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Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

Alzheimer's patients and families need home care help

Jul 8, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 8, 2008 - Jeannie Jacobs' aunt was always independent. She lived in a convent, worked as a teacher, did all her own carpentry work. Jacobs was surprised when she heard her mother received calls from her aunt about six times a day with questions about everyday tasks, such as how to unlock car doors.

Jacobs' aunt was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease -- a progressive, neurodegenerative disease of unknown cause that ultimately leads to death.

old computer monitor in the trash. 300 pixels. 2008
Tom Nagel | St. Louis Beacon Archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 3, 2008 - Next February's shift to digital may be all the reason people need to replace their old TV with a sleek new one. But what to with that TV? 

Local recycling officials, businesses and others are working with state programs to expand electronics recycling programs. In the meantime, they want consumers to take responsibility for getting rid of their obsolete TVs, computers, DVD players and other equipment without damaging the environment.

You say tomato, I say 'Is it safe?'

Jul 1, 2008
A vendor with Silent Oaks Farm at Clayton Farmers Market. 300 pixels. 2008
Jo Seltzer | St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 1, 2008 - "Every time there's a food scare, it's like a billboard advertising local food," says Andy Ayers, owner emeritus of Riddles Penultimate Cafe and Wine Bar in the U. City Loop.

This summer's tomato scare has left many of us wondering what is the safest way to enjoy the fruits of summer? Where is the best place to buy produce? How does produce get contaminated anyway? Once you've brought those bags of fruits and veggies home, what should you do next?

On Science: Type II diabetes epidemic

Jul 1, 2008
diabetes_chart247.jpg - 2008, 300 pixels
Copyright Textwriter | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 1, 2008 - We Americans love to eat; but on June 24, 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report warning we are eating ourselves into a diabetes epidemic.

Diabetes affected 7 million Americans in 1991. By mid-2008, the number was 24 million, more than 8 percent of all Americans, an alarming increase, with 3 million new cases in just the last 2 1/2 years! Twenty-five million more Americans are reported to be pre-diabetic, with blood sugar levels high enough to indicate they are well on their way to becoming diabetic.

2008 photo of plants growing on roof. 300 pixels
St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 30, 2008 - When visitors look through the floor-to-ceiling glass-paneled back wall of SIU-Edwardsville's engineering building, they can't miss the assortment of small green plants on a slab of black asphalt.

Plants for sale? Not exactly. Sedum is the common name for this ground cover, which also goes by the fancy names of immergranch, spurium and sexangulure. Researchers are testing the plants to see which are best suited to live on rooftops, a location where only the toughest of plants can survive.

Increasing the buzz about pollination

Jun 27, 2008
These bees live and work out of the St. Louis Zoo. 300 pixels. 2008
Rachel Heideny taken at the Zoo | St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 27, 2008 - Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt didn't make headlines when he proclaimed June 22-28 "Pollinators' Week," but the gesture was a victory for the little guy: the hundreds of thousands of insects, birds and small mammals that aid in the growth and reproduction of plants worldwide.

Free screening helps young eyes

Jun 26, 2008
Among the children who have been helped by the Lions eye screening is Lauren Simpkins. 300 pixels. 2008
Provided Missouri Lions Eye Research

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 26, 2008 - Starting school and learning how to read is difficult for most children, but almost impossible for students who must struggle simply to see what is written on a page or the chalkboard.

Many children with undiagnosed visual impairments such as amblyopia, farsightedness or nearsightedness struggle with their school activities. Some visually impaired students, whose visual problems go undiagnosed, are incorrectly identified as having learning delays.

Patient's own immune system cures cancer

Jun 26, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 26, 2008 - Lucky patient "number four," who took part in an experimental melanoma treatment program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, has experienced an amazing outcome: complete remission of a malignant melanoma that had already spread to his internal organs. The New England Journal of Medicine published the report June 19.

a healthy coronary artery.  300 pixels. 2008
Copyright Textwriter

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 24, 2008 - On June 13, Tim Russert died of a massive heart attack. Moderator of NBCs influential "Meet the Press," he had seemed in perfect health and had no apparent risk factors, a healthy individual who was a nonsmoker, exercised regularly, ate a healthy diet -- and drops dead of a heart attack.

Drug companies pursue treatments for fibromyalgia

Jun 24, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 24, 2008 - When faced with the vexatious disorder fibromyalgia -- multiple symptoms, no specific diagnostic test, no clear treatment -- Dr. George T. Griffing offers patients one piece of advice.

"I tell them they're not nuts," says Dr. Griffing, director of the general internal medicine division at the St. Louis University of School of Medicine. "I tell them there's no easy solution. There's no magic bullet."

Commentary: Don't rush to replace plastics

Jun 24, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 24, 2008 - With the recalls last year of popular toys such as Thomas the Train and Easy Bake ovens, parents have become more concerned about the safety of toys and products their children may be exposed to. The issue of lead in toys is an important concern for parents, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been working to address the problem.

It would be reassuring for parents if the stories they see almost daily in the news were raising legitimate fears. However, that could not be further from the truth. Unfortunately, political agendas have capitalized on the legitimate problem of lead to further include bans on substances that have been proven safe.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 22, 2008 - The 1002nd use for duct tape? Tape the bottom of your pants to the top of your hiking boots to keep ticks from crawling up your legs.

To many of us, summer outdoors in Missouri not only means lush forests and clear streams, but also ticks and chiggers. Both belong to the mite family of eight-legged creatures. But while chigger bites cause only intense itching, a tick bite can cause a serious disease.

Sudden Cardiac Death: Could You Be Next?

Jun 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 18, 2008 -  The sudden passing of NBC newsman Tim Russert came as a shock. A shock because, at age 58, the renowned host of NBC's "Meet the Press" died so young. But it seems even more alarming because he had passed a stress test recently and had logged time on a treadmill on the day of his death.

The Komen Race for the Cure: Where the money went

Jun 17, 2008
The fountain in Kiener Plaza has been made pink for breast-cancer awareness and the Komen run. 300 pixels. 2008
St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 17, 2008 - Organizers expect a record 70,000 people to descend on downtown St. Louis Saturday morning for the 10th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure -- the biggest Komen race gathering in the nation.

And baby leopard makes 300

Jun 17, 2008
leopard cub. 2008. 300 pixels at the st. louis zoo
Photo by Amanda King | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 17, 2008 - One of the St. Louis Zoo's newest attractions also happens to be among its most rare. Sofiya, a newborn Amur leopard, was born at the zoo May 10. She is one of an estimated 300 living in captivity worldwide. Even fewer of these leopards live in the wild -- less than 40, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

And that's what makes Sofiya so special, said the zoo's curator of mammals Steve Bircher.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 17, 2008 - Pat Millstone of University City has followed reports of Sen. Ted Kennedy's brain tumor and surgery with more than passing interest.

If anyone can relate to what Kennedy and his family is going through, it's Millstone.

Her husband, Jim Millstone, a former senior assistant managing editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, died of a brain tumor in 1992. In the two years following surgery to remove the tumor, Pat Millstone watched her husband deteriorate in mind, body and spirit.

On Science: A summer physics lesson as taught by Albert

Jun 17, 2008
apbattingcardscopyright.jpg
Photo Copyright St. Louis Cardinals

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 17, 2008 - Energy is such a natural part of life that its contribution to the fabric of our days can often go unnoticed. Sometimes, however, its impact cannot be ignored. Nowhere is this more true than in the ultimate sports act, hitting a home run.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 12, 2008 -  Many patients suffering from heart failure are getting implantable cardiac devices that are unlikely to increase their chances for survival, says Dr. Paul Hauptman, cardiologist and professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He and his colleagues published their findings in a new study that is currently online and slated to be released in an upcoming issue of the American Heart Journal.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 12, 2008 - Suzy Esstman's initial encounter with her brain tumor disease was less swift and dramatic than Sen. Kennedy's. In the summer and fall of 2003, she began to forget words.

Suzy's friends initially wrote it off to stress. After all, she and her husband, Don, of Chesterfield, were caught up in planning their son Andrew's bar mitzvah. And all the while Suzy was keeping up her dizzying volunteer schedule serving on projects, events and steering committees.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I visited Korea for a week at the end of May, a speaker at a world conference on Peace and the Environment, and was surprised to find myself questioned by almost everyone I met about the dangers of American food. On walls everywhere in the city of Seoul are posters showing a cute little girl holding a candle and saying, “I don’t want to die from American beef.” On May 2, tens of thousands of protesters crowded downtown Seoul. The conference speaker before me, Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, was late, delayed by more street demonstrations.

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