Health

A supermarket display of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and other junk food.
Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/rm97z

Duke University researchers have completed a two-year health intervention that resulted in improvements in weight, cholesterol and blood pressure to more than 1,100 Methodist clergy in North Carolina.

A plate of Soul Food
Laylah Amatullah Barrayn / Byron Hurt

Soul food has been a culinary tradition for centuries. While it remains an important source of community for many African-Americans, the way certain soul foods are prepared can increase chances of cancer and other health issues. In his documentary “Soul Food Junkies” (2012), filmmaker Byron Hurt examines his family’s history with soul food and the impact of the cuisine’s traditions.


FNV has worked to promote healthy eating habits, including with banners at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Millennials like to think that they eat healthier than their parents. But new research shows they still aren't eating the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.

Image of Lisa Hightown-Weidman and her family
Courtesy of Lisa Hightow-Weidman

Lisa Hightow-Weidman grew up with her nose always in a book. She majored in English in college and had aspirations of becoming a writer.

A strain of canine influenza is infecting dogs across North Carolina.
Ezio Melotti / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/9BdWfK

As many as a few dozen dogs in North Carolina have been infected with a new strain of canine influenza.  

New UNC research ties pharmaceutical industry payments to higher prescription rates.
Flickr

Physicians who receive compensation from pharmaceutical companies for speaking engagements, food or travel were more likely to prescribe cancer-fighting drugs from those companies, according to new research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

chart of 2016-17 flu deaths
Courtesy of the NC Department of Health and Human Services

Flu season is over, and this year's was deadlier than usual. North Carolina health officials recorded more deaths to flu complications this season than in any year since they began tracking them in 2009.

man using syringe
Urban Seed Education via flickr, Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/7Akc6y

New cases of hepatitis B and C have risen significantly in North Carolina in recent years. In response, state health officials are warning those at a higher risk for the infection to get tested. 

Courtesy Jane Williams

In her practice as a psychologist, Jane Williams counseled people dealing with grief. She came across many patients who experienced a spontaneous thought that brought them comfort and peace. Williams collected some of their stories in a new book, "Mysterious Moments: Thoughts That Transform Grief." (Library Partners Press/2017).


San Diego Personal Injury Attorney / Flickr/ Creative Commons

 Earlier this week, President Trump unveiled his budget proposal for 2018. The plan cuts more than $600 billion from Medicaid in the next decade, which would affect  nearly two million enrollees in North Carolina. The budget also includes deep cuts to health research and higher education.


Doctors at Duke Hospital.
Duke Medecine

Medicine is becoming more and more precise. Healthcare professionals have growing access to big data, computational power and genetic sequencing and testing. Advances such as genetic screenings that rule out ineffective chemotherapy treatments are already being used clinically. Many other diseases, from high cholesterol to depression, are also on the list to potentially benefit from getting more precise interventions.

A Chapel Hill swimming pool in July.
Town of Chapel Hill

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning swimmers of an increase in outbreaks of a waterborne parasite in pools.

Photo: Mark Martin
Courtesy of Mark Martin

North Carolina's Supreme Court Chief Justice has announced he's joining a task force to seek multi-state solutions to the national opioid crisis. Justice Mark Martin will serve as a member of the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative.

ep_jhu / Flickr, Creative Commons https://flic.kr/p/63jLJE

North Carolina is receiving a large federal grant to treat people addicted to opioids. Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday that the state will receive $31 million for treatment initiatives over the next two years.

Richard Topping is the Chief Executive Officer of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.
Cardinal Innovations Healthcare

The CEO of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions, a company that accepts hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal Medicaid money to pay for the care of mental and behavioral health patients in North Carolina, was overpaid by $1.2 million, and the company’s executives and board of directors enjoyed retreats, chartered flights, Christmas parties and other perks "potentially resulting in the erosion of public trust," according to an audit.

When my dear friend Sean Bunn found out earlier this year that he has two grown biological daughters, he had one immediate thought: Maybe this is why I’m still alive.

“This feels to me like an absolute wonderful gift,” Sean says.

You see, Sean, who’s 47 years old, has been sick — very sick. Doctors initially thought he wouldn’t make it through last year.

But he’s very much here. And now I’m sitting with him in his living room in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s the night before he’s going to meet one of his daughters for the first time.

Flickr Creative Commons

Mission Health, a hospital system in Western North Carolina, announced this week that it would close its maternity ward at Angel Hospital in Franklin, North Carolina. The hospital serves a mostly low-income, rural population. Mission Health said it cut the hospital’s labor and delivery services to remain solvent in the face of low reimbursement rates.

The RTI International study on TROSA
RTI International / TROSA

The Durham-based substance abuse recovery program TROSA saves North Carolina $7.5 million annually.

Walter Jones, who represents North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, was the only Republican in this state to vote against a bill that will repeal portions of Obamacare.

"Most of the reason is that we don’t have an updated Congressional Budget Office score," he told WUNC as the bill passed 217-213.

"The last day or two, leadership has talked to me about it, (asked me), 'What would it take to get your vote?' They are cutting deals with members of Congress, tweaking this and tweaking that, and you don’t know what the costs are going to be."

There have been seven cases of mumps reported in North Carolina.
Flickr

The N.C. Division of Public Health says it has found seven cases of the mumps in three counties, prompting a reminder for people to make sure they are up to date with their vaccines.

a photo of an aedes aegypi mosquito
James Gathany / Flickr Creative Commons

Researchers from the UNC School of Medicine and Duke University have received a $3 million grant to conduct Zika research.

Sufis Doucet

For Durham-based architect Phil Freelon, 2016 was a year of triumphs and setbacks. Freelon was the lead architect for the National Museum of African American History & Culture and celebrated the museum’s opening in Washington D.C. last fall. But months before the opening, Freelon was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

sick person thermometer
Claus Rebler / Flickr, Creative Commons

A new phone app that tracks the spread of illnesses in school age children is gaining popularity in the Triad.

Durham Regional Hospital
Duke Medecine

Hospitals in the Triangle were consistently graded high in patient safety.

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit health organization, uses 30 measures of hospital safety data to grade health systems. It assigns letter grades to make the grades simpler to understand.

The Robert Wood Johnson green map below shows the distribution of North Carolina’s health outcomes, based on an equal weighting of length and quality of life.
County Health Rankings / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A new analysis of health statistics shows there is still a divide between rural and urban health outcomes in North Carolina. 

The annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows the healthiest counties are Wake, Orange and Union. The worst outcomes were in Edgecombe, Scotland and Robeson counties.

Catherine Coleman Flowers

Lowndes County, Alabama covers more than 700 square miles in the south-central portion of the state. It is part of the Black Belt, a region with dense soil that was once the site of thriving cotton plantations. The area declined rapidly during industrialization, and the chalky, clay soil that was once the key to thriving cotton fields, became a disaster for sewage systems. To this day, large swaths of Lowndes County residents have either inadequate or no septic system, which leads to a wide range of environmental and public health issues.

jessamynstanley.com

 Jessamyn Stanley did not like yoga when she first started. Stanley’s first yoga class ended with her lying in a heap, overcome with nausea. But the body positivity advocate found her way back the mat years later and started sharing her journey with yoga on social media. Her honest posts on Instagram and Tumblr made Stanley a social media star.

Laura Pellicer

For close to two decades, Richard Joyner fought to get away from the farms of Pitt County, North Carolina. He grew up in a family of sharecroppers and repeatedly witnessed racial and economic injustices. His family was never properly compensated for their labor, and his father was treated poorly by white land owners.

Later in his life, Joyner became the pastor for the small 300-person community of Conetoe, North Carolina. Within one year, 30 of his congregants died from health-related illnesses. He decided to return to farming to grow healthy food for his community.

Small Nonprofit, Big Impact: Meet Juni Asiyo

Mar 20, 2017
Juni Asiyo wearing traditional Kenyan clothing.
Juni Asiyo

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from April 27. 2015.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the most serious HIV and AIDS epidemic in the world. In 2012, roughly 25 million people were living with HIV, accounting for nearly 70 percent of the global total. 

The battle is ongoing, as researchers, educators, and doctors continue to work to stop AIDS once and for all.

Right: MRI of a baby at 6 months who was diagnosed with autism at 2 years. The dark space between the brain folds and skull indicate increased amounts of cerebrospinal fluid. Left: MRI of a baby who was not diagnosed with autism at age 2.
UNC School of Medicine

Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill might have found an early predictor of autism in infants.

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