Health, Science, Environment | St. Louis Public Radio

Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

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.

On Science: Angry over mad cow disease

Jun 10, 2008
angus 300 pxls 2008
USDA

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 10, 2008 - 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.

Doctor, heal thyself: How one woman did

Jun 10, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 10, 2008 - Dr. Emily Storch still doesn't remember the highway accident that nearly took her life.

She does recall coming out of her coma a month later, overcoming amnesia and discovering that some doctors thought she would never walk again.

Rita Cooper, 67, examines pieces of clay and stone retained by the half-inch screen she used to filter dirt. 2008 photo 300 pals
Amanda King | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 6, 2008 - While Indiana Jones strikes gold at the box office, amateur archaeologists at Cahokia Mounds state historic site are digging for a different type of treasure.

Beginning May 19, volunteers with the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society picked up their trowels and got down in the dirt, digging for clues to unravel more of the mystery surrounding the ancient mound-building society that settled the area near present-day Collinsville more than 1,300 years ago.

Study evaluates hospital care for kids

Jun 6, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 6, 2008 - For the first time, medical researchers are taking a close look at preventable complications - some fatal - that occur at children's hospitals nationwide. In most cases, the complications do not lead to deaths, but to infections and other maladies.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 4, 2008 - Editor's Note: In his column of June 4, George Johnson laid out four environmental problems and the responses to them so far. Now, he uses that groundwork to discuss the role of science in identifying environmental problems, educating the public and finding soutions.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 3, 2008  - This week, the Senate began considering legislation to combat global warming. A carbon dioxide emissions “cap-and-trade” system, it seems to have little chance of becoming law. It is, however, a welcome sign that our government is beginning to come to grips with a problem that has the entire world worried. In this week’s column I would like to step back and consider the science behind the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. We as a nation cannot hope to implement the sort of changes necessary to achieve a sustainable world if we as citizens do not clearly understand the nature of the problem we face.

St. Louis' outsized carbon footprint

May 30, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 30, 2008 - The St. Louis metropolitan area has an outsized carbon footprint, with each resident spewing over 40 percent more into the atmosphere than the average. In the race to the climate change bottom, that ranks St. Louis seventh worst among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas.

Childhood obesity numbers may be leveling off

May 30, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 30, 2008 - A glimmer of hope may be appearing in the bleak landscape of our nation's childhood obesity epidemic. The number of children with a high body mass index has shown no increase from 1999 to 2006, according to an article published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But experts warn that only cautious optimism is warranted.

The reason for the apparent leveling off is seen as a mystery. It could be sign of progress or, rather, that we have simply bottomed out. Or maybe we just can't get any fatter.

Editor's Weekly: Lessons from the West Lake Landfill

May 30, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 30, 2008 - I can't say whether the Environmental Protection Agency has made the right decision in leaving low-level radioactive waste buried in the West Lake landfill not far from the Missouri River. But for personal reasons, the announcement a few days ago made me wonder again about the wisdom of expecting people to keep track of something dangerous over a long period of time.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 29, 2008 - The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has decided to build a "multilayered engineered cover" over a 40-acre section of the West Lake Landfill and then install monitoring wells on the site to protect the public from radioactive waste buried there. Local environmentalists, however, say that leaving radioactive waste in a landfill on a floodplain is not a solution in the public interest.

Can you really eat for healthy eyes?

May 28, 2008
eye.jpg
St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 28, 2008 During your next eye exam, your doctor may show you a small viewing box connected to a computer and ask if you want to take a test that might predict your risk for developing macular degeneration.

It's probably a good idea given that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Even if you don't yet count yourself among that group, you should know that the disease can get started much sooner.

platypus300swimming.jpg
Wikipedia

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 27, 2008 - This month a most unusual animal had its genome sequenced by molecular biologists: the platypus. Some of its genes match those of humans, like a cluster of casein genes involved in milk production. This was not unexpected, as both of us are mammals and possess mammary glands. Other genes were very different from ours, more like those found in birds and reptiles. Again, this was not unexpected; after all, the platypus is a very primitive mammal, not far removed from reptiles and birds on the evolutionary ladder.

300 pixels  2008
St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 27, 2008 - Health-care officials in Missouri are gearing up for a major campaign this summer to convince uninsured, low-income women to take advantage of free vaccinations to guard against human papillomavirus or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer.

Dr. Joshua Dowling is part of a team positioning a patient to use a Gamma Knife
Provided by the hospitals | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Despite significant medical advances in dealing with many types of cancers over the past decade, aggressive brain tumors remain extremely difficult to treat successfully.

As a result, Sen. Ted Kennedy and patients like him have a only a slight chance of surviving more than a couple of years.

That is the grim assessment of two of the St. Louis area's top experts on brain cancer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Nowhere has the influence of environment on the expression of genetic traits led to more controversy than in studies of I.Q. scores. I.Q. is a controversial measure of general intelligence based on a written test that many feel to be biased toward white middle-class America. However well or poorly I.Q. scores measure intelligence, a person’s I.Q. score has been believed for some time to be determined largely by his or her genes.

How did science come to that conclusion?

2008 photo of Hope, the polar bear at the St. Louis Zoo. 300 pxls
Michael Abbene | St. Louis Zoo | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Hope, the sole polar bear at the St. Louis Zoo, is set to begin another summer of backstroking, ball-playing and other antics in the protective custody of the zoo’s Bear Bluffs exhibit.

Meanwhile, far to the north, the 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears left in the Arctic wild will continue their precipitous population decline with another year of unusual starvation, drowning and infant mortality – a decline caused by melting sea ice.

Pages