Cynthia Haines | St. Louis Public Radio

Cynthia Haines

Cynthia Haines

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 21, 2008 - A population of Ecuadorian dwarfs has never seen even one case of diabetes or cancer. A story in the news recently, and again this week, directs attention to the possibility that height may be linked to the development of cancer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 14, 2008 - More women are waiting to start their families, delaying pregnancy until their mid- to late-30s, 40s and beyond. While pregnancy in a woman's later years can carry some complications, "the biggest risk of delaying pregnancy is not being able to get pregnant at all," said Dr. Jill Powell, assistant professor of medicine in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. "We see all these celebrities having babies - even twins - in their 40s, and we take it for granted that we will be able to do it too."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 7, 2008 -  It’s unclear where health care reform ranks on President-elect Barack Obama’s to-do list. But the mounting number of uninsured and underinsured Americans --as well as of the increase in Americans suffering from largely preventable diseases-- makes one thing clear: our health care system is in crisis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 31, 2008 - As we look with optimism -- or annoyance -- to the fast-approaching election, consider this question for America's future: are we failing our boys? Research shows that boys lag behind girls in reading and writing skills and are also less likely to attend college. They are also more likely to drop out of high school and to have issues with inappropriate aggression. In Missouri, there is a 23 percent high school dropout rate ... 21 percent in girls; 26 percent in males.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 10, 2008 - This year more people than ever before should get a flu vaccination, according to new recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Along with the usual guideposts, the CDC is now recommending that all children, ages 6 months to 18 years, get vaccinated against influenza.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 2, 2008 - Paul Newman, screen legend, racing enthusiast, philanthropist extraordinaire and dedicated family man, died last week. The icon, an ex-smoker, had reportedly been battling lung cancer, although he had kicked the tobacco habit many years ago.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 1, 2008 - As the economy absorbs one hit after another, many of us feel like we want to pull the covers over our heads until it's over. That's a symptom of stress and it can affect our health.

Elevated levels of stress hormones can result in hormonal imbalances, increased risk of health conditions including heart disease, and also instigate a wide range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. And chronic stress leads to chronic inflammation and an even greater incidence of these afflictions.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 12, 2008 - Suicide rates among 10- to 19-year-olds are on the rise in the United States, according to research published in the Sept. 3 Journal of the American Medical Association. While the overall numbers declined from 1996 to 2002, an increase of 18 percent was seen from 2003 to 2004. Suicide trends continued to be higher in 2005, although the numbers fell by 5.3 percent between 2004 and 2005. An excess of 326 and 292 deaths were seen in 2004 and 2005, respectively, relative to what was expected based on the trend predictions, the report indicated.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 5, 2008 - Sarah Palin is a name new to many of us this week, but the situation involving her infant son, Trig, is familiar to many. Trig has Down Syndrome, one of the chromosomal conditions that occur more frequently with a mother's advancing age. Palin, now the Republican candidate for vice-president, was 44 when she gave birth in April to Trig, her second son and fifth child.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 22, 2008 - Christina Applegate, the Emmy Award winning actress who starred in Married ... with Children, was recently diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. She has since undergone a double mastectomy and is now reportedly cancer-free. Applegate's cancer was discovered through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It's a test not commonly performed on women because it is expensive and can detect false abnormalities.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 14, 2008- mThe Olympics are in full swing. Our athletes are bringing home the gold.

Still, all is not well in Beijing. Concerns have been swirling around Beijing's air quality for months. China's weather exacerbates the effects of the pollution. And if Mother Nature has any consistency at all, it's in being inconsistent. It will be largely a matter of luck whether the best -or worst- air quality corresponds with the outdoor Olympic events.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 12, 2008 - Excess Drinking Linked to Metabolic Syndrome

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Some retailer health clinics showing signs of decline while others flourish

The recent surge in walk-in health clinics at pharmacies, supermarkets and other retailers is showing signs of slowing. Yet many are surviving and even thriving.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As always, doctors this spring will see an increase in overuse injuries that come from the golf course, tennis court and our beloved baseball diamond. But now they are also treating patients injured from playing these sports in their family rooms.

Nintendo, specifically Wii, and other computer games, such as Guitar Hero, have spawned a spate of injuries familiar to many athletes -- tendonitis, bursitis, sprains and strains. Shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands can all feel the pain, just like the real deal. Well, maybe not just like ... but close.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Studies presented at a recent meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and published online April 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine are supporting further research into gene therapy to treat a rare genetic eye disorder.

The disorder, called Leber's congenital amaurosis (LCA), attacks the retina and can lead to severe vision loss and blindness. LCA is a rare genetic condition affecting 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 100,000 of babies born each year. Eyesight begins to fail in early childhood, progressing to total blindness by the time the patient reaches his or her late 20s or 30s.