Health

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC campus.
Blue Cross Blue Shield NC

Insurance provider BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina is expanding retail locations as the federal government prepares to launch the state's health care exchange. 

Duke University Hospital
Duke Medecine

  

Parents of teenagers with mental illnesses struggle to find appropriate care. When those adolescents also have developmental disabilities, they often end up in a cycle of psychiatric treatment that keeps them in residential facilities far from their homes.

Host Frank Stasio talks with News and Observer reporter Mandy Locke about a story of one family facing these challenges and the state’s resources for treatment.

N.C. State researchers are using North Carolina's tomato plants as a case study to understand how Salmonella affects crops.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Researchers at North Carolina State University are searching for Salmonella in North Carolina's tomato crops.  The bacteria causes salmonellosis, a disease that can range from uncomfortable to deadly, and tomatoes in Florida and Virginia have been the sources of outbreaks. Despite North Carolina's close proximity and similar climate, local tomatoes have been safe from the pathogen. A team of scientists from N.C. State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is investigating why.

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.
Flickr.com

The closing of the Healthserve Community Health Clinic in Greensboro is expected to affect thousands of low income patients. The clinic is closing, in part, because of the State legislature’s decision to reject federal Medicaid expansion. Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC Greensboro Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about this and other Triad news live from Triad Stage in Greensboro.

A Duke doctor examines a pregnant woman.
Duke Medecine

Researchers at Duke University say they've found evidence that inducing or augmenting labor could increase an infant's risk of autism. 

A study of more than 600,000 births shows boys were 35 percent more likely to have autism if labor was both induced and augmented.  The risk was also elevated for girls, but at a lower rate.

Two Ob/GYN doctors review test results.
Mercy Health

Members of a Raleigh-based community medical organization say a new study shows a transitional care program they launched has cut hospital re-admissions by 20 percent. 

A wrecked car in Mecklenburg County, which had the highest total number of fatal crashes in 2012.
W. Robert Howell via creative commons

For the third year in a row, the same four counties have topped AAA Carolinas’ list of North Carolina’s most dangerous counties for car collisions. Pitt, New Hanover, Person and Watauga Counties were ranked the four most dangerous, all averaging over 250 car crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Pitt County has topped the list for five straight years.

Two Ob/GYN doctors review test results.
Mercy Health

Medicare patients who are frequently admitted to hospitals are beginning to cause extra fees for those facilities. 

Sunburnt feet after a kayaking trip.
Laura Brunow

New research out of Duke University could put an end to painful sunburns. Scientists have discovered a way to block TRP-V-4, a skin molecule responsible for the redness and pain following prolonged sun exposure.

"Like reddening, formation of soreness and blisters... influx of blood, inflammatory cells, of cells that make itch," said Wolfgang Liedtke, a neurobiology professor at Duke. "That is the tissue injury response down to the level of non-visible."

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.
Flickr.com

An estimated 20,000 patients will be affected by the closing of a health clinic in Greensboro later this month.  HealthServe provides care for people who are low-income, and have little or insufficient health insurance. The clinic began as a volunteer effort by local doctors in the 1990s. HealthServe has lost funding from the County and Moses Cone Hospital. The State’s recent decision to not expand Medicaid was the third strike.

The pink ribbon is a symbol for breast cancer awareness.
TipsTimes

UNC- Chapel Hill and Duke researchers will share national grant money to further breast cancer studies. Ten programs at the schools will get $3.6 million from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The research will investigate causes and develop vaccines.

Pam Kohl, the director of Komen's Triangle to the Coast affiliate, says this funding can be as important to scientists as it is to patients. Kohl points to Komen Scholar Kimberly Blackwell of Duke as one of those who benefited.

The White House

The state Department of Insurance has approved subsidized health care plans that will be available under the Affordable Care Act.

Several details of the plans remain sealed as trade secrets, including rates, deductibles and how many were approved.  Marni Schribman of the state Insurance Department says the plans will be part of North Carolina's health care exchange, which is scheduled to launch in October.

Dr. Laura Gerald
NC Division of Public Health

State Health Director Dr. Laura Gerald has resigned from that post effective immediately. 

A release from the Department of Health and Human Services said Secretary Aldona Vos accepted the resignation Tuesday.  Gerald served as state health director for the past 18 months.

In a correspondence sent to DHHS employees, Vos thanked Gerald for her service and wished her well on her future endeavors. The secretary also announced temporary replacements in the Division of Public Health

A new study finds that black teens have fewer babies by using birth control, practicing less sex, or having abortions in response to job loss. Contraception.
Bryancalabro via Creative Commons

While there are many studies that highlight the irrational nature of teenagers’ decisions, a new study conducted by researchers at Duke University has just found evidence of the opposite. The study shows that when a community experiences job loss, fewer African-American teenagers have babies.

Christina Gibson-Davis is an associate professor of public policy, sociology and psychology and neuroscience at Duke and one of three authors of the study.

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

Researchers at Duke University have been studying the affect of poverty and parenting on substance abuse in adolescents.  The findings suggest self-control for teens is influenced by economic status earlier in life.  The study shows children growing up in poverty are more likely to smoke as adults. 

NC General Assembly

One of the issues still to be decided by the North Carolina Legislature before it adjourns is whether to approve new rules that Republicans say would make abortion safer.

Democrats say abortions in the state are already very safe, and that the new provisions would lead to clinics closing.

A new report has insights into children's dental health in the state.
Dave Buchwald, creative commons

A North Carolina Institute of Medicine task force released a new study on children's dental care in the state.

Berkeley Yorkery, a project manager with the Institute, says compared to other states, North Carolina has made strides in children's dental participation.

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

A nationwide study of nursing homes says North Carolina's facilities are improving. 

A survey commissioned by the federal government shows more nursing homes scored higher on a five-star health rating system in 2011 than in 2009.  The number of stars awarded is based on health inspections, the amount of staff at each home, and quality-of-life measures. 

Vijay Dey at the White House Kids' State Dinner on July 9.
Mei Dey

Twelve-year-old Chapel Hill resident Vijay Dey took a special trip to the White House last week after being selected as one of 54 nationwide winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a program sponsored by food website Epicurious and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. The Challenge asked young chefs to submit a healthy recipe that meets the USDA’s MyPlate standards, meaning half of the dish is comprised of fruits and vegetables. They also were encouraged to submit the story behind the dish.

Dey’s winning recipe was for Spring Rolls, a dish he said was inspired by his grandfather. “My grandpa makes that recipe and I thought it tasted really good,” Dey said. “And it fit with the MyPlate food group categories.”

Charles Lindquist
Duke Clergy Health Initiative

Like their good friends the Baptists, the Methodists love a good covered dish event. Any church gathering can serve as a reason to bring out the cakes, cookies and casseroles, and in rural North Carolina, that puts church leaders, like Pastor Charles Lindquist, in an awkward position.

“People used to say, ‘get up there in the front of the line’ and you had this feeling of 90 pairs of eyes staring at you to see whose food you were going to take,” says Reverend Lindquist. “So you tried to take some of everything.”

Implanting a Bioengineered Blood Vessel into a patient at Duke University Hospital
Shawn Rocco

A team of doctors implanted a bioengineered blood vessel into a patient with late stage kidney disease at Duke University Hospital in June.   

Two Ob/GYN doctors review test results.
Mercy Health

For decades, women have been told to get annual screenings for cervical cancer. In 2009, mounting scientific evidence prompted major groups like the American Cancer Society to recommend less frequent screenings; every 3 years instead of every year.

Despite the revised guidelines, about half of the OB/GYNs surveyed reported they continue to provide yearly exams. Dr. Russell Harris from UNC's Center for Health Services Research says that practice is outdated and may do more harm than good.

The Baker Clinic For Women, which provides abortions, had its license revoked by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Baker Clinic For Women

A Durham clinic that performs abortions was closed last Friday, after an inspection by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. But the owner of that clinic says it will reopen.

In a notice of administrative action delivered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the Baker Clinic was cited because it "failed to ensure quality control was performed in blood banking" and "failed to perform quality control testing on one hundred-eight patients that received Rh(D) [blood type] testing."

For more than a decade, the number of people in our nation who've newly contracted HIV has gone down two percent. But the South doesn't share in that small victory. During the same period of time, the number of people contracting the virus in the South has risen 36 percent.

a pharmicist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Behavioral health clinics in Wake County are shutting down today. That means about 2,000 people who have mental illnesses and rely on Medicaid are transitioning to treatment from private providers, but the county has been under a time crunch to transfer patients and some doctors worry theirs are falling through the cracks.

Margery Sved is a psychiatrist with Wake County Health and Human Services and one of 200 people who are being laid off today.

Logo for ONE CALL, an HIV call center.
NC School of Public Health

A new statewide call center at UNC-Chapel Hill called ONE CALL will connect people diagnosed with HIV to the medical care, counseling, and other resources they need.

More than three quarters of those living with HIV in North Carolina do not seek treatment. Those who do receive proper treatment have a normal life expectancy and are much less likely to pass the virus on the their partners.

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

Duke University is opening a new center dedicated to research on how to curb teen substance abuse. The new Center for the Study of Adolescent Risk and Resilience or "C-StARR" is benefiting from a $6.7 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

A magnified microscopic image from Duke researchers in the epilepsy study.
Duke University

Researchers at Duke University say they're another step closer to creating preventative treatment for epilepsy.  A study released Thursday says scientists controlled a particular receptor in the brains of mice linked to epileptic seizures.  They were able to stop the development of permanent epilepsy, even after the mice experienced a series of seizures.  Jim McNamara is a Duke neuroscience professor and lead author of the study.  He says the receptor could be a target for future drugs to prevent epilepsy in humans.

"Ideally, what you would like is to be able to intervene for a brief period of time and have that intervention be effective for prevention, because you can minimize unwanted effects of the drug," McNamara said. "You don't have to be on the drug for the rest of your life."

Elderly woman, Senior Citizen, Walking, Park,
Matthew Sanders via Flickr, Creative Commons

The Alamance County D.A. has started an effort to protect senior citizens from being crime victims.  Pat Nadolsli kicked off the 'Elder Abuse Initiative' Friday.  He says Alamance County data showed more than 300 cases of elder abuse and exploitation from 2011 to 2012.  Nadolski says the plan is to stop these crimes in the many forms they can take.

The IPAS logo
Ipas

  Forty years ago, the controversial supreme court decision Roe Versus Wade ushered in a new era of reproductive rights and touched off a culture war that has waged ever since.

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