A look at some of the Apple Health apps that are part of the HealthKit bundle.

Duke University Hospital is testing a new Apple product called HealthKit. The feature was announced as part of Apple's new operating system last week.

It allows users to share personal health data, like blood pressure or workout times, between apps. The trial with Duke University is an attempt to connect that personal health data with the hospital's records system.

A picture of sweet potatoes.
Llez / Wikipedia

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving millions of dollars to North Carolina State University to research sweet potatoes.  The grant is aimed at developing new breeding tools to improve crop production in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Craig Yencho heads the university's sweet potato breeding program and is the project director.  He said sweet potatoes already feed millions of people in the region.

"It's a very hardy crop," said Yencho. "It can resist drought and heat very well.  It can be grown in a really wide range of soil types and it produces a lot of food per acre.”

Photo: Sign that says 'You Must Be 21 Years Old To Enter'
Flickr user Steve Mclaughlin

The North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control Commission is preparing an advertising campaign against underage drinking.

According to an ABC survey, up to 40 percent of children in North Carolina have consumed alcohol before they get to the ninth grade.

ABC Chairman Jim Gardner says part of the motivation behind the campaign is another, more stark, statistic.

Larry Hester, at the WUNC studios, September 2014.
Eric Mennel

Larry Hester lost his sight at age 33. Last week, 66-year-old Hester had a computer chip inserted into his left eyeball which may help him gain some ability to better navigate his life.

The six-hour surgery – the first in North Carolina – was performed by Dr. Paul Hahn at the Duke Eye Center. 

When the device is turned on, Hester will wear a pair of glasses rigged with a camera. The glasses will be attached by wire to a computerized device that Hester will wear on his belt. 

A picture of colorized Ebola particles.
Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine / Wikipedia

A Durham-based non-profit is starting a concentrated effort to slow the spread of Ebola in west Africa.  The group Africa Yes! says it's raising money and awareness for villages in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. 

The virus has killed more than 500 people in that country, which is second only to Liberia's death toll.  Africa Yes! co-founder Steve Cameron says the group is sending money for supplies to 19 small villages that have not yet been infected.

Doctors at Duke Hospital.
Duke Medecine

According to new report on the website, Raleigh and Greensboro are among the top cities in the country facing a physician shortage. The data compares populations based on U.S. Census Data with the number of registered primary care doctors.

Khalil Bilar works in a laboratory at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Jeff TIberii

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem have made progress in their efforts to replicate human kidneys.

Regenerative medicine can sometimes sound futuristic, but doctors at Wake Forest are actually using kidneys from deceased pigs with the hope they could one day be transplanted into human patients. The concept is to let the original cells die off, then take human tissue to re-grow the organ in a lab.

Recently, doctors have developed a method to keep blood vessels open and allow blood to flow through these new regenerated organs.

About 200 people use services at the IRC (Interactive Resource Center) each weekday.

Glimpses of poverty can be seen across North Carolina on a daily basis. From median strips to emergency rooms and school cafeterias to unemployment offices, no communities are immune.

In Greensboro many people in need use the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) for daily access to computers, showers, and a sense of community. More than 200 people visit the center each weekday.

"I went from $80,000 a year to, I'm lucky if I make $80 a month," says Earl Zayack, a slender man with brown hair and a salty goatee.

"So it was a huge, humbling experience for me."

A picture of a stethoscope.
jasleen_kaur / Flickr/Creative Commons

The three-month open-enrollment period for federally subsidized health care starts in November. This year, federal funding to help people enroll in subsidized health insurance has dropped.

Sorien Schmidt works with the North Carolina chapter of Enroll America to connect people with navigator organizations. She says enrollment was a success last year, but there are still one million uninsured North Carolinians and others will need help to re-enroll.

Medicaid illustration: A Caduceus symbol and a dollar sign
Flickr user Neff Conner

North Carolina health officials say the state Medicaid program has a positive cash balance for the first time in years.

For years, the state health insurance for people who are poor or disabled has cost tax payers more than expected. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars.

But that wasn't the case last year. Aldona Wos, the state secretary for Health and Human Services, says the Medicaid budget was in the black.