Health

A picture of a homeless person sleeping on the street.
Franco Folini / Creative Commons

Dozens of people are waking up outside in Greensboro today. A vigil was held last night to honor nine people who died in that city this year, while living in homelessness. Michelle Kennedy is executive director at the Interactive Resource Center. She says that number might be higher. “So it’s hard to ever really have an accurate number of how many people we've lost while experiencing homelessness in this city, or really any other city,” Kennedy says. She adds that similar memorials were held...

Illustration: Cadeceus
Flickr user takomabibelot

Dozens of people advocating for and against abortion rights filled a room at the North Carolina health department headquarters on Friday morning to respond to proposed rules that will apply to the 14 clinics that provide abortion in the state. Most of the 15 people who spoke said they were pleased with the process officials from the Department of Health and Human Services followed to draft the rules because they included input from medical professionals. They also said they hoped the rule...

A picture of a hand in a fingerless glove.
ADRIGU / Flickr

Charities are urging shoppers not to forget the less fortunate during the winter holidays. The Durham Rescue Mission and Salvation Army are collecting gifts for children. Other shelters are asking people to drop off essentials for people who are out in the cold. “In our winter ministry, in which we distribute clothes out in the community, we need scarves and hats and gloves and coats,” says Lynn Daniel. Daniel directs the Raleigh Rescue Mission . He says they especially needs extra-large size...

Ebola Sign
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina boasts many resources when it comes to combating the Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa. Two pharmaceutical companies are developing potential vaccines. Duke University Hospital has proven its ability to treat potential Ebola patients, while UNC has students helping to track the spread of the disease in Liberia. Soldiers from Fort Bragg have been enlisted in the ground effort. All these resources are part of not only fighting the virus overseas, but protecting North...

Cancer doctors want the best, most effective treatment for their patients. But it turns out many aren't paying attention to evidence that older women with early stage breast cancer may be enduring the pain, fatigue and cost of radiation treatment although it doesn't increase life expectancy. Researchers from Duke University Medical Center analyzed the impact of a large randomized trial published in 2004 that compared treatment options for women over the age of 70 with early-stage breast...

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

Duke Medicine research shows that most elderly, low risk breast cancer patients receive radiation therapy after surgery. That's despite evidence that the costly and physically-taxing treatment isn't very effective with that group. Radiation Oncologist Rachel Blitzblau authored the new study. She says some doctors might be skeptical of the data, but patients might also push to get the treatment anyway. “It's an important area for us to think about in terms of, how are we treating our patients,...

beer bottle
Gary Simmons / Flickr/Creative Commons

Almost twice as many middle and high school students compared to parents think that underage drinking is a serious issue, according to a survey commissioned by the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

"North Carolina has an underage drinking problem," ABC Chairman Jim Gardner said on Wednesday. "What’s worse: Our state’s children think underage drinking is a much bigger problem than their parents do."

The ABC, which controls the state’s alcohol sales...

Illustration: Cadeceus
Flickr user takomabibelot

North Carolina health officials have proposed updating regulations governing clinics that provide abortions, in compliance with a 2013 law that requires them to be treated like outpatient surgery centers. The plan was drafted by the state Department of Health and Human Services with input from medical professionals, including obstetricians and the owner of a clinic that provides abortion services in Charlotte, according to the Catholic News Herald . Supporters of the law say it upgrades...

Image of Amanda Holliday with her grandmother Celeste Sawyer.
Amanda Holliday

Many kids grow up spending time after school with other kids in their neighborhood playing pick-up soccer, videogames or capture the flag.

Linwood Watson, MD, Rex Express Care of Knightdale
Still from Youtube video

Several area doctors star in a new video that is getting some buzz online. The video aims to answer the question of when it's appropriate to go to urgent care, and when one should head to the emergency room: The video features doctors from Rex Express Care in Knightdale, Holly Springs, Wakefield and Cary. "We're not an E.R. Let's make that clear. But we got a lotta cool gear up in here," raps doctor DeLora Cumming of the Rex Express Care of Knightdate. "Bad allergies, does it hurt when you...

A picture of a syringe.
Zaldylmg / Creative Commons

Nurses gathered outside the VA Hospital in Durham Wednesday to raise awareness about the risk Ebola poses to healthcare workers. It was part of an international effort, urging hospitals to adopt the highest preparedness standards for staff who might potentially treat a patient with Ebola. National Nurses United organized the effort. The group says many hospitals lack full hazmat suits with sufficiently-powered air-purifying respirators to properly protect nurses from exposure. The group also...

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

State health officials and an advisory board have released a six-year plan to help fight cancer in North Carolina. The plan identifies six specific cancers that are prevalent in the state and recommends specific strategies to fight them. Dr. Ruth Petersen is with the Department of Health and Human Services. She notes lung cancer is one of the diseases identified in the report. Petersen says causes include exposure to smoke, secondhand smoke, or radon gas.

"What the state needs to...

Much of what we know about autism is publicly disputed, from the definition of autism itself to the reasons behind the increase in diagnoses.

String-like Ebola virus particles are shedding from an infected cell in this electron micrograph.
NIH/NIAID via Flickr/Creative Commons

State health officials say a patient at Duke University Hospital who so far has tested negative for the Ebola virus has posed no risk to the general public.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos and others held a call-in news conference Monday afternoon to talk about the patient, who arrived in the U.S. from Liberia on Saturday. The patient, who remains anonymous, is currently in an isolation ward at Duke, after reporting a fever while traveling by bus to North...

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

Health care organizations in North Carolina are expanding an initiative to see how doctors and pharmacists cooperate to streamline patient care. Community Care of North Carolina has already set up a program in which 3,000 GlaxoSmithKline employees see doctors who coordinate all their treatment. But CCNC President Doctor Allen Dobson says that primary care physicians don't always know all the medications a patient is taking, especially if they're seeing other specialists for multiple...

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

UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor Carol Folt and leaders at UNC Health Care are prohibiting student travel to Ebola-stricken nations. University faculty and staff must have approval before traveling to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. New York and New Jersey are requiring people returning from Ebola-affected areas of Africa to stay in quarantine for three weeks. That's the incubation period for the disease. But North Carolina does not have such a mandate. This week, Health Secretary Aldona Wos...

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

State health secretary Aldona Wos says North Carolina would likely need to change some of its Medicaid rules to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. The health care law offered to pay for expanded Medicaid through 2016, but North Carolina was one of 24 states that rejected the expansion last year. Gov. Pat McCrory said the state's Medicaid program was broken, and was not confident the federal government would cover the costs. But Wos says Medicaid is now more stable, and she...

Aldona Vos, DHHS
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

North Carolina’s Medicaid program covers 1.7 million people at a cost of $14 billion per year. The program for low-income and disabled residents has had a turbulent past. Last year, computer glitches created a long backlog of applications and payments for providers. And Medicaid has been a question mark in the budget, causing cost overruns for several years. But health officials say the system is improving enough that the state could reconsider expanding Medicaid to half a million people who...

Eric Mennel

A month ago Larry Hester became the first person in North Carolina to receive a bionic eye. Blind since the age of 30, Hester, who has been treated at the Duke Eye Center, is now learning how to see again. And it isn't that easy. The device that Hester is wearing is not just as simple as flipping on a switch. He is now learning how to differentiate shapes and colors and going through physical therapy sessions which are rather reminiscent of someone who has just received a new knee, not eye....

A picture of a screaming child.
Mindaugas Danys / Creative Commons

Holly Hill Hospital is hosting the grand opening of a new children's campus today. The hospital says it's working to meet a growing need for inpatient psychiatric beds that has left many in the community waiting in emergency rooms for behavioral health treatment. North Carolina's chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness supports the creation of the facility. But the group's president, Mike Mayer, says the state has a long way to go. “Anything that improves the availability of beds...

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

North Carolina health and safety officials are building a united front to prepare against the Ebola virus. State Health and Human Services secretary Aldona Wos announced at a press conference yesterday that the Centers for Disease Control has named North Carolina's State Laboratory of Public Health to be a regional hub to test potential Ebola specimens. DHHS officials say at least 76 of the more than 100 hospitals in the state are running triage and workplace safety drills. EMS and 9-1-1 call...

A nurse from Charlotte has written an open letter to Nina Pham. Pham is the Dallas nurse who was stricken with Ebola after caring for a critically ill patient. "We know how tedious and difficult it is to put and take off on full protective gear over and over again. We know how hot, sweaty and unbearable it gets. .. We know what it’s like standing beside someone for hours at a time, knowing that life is slowly leaving his or her body. We know how much that hurts mentally, physically, and emotionally." Read the letter and listen to an interview on Here & Now:

String-like Ebola virus particles are shedding from an infected cell in this electron micrograph.
NIH/NIAID via Flickr/Creative Commons

Some Chapel Hill librarians are joining in the effort to respond to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. A non-profit group called WiderNet is making information available to those without Internet access. WiderNet's project director, Cliff Missen, says only two percent of people in Liberia and Sierra Leone have an Internet connection -- that includes health care workers. "What we do is something completely different," says Missen. "We get permission to copy whole websites and we put them on hard...

A picture of children getting off a school bus.
woodley wonderworks / Flickr

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is on the lookout for motorists who illegally pass a stopped school bus. The week-long enforcement campaign is called Operation Stop Arm . Lieutenant Jeff Gordon says the initiative is part of National School Bus Safety week, but that it's especially appropriate considering recent accidents involving school children. In the past month, four children have been hit by cars at their bus stops in Wilson and Wake Counties. One of those children died. “To me, what...

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