Health

Dr. Sarah Arif of Cleveland and Farris Barakat help a boy at the temporary Syrian American Medical Society dental clinic at the Al-Salaam School in Reyhanli.
Alena Advic

Months before his neighbor barged into his Chapel Hill apartment and fatally shot him, his wife and his sister-in-law, Deah Barakat had decided he wanted to help people escaping the war in Syria.

Deah, a 23-year-old student at the University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry, had seen and heard about the escalating violence ravaging parts of his parents’ native country, so he called a dentist who was running clinics for displaced Syrians, and he told him: he wanted to take Americans to the Middle East and treat refugees.

A seflie of reporter Jorge Valencia with dentists in Syria
Jorge Valencia

A few weeks ago, WUNC reporter Jorge Valencia boarded a series of planes and buses en route to Reyhanli, a small city on the Turkish side of the Turkey-Syria border.

He was following a group of American dentists and students who were willing to travel into a dicey part of the world to complete a task: they wanted to carry out a mission that had been planned by Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha -- aspiring dentists who’d been planning on giving free care to refugees of the war in Syria before they were murdered by a neighbor in Chapel Hill this year.

A picture of a chicken.
Emilian Robert Vicol / Wikipedia

The North Carolina Agriculture Department has begun hosting avian flu informational meetings for people with backyard poultry operations.

If avian flu comes to the state, agriculture experts say backyard poultry will likely be the first to encounter the contagious and fatal disease because these flocks tend to live outdoors and use unprotected water sources.

A picture of assorted pills.
e-Magine Art / Flickr

Some mental health patients in rural Nash and Vance Counties are getting help from local nurses and technicians to keep their medications straight at home.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has given more than $2 million to fund the program, administered by the North Carolina Hospital Association.

Julia Wacker manages the Mobile Medicine Program for the NCHA.

An image of a solitary confinement cell
Chris Gray / Flcikr Creative Commons

Advocates are requesting the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the way North Carolina uses solitary confinement in prisons.

An image of double helix
Wikipedia Public Domain

Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine discovered a single genetic mutation that can cause autism. Last December, scientists identified about 1,000 gene mutations linked to autism but how the mutations caused the disorder remained unknown.

A picture of chickens.
woodley wonderworks / Wikipedia

The fall bird migration season has poultry producers concerned.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said avian flu is not dangerous to humans, but it is highly contagious among birds and can wipe out entire poultry flocks.

An image of life expectancy across NC counties
VCU Center on Society and Health

A couple miles up Highway 540 in Raleigh could mean a difference of 12 years in life expectancy, according to new maps from the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Binodkpn / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Health care organizations in the Triangle have difficulty providing hospice care for terminally ill children.  End-of-life care models for children are limited in the Raleigh-Durham area.

But a new program starting in September at Transitions LifeCare will provide hospice care for 10 terminally ill children at a time.

An image of a 'smart' insulin patch
UNC School of Medicine/ UNC Health Care

Pricking your finger and meticulously checking your blood sugar could no longer be the only way people with diabetes handle the disease.  Researches from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and N.C. State University are working to replace this painful process with a thin square patch the size of a penny.

Image of P. Murali Doraiswamy
Duke University

More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's and new evidence that suggests women's brains are especially vulnerable to the disease.

A picture of a woman with a bathtub balance seat.
Richard Duncan / CDC

North Carolina's population is aging quickly, increasing the demand for personal caregivers. But a report from a poverty advocacy organization says elderly people might have trouble finding reliable care unless caregivers' wages increase.

An image of bikers along the Dixie Pass Trail
Ed Billings / Bike Loud Troop 845

The members of Carrboro’s Boy Scout Troop 845 dipped their rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean in Oregon and repeated their chosen mantra: bike loud. With the wind at their backs and passion in their pedals, they began riding east with everything they had.

Image of Glen Warren and his three children
Glen Warren

Glen Warren vividly remembers the first moments of single fatherhood: he was standing in the living room of his new mobile home with his three kids, and he quickly realized that he had no idea how to make them dinner. 

In the coming years he learned how to piece together meals, filed for child support, and worked multiple jobs to put food on the table. And through all of this, he became increasingly certain about one thing: fatherhood is incredibly important. 

Image of stethoscope
Dr. Farouk / Flickr Creative Commons

People who live in rural North Carolina are still more likely to suffer from serious health problems than their urban counterparts. Rural counties show higher rates of heart disease and obesity, and rural residents have a lower life expectancy.

The recent closures of rural hospitals around the state makes those residents even more vulnerable. Research shows that systemic problems like slow economic development and spotty insurance coverage also contribute to rural health disparities.

Small children seated on the floor in front of a teacher.
woodleywonderworks / Flickr

North Carolina ranks 34th in the country for child well-being. That's according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The annual report evaluates states on economic prosperity, health, education, and family and community. It found one-in-four children in North Carolina lives in poverty.

A picture of hot dogs in a hot dog stand.
rollingrck / Flickr

The Durham County Department of Public Health wants consumers to know if food from mobile food vendors is coming from somebody who has a permit to sell it.

Environmental Health Director Christopher Salter said the department is also working to inform vendors of food safety regulations, which bar home food prep and selling from a stand without a permit.

An image of protestors outside Durham Co. Jail
Adam Pyburn / adampyburn.com

Updated Friday, October 9 at 2:30 p.m.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office has doubled the amount of time inmates at the Durham County Jail are allowed to spend outside their cells. General population detainees, or mainly those awaiting trial, are allowed to spend eight hours a day outside their cells, an increase from four hours a day.

An older couple snuggles.
Ian MacKenzie / Flickr

It's not your imagination; some people really do age more slowly than others.

Duke researchers have analyzed a long-running study of a thousand people born the same year in Dunedin,  New Zealand.

Image of Damon Tweedy, who is a professor psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke.
Stock Photography

When Damon Tweedy was in his first year of medical school, he learned a number of startling statistics that led him to the conclusion that being black is somehow bad for your health.

He heard over and over how black patients were faring worse than other patients in almost every field of medicine, but nobody seemed to be talking about the reasons for this disparity.

An image of a jail cell
AlexVan / pixabay Creative Commons

Two suicides of inmates in the Jackson County jail during a four-month period prompted investigations by the State Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Both men died of hanging and the investigations found that both deaths occurred when jailers failed to conduct visual checks required by state rules. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Asheville Citizen-Times investigative reporter Tonya Maxwell about the cases. 

RTDNA / http://www.rtdna.org/

WUNC is happy to announce that the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has awarded the station with an Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting in a large market radio division.

Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Kate Ter Harr / Flickr Creative Commons

    

A recent report by Human Rights Watch documents widespread abuse of mentally ill inmates in prisons across America. The abuses include dousing with chemical sprays, being shocked with stun guns and strapping inmates to beds for hours at a time.

chickens
Katie Brady / Wikimedia Commons

The avian bird flu is spreading across the country, and officials in North Carolina are doing what they can to protect the state's birds before the flu becomes a serious threat. The disease could have devastating effects on North Carolina's $18 billion poultry industry if infected waterfowl enter the state, but State Veterinarian Doug Meckes said that won't be a threat until possibly this fall.

 

"At this point, the migratory fowls do continue to harbor the virus, but most of them are in Canada and not a threat," Meckes said.

Photo: The lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Public Doman

North Carolina prosecutors have sought the death penalty against about two people per year since 1989 without enough evidence to prove their guilt, according to the Center for Death Penalty Litigation.  The advocacy group opposes the death penalty and helped represent former death row inmate Henry McCollum, who was recently exonerated after 30 years in jail.

An image of runners in flip flops
The nOg Run Club

 

For three years, the nOg Run Club has been trying to break a record. It may have achieved that thanks to hundreds of plastic sandals.

More than 600 runners gathered at Raleigh’s Oakwood Cemetery for a fun and floppy run Saturday. Their goal was to try and break the record for the most people running with flip-flops at one time.

An image of members of USCRI-NC and refugees
USCRI-NC / http://www.refugees.org/about-us/where-we-work/north-carolina/

After nine months in the United States, Zia Ziauddin still has not found a job, but it’s not because he isn’t qualified. Before resettling in the United States with his family, Ziauddin worked in a senior position at a city management company in Afghanistan. He has several skills to offer but finding the right fit has been hard.

“In some interviews they say I am overqualified for the entry-level position I applied to,” Ziauddin said. “That makes me unhappy and disappointed but this is my situation and I am dealing with it.”

An image of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC
Jarrett Stewart / https://www.flickr.com/photos/m877/226761637

During a prayer meeting, nine people were murdered Wednesday night at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The police identified the suspect as 21-year-old Dylann Roof. He was apprehended Thursday in Shelby, North Carolina.  Police are calling the act a hate crime as the community continues to grieve.

A view from Ocean Crest Pier, Oak Island.
Donald Lee Pardue / www.flickr.com/photos/oldrebel/4959571749/

The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office is monitoring the water off Oak Island beaches. They're on the lookout for sharks. Two teenagers were mauled Sunday afternoon, just 80 minutes and two miles apart.

Oak Island Mayor Betty Wallace is urging beach goers to learn more about shark safety and to play it safe at the ocean.

"Please don't go above, like, knee or hip-deep. Even hip-deep, the sharks can be swimming in that area. And stay amongst a group of people. Don't go out and be just one person alone out there."

An image of the Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected North Carolina officials' appeal to revive a requirement that abortion providers perform, display and describe an ultrasound for a pregnant woman before she has an abortion.

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