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Health

(Via Wikimedia Commons/Victor byckttor)

Giving women free access to contraception can dramatically reduce abortion rates.

That's the finding of a new study out today from Washington University School of Medicine.

Researchers gave more than 9,000 St. Louis-area women free birth control for three years.

To protect children against whooping cough, doctors recommend five shots of vaccine before they turn 7.

But what happens after that? How long does the protection last?

(National Cancer Institute/Bill Branson)

Saint Louis University is launching a new initiative to try to fight cancer in minorities.

The SLU Center for Cancer Prevention, Research and Outreach will work with community organizations to improve cancer outcomes for African Americans living in North St. Louis City and County.

The initiative will initially focus on breast and prostate cancer.

(via Missouri Foundation for Health)

Reporting from Jacob McCleland of KRCU used in this report.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Missourians have less access to healthcare and tend to be less healthy than the general population. That’s according to a new report by the Missouri Foundation for Health.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

In 2010, the slumping state budget forced the Missouri Department of Mental Health to close the emergency room and 50 short-term beds at the Metropolitan Psychiatric Center.

The move saved $16 million. But it also forced those in need of immediate mental health treatment into local hospitals, which are not designed for those in crisis.

With the help of the area’s two largest hospital systems and some state support, there are now 16 beds available for patients with psychiatric needs who have already been screened at other hospital emergency rooms. Beginning this fall, patients needing urgent mental health care should be able to go straight to the new Psychiatric Stabilization Center.

The PSC is a temporary fix - but its creators are also hoping it helps shift the treatment paradigm.

How could dialing 2-1-1 help fight cancer?

Jun 7, 2012
(via Flickr/nate steiner)

A new study out of Washington University has found that the 2-1-1 phone information system could be an effective tool to fight cancer in low-income and minority communities.

Across the U.S., people can call 2-1-1 to get help with housing, food, and other social service needs.

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 out of Washington University has found that long-term birth control methods are 20 times more effective at preventing unplanned pregnancies.

The research compared the rates of contraceptive failure in women using long-term methods like intrauterine devices or contraceptive implants to those using short-term methods like oral birth control pills or a contraceptive patch.

Morning headlines - Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11, 2012
IndofunkSatish/via Flickr

Judge approves settlement in lawsuit over mental health care for the deaf

A federal judge has approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against two Missouri state agencies on behalf of more than a thousand deaf residents.

Plaintiffs in the 2010 lawsuit alleged that the state departments of Mental Health and Social Services failed to provide adequate mental health care for deaf persons in crisis.

The departments were sued under the  Americans with Disabilities Act.

(University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

St. Louis City is among the ten least healthy counties in Missouri.

That's according to nationwide county health rankings released today by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

SLU hosts forum on minority health

Apr 2, 2012
(via Flickr/Jennifer_Boriss)

Saint Louis University is hosting a forum on Tuesday about the public health issues facing minorities, in particular African Americans.

A panel of local academics from SLU and Washington University will present their research on topics ranging from maternal health to how segregation affects health literacy.

SLU community health expert Keon Gilbert will talk about the relationship of education to health outcomes in young African American men at risk of dropping out of high school.

(National Cancer Institute)

More than half of cancer cases in the United States could be prevented.

That’s according to a new article published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine by researchers at the Siteman Cancer Center and Washington University.

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra spoke with lead author Dr. Graham Colditz about what we know about cancer — and why more isn’t being done to prevent it.

National Institutes of Health

For years doctors have prescribed acid blockers to children with no symptoms of acid reflux to try to help control their asthma.

But a new study shows the anti-reflux medicine isn't helping.

The research followed more than 300 children between the ages of 6 and 17. In addition to an inhaled steroid, about half the children were given an acid blocker for six months, and half a placebo. None of the children had symptoms of acid reflux.

Quinn to close Jacksonville, Ill. developmental center

Jan 19, 2012
(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

Governor Pat Quinn announced this afternoon that he plans to close the Jacksonville Developmental Center and Tinley Park Mental Health Center.

Jacksonville is located about 90 miles north of St. Louis.

Quinn's office is calling the closures a "rebalancing."

The Governor plans to move institutionalized patients with developmental disabilities and mental illness to community-based settings.

(Via Flickr/meddygarnet)

A new report by the American Lung Association puts Missouri near the bottom of the list when it comes to state tobacco control policies.

The report grades states according to their spending on tobacco prevention and control programs, smoke-free air laws, cigarette taxes, and coverage of programs to help smokers quit.

Missouri was one of six states to receive an “F” grade in all four categories.

Blunt gets coronary stent

Jan 13, 2012
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Updated 10:30 a.m.

Updated 4 p.m. with comments from local cardiologist and correcting canceled to postponed.

Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt says he's looking "forward to returning to [his] regular schedule very soon" after having a coronary stent implanted on Thursday.

E. coli outbreak strikes St. Louis area

Oct 27, 2011
(Via Wikimedia Commons/Eric Erbe, digital colorization by Christopher Pooley, both of USDA, ARS, EMU)

Updated October 28, 1:50 p.m. to update information related to St. Louis City. Updated October 28, 12:30 p.m. to add information about the U.S. CDC team.

An E. coli outbreak has sickened at least 21 people in the St. Louis area.

Confirmed cases include 16 in St. Louis County, two in St. Charles County, two in Jefferson County, and one in St. Clair County in Illinois. The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services is investigating three suspected cases in St. Louis City. At least nine people in St. Louis County have been hospitalized.

The director of the Saint Louis County Department of Health, Dr. Delores Gunn, confirms that the toxic strain of E. coli is being spread through contaminated food, but says her department is still investigating its origin.

Bills sponsored by Ald. Dionne Flowers, D-2nd Ward, would boost the age to purchase tobacco products in the city to 21
Drongowski | Flickr

A higher percentage of Missouri's workers are exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke than in any other state.

A 2007 telephone survey funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health looked at the tobacco use, health, and demographics of close to 24,000 indoor Missouri workers.  About 12 percent were exposed to secondhand smoke, compared to about 7 percent of workers nationwide.

(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

Reporting from KCUR's Elana Gordon used in this report.

Missouri has received a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train more than 4,000 underemployed adults in the health services sector.  Governor Jay Nixon led the effort to bring the funds to the state’s 12 or so community colleges.  Deborah Goodall is with Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City and said the grant will help equip adults with high demand health care skills.  

(via Flickr/wild_turkey5300)

Despite cooler weather over the past several days, it's still mosquito season, and that means there's the potential for West Nile Virus cases.

The St. Louis County Department of Health has reported its first suspected human case. A 12-year-old boy from Wellston was briefly hospitalized with West Nile symptoms, though the department says he has returned to normal activities.

The county says there was one human case last year.

Missouri Foundation for Health names new top executive

Aug 25, 2011
(Courtesy the Missouri Foundation for Health)

The Missouri Foundation for Health has named a new president and CEO.

Robert Hughes will assume his new post on Nov. 1, taking over from founding president James Kimmey who is retiring at the end of this year.

Hughes is an Illinois native but has spent the past 20 years in New Jersey. There, he worked for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest health philanthropy in the U.S.

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