Health, Science, Environment

African-American Health
7:01 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Monthly Blood Transfusions Can Prevent “Silent” Strokes In Children With Sickle Cell Anemia

In children with sickle cell anemia, some red blood cells are malformed, shaped like a crescent instead of a disc. This makes them more likely to clump together, causing organ damage, strokes, and pain.
Credit National Institutes of Health

An international study initiated by Washington University has found that giving monthly blood transfusions to children with sickle cell anemia can significantly reduce their risk of what are known as “silent” strokes.

Unlike regular strokes, which have sudden, overt symptoms like difficulty speaking or numbness in an arm or leg, silent strokes can only be detected with an MRI scan, so they generally go unnoticed by parents and physicians.

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St. Louis on the Air
4:17 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Parents Must Hold Boys Accountable, Psychologist Says

Wes Crenshaw
Credit courtesy photo

If there’s a gender war, the girls are winning, says psychologist Wes Crenshaw.

“Right now, to be a young white female is to be in a cohort of highly competitive applicants to just about any advanced program that there is,” Crenshaw said.

Women outnumber and outperform men in college. In middle and high school, girls also get better grades than boys. Crenshaw says these performance differences can be traced back to how children are raised, and the distractions they face.

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Newborn Health
2:01 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Study: Preterm Babies Have Different Gut Microbes ― Which Could Affect Their Health

Dr. Barbara Warner (left) and nurse Laura Linneman check on infant Skylar Angel in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Skylar and her twin, Bayley, were born prematurely.
Credit Elizabethe Holland Durando, Washington University School of Medicine

A team of researchers at Washington University has found that babies born prematurely have very different gut microbes than those of babies carried to term.

All children are born with almost no microbes in their intestines. Their gut microbial communities develop quickly in the weeks after birth ― although the communities don't reach full maturity until children are 2 or 3 years old.

But little is known about how this microbial development occurs.

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Affordable Care Act
8:45 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

New Report: St. Louis Area Hospitals Improved With Financial Incentives

Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis
Credit courtesy of Barnes Jewish Hospital

A health industry report published Thursday suggests federal programs that tie hospital quality scores to Medicare reimbursements are giving St. Louis hospitals a reason to improve.

Seventeen St. Louis area hospitals received bonus payments this year from Medicare thanks to programs in the Affordable Care Act that reward hospitals for providing a high quality of care. At the same  time, 25 were penalized for low scores, high readmission rates or failing to improve between 2011 and 2012.

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St. Louis on the Air
5:03 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

How Can St. Louis Improve Biking, Walking Access?

Credit Flickr/Jeremy Noble

With the clear, warm weather of summer, more St. Louisans of all ages are taking to the streets and the sidewalks on foot and by bike. The city has plans in the works to make walking, biking and running easier, from Complete Streets to separated bike lanes.

“I think overall we have great facilities in St. Louis and there has been a lot of improvement in the five years that I’ve lived here,” said Aaron Hipp, assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis. His research evaluates how built communities affect the activity and health of those who use them.

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Health - Consumer Protection
2:44 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Missouri To Receive Close To $700,000 As Part Of Nationwide Kidney Drug Settlement

The drug sirolimus, marketed by Pfizer subsidiary Wyeth under the brand name Rapamune, is only FDA approved for use after kidney transplants to prevent organ rejection.
Credit U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

Missouri will receive $693,000 as part of a nationwide settlement over the kidney transplant drug, Rapamune.

Neighboring Illinois will get more than $1.3 million.

The drug company Pfizer, whose subsidiary Wyeth makes Rapamune, has agreed to pay out a total of $35 million to 41 U.S. states and the District of Columbia as part of the settlement.

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Climate Change
6:48 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Missouri Institutions To Share $20 Million Grant To Study Climate Change

Part of the NSF grant will be used to study the effects of drought on plants, in particular corn. This image shows leaves of a single species of plant (not corn), grown under normal and drought conditions. An infrared scan can detect chemical changes in the drought-stressed leaf that are invisible to the human eye.
Credit Mikhail Berezin, Washington University

Updated 8/6/14:

The National Science Foundation has awarded $20 million to academic and research institutions across Missouri to study climate change.

Five states, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands, have received one of the NSF’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grants.

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Invasive Species
4:36 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Sweet-Smelling Honeysuckle Is A Not-So-Sweet Invader

These billboards are part of an invasive honeysuckle education campaign, by the environmental fundraising organization Magnificent Missouri. Dan Burkhardt, who founded Magnificent Missouri, is a major donor to St. Louis Public Radio.
Credit Magnificent Missouri

You may have seen the billboards, calling honeysuckle an "enemy of the state."


It turns out that pretty bush with its fragrant, white and yellow flowers isn't so sweet after all.

Erin Shank is an urban wildlife biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. But she spends a lot of her time these days trying to get rid of invasive honeysuckle.

"We certainly have quite a bit of it, no doubt about that," Shank said. "And it’s a bugger of a plant to control and manage."

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Bridgeton Landfill
5:49 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Bridgeton Landfill Owner To Pay More Than $4.6 Million To Neighboring Homeowners

Republic Services, the owner of the Bridgeton landfill, has agreed to pay almost $6.9 million to about 400 homeowners who had said that the landfill’s odors had damaged their property values.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 5:30 p.m., Fri., Aug.1, 2014)

A U.S. District Court has finalized a lawsuit settlement between Bridgeton Landfill owner Republic Services and hundreds of people living near the landfill.

Under the settlement, Republic will pay a total of at least $4.6 million to compensate 947 current and former area residents.

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Research Labs
6:17 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

National Report Led By Wash U Provost Promotes Chemical Safety At Universities

Credit U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A new national report says more should be done to promote the safe use of chemicals at universities.

Washington University Provost Holden Thorp chaired the committee that wrote the National Research Council report.

He said the group sought to take lessons learned from safety incidents in fields such as health care, aviation and manufacturing, and apply them to academic chemistry research.

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