Health

Orange County is North Carolina's Healthiest County according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. The study evaluates every county in America based on factors like premature death, child poverty and crime. The report listed Wake County as the state's second healthiest. Mel Downey-Piper of Durham County's Public Health Department notes Durham County moved up from its position as 17th last year to 11th place this year. "And that's significant...

Image of a nurse checking vitals.
Flickr/Londa Dudley

Campbell University plans to open a new School of Nursing in rural Harnett County in 2016. Graduates will earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Director Nancy Duffy says that's becoming the new standard for nursing jobs, especially with the population growing and Baby Boomers aging, dealing with more chronic illnesses. “Really, healthcare needs an entirely different kind of nurse in the future. And I hope we're able to start changing that education to meet that healthcare need.” The...

Photo: Flu vaccine
Flickr user Daniel Paquet

A bipartisan group of North Carolina senators are worried about a rise in contagious diseases, and they want to eliminate the state’s exemption of childhood vaccination requirements for parents who object for religious reasons. The senators, under a bill they filed on Thursday, are proposing to change the vaccination schedule for children who attend public schools. The requirements would parallel requirements outlined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The proposal...

Today's segment is a rebroadcast of Death Rides The Rails. Railroads across America carry hundreds of billions of dollars of toxic materials every year. The body charged with regulating the industry, the Federal Railroad Administration, admits it inspects less than one percent of railroad activity. What risks does shipping hazardous materials on the railroads create? Host Frank Stasio talks with reporter Marcus Stern . His work, Boom: North America’s Explosive Oil-By-Rail Problem , examines regulatory responses to oil train explosions and the nation's aging railroad infrastructure. The work is a collaborative effort of Inside Climate News , The Weather Channel and The Investigative Fund .

Flickr user Josh Mazgelis

A bipartisan group of North Carolina lawmakers is proposing a measure to get more fruits and vegetables to urban and rural areas devoid of grocery stores or healthful food options.
The plan, filed in separate bills in the House and Senate on Tuesday, would set aside $1 million for produce refrigerators and training for store owners in areas known as food deserts. There are more than 340 food deserts across 80 counties in the state, advocacy groups say.

Two lead sponsors —...

A picture of a boy receiving a shot.
Kaiser Permanente

A mathematical model from Duke University mathematicians suggests more can be done to protect people from the human papilloma virus. HPV is associated with cervical cancer in women, but can also cause various cancers in men. Duke mathematician Marc Ryser says the study suggests focusing limited public health dollars on vaccinating the large number of boys who have not had the shots. "The uptake in girls has stagnated and remains low, the uptake in boys, so the number of boys who get...

Hands being held.
flickr.com/photos/mabeljuillet/

How do we die? For some death comes suddenly, and there is no time for preparation, but for others death slowly creeps up on us. Though it is inevitable, we often avoid the opportunity to prepare for it.

A picture of a child's height being measured.
Alec Couros, NC-SA / Creative Commons

More children living in North Carolina are now covered by health insurance. That's one of the positive findings in the annual health report card issued today by NC Child . The group says teen pregnancy rates are falling, which is also good news. But NC Child’s Director of Policy Rob Thompson says the emergence of e-cigarettes is a growing problem. “We're also seeing continuing challenges with obesity with over one third of children between 10 and 17 either obese or overweight and lastly,...

Ken Dodge's research has been following the same group of children for more than 20 years.
Ken Dodge

There is a common metaphor in the scientific community that uses flowers to describe children’s sensitivity to their environments. A child like a dandelion will turn out fine despite the circumstances she is raised in, while a child like an orchid will flounder without a nourishing environment, but blossom with care and support. Researchers at Duke University have been picking apart this metaphor and studying the role that long-term interventions play in how children develop throughout their...

Photo from the first U.S. nuclear field exercise on land on Nov. 1, 1951.
Federal Government of the United States / Wikimedia Commons

It has been nearly 50 years since the U.S. and the Soviet Union first sat down to talk about limiting their arsenals of nuclear weapons. Today, Russia and the U.S. have reduced their stockpiles, but they still have nearly 2,000 warheads each and several other countries have shown interest in creating or expanding their nuclear arsenal. So how do we gauge the threat of a nuclear conflict? What would nuclear war look like if it were limited to one region of the world? Host Frank Stasio asks Dr....

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.
Flickr.com

Health outcomes are tied to income and education, according to many studies, but little work has been done to examine the connections between long-term wealth and levels of well-being. Researchers will explore that idea and other ways economic mobility relates to health in minority populations on Friday at UNC-Chapel Hill's annual Minority Health Conference.

The case of Terry Cawthorn and Mission Hospital, in Asheville, N.C., gives a glimpse of how some hospital officials around the country have shrugged off an epidemic. Cawthorn was a nurse at Mission for more than 20 years. Her supervisor testified under oath that she was "one of my most reliable employees." Then, as with other nurses described this month in the NPR investigative series Injured Nurses , a back injury derailed Cawthorn's career. Nursing employees suffer more debilitating back...

The X-ray of nurse Tove Schuster's spine shows the metal cage and four screws her surgeon used to repair a damaged disk in her back. Terry Cawthorn underwent a similar procedure.
Daniel Zwerdling / NPR

A little-known epidemic has swept through hospitals across the country: thousands of nursing staff suffer debilitating back and arm injuries every year. An NPR investigation into the injuries shows most happen as a result of on-the-job incidents. Hospitals can reduce the rate of injury if administrators invest time and money into prevention and training mechanisms. Host Frank Stasio talks with NPR correspondent Daniel Zwerdling who led the investigation. Hear and read his latest report from...

Smile
Eric McGregor http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericmcgregor/124313181 / flickr.com

Sure, it's more or less a given that we smile when we're happy and we smile when our picture is taken. But do we also smile automatically throughout the day when we make eye contact with strangers? How often do we smile in conversation? Today's program is a rebroadcast of an earlier show.

Illustration: Cadeceus
Flickr user takomabibelot

Roughly 480,000 people in North Carolina have signed up or been automatically re-enrolled for Obamacare plans by the end of January using the healthcare.gov system, according to government data released Friday. Almost 7.5 million in total have signed up across the country. In the Triangle, about 60,000 and in the Triad about 39,000 have signed up. Community groups such as churches and free health clinics have helped people sign up, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said...

Image from Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Flickr/Herald Post

Public incidents in the NFL in the past year sparked a national conversation about domestic violence. But millions of Americans are struggling with this issue in private. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about one in four women and one in seven men in the United States will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes.

gloved hands holding blood packet and needle
Fotos GOVBA / Flickr/Creative Commons

Are you about to have a medical procedure? Have you chosen a provider yet? Before you do, you might consider taking a look at what the procedure will cost. Blue Cross-Blue Shield of North Carolina now has an easy online tool to help you do just that. We used the tool to search for a variety of common procedures. The user can enter a town or zip code, and the number of miles s/he is willing to travel. We searched procedures and providers within 25 miles from Chapel Hill, where our studios are...

Penelope Easton ventured to the Alaskan territory as a young woman in 1948. It would have been an intimidating move for many young women in that era. But for Easton, the move was just another in a series of adventures across the globe.

A picture of a blood pressure cuff.
Medisave UK / Flickr

Doctors often start treating patients for high cholesterol after age 55. But new research from Duke University shows each previous decade of high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease 39 percent. Bio-statistician Michael Pencina is a lead author of the report. “Higher level of cholesterol in the 30s and 40s, still leads to increased risk of cardiovascular disease at age 55.” Pencina says even non-smokers and active young people are at risk of heart disease if they're predisposed to...

An artist rendering of the ATT bridge over I-40.
City of Durham

That pedestrian and bike bridge over I-40 near the Streets at Southpoint Mall has made a world of difference to the users of the American Tobacco Trail. That’s according to a before-and-after study by N.C. State University’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education. Program manager Sarah O’Brien says from spring 2013 through spring 2014, the number of trips on the trail rose by 133 percent. “It tells us that people were extremely excited about the bridge going in, and we did see...

A picture of a woman with a hand on her face.
Send me adrift / Flickr

Cape Fear Valley's new Roxie Avenue Behavioral Healthcare Center is up and running. Behavioral Health Services Director Doug Webster says the Fayetteville facility is meant to free up beds in the hospital, where people can wait days for mental health treatment. Webster says, left untreated, such crises can escalate. North Carolina also has behavioral health centers in Durham and Raleigh. In Fayetteville, Webster says they’re serving members of the military and civilians alike. “A veteran or a...

flu shot
samantha celera, via Flickr, Creative Commons

Thirty people died from the flu last week in North Carolina - about three times more than died the previous week. "And those numbers are going to continue to rise. Because we always see those numbers lag behind our flu activity numbers by a few weeks," said Dr. Zack Moore, an epidemiologist with the Department of Health and Human Services ( DHHS ). Moore says people should use basic prevention methods like staying home from work when sick and staying away from people who are ill. He points...

A picture of George Poehlman and other aid workers
Dr. George Poehlman

Doctor George Poehlman recently returned from an eight-week aid mission in Liberia. Upon his return, the retired Durham, N.C. family physician put himself in voluntary quarantine at a time when some other doctors around the country have refused such quarantine, noting that it's not necessary. The New England Journal of Medicine argued vociferously against the decision of some states to quarantine Ebola healthcare workers upon their return to the U.S., describing the quarantines as unfair,...

A picture of Tamiflu tablets.
Alcibiades / Wikipedia

Flu season has pharmacies scrambling to keep an antiviral drug called Tamiflu in stock. Duke University Pharmacy Professor Richard Drew says unlike vaccines, Tamiflu works to treat and stop the spread of the disease. “It's both a preventative and a treatment strategy,” Drew explains. “And, certainly, for those people who have a serious illness and require hospitalization, it's a very important drug.” Sarah Lee manages the pharmacy supply chain for UNC Hospitals. She says this time each year,...

Image of a nurse checking vitals.
Flickr/Londa Dudley

Note: This is a rebroadcast of a show that aired May 5, 2014.

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