reported before this weekend, double the average for an entire year.

The Kansas City Star reports officials in both states say the pleasant summer weather likely has contributed to the increase, with more people venturing out to the states' waterways.

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Under the Microscope
11:59 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Insurance industry 'whistleblower' talks health care reform

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

Listen to KBIA's Harum Helmy chat with insurance industry 'whistleblower' Wendell Potter on Under the Microscope.

For about two decades, Wendell Potter spun carefully crafted public relations messages for Humana and Cigna, the insurance companies where he worked. He recalls convincing consumers that high-deductible insurance plans would be good for everyone; telling them that by paying more, they’d have more skin in the game of their own health.

“I frankly just got so disillusioned and, ultimately, disgusted with what I was doing,” Potter said.

He said through his own research, he knew high-deductible plans were not the best insurance coverage for those with middle-class income.

“The median household income in this country is just barely $50,000,” Potter said. “A family that’s earning $50,000, if they’re in a plan with a high deductible, they face bankruptcy or foreclosure [if something happens]. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have lost their homes and have to declare bankruptcy because they have been in these kinds of plans. They think they have adequate coverage and they don’t.”

In 2008, Potter left the insurance industry and became a consumer advocate. He testified in Congress against high-deductible plans. In 2010, he published a book detailing the ways public-relations practices of the insurance industry affect American health care. 

Now, Potter writes columns and travels around the country to debunk what he calls are “myths” about the Affordable Care Act. The law imposes stricter rules on insurance companies. They can no longer refuse coverage for consumers who have a pre-existing condition, for example. Companies also have to spend at least 80 percent of every dollar of a consumer's premium for patient care and quality improvements, not profits or administrative costs. 

On a recent visit to Columbia, Potter sat down with KBIA's Harum Helmy to chat about health care reform and the insurance industry's response to it. 

Listen to a longer version of the interview.

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Science, Health and Technology
7:24 am
Mon July 15, 2013

MU engineers developing low-cost toilet

Credit loop_oh / Flickr

  Some MU engineers are teaming up with colleagues at Duke University to develop a low-cost toilet for developing countries with water shortages.

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Science, Health and Technology
4:46 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Mo. energy-efficiency program tops $100 million in loans

Credit File Photo / KBIA

A Missouri program that is now entering its 25th year has provided more than $100 million in loans for energy efficiency projects around the state.

This Department of Natural Resources program helps finance energy-saving measures such as improved insulation, windows, lighting and heating and cooling systems. The loans are available to public schools and colleges, local governments, water and sewage treatment facilities and some hospitals.

The department says $102.7 million in low-interest loans has been awarded through the fund since its creation in 1989.

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Science, Health and Technology
3:48 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

USGS Takes To The Sky To Learn More About What's Beneath The New Madrid Seismic Zone

Credit United States Geological Survey

The United States Geological Survey, or USGS, is taking to the sky this week with a low-flying airplane that will map the subsurface of the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The plane will collect aeromagnetic data in Missouri’s Bootheel and small slivers of northeastern Arkansas and northwest Tennessee.

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Health & Wealth Update
1:26 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Bill on Nixon's desk could add barrier in enrolling Missourians in ACA marketplace

Credit pinprick / FLICKR

 Update: Gov. Jay Nixon signed SB 262 into law on Friday, July 12. 

A bill that was pushed by the state's insurance agents association could create a barrier in getting Missourians enrolled in time for the new online health insurance marketplace  one of the key parts of the health care reform law.

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