Vaccine, shot,
Wake Med

State health officials have approved a measure that would require rising 7th graders to receive the meningitis vaccine.

One more administrative step is required before the vaccination would become mandatory. The vaccine is for meningitis and other meningococcal diseases. Bacterial meningitis is most common in people between the ages of 15 and 21, but only about half of thi state's teenagers currently receive the vaccination.

Thania Benios Health and Science Editor at UNC

It’s not often that you get the chance to interview your personal hero on the day you become a doctor, but yesterday, I got to do just that. Minutes after I graduated from UNC School of Medicine, I had the chance to speak with UNC commencement speaker Dr. Atul Gawande. Dr. Gawande is a Harvard surgeon, best-selling author and has been named one of the world’s 100 most influential thinkers by TIME magazine. His acclaim comes from his ability to write about health care problems in a way that is easy to understand and powerful enough to effect change.

A picture of a girl smoking a cigarette. / creative commons

People who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are much more likely than the rest of the population to take up smoking. But a new report out today from Duke University shows that kids who are treated consistently for their ADHD with stimulant medication are less likely to take up the habit.

Lead author Scott Kollins said nicotine often becomes a comfort for young people who are socially awkward or have trouble concentrating.

“The treatment for ADHD addresses a lot of these things,” Kollins said.

Nurse checking woman's blood pressure while family member watches / Dudley's Home Health


With days full of physical assessments, patient advocacy, connecting with patients' families, and communicating with physicians, a nurse’s work is never done. And when a hospital is understaffed or under-resourced, nurses take on more patients and extra shifts. 

electronic cigarettes
dikiy via Flickr, Creative Commons

Shortly after the F.D.A. announced newly proposed regulations of the exploding E-Cigarette market, Greensboro-based Lorillard released  a statement on the matter:

A Duke doctor examines a pregnant woman.
Duke Medecine

A new study from North Carolina State University suggests women who suffer abuse during pregnancy are more likely to suffer post-partum mental health problems.

The study was one part of a more comprehensive program looking at health and wellness. The 100 women selected were of a demographic and social status not typically associated with high levels of abuse, which makes some of the finding all the more surprising.

Katie Short (far left in purple), mother Mary next to her.
Jessica Jones

Every month, state lawmakers on the General Assembly’s Health and Human Services Oversight Committee hold meetings to talk about health policy in North Carolina. Legislators sit at the front of the room to discuss their agenda, as staff members, reporters, and lobbyists listen. But in the back of the room, a mother and daughter, Mary and Katie Short, who attend every single meeting keep their eye on things too.

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt

UNC Healthcare has cut back the number of patients it's seeing at several of its facilities over the past two weeks. The hospital system is in the process of transitioning to a new electronic medical records system, and the cutbacks are part of anticipated roll-out period procedure.

The system, known as EPIC, is the same records software being implemented at Duke and Novant health systems. EPIC will allow patients to more seamlessly transition between the state's hospitals.

HIV microscope image, virus, disease
Duke University

In the last year, Durham County has seen about 100 new cases of HIV reported. It's also seen about 20 new cases of syphilis.

Generally speaking, that's on par with other metro areas in the state, which are seeing more cases of STDs, while North Carolina's rural areas are seeing a decline.

It's hard to know what is accounting for the rise. The most obvious possibility is an increase in unsafe sexual activity. But there's also a chance that, as screening becomes more commonplace and more effective, we're simply identifying more cases that were there to begin with.

Mary Roach is a writer known for asking taboo and wacky questions about the human body, and she continues this pursuit in her latest book, "Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal."(W.W. Norton & Company/2013)