Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

Carol Dronsfield

Janet Krone Kennedy, licensed clinical psychologist and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor, spoke with “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss her book “The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby (And You)." The book provides information and training tools to assist new parents with developing sleep patterns for their infants and babies.

“Go to sleep, little baby”

Rosie and Holly Nauheim stand outside their home in St. Louis on May 18, 2015.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

When her health insurance provider told Holly Naunheim that it wouldn’t cover her daughter’s stay in a residential treatment facility for an eating disorder, she was furious.  

“I was hysterical,” Naunheim said. “My husband and her therapist said, ‘We’re going to fight this.’”

Naunheim's daughter, Rosie, 15, had struggled with anorexia for three years, going in and out of doctor’s offices and a treatment center. In the eighth grade, she was so sick that she had to attend her graduation with a feeding tube taped under her nose.  

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Johnetta Craig, walks to a meeting at the Carondalet location of Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite the efforts of healthcare advocates, hospitals and notable former legislators, the Missouri legislature did not pass Medicaid expansion this year, or even bring it to the debate floor. That means an estimated 147,000 Missourians will have another year without health coverage, and the community health clinics that care for the uninsured will continue trying to bridge the gap.   

Microbiologist Mary-Dell Chilton works in her lab at Syngenta.

Mary-Dell Chilton pioneered the field of genetic engineering in agriculture.

She has spent most of her decades-long career working for Syngenta, where she founded the agribusiness company's research on genetically modified seeds.

But Chilton started out in academia. And it was here in St. Louis, at Washington University, that she led the team that created the first genetically-modified plants in the early 1980s.

A rendering of the micro-electrode that Washington University scientists have designed to be implanted into the stump of amputations and integrate with nerves.
courtesy Washington University

Scientists at Washington University have been awarded just under $1.9 million to test a device that could help people with prosthetic hands feel what they are touching. The funding is part of a larger project sponsored by the U.S. Defense Department.

Over the next three years biomedical engineering professor Dan Moran and his team will use the grant funding to test the device in macaque monkeys. If all goes well the device would then be tested on humans in clinical trials.

The Saint Louis Zoo's curator of birds Michael Macek works to conserve Humboldt penguins in Punta San Juan, Peru.
Courtesy of Saint Louis Zoo

The St. Louis Zoo is spotlighting its efforts to save threatened wildlife Saturday with educational activities and a children's scavenger hunt during its 10th annual Endangered Species Day.

Zoo CEO Jeffrey Bonner called the institution a leader in animal conservation, but he acknowledges that many people don't know about its vital role in saving wildlife.

Katelyn Mae Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

Bicycles streamed through the streets Friday as people observed National Bike to Work Day. It's something St. Louis bicycle advocacy groups would like people to do more than just once a year. So, they are working to make the local bike commutes safer and easier.

The historic entrance arch to the Lewis Place neighborhood, which will receive state aid nearly a year after a tornado damaged 91 homes in the area.
Adam Allington | St. Louis Public Radio

When natural disasters hit, neighborhoods where many residents live in poverty often have a harder time rebuilding than their more affluent neighbors.  

The Metro St. Louis Coalition for Inclusion and Equity (M-SLICE) is hosting a panel discussion Wednesday evening to brainstorm the future efforts to build infrastructure resiliency on the city's north side.

Soo McClure celebrates a successful round at the DuBowl Lanes in South St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Soo McClure steps up to the lane with a bowling ball the color of green marble. She lines herself up with the help of a guard rail, takes a deep breath and bowls.

Nine pins go down. A sighted bowler calls out the pin number for the last one, and she tries again for a spare, but her ball ends up in the gutter. 

Thirteen-year cicadas will begin emerging in southeastern Missouri in mid-May.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

They’re ba-a-ack. Those noisy cicadas with their bright red eyes and dark bodies soon will emerge again in Missouri and Illinois after years underground, poking holes in the soil starting in mid-May.

via Flckr/JeannetteGoodrich

The city of St. Louis has updated, localized information about how many residents are overweight. According to 2014 driver’s license data provided by the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles, about 61 percent of St. Louis residents are overweight or obese.

The St. Louis Health Department released a report analyzing the data on Wednesday.

Connie Chapman, who worked at the Sac-Osage Hospital in Osceola, Mo.,for 40 years, looks over a nearly empty room in the hospital.
Todd Feeback|Heartland Health Monitor

Chris Smiley spent most of Tuesday moving the last of the boxes out of Sac Osage Hospital in rural Osceola, MO. In the months after the small town’s only hospital closed for good, the facility’s CEO has been selling off supplies and making arrangements to transition her patients’ care to other places. The building itself is set to be demolished.

“We arranged to have another facility take over our clinic,” Smiley said. “There will be ambulance service in the community. There’s a heli-pad that will be maintained by the ambulance bay.”

Geologists from the University of Wisconsin extrude a 6-meter sediment core from the deepest point of Horseshoe Lake.
Sam Munoz | University of Wisconsin

The people who built and lived among the tall, sculpted mounds now preserved at Cahokia Mounds Historic Site have long presented a mystery to archeologists.

One of the biggest mysteries: Why did they leave?

A team of geographers studying pollen deposits buried in the sediment under Horseshoe Lake may have stumbled upon new evidence that helps explain Cahokia’s decline.  

The answers are in the lake butter

Lake Sturgeon live in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries. They can live more than 100 years and weigh as much as 300 pounds.
courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

For the first time in 30 years, the Missouri Department of Conservation has confirmed evidence that the state-endangered lake sturgeon is reproducing in the wild.

Sam Hardy and Kristin Biagioli witnessed the sturgeon spawning first-hand in the Mississippi River north of St. Louis in mid-April.

BJC HealthCare

BJC HealthCare, a nonprofit health system based in St. Louis, is making plans to take over partial governance and share some costs and services with the operators of Memorial Hospital in Belleville, hospital officials announced Thursday. They deemed the deal a “strategic affiliation.” 

Courtesy of PBS

Four St. Louis girls were selected to star in an episode of the PBS show SciGirls, which challenges middle school girls and their professional mentors to become citizen scientists by using skills in science, technology, engineering and math.

In the episode titled “Frog Whisperers,” the girls volunteer for FrogWatch USA, a citizen science project that encourages nature enthusiasts to report frog and toad calls in a given area.

Host Don Marsh was joined by (from L to R) Erica Barnell, Cliff Holekamp and Ian Schillebeeckx.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Founded in 2013, IDEA Labs is a bioengineering design and entrepreneurship incubator at Washington University in which engineering and medical students work on unmet needs in healthcare to present entrepreneurial solutions.

Some of their primary objectives are to develop a culture of innovation at Washington University School of Medicine, and to teach engineering and medical students the skills and processes needed to invent and implement new biomedical technologies.

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.