Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

(via Flickr/Michael Velardo)

With hundreds of people in the greater St. Louis region dying each year from heroin overdoses, the St. Louis County Police Department is launching a new education initiative to raise public awareness of the drug's dangers.

The department's new heroin initiative Detective Casey Lambert said her role is to talk to people across the county, of all ages, about heroin - what it does to the body, why it's so dangerous, and how to recognize signs of addiction.

47-year-old David Whitt has a checkup at a new clinic co-located at Places for People.
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

For people struggling with homelessness, addiction or severe mental illness, visiting a primary care doctor may be the last thing on their mind. But community mental health providers, including St. Louis-based Places for People, are starting to offer primary care services to their clients in the hopes of reducing rates of premature death among people with mental illness.     

Lincoln Diuguid reads to a grandchild.
Provided by the family

Lincoln Diuguid, an African American who was born as the brutality of slavery was rapidly being replaced by the yoke of Jim Crow, was warned that it was fruitless to pursue his dream of becoming a scientist.

The discouraging words had the opposite effect on him.

“It's a good stimulus,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2007, shortly after his 90th birthday. “It keeps you moving ahead.”

Stem cell transplant recipient Samantha Carter, 30, works at her desk in the Center for Outpatient Health at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

You’ll meet them at health fairs, schools and churches: volunteers who ask for a cotton swab of DNA and your consent to join the national bone marrow registry.   

Richard von Glahn explains the plan to canvass in House Speaker John Diehl's district as Judith Parker and Andrew Westbrook look on.
Camille Phillips | St.Louis Public Radio

Advocates continue to push for the expansion of Medicaid to include Missourians who fall in the so-called “coverage gap.”

Because Missouri has so far opted out of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, thousands of Missourians fall into a gap -- they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to qualify for federal aid on the healthcare exchange.

State legislators have made it clear that expansion is unlikely to happen this year either.

But Medicaid advocate Richard von Glahn remains optimistic.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse – St. Louis is airing an anti-heroin ad (still shot shown) locally during the Super Bowl this Sunday.
Courtesy National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse – St. Louis Area

Among the much-anticipated Super Bowl commercials airing Sunday will be an anti-heroin ad created by a St. Louis area non-profit and a local ad agency.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse–St. Louis Area created the ad with the help of Schupp Consulting and local director Scott Ferguson to bring attention the region's growing heroin problem.

State of Rhode Island Division of Planning

Time is running out to provide input on Missouri’s state energy plan.

The public comment period officially ends on Saturday, although the online form will likely remain available at least through the weekend.

Lewis Mills directs the state Division of Energy, which is developing the plan. He said so far, public comments have centered on a handful of themes.

Jenell Wright (front row, in blue) and Meagan Beckermann (second row, in light blue) were among the crowd of more than 100 that gathered to listen to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 1/29/15 after the meeting

More than a hundred people packed into a room at the Hazelwood Civic Center East Thursday night to hear the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talk about its cleanup of St. Louis radioactive waste sites.

PLOS ONE

A new analysis led by Washington University has shown a possible link between exposure to certain common, long-lasting chemicals and the earlier onset of menopause.

The researchers analyzed information from 1,442 menopausal women who had been tested for what are known as endocrine disrupting chemicals -- chemicals that can affect how hormones work in the body. The data were collected between 1999 and 2008 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as part of a national health and nutrition study.

For more than a year, researchers from Washington University and Saint Louis University worked together to study the health and well-being of African-Americans in St. Louis.

Through the For the Sake of All study, researchers released five briefs. A “St. Louis on the Air” series examined each of those briefs.

A new report shows Missouri's unintended pregnancy rate has dropped. Some researchers say it could be due to increased usage of long-lasting contraceptives like IUDs.
(Via Wikimedia Commons/Victor byckttor)

A new study released Monday shows Missouri saw a significant decrease in unintended pregnancies in recently measured years.

Last week, NPR's "Morning Edition" aired a segment about echolocation. It's the way bats are able to navigate via sound waves, and it's possible for people to learn the same trick.

Daniel Kish is a developmental psychologist in California. He lost both of his eyes as a toddler due to cancer.

Rachel Bingham, a single mother, earns too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford health insurance for herself and her daughter.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

While rolling silverware at the City Diner in St. Louis, waitress Rachel Bingham recalled her attempt to buy health insurance for herself and her five-year-old daughter last year. She said when she signed on to Healthcare.gov, she realized she couldn't afford it. 

"They were wanting $231 a month. That was not doable," Bingham said. She’s been paying out-of-pocket for doctor’s appointments ever since: $60 for primary care, $200 for the dentist. Luckily, her daughter’s a healthy kid, she said.

Racial disparities in education, income and health affect the health and the prosperity of our entire region. A recent study, For the Sake of All, looks at these disparities and how we can reduce them.

St. Louis Public Radio's Listening Project is reaching into neighborhoods to meet and talk to people about these findings. We hope to engage people in informed discussion on the issues, knowing that all voices are essential in crafting effective and workable solutions to the disparities that divide us.

Pattonville Assistant Fire Chief Matt LaVanchy discuses recent data from the Bridgeton Landfill's underground fire, which has been smoldering since late 2010. 01/23/2015
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Residents in municipalities surrounding the Bridgeton Landfill are growing increasingly frustrated with the pace of cleanup efforts and a "lack of communications" between environmental agencies tasked with overseeing the project.  

A view of the Bridgeton Landfill, taken in the fall of 2014.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The underground fire at the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site does not produce air pollution that exceeds hazardous standards, the regional head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.  

“The air around the West Lake Landfill site in north St. Louis resembles the air elsewhere in metro St. Louis. There’s nothing distinctive,” said Karl Brooks, who leads EPA’s Region 7 from his office in Kansas City.

Stan and Sandra Burton manned the National Society of Black Engineers booth at the Minority Scientist Showcase Saturday, January 17, 2015 at the St. Louis Science Center.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

  Visitors to the St. Louis Science Center will see more than the usual exhibits this weekend.

St. Louis area scientists have descended on the center for its annual Minority Scientist Showcase. Dozens of organizations are manning booths at the center through Monday so that kids can see science in action and meet people who make a career out of it.

Casa de Salud sits at 3200 Chouteau Avenue in Midtown. 01/15/15
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Five years ago, an old auto repair shop re-opened its doors as a community health center to serve uninsured people, many of them Hispanic immigrants. Today, more than 400 people walk through its doors each month.  

On Friday, Casa de Salud marked the fifth anniversary of its first patient visit. Anna Castro has worked as the clinic’s receptionist since the beginning, assisting patients who don’t have health insurance due to their employer, their immigration status or lack of resources.

(Courtesy: Missouri History Museum)

Today’s edition of StoryCorps, which aired during “Morning Edition,” was a remembrance of Max Starkloff, a pioneer in the disability rights movement who was quadriplegic. He died in 2010.

The StoryCorps conversation featured Starkloff’s wife, Colleen Starkloff, and their daughter, Meaghan Starkloff Breitenstein.

Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering student Suman Mondal demonstrates "cancer goggles" at Washington University's Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. 1/14/15
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

One year after "cancer goggles" were first used in a successful breast cancer operation, Dr. Samuel Achilefu is still getting emails from surgeons all over the world, hoping for a chance to use them.  

“We’ve been inundated,” he said from his desk in Washington University’s Mallinckrodt Institute, hours before receiving the 2014 St. Louis Award for his invention.

Pages