Health

Dancing Through It My Journey In The Ballet Image of Jennifer in Pink Costume against black background
us.penguingroup.com / Penguin

    

In 2010, Jenifer Ringer starred as the sugar plum fairy in the New York City Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker. And when a New York Times dance critic insinuated in a review of the performance that Jenifer was overweight, she responded.  Her recent book Dancing Through It: My Journey in The Ballet talks about how she overcame that criticism and her struggle with health and weight (Penguin/2014). 

The state's nursing homes and elder care facilities are improving, according to a new study.
SalFalko / Flickr

After a hospital stay, many seniors on Medicare will go to a nursing facility to rehabilitate before going home. But a new study from Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill and the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence shows many of them return to the hospital before long.

Mark Toles teaches at UNC's Nursing school and is a co-author of the report. He said nursing homes often provide good care, but the transition back home can be difficult.

http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-Meningitis-%28Spinal-Meningitis%29
WikiHow: Creative Commons.

A Chapel Hill teen died suddenly on Wednesday. The Orange County Health Department suspects it was caused by a bacteria called meningococcus. It can lead to meningitis and blood infections. Both bring body aches and a rash among other symptoms.

The Chapel Hill boy only noticed symptoms a day before, but health officials estimate he was exposed to the bacteria last week.

Zack Moore is a medical epidemiologist with the state Division of Public Health.

a pharmacist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

This week, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that 6,400 people went all the way through the process of enrolling for a plan on the federal exchange, but never paid their first month's premium. Thus, they were never eligible to receive benefits. The federal government, however, has been including those people in its tally of newly enrolled individuals.

The Affordable Care Act requires that individuals pay their first month's premium before they can receive benefits.

Rocky Mount Police http://www.rockymountnc.gov/police/gangawareness.html

Rocky Mount community members and leaders are gathering at Word Tabernacle Church tonight for a public forum. This comes just weeks after four boys were shot on the church basketball court, and another was killed in a drive-by shooting.

Word Tabernacle Church Pastor James Gailliard said the tragedies have been a catalyst for social dialogue. He said he sees people crossing the aisle politically and having constructive discussions about how to combat gang violence, poverty and joblessness in the community.

Rex Mammography Unit
Leoneda Inge

Rex Healthcare is back on the road with a brand new mobile mammography unit screening for breast cancer.

You can’t miss the shiny, pink and purple Mobile Mammography Unit.

“Yeah, we love it, she’s very pretty," said Wendy Avery, Mobile Mammography Coordinator.

The "pink" mammography unit is often called "she."  “She” welcomed about 25 women Thursday, parked outside Revlon’s manufacturing plant in Oxford.

Elderly senior citizen hand on cane
Meena Kadri, Flickr, Creative Commons

Regulators who oversee quality at the state's long-term care facilities depend on trained volunteers to visit assisted-living and nursing homes and report back about conditions. But there are ongoing vacancies on the citizen advisory committees in the Triangle.

Dennis Streets is the director of the state health department division on Aging and Adult services. He said the job is more important than ever.

Community Care of North Carolina

North Carolina is enrolling more uninsured people than any other state that refused to set up its own health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Health care policy director Adam Searing of the NC Justice Center says the state-run Medicaid system, Community Care, has made a big difference.

The state has encouraged social and health services to cooperate to provide Medicaid patients solid care up front, and now friends and family members who don't qualify for Medicaid have affordable options and guidance for enrolling in private healthcare.

A new study looks at the availability of caloric information from fast food restaurants online.
jasonlam via Flickr, Creative Commons

It's easy to point the finger at fast food joints. A decade after the breakout documentary, Super Size Me, the cheap, un-nutritious, happy meal is a go-to candidate for public ire when it comes to childhood obesity.

But a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina says that explanation might be too easy.

Tony Geraci

    

Tony Geraci is best known as "Cafeteria Man." He is on a mission to transform menus at school cafeterias and give students healthier options. He launched a farm-to-school program in Contoocook N.H. Then he went on to make changes in larger school systems in Baltimore and Memphis.

National Naval Medical Center physician, Capt. David Thompson performs an ear tube surgery on a young hospital patient. According to Thompson, an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, ear tubes are very common among children and dramatically reduce ...
Seaman Erica Mater / U.S. Navy 040203-N-4182M-001

Researchers at the University of North Carolina and RTI International have found that children who have tubes implanted in their ears to remove fluid pressure fare just as well in the long run as kids who wait out the symptoms under a doctor's care.

The small tubes are surgically implanted in a child’s eardrums to relieve the condition, called otitis media with effusion. Nearly 670,000 kids undergo the procedure in America each year, making it one of the most common surgeries for children.

Bill Roper, UNC Health Care
UNC

Americans pay more per capita for healthcare than anywhere in the world, but the outcomes are far from the best. And when it comes to improving the system, the only thing experts agree on is that its complicated. The Affordable Care Act is an attempt at comprehensive reform.

Bill Roper is head of the UNC Health Care system. He has spoken out in favor of Obamacare. He acknowledges there are downsides, but he says there is one undeniable benefit.:

Updated Wednesday 1/8/14: So, earlier this week, I told you about a little game I play with my husband every January. It involves our grocery money.

We give ourselves a budget, and tell ourselves that, no matter what, we will not go over that amount of money for groceries.

On Sunday (our shopping day) gave ourselves $150 that should last all week for our 3-person family. (Usually we just "try our best" with our shopping, but don't give ourselves a monetary limit.) We spent $60 for our first shop and had $90 left for the rest of the week.

Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh

The spectacle, ummm...sporting event, that is known as the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is headed to Raleigh this April. Are you familiar with it?

The Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is a tour. It heads to cities around the U.S. and the world in order to stage marathons. Before they reach Raleigh, marathons will be held in New Orleans, Washington, DC, Dallas, and San Francisco. (They will also hold international events prior to reaching North Carolina, in Nice, France; and Madrid, Spain.)

Special Olympics NC

I've been poking around the internet, wondering if any athletes with ties to North Carolina will be headed to the games in Sochi next month.

I didn't find any (yet), but I did find a winter games, happening now. Without fanfare, network TV contracts, or endorsements, 130 athletes with special needs have gathered for the NC Winter Special Olympics at Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock.

The competition is reportedly fierce in alpine skiing and snowboarding. 130 regional competitors hail from as far away as Virginia.

Vaccine, shot,
Wake Med

 A Washington non-profit group says North Carolina ranks high in stopping infectious diseases.  The Trust for America's Health released a report on a year-long study that says the state hit seven of 10 marks in preventing outbreaks.  Spokesman Albert Lang says North Carolina is focused on more than just maladies common in less-developed nations.

One in nine elderly adults will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. But if you’re African-American, that number almost doubles. A long-term study out of North Carolina A & T is beginning to shed some light on why. Host Frank Stasio talks to A & T biology professor and lead researcher on Alzheimer’s, Dr. Goldie Byrd.

Two horses at play.
goingslo via Flickr Creatibe Commons

State veterinarians are investigating signs of a rare virus in four horses at a north Raleigh farm.  The disease, Equine Herpesvirus-1 -- or EHV-1, is only contracted by horses and cannot affect people.

Tom Ray is director of livestock health programs at the state Department of Agriculture.   He says there are several ways the virus can be spread among horses.

Eliana Perrin, MD, MPH, and professor of Pediatrics at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. sitting in a movie theater
http://news.unchealthcare.org/ / UNC Healthcare and school of medicine

    

Movies like Toy Story 3, Wall-E, and Up, may seem like harmless entertainment. But a new study shows these films may promote unhealthy behavior, especially eating habits, to young people. 

Alex E. Proimos via Flickr

Doctors too often miss the opportunity to talk with their teenage patients about sex during annual visits, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.

A study released this week in JAMA Pediatrics shows that less than two thirds of doctors and teenage patients talk about sex and sexuality during checkups, with most conversations lasting an average of 36 seconds.  

Cleveland Shields, a researcher on the study, says the findings show that doctors need to approach the topic more often and for longer periods of time to better address the sexual health needs of teenagers.

Albemarle Sound, NC
NASA / PD-USGOV

Federal cuts mean the state will stop monitoring water quality at several dozen swimming sites along coastal rivers and sounds in the coming year. The Environmental Protection Agency cut $22,000 from a grant for the testing.

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries uses a combination of state and federal funds to test 240 swimming areas for certain bacteria.

Director Louis Daniel says the division has notified county heath and summer camp directors that it will stop testing water quality at 41 swimming areas in coastal rivers and sounds.

Creative Commons

Doctors are increasingly concerned by the risk of concussions in football and other sports.  

The National Football League Players Association is partnering with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Brain and Body Health Program and other universities to help better treat and evaluate former players for injury, particularly to the brain.

map of US
CarInsuranceComparison.com

Apparently we've hit a nerve. We posted the news that North Carolina was tied for 7th for the dubious honor of nation's worst drivers. It was our most viewed story through Twitter yesterday. (See the original story below.)

The original story, posted Monday 12/16/13:

Texting and driving, drinking and driving, distracted driving, careless driving. Crashes, fatalities. Every year, horrific things happen out there on the roads. And more and more of us are getting on the roads to drive during the holiday season.

UNC Health Care
UNC Health Care / UNC Health Care

UNC Health Care announced a new partnership with Nash Health Care in Rocky Mount on Monday. The partnership allows Nash to access some of the resources of the larger UNC system, including medical supplies and management services.

The partnership gives UNC 0.2% of Nash's annual revenue, or an estimated $400,000-a-year to start.

A Duke University study found a link between poverty and smoking in adolescents.
Valentin Ottone via Flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina doesn't spend enough to keep people from smoking or help them quit. That's according to a report from a coalition of health organizations.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids report ranked North Carolina 45th in the country for spending on smoking and chewing prevention or cessation programs. The report says the state spent none of its tobacco tax revenue on those programs in fiscal year 2013.

Ricky Diaz of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says the state wants to serve its residents.

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