Health

Gurnal Scott

Friends of workers who died on the job honored their memory in Raleigh.   An observance of what they're calling Workers' Memorial Day included people reciting the names of employees killed on the job in North Carolina. 

Duke Chapel, Duke University, Durham
Dave DeWitt

The student health insurance plan at Duke University will soon cover procedures for sexual reassignment surgery. 

The university will be the first in North Carolina to cover the service, starting this fall. Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek says the student health advisory committee recommended the change to complement existing benefits.

"A couple of years ago, we made certain that we had appropriate counseling support and hormonal therapy covered in the insurance policy for students," says Wasiolek.

Aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Aaron 'tango' Tang via Flickr, Creative Commons

Mental health experts in Fayetteville are hosting a community forum on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder a week after the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

teen driver
State Farm Insurance, via Flickr, Creative Commons

Johnston County teenagers will lead a discussion today aimed at stopping deadly crashes involving young drivers.  Organizers of the Teen Driving Summit will welcome students from 12 other counties to discuss safer driving practices among teens.  Johnston County currently has the 4th highest number of deaths among high school-age drivers. 


Lynda Carroll is with the county's Teen Driving Committee.  She says the dialogue will focus on five areas of risky behavior behind the wheel.

The Rev. Dr. James Forbes spent 18 years as the senior minister of the Riverside Church in New York City, one of the nation’s most prominent pulpits,  but his journey began in North Carolina. Dr. Forbes grew up in Raleigh, and in the 1960s, he pastored churches in Wilmington and Roxboro.

obeasts.org

Turn on any news program and you’ll eventually hear about the dangers of obesity. It’s commonly accepted that being heavy is bad, and being skinny is good. Rachel Herrick is challenging that idea with her Obeast project.

A committee in the state House is considering a measure to extend Medicaid coverage for people who have Alzheimer's and dementia. 

HIV microscope image, virus, disease
Duke University

Duke University researchers are several steps closer to developing a vaccine to help the body fight HIV. 

A team of doctors was able to find and track down rare  individuals whose immune systems can produce enough antibodies to combat the virus that causes AIDS. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
Gurnal Scott

Governor Pat McCrory has announced a plan that could privatize the state's Medicaid program that serves low-income people.

The state will hold a competitive bidding process for three big managed-care providers to deliver medical, mental and dental services to patients. Governor McCrory says the plan will help streamline the delivery of Medicaid services.

Johnston Medical Center - Smithfield
Johnston Health

Johnston County's hospitals are partnering with UNC Health Care to expand their reach in the eastern Triangle.  Leaders with both systems say the move will keep costs down for patients as health care laws change at the state and federal levels. 

Johnston Health CEO Chuck Elliot says the Affordable Care Act and North Carolina's decision to opt out of Medicaid expansion makes the partnership necessary.

a pharmacist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Prescription drug overdose kills an average of three people per day in North Carolina. 

Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill say a statewide system designed to reduce those numbers – North Carolina Controlled Substances Reporting System (CSRS) – is effective - but grossly underused.

CSRS went into effect in 2007, following a legislative mandate, but of the 34,000 providers authorized to prescribe controlled substances, only a third have registered with the CSRS, and fewer than half of those actually use it.

cynthiabulick.com

  At least 14 million people in the United States have an eating disorder, but they may not look the way you think. Popular culture characterizes young white girls as the main sufferers, but research shows that eating disorders are much more widespread than popularly thought. 

Il Palio's buttermilk fried shrimp salad
Susan Reda

Patients at UNC Hospitals will soon be able to dine bedside on four-diamond fare from Il Palio at the Siena Hotel. UNC's Nutrition and Food Services Director Angelo Mojica is teaming up with Adam Rose, executive chef at Il Palio, to feature some of the restaurant's gourmet cuisine. UNC's Mojica says this kind of thing has never been done before in health care. He's in the process of reaching out to other high-end eateries in the Triangle and says it's a win-win for participating restaurants and UNC Hospitals.

An increasing number of families each year in the United States decide to have home births. But in North Carolina, having a home birth conducted by a single Certified Professional Midwife is illegal.

Republican Senators are seeking to decriminalize Certified Professional Midwife practices as well as build a licensing process for midwives.They've recently introduced the Home Birth Freedom Act and a move to decriminalize direct entry midwifery.The bills have received a lot of criticism for allowing midwives without nursing credentials to practice independently. WUNC's Capitol Bureau Chief, Jessica Jones, joins Host Frank Stasio to discuss the perspectives surrounding Senate Bills 106 and 017.

Patients at UNC hospitals will soon be able to dine bedside on 4-diamond fare from Il Palio at the Siena Hotel. UNC's Nutrition and Food Services Director Angelo Mojica is teaming up with the executive chef from Il Palio - Adam Rose - to feature some of the restaurant's fine cuisine.

Scientists at Duke University say a substance found in many plastics could inhibit the development of the central nervous system.  The report says bisphenol-A, widely known as BPA, can suppress the chemical chain of events that allows neurons to improve their functioning early in life.

"It disrupts this process and it corrupts this process," says Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke, lead author of the study.

Dr. Leslie Smith speaks on the State of Things.
boonesunriserotary.org

When Leslie Smith was 24 years old, she was in a fire. After spending 3 months at the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, she was released. Smith told Host Frank Stasio “It took me about ten years to recover from those injuries.”

“I had bandages from my neck down to my thighs where my burns were, and then from my thighs down to my ankles where they had taken skin to do skin grafting operations. So I literally was covered from ankle to neck in bandages.”

Duke researchers say bullying can lead to anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide up to 20 years later.
John Steven Fernandez via Flickr / flickr.com

A study from Duke University says adults who were bullied as children are much more likely to have anxiety or depression. 

http://equual-access.blogspot.com

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act opened up a host of protections for people with disabilities. Amongst its gains, it banned workplace discrimination and forced government and commercial spaces to become more accessible.

State officials say they plan to reform the health department ahead of their budget proposal to the General Assembly.  Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos told lawmakers yesterday her priorities are to overhaul the state's Medicaid program and improve her office's computer system.  Wos said in committee testimony aired on WRAL.com that she's cleaning up a department whose employees have filled out incomprehensible reports and wasted money through poor communication.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

A state House committee has moved along a bill that would block any state-funded expansion of Medicaid.  The Health and Human services Committee voted to follow Governor Pat McCrory's lead saying that Medicaid should not grow to cover about half-a million uninsured residents.  States can expand Medicaid to help cover the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act..but they can also opt out of that expansion.   Governor McCrory said the program's budget is tight in a speech at the Emerging Issues Forum at N-C State yesterday.

flu shot
samantha celera, via Flickr, Creative Commons

According to new research out of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, some people who suffer from the flu emit far greater amounts of the virus than others.  A small pilot study found 5 out of 61 patients who tested positive for flu released 32 times more of the virus in air samples taken during routine care. 

GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS, Flickr, Creative Commons

Treatment for mental illness that is safe, healthy, and not too expensive can be hard to find. But new research from  Duke University suggests that yoga might be effective in treating certain psychiatric symptoms.

The Latino immigrant population faces a host of unique problems when it comes to mental health treatment. Migration trauma and separation issues are just a few of their struggles. The population in North Carolina is underserved, which is why a group of mental health professionals formed the group El Futuro. The group serves the mental health needs of the state’s Latino population, and it is hosting a conference this Friday on the topic. Host Frank Stasio talks about Latino mental health with Luke Smith, executive director of El Futuro; and Karla Siu, clinical manager at El Futuro.

Doctors in North Carolina roll out a long-term plan today to reverse the rise of the state's obesity rate.  The proposal recommends thousands of behavioral and policy changes for the next seven years.  The recommendations range from limiting time in front of the television to adding funds for hiring health coordinators at every school district.  Doctor Carolyn Dunn is a professor at N.C. State and lead writer of the plan.  She says the strategy to reduce obesity is shifting from broad reform to one policy change at a time.

Research supported by Duke University scientists linking marijuana use to a drop in I-Q is being questioned. 

Last August researchers at Duke published a study that followed habitual users of marijuana in New Zealand before they turned 18. Subjects of that study showed an average drop of eight I-Q points when their aptitude was measured. 

New research from Duke University may help make an effective vaccine for HIV-AIDS. Four years ago a potential vaccine showed some protection for about a third of recipients, but was not an overall success. Barton Haynes is a senior author on the latest study and the director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. He says the research looks at how that original vaccine achieved limited success.

A research team out of Duke has developed a way to use sickle cells to treat cancerous tumors. Sickle cells are typically associated with a potentially lethal genetic blood disease. Lead author Mark Dewhirst is a radiation oncologist and director of Duke's Tumor Micro-circulation Lab. He says when the crescent-shaped sickle cells are injected into mice, they tend to stick like Velcro to the vessel walls - thereby blocking the blood vessels that surround the tumor.

North Carolina's new Secretary of Health and Human Services says she's committed to helping residents of group homes find a place to live at the end of the month. About 14 hundred people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities are no longer eligible for Medicaid reimbursements for personal care services.

The outgoing Governor, Bev Perdue, allocated one million dollars from a rental assistance fund to keep remaining group home residents in place until the end of January. But everyone's aware that money will run out, says Secretary Aldona Vos.

North Carolina could be doing a better job of preventing tooth decay in children. A new Pew Center report gives the state an "F" for taking care of kids teeth. Doctor Bill Maas is a public health dentist and a policy advisor for the Pew Children's Dental Campaign. He says painting a clear plastic sealant coating on the permanent molars of second graders is an efficient way to prevent cavities.

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