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Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 25, 2008 - Kristin Armstrong began a new job right in the middle of a baby boom. It was a small boom at City Sprouts, perhaps. But with both her manager and the owner of the University City baby boutique pregnant, it was noticeable.

Photo by Robert Joiner | Beacon staff

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 22, 2008 On some summer evenings, after the sun and heat disappear and the weather turns cool and pleasant, Brenda Benedict sits on her front porch on Bellevue Avenue in Maplewood, does needlepoint and recites a prayer that nothing else will go wrong in her world.

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 20, 2008 - If -- some experts say when -- the "big one" hits the middle of the country, local leaders should be prepared to be on their own for the first 72 to 96 hours.

That's the message an emergency preparedness official had for those who would be in the forefront of response and recovery following an earthquake in Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 19, 2008 - The Great Flood of 1993 was a "200-year" flood at St. Louis and a "500-year" flood at many places upstream, according to the Army Corps of Engineers (2004) flow-frequency study. Incredibly, not quite 15 years later, the Great Flood of 2008 was another "200" or "500" year flood in northeast Missouri and set all-time record stages in southern Iowa.

canoe on Ozark stream. 2008. 300 pixels.
Eminence, Mo.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 17, 2008 -  A recent weekend at a vacation house on the Current River with spouse and friends was a singular treat. The weekend was enlivened by a kayak float along the Jacks Fork, an iconic Ozark float stream complete with limestone bluffs hundreds of feet high, numerous caves and springs.

Iraq War vet celebrates progress over PTSD

Aug 15, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 15, 2008 - For Iraq War veteran Brad Seitz, the color purple symbolizes five years of life after near-death.

Purple balloons will direct guests to a party this weekend noting the fifth anniversary of the day he earned a Purple Heart in service to his country. He will hang out with family and friends at the bowling alley in the recreation center of the Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center. Refreshments will include a Purple Heart cake, compliments of the VA.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 14, 2008 - When Dr. Elbert P. Trulock started practicing 25 years ago, a diagnosis of pulmonary arterial hypertension was basically a death sentence.

Physicians had little knowledge about the disease, which causes runaway high-blood pressure in arteries of the lungs, labored breathing, lung damage and reduced blood-pumping ability of the heart.

Volunteers pack up meals to be delivered to seniors at the Carondelet Senior Center in south St. Louis. 2008. 200 pixels
Amelia Flood | St. Louis Beacon archive

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 13, 2008 - They call them "meal holidays" or "dark days."

As costs have risen faster than funding, some social service agencies are facing tough decisions about providing meals for the senior citizens who rely on them. Others are looking for ways to keep afloat as demands for help multiply faster than the dollars coming into their coffers.

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

Earth as seen from the moon
NASA

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 12, 2008 - One evening next week I am going to audition for a part in St. Louis Shakespeare's upcoming production of War of the Worlds (Don't ask me why a Shakespeare company is putting on a play based on a radio drama by H.G. Wells!), in which invaders from Mars attack Earth. With this sort of prospect buzzing in the back of my mind, I cannot help but note a lot of stories about Mars in the news lately.

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 7, 2008 - Psychiatrists are engaging in less psychotherapy than they once did and may be more likely to specialize in drug therapy, according to a report in the August issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. The trend may be explained by several factors including financial incentives to focus on other aspects of care, fewer psychiatrists being trained in -- or specializing in -- psychotherapy, and the wider range of medications now available to clinicians.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 7, 2008 - Hospital errors affect all of us: patients or not. One of the first steps in dealing with and reducing the number of errors in hospitals is getting the staff to report them. Often, fear of punishment drives this information underground; but it is imperative that hospitals find ways to get their staff members to not only report mistakes, but to also learn from them.

Any doctors in the house?

Aug 7, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 7, 2008 - When Miriam Raskin decided to change primary care doctors a few years ago, she never dreamed she would have trouble finding a new one.

"They always say, 'Ask your friends,'" she said. "All my friends went to doctors who couldn't take me."

Raskin didn't know it but she was up against a growing health issue facing Americans -- a shortage of primary care doctors, generalists who are supposed to be a patient's initial medical contact.

On Science: The war on AIDS is not going well

Aug 5, 2008
2008 beacon archive chart
George Johnson | Copyright Textwriter

This first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 5, 2008 - This week the world's AIDS researchers held the 17th Annual AIDS Conference in Mexico City. The news is not good.

In the Doctor's Lounge - Diabetes, exercise, diet

Aug 5, 2008

This article was originally published in the St. Louis Beacon: August 5, 2008 - Diabetes-diet Link Examined in Trio of Studies

We know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. One of a trio of studies on dietary links to diabetes published in the July 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine gives us yet another example of just how much. "Our findings highlight a potentially important public health message on the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables for the prevention of diabetes," wrote the authors.

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 4, 2008 - Cassava. Sorghum. These plant names may be unfamiliar to most of us, but to nearly a billion people in the developing world cassava and sorghum are the food crops that stand between them and starvation.

In doctors, we trust

Aug 1, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 1, 2008 - The New York Times published an all too familiar story this week on the erosion of the doctor-patient relationship. The headline: "Doctor and Patient, Now at Odds." While the doctor-patient relationship is one of the most important components of our medical system, it appears that the old-fashioned notion of a "cradle-to-grave" family doctor is on the verge of extinction.

"Things have become strained overall," agreed Dr. Keith Starke, chairman of the department of internal medicine at St. John's Mercy Medical Center. "A lot has do with the complexities that doctors and patients alike are dealing with."

On Science: TV, murder and lessons learned

Jul 29, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008 - Television replaced radio as America's primary means of home entertainment in the 1950s, and in the half-century since many critics have complained that its great potential as an educational venue has never been fully realized. However, programs marketed as entertainment are sometimes surprisingly educational, none more than the CSI programs shown on the CBS network for the last few years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008- Tanning - 1 a: to convert (hide) into leather by treatment with an infusion of tannin-rich bark or other agent of similar effect b: to convert (protein) to leather or a similar substance 2: to make (skin) tan especially by exposure to the sun.

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