Health

Duke University medical officials have come up with guidelines for allocating scarce drugs. Supplies of some cancer medications and other drugs can sometimes run low at hospitals. Doctor Phillip Rosoff is the Director of Clinical Ethics at Duke University Medical Center. He says the protocol focuses on fairness.

Child hunger is the target of a collaboration between Triangle-based farmers' markets and nonprofit Farmer Foodshare. Food and money will be collected this week at markets in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and elsewhere. Margaret Gifford is the founder and executive director of Farmer Foodshare. She says there's plenty of food to go around in North Carolina.

A new children’s health initiative is using the London Olympics and the Democratic National Convention to promote better health on the ground. 

Children of all ages were pretty giddy.  They were meeting Olympic Gold medal Gymnist Gabby Douglas.

Jailiah Zanders:  "I was really excited to see the fab five and I was more excited about coming to see Gabby Douglas because she is one of my role models."

Doctors and nurses from Duke University are training medical professionals in Rwanda, and helping the African nation build a sustainable health care system. Duke is among several American academic institutions participating in the U.S.-government-funded program.

Catherine Gilliss is Dean of Duke's Nursing School. She says the objective is to train nurses in Rwanda to deliver more sophisticated care.

Duke University researchers say there's evidence that early marijuana use has a negative impact on intelligence. The study examined routine cannabis users who began smoking before the age of 18. On average, subjects showed an 8-point drop in I-Q when measured at age 13 and then again at 38. Madeline Meier worked on the study and says that drop is significant.

State health officials say a child has died of whooping cough in Forsyth County.

Gurnal Scott: The child was only two months old. It's not clear how the child contracted the disease also known a pertussis, but it does shine a light on the fact that it can happen.

Dr. Laura Gerald: If you're even around a child who is under 12 months of age, you should be vaccinated.

It's the end of an era. The last mental health patient has been transferred from Dorothea Dix hospital in Raleigh to the newer Central Regional in Butner. The closure has been in the works for more than a decade. Lucky Welsh oversees the network of state psychiatric hospitals for the Department of Health and Human Services:

The American Red Cross says it is dealing with a chronic reserve blood shortage. The organization doesn't have the supply to keep up with the average rate of blood transfusions, which is once every three seconds. Barry Porter is executive director of the Triangle Red Cross. He says it is a daily struggle to convince those that can give to actually do so.

President Obama
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Earlier this week, President Obama signed a law to provide health care to thousands of Marine veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987. Retired Marine Jerry Ensminger was one of them. His daughter died of leukemia he believes was caused by the contamination. For fifteen years, Ensminger has led the fight to get help for sick veterans and their families. And he says it’s not over yet.

The state Department of Agriculture is making some changes at this year's State Fair. Twenty-five people became sick from E.coli contamination after last year's fair concluded. A task force was formed by State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler to explore ways to keep infections from happening again. Some food vendors are being moved from areas where competition animals are kept. Troxler says a better effort is being made to limit human and animal contact.

Federal money will help get HIV and AIDS drugs to North Carolinians waiting for financial help.

Leoneda Inge: There are about 280 HIV and AIDS patients in the state on a waiting list to help pay for life-sustaining drugs. The state received three-million-dollars from the Health Resources and Service Administration to go toward funding the Aids Drug Assistance Program. Lisa Hazirjian heads the North Carolina Aids Action Network.

North Carolina lawmakers are hailing the signing of a bill today that will grant health care to marines and their families who drank toxic tap water at Camp Lejune from 1957 to 1987. An award-winning documentary chronicles the efforts of former U.S. Marine Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger who lost his daughter, Janey, to a rare form of childhood leukemia as a result of the exposure. Congressman Brad Miller says the chemicals found in the water are known carcinogens that cause a host of illnesses and conditions that include male breast and female infertility.

A new study on the use of tasers says there is no added risk if you're hit in the chest.

Jeff Tiberii: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center looked at 1200 real-life instances where law enforcement officers used a taser. Dr. William Bozeman is Director of Pre-Hospital Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist.

William Bozeman: And what we found was, that we could not see any higher rise of injury or problems or complications in people who had the tazer probes land across the front of the chest. And we thought that was very important.

Whooping Cough Cases Increasing In North Carolina

Jun 25, 2012

Pertussis, often known as Whooping Cough, is on the rise in North Carolina.

Asma Khalid: Whooping cough sounds antiquated - like something you could catch on "The Oregon Trail." But, it's not just a fictional computer game disease. North Carolina health officials have witnessed a number of recent outbreaks. To date, they've tracked 179 cases. That's already more than in all of 2011.  The State's Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging people to get immunized, no matter how old they are. Zack Moore is an epidemiologist with the state.

A years-long project to coordinate heart attack care among North Carolina's hundreds of hospitals and emergency services has shortened response times and reduced the number of deaths.

That's according to a study out this week. One of its authors is Duke cardiologist James Jollis. He says one way the system reduced response times was by creating standard statewide practices for EMS workers.

A network of health experts, policymakers and advocates in the fight against AIDS are gathering for a conference today near the state capitol.

Leoneda Inge: The rate of new HIV cases in North Carolina is 41-percent higher than the national rate. Lisa Hazirjian is the Executive Director of North Carolina AIDS Action Network.

Lisa Hazirjian: It is very scary and it’s part of a southern situation where throughout the southeast we see disproportionately high incidents of new HIV infections.

WakeMed Hospital has withdrawn its takeover bid of UNC-owned Rex Healthcare. The cross-town rivals are putting an end to their public battle that escalated when WakeMed issued an unsuccessful bid to buy Rex last year for 750 million dollars. The announcement comes after state lawmakers helped broker an agreement between the two institutions' officials. Bill Atkinson is the CEO of WakeMed.

Wake County residents who need mental health care could become UNC Health Care patients later this year.

Graham Hughes
sas.com

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Cary-based information technology giant SAS are collaborating to provide more personalized health care.

Senator Kay
Office of Senator Kay Hagan

Senator Kay Hagan toured UNC Children's Hospital yesterday as part of a push for her bill that would streamline approval of treatments for serious and rare diseases.

Hagan says the Food and Drug Administration needs to find faster ways to get treatments to patients suffering from rare diseases.

A legislative committee has voted to recommend limiting the size of UNC Health Care.

Wake and Orange counties are the healthiest in the state. That's according to a new study ranking health outcomes by county across the nation. In North Carolina and elsewhere, the healthiest counties tend to be the wealthiest. Michelle Larkin is with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which compiled the study with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Researchers at Duke University say a new study shows promising results from a program promoting weight loss for obese patients. The study's authors say the program starts at primary care clinics and focuses on high-risk patients from ethnic minority populations and low income groups. Gary Bennett is an associate professor at Duke and worked on the study.

Duke researchers say the reasons for a decline in health among recent immigrants may be more complicated than health experts thought. Duke Sociologist Jen'nan Read says researchers may have been drawing the wrong conclusion from data showing that immigrants arrive in the U.S. healthy and then become less so.

Duke Cancer Center Opens

Feb 24, 2012

Cancer patients across the state have a new place to go for treatment. After a week of dedications and tours, the Duke Cancer Center opens to patients Monday. Doctor Michael Kastan is the Executive Director of the Duke Cancer Institute. He says the state-of-the-art seven story building unites a large number of specialists under one roof.

UNC Chapel Hill this afternoon will officially mark the opening of its new Comprehensive Angelman Syndrome Clinic at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. Anne Wheeler is a psychologist at CIDD; she's also co-coordinator for the new clinic. She says Angelman Syndrome is a rare congenital disorder that occurs in about 1 in 15-thousand births.

Contrary to what doctors have believed for decades, a high-fiber diet may not stave off one intestinal disease. That's the conclusion of a study from UNC-Chapel Hill. It found no correlation between a lack of fiber and a higher incidence of diverticulosis. Anne Peery is the study's lead researcher.

Anne Peery: It's too early to tell patients what to do differently, but these results are really exciting for researchers. It gives us the opportunity to look at a disease process in new ways and to really rethink why people develop asymptomatic diverticulosis.

A new study finds that breast cancer survivors had limited knowledge about their surgical options, including decisions that can help prevent recurrence of the disease. The findings are reported in this month's issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Clara Lee, a surgeon at UNC Hospitals, is a co-author of the study. She says the quality of decisions patients make is directly related to how well health providers inform patients about their choices.

A state task force is recommending $50,000 be given to every victim of North Carolina's eugenics program.

Listen to Jessica Jones's story on Morning Edition

A new emergency department is open in Raleigh. WakeMed's latest free-standing medical facility is in Brier Creek, near the Wake-Durham county line. WakeMed's Carolyn Knaup says they chose the location based on the area's rapid growth.

Carolyn Knaup: It's totally locally driven - i.e., when you need emergency care, you need it close to where you live or where you work. So, in doing our demographic assessment really felt like the Brier Creek area afforded lots of opportunity to be able to meet the need in that community.

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