Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

Courtesy of the St. Louis Science Center

We've seen the St. Louis Science Center's planetarium decorated in various ways and in many lights. The building even dresses up with a red bow for the holidays and for its 50th anniversary it donned a gold one. But on Monday night it was lit blue and green for a different reason.

Psychologist Wes Crenshaw
Courtesy of Wes Crenshaw

Sex. That little three-letter word strikes fear in many parents’ hearts.

Psychologist Wes Crenshaw told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday that the biggest mistake parents make when trying to talk to their kids about sex is “freaking out.”

“Parents just cannot afford to think their kids are the least bit naïve. Kids are tied into the internet and to each other. They know way too much nowadays to take simple answers,” Crenshaw said. Rather than a one-time conversation, talking about sex and sex education is an almost endless conversation, he said.

A view of St. Louis University Hospital, taken 02/23/15.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Citing the projected demand for primary care physicians in underserved areas, a California-based foundation is donating $6.6 million to Saint Louis University’s School of Medicine.

(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

There’s a new collaborative effort underway to slow down the St. Louis region’s heroin epidemic.

Spearheaded by the St. Louis chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the plan focuses on using innovative ways to increase awareness about the problem while partnering with legislators, law enforcement and doctors to save lives and reduce access to opiates—both heroin and prescription painkillers.

Judy Clifford, far left, Nancy Albus, Laura Huff and David Bachman talk to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh about eating disorders on Feb. 19, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Several sterotypes are associated with eating disorders. Among them, that the disease only affects teenage women.

Nancy Albus, CEO of Castlewood Treatment Center, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday that her facility is seeing more and more men. Because only about one in 10 people affected by an eating disorder seek treatment, there are probably a lot more men (and women) who need treatment, she said.

And it’s not just teens: Eating disorders can manifest at any age, said Laura Huff, director of the St. Louis Behavioral Health Medicine Institute.

Adrian Clark | Flickr / Flickr

The numbers are in: 253,969 people in Missouri signed up for health insurance on Healthcare.gov this year, or were automatically re-enrolled in their plan. That’s about 100,000 more than last year’s open enrollment period.

Adrian Clark | Flickr / Flickr

Administrators for Missouri’s Medicaid program told members of their oversight committee that they are getting closer to fixing their processing delays for new applicants. But the wait can still take months.  

“We are now under 13,000 pending applications. I think we will get into that normal, historical range within the next week,” said Family Support Division Director Alyson Campbell at an oversight committee meeting of MO HealthNet, the social services division that administers Medicaid in Missouri.   

Wastewater from Ameren's coal-fired power plant in Franklin County discharges into the Missouri River.
Labadie Environmental Organization

Updated on 2/17/15:

Ameren’s coal-fired power plant in Labadie has been operating under an expired wastewater discharge permit since 1999.

In fact, all of Ameren's plants in the St. Louis area have expired National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits: Meramec's lapsed in 2005, and Rush Island's and Sioux's in 2009.

File photo of Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Measles have not yet reached the St. Louis area but, in an effort to thwart an outbreak, area clinics are reaching out to a group of parents whose children aren’t fully vaccinated. These children missed their vaccinations not for medical or religious reasons but because, quite simply, they may have forgotten.   

That’s now a relatively easy problem to address because of the widespread use of Electronic Health Records, or EHR’s.

David B. Gray obituary
Provided by Washington University

David Gray, a scientist who relentlessly championed the right of people with disabilities to live independent, satisfying lives, has died.

Mr. Gray, a professor of neurology and occupational therapy at Washington University School of Medicine, wanted much more for others than had been available to him after he fell and broke his neck during the summer of 1976. It left him a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down.

Urban Harvest STL's new farm will cover 10,000 sq. ft. on the roof of a two-story building in downtown St. Louis.
Artist's rendition courtesy of HOK

St. Louis will soon have its first rooftop farm.

Urban Harvest STL signed a lease for the space this week on the roof of a two-story building a couple of blocks east of the City Museum.

The non-profit’s founding director, Mary Ostafi, said the 10,000 sq. ft. rooftop will be more than just a community garden. “We’re going to have an outdoor classroom, as well as a gathering space for community events," Ostafi said. "We’ll be raising chickens and tending bees."

St. Louis landowners can apply for MSD grants to build "rainscaping projects" like rain gardens. The Old North Rain Garden (pictured here) was part of MSD's pilot rainscaping program.
Courtesy Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is offering as many as 50 new grants to encourage local landowners to install rainwater collection systems on their properties.

The grants of up to $3,000 would fund projects like rain gardens, rain barrels, green roofs, pervious pavement and other methods that collect rainwater, known as "rainscaping." 

Ameren Missouri's coal fire power plant at Labadie.
(Veronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

Ameren is asking for more time and pitching an alternative plan to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to cut power plant carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

The EPA's Clean Power Plan would require states to meet incremental goals starting in 2020, to measure progress toward the final target reduction. 

Dr. Ken Haller talks about vaccination safety with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 10, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Rumors of a link between autism and the measles vaccine persist, although the original paper that claimed the link, as well as its author, have been discredited.

Dr. Ken Haller talks about vaccination safety with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Feb. 10, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

The measles vaccine is safe and effective, pediatrician Ken Haller said; there’s no reason not to get it.

“This virus is very tenacious,” Haller told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “If someone with measles walks into a room and even just breathes, it can stay in the air for two hours. Anyone coming into that room who’s susceptible has a 90 percent chance of getting sick from it.”

Monsanto Inches Closer To Biggest Biotech Launch In Company’s History

Feb 8, 2015
Farmer Jenny Mennenga holds soybean seeds at her family farm near LeRoy, Ill., on Jan. 26, 2015.
Darrell Hoemann | Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

 

Update Feb. 16, 2015: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated viruses become immune to antibiotics over time. Antibiotics are primarily used to kill bacteria, not viruses. The story has been corrected to use “bacteria” instead of “viruses.” 

To counter a “super weed” epidemic plaguing farmers, agribusiness giant Monsanto is steadily moving forward on the introduction of its next major wave of genetically engineered crops.

Measles has not reached the St. Louis area this year, but that hasn’t kept it from stoking fears.  

Local public health officials are encouraging parents to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up-to-date by checking with their individual health providers. With worries that last month’s outbreak in Disneyland could continue to spread, officials in Illinois are investigating the source of five infants diagnosed with measles at a day care center outside Chicago.

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

There’s a new twist in the legal wrangling over Ameren’s plans to build a coal ash landfill in Franklin County.

On Tuesday, Ameren and Franklin County together filed a lawsuit against the Labadie Environmental Organization, a nonprofit made up of area residents opposing the landfill.

Aids.gov

At least 5,638 people in the St. Louis region are living with HIV, according to 2013 numbers from the Missouri Department of Health. About 250 people were newly infected.  

Two out of three of those new cases affected African Americans.  

Cardiologist Andrew Kates talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh about heart health on Feb. 4, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Have you heard the one about Twitter predicting heart disease risk?

Pages