Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

Five-year-old Charlotte Pappan selects foam leaves for a sun painting at the Earth Day Festival on Sunday, April, 26, 2015. Her mother, Sara Pappan, looks on.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The sound of music, children, dogs and generators filled the air Sunday at the annual Earth Day festival in Forest Park. Food trucks and other booths needing electricity were fueled by propane generators that release half the emissions of standard diesel generators.

According to festival organizers, more than 50,000 people attended the event.

Cyclists start out on a two-mile tour of the new and improved Bike St. Louis routes Saturday, April 25, 215.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis now has 135 miles of on-street bike routes. Cyclists and public officials celebrated the completion of the latest phase of street markings and upgrades Saturday at the Cabanne Branch of the St. Louis Public Library on Union Blvd.

Over the past seven months, Great Rivers Greenway and the City of St. Louis added 40 new miles of bike routes and upgraded an additional 60 miles of routes in the city. It’s the third phase of a partnership that began in 2004.

Traci Haines
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The importance of community can’t be stressed enough, according to mothers of students at North Side Community School who attended a recent session of The Listening Project. Susan Spann and Traci Haines also shared insights about the lasting impact of the foreclosure crisis. They agree that the large numbers of vacant homes in North St. Louis continue to tear at the fabric of their neighborhoods.

President and CEO, Maryann Reese, stands in front of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in downtown Belleville, IL. The current building was completed in 1954.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

An eight member board of an Illinois health services regulatory agency voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve St. Elizabeth's Hospital's plans to relocate from Belleville to O'Fallon. 

The Illinois Health and Facilities Review Board initially denied the hospital's request in January, but procedures allowed the hospital to submit additional data in an attempt to sway their decision.

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

A panel of community organizers, anti-violence experts and Washington University professors are seeking solutions to reduce the number of shooting deaths by identifying gun violence as a public health crisis.

Gun violence hits the St. Louis region in a profound way. Here are just a few of the numbers: 

This diagram is an excerpt of “figure 1” from Ameren’s “Detailed Site Investigation,” showing the location of the company’s proposed coal ash landfill.
Ameren Missouri

A set of proposed amendments to zoning restrictions in Franklin County may pave the way for Ameren to build the coal ash landfill they’ve been pushing for since 2009, despite environmental concerns from residents.  

Willow Rosen, (left) and Sarah Michelson are opening a midwifery clinic and feminist sex shop at 3350 Ohio Ave. in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Right now, the storefront just off of Cherokee Street is still a construction site. A pile of plaster has been recently chipped away to expose a historic brick wall. A family of squirrels lives in the air conditioning wall unit.  

But Sarah Michelson and Willow Rosen have big plans. The space will house a midwifery center, community space for parenting classes, and “Box,” a feminist sex toy shop.

Sarah feeds the owlets.
Mark Glenshaw

Millions of people visit St. Louis’ Forest Park every year. But the park is home to two very special owls that naturalist Mark Glenshaw has named Charles and Sarah.

“There’s connecting with nature in general and then connecting with these great horned owls,” Mark Glenshaw told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday. “They are beautiful animals. I often refer to Charles and Sarah as the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt of birds,” Glenshaw said.

Researchers Laura Jean Bierut, MD (left), and Li-Shiun Chen, MD, examine X-rays of a patient with lung cancer.
Robert Boston|Washington University in St. Louis

Can’t stop smoking? Your genes might be part of the problem.

After a case review of 24 studies involving 29,000 participants, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis determined that smokers who carried a relatively common genetic marker tend quit smoking four years later on average than those without. The genetic variation was also linked to earlier diagnoses for lung cancer. 

Flickr/e-MagineArt.com

Missouri’s Medicaid program — MO HealthNet — failed to follow federal requirements for drug payments that could have saved the U.S. government millions, according to an audit released today. Now, a federal investigator is asking the state to refund about $35 million, the federal share of the total cost of those drugs.

Katelyn Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

As the weather gets warmer this month, St. Louis gains two more places to enjoy springtime outdoors. St. Charles County is cutting the ribbon of a new park on Monday, while St. Louis County debuted a new park last week.

Maria Altman|St. Louis Public Radio

The uncertainty of state and federal incentives for wind and solar power may have hampered some of Missouri's growth in the renewable energy industry in recent years, but companies are pressing on. 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

BJC HealthCare took over operations of a 25-bed, psychiatric acute-care hospital near the West End neighborhood in St. Louis on Wednesday. BJC officials said the move was necessary because the psychiatric hospital was financially unstable.

Ganymede, Jupiter's largest moon, has a large bulge at its equator.
NASA

Something strange has happened on Ganymede, this solar system’s largest moon. Orbiting Jupiter, planetary experts discovered it has a large icy bulge.

“We were basically very surprised,” said William McKinnon, a professor in Washington University's Earth and Planetary Sciences Department. “It’s like looking at old art or an old sculpture. We looked at old images of Ganymede taken by the Voyager spacecraft in the 1970s that had been completely overlooked, an enormous ice plateau, hundreds of miles across and a couple miles high.”

Express Scripts Chief Medical Officer, Steve Miller, at company headquarters in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

When two new drugs for hepatitis C hit the market, they were a game-changer.  

About 95 percent of hepatitis C patients can be cured with either Harvoni or Vikiera Pak, two drug regimens developed by two competing pharmaceutical companies. No longer did patients have to endure the severe side effects of older treatments, which were often taken as weekly injections.

St. Louis Health Department

The director of the St. Louis City Department of Health, Pam Walker, has announced her retirement after eight years in the position.

In that time, she has overseen health initiatives, a citywide, secondhand smoking ban, and major changes in St. Louis’ healthcare landscape — including the closure of Connect Care, a clinic that provided urgent care and specialty appointments to people without insurance.  

Ed Spevak / Saint Louis Zoo

Is it too early to plant carrots? What about tomatoes? And is there any use for those spiky sweetgum tree seeds?

Missouri Botanical Garden horticulturists June Hutson and Dana Rizzo were on-hand Monday to answer questions about spring gardening.

If you’re just getting started gardening, turn to the computer, Hutson said.

Child receiving asthma treatment.
Kristy Faith via Flickr

St. Louis area pediatricians will soon have help managing asthma care for their patients. The American Lung Association is implementing a program here to improve the system that primary care clinics use to identify and treat the disease.

Jonathan Bailey | NIH

Every day, LaDonna Haley talks to patients who can’t find a psychiatrist or counselor who takes new clients in the St. Louis area. She estimates that 10 percent of those callers live in a rural county.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based Monsanto lined up its experts for a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, to challenge last week’s determination by a World Health Organization committee that the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer could be dangerous to people with frequent exposure. 

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