Health, Science, Environment

Agriculture
10:19 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Mysterious Kidney Disease Slays Farmworkers In Central America

Loved ones express their grief at the burial of Ramon Romero Ramirez in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua, January 2013. The 36-year-old died of chronic kidney disease after working in the sugar cane fields for 12 years. Ramirez is part of a steady procession of deaths among cane workers.
Ed Kashi VII

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 6:32 am

Manuel Antonio Tejarino used to be a lean, fit field hand. During the sugar cane harvest, he'd swing a machete for hours, hacking at the thick, towering stalks.

Now Tejarino is slumped in a faded, cloth deck chair outside his sister's house on the outskirts of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua.

Tejarino's kidneys are failing. He's grown gaunt. His arms droop by his side. In the tropical midday heat, he alternates between wiping sweat off his brow and pulling a sweatshirt up over his bare chest.

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Childhood asthma
11:43 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

House Proposal Could Put Spotlight On Asthma Care In Rural Missouri

Approximately 11 percent of children in Missouri suffer from asthma.
Credit Flickr: NIAID

Missouri is on the verge of breaking new ground in asthma care by extending more services to needy children in rural parts of the state. 

The additional services would include specialists to inspect more homes to pinpoint asthma triggers. They would also supply educators to show families and health providers how to identify and reduce the triggers, and to help asthmatic children manage their condition.

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Missouri Legislature
9:38 pm
Sun April 27, 2014

Commentary: Health And The Least Of Your Sisters And Brothers

Credit Missouri Secretary of State website

I realize that in many quarters there is a feeling that all federal spending, even for vital human services, must be cut. However, if we can put that aside for the moment and look at the reality of life in Missouri, I would offer these considerations.

“The poor you will always have with you and you can help them when you will.” Mark 14:7.

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Drug Take-Back Event
9:49 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Got Unwanted Prescription Drugs? Get Rid Of Them On Saturday

Credit Flickr/e-MagineArt.com

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Saturday is sponsoring a nationwide prescription drug take-back event.

Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., anyone can turn in their expired or unwanted medications at thousands of police stations, pharmacies, and other sites across the country, including here in St. Louis.

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Wildlife Conservation
3:54 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

New St. Louis Initiative Encourages Residents To Plant "Milkweeds For Monarchs"

A female monarch collects nectar from a milkweed flower.
Lincoln Brower

The City of St. Louis and several partners are launching a project to help monarch butterflies.

It involves encouraging area residents to plant milkweeds -- a plant with large fruit pods that release fluffy seeds in the fall.

The Saint Louis Zoo is one of the partners in the “Milkweeds for Monarchs” initiative, along with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The zoo's curator of invertebrates, Edward Spevak, says milkweeds are critical to the monarch’s survival.

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Combating food deserts
9:54 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

To Offset Loss Of Grocery Stores, City Tries Alternate Tactics

After the Schnucks on North Grand closes, there will be just one Schucks serving the north side of the city.
Credit (via Flickr/KOMUnews/Mike Anderson)

Last week, Schnucks announced it was closing its store on Grand Boulevard in north St. Louis. The closure adds to the "food desert" in that part of the city. However, there are several programs in St. Louis that are attempting to make it easier for people to have access to fresh, healthy food. The map above shows some of the full-service grocery stores in St. Louis. The Schnucks that is closing is the large circle.

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The Rundown
9:53 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

Health & Science Rundown: Salamanders And The Delicate Balance

The fire salamander wasn't a part of any of the studies mentioned in this article. But it's very photogenic.
Credit (Flickr/William Warby)

The humble salamander kicks off this week’s summary of science, health and environmental news.

Actually, the salamander may not be so humble. Or at least, not woodland salamanders. It turns out, those little critters are hugely helpful in decreasing the amount of carbon gas released into the atmosphere. And they do it because they are very good eaters.

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Saint Louis Zoo
4:58 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Sea Lion "Bennie" Dies At Saint Louis Zoo

Bennie was one of the zoo's most popular sea lions.
Credit Roger Brandt/Saint Louis Zoo

A sea lion has died at the St. Louis Zoo.

“Bennie,” as he was known, was born at the zoo in 2002 and would have been 12 years old in June.

The 500 pound sea lion was one of the stars of the zoo’s sea lion show. But he stopped performing two weeks ago and had been under veterinary care.

The zoo says a necropsy will be performed by its pathologist, but it will take several weeks for the zoo to get the lab results needed to determine the cause of death.

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Wildlife Conservation
5:03 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Saving The Monarch's Migration: A Conversation With Ecologist Lincoln Brower

Monarch butterflies cluster on the branch of an oyamel fir tree in Mexico.
Credit Lincoln Brower

Every year, monarch butterflies undertake what seems like an impossible journey.

By the millions, they leave their summer breeding grounds in the United States and Canada to fly thousands of miles to a small area of alpine forest in central Mexico.

Ecologist Lincoln Brower has been studying monarchs for almost 60 years.

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E-Cigarettes
10:47 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

E-Cigarette Bills Pass Missouri House And Senate On Same Day

Credit Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate and Missouri House have both passed bills to ban sales of electronic nicotine delivery devices to minors.

House Bill 1690 and Senate Bill 841 would both limit the sales of these devices, sometimes called e-cigarettes, to consumers 18 years old and older, and both versions would not subject the devices to  regulation or taxation as tobacco products. 

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