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Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

Any doctors in the house?

Aug 7, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 7, 2008 - When Miriam Raskin decided to change primary care doctors a few years ago, she never dreamed she would have trouble finding a new one.

"They always say, 'Ask your friends,'" she said. "All my friends went to doctors who couldn't take me."

Raskin didn't know it but she was up against a growing health issue facing Americans -- a shortage of primary care doctors, generalists who are supposed to be a patient's initial medical contact.

On Science: The war on AIDS is not going well

Aug 5, 2008
2008 beacon archive chart
George Johnson | Copyright Textwriter

This first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 5, 2008 - This week the world's AIDS researchers held the 17th Annual AIDS Conference in Mexico City. The news is not good.

In the Doctor's Lounge - Diabetes, exercise, diet

Aug 5, 2008

This article was originally published in the St. Louis Beacon: August 5, 2008 - Diabetes-diet Link Examined in Trio of Studies

We know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. One of a trio of studies on dietary links to diabetes published in the July 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine gives us yet another example of just how much. "Our findings highlight a potentially important public health message on the benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables for the prevention of diabetes," wrote the authors.

This post first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 4, 2008 - Cassava. Sorghum. These plant names may be unfamiliar to most of us, but to nearly a billion people in the developing world cassava and sorghum are the food crops that stand between them and starvation.

In doctors, we trust

Aug 1, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 1, 2008 - The New York Times published an all too familiar story this week on the erosion of the doctor-patient relationship. The headline: "Doctor and Patient, Now at Odds." While the doctor-patient relationship is one of the most important components of our medical system, it appears that the old-fashioned notion of a "cradle-to-grave" family doctor is on the verge of extinction.

"Things have become strained overall," agreed Dr. Keith Starke, chairman of the department of internal medicine at St. John's Mercy Medical Center. "A lot has do with the complexities that doctors and patients alike are dealing with."

On Science: TV, murder and lessons learned

Jul 29, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008 - Television replaced radio as America's primary means of home entertainment in the 1950s, and in the half-century since many critics have complained that its great potential as an educational venue has never been fully realized. However, programs marketed as entertainment are sometimes surprisingly educational, none more than the CSI programs shown on the CBS network for the last few years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008- Tanning - 1 a: to convert (hide) into leather by treatment with an infusion of tannin-rich bark or other agent of similar effect b: to convert (protein) to leather or a similar substance 2: to make (skin) tan especially by exposure to the sun.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 29, 2008 - Anesthetic Accidents More Common in Afternoon 

A shortage of anesthesiologists is leading to longer working hours and more fatigue among the docs, according to an article in the July issue of the AORN Journal. And further, "Anesthetic adverse events have been found to occur more frequently in surgical procedures performed after 4 p.m."

Technology can help prevent medical errors

Jul 29, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 29, 2008 - Diane Ray calls it "drilling down."

It's what a hospital does when it wants to find out why a medical mistake happened. Officials dig through the data, trace the path of a patient through the hospital and the care given to find out what went wrong.

"You get to the root cause and you analyze where the breakdown occurred," says Ray, director of nursing at St. Luke's Hospital in west St. Louis County.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 28, 2008 - Let's say you're a recent transplant from Minnesota, now living in St. Louis, and as luck would have it, you're facing surgery with a hospital stay.

You've heard the hospitals in St. Louis are good -- some said to be among the nation's best -- but maybe you want to do some comparison shopping. In Minnesota, when your mother needed surgery, you went online to the state's health department website.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 24, 2008-  Rikiyah McGee bit her lip as she deftly handled the scalpel. Wearing medical gloves and working with a partner, she navigated the landscape of a sheep's brain. She cut the brain in half and sliced the sheep's cerebellum, identifying the leafy pattern white matter makes on gray matter, now grinning. One might even say that she had a surgeon's touch.

On Science: UFO sightings by reasonable people

Jul 23, 2008
Adam Baker | Flickr

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 23, 2008 - Have you ever seen something that jolted you awake from a quiet reverie, I mean REALLY got your attention when you weren't paying any? I have. Last week I was on vacation with my family at a dude ranch in Wyoming, riding by myself in the late evening through nearby pastures on a massive appaloosa horse looking at the stars in a cloudless sky and thinking about nothing in particular. And then I saw ... something.

​This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 22, 2008 - Flavonoid-rich Foods Improve Cardiac Risk Factors

Chocolate, soy and green tea get the green light while black tea gets blacklisted in an article published in the July American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

St. Louis can be a health and science mecca

Jul 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 18, 2008 - Anheuser-Busch has been sold; another one bites the dust.

But take a closer look and one might see some blips punctuating what many fear may be a flat-line in the landscape of our regional economy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 16, 2008 - Psoriasis Patients Often Under-treated

As many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, and a significant portion of those afflicted may not be getting adequate treatment. "There remains a gap in treatment for about 40 percent of patients with severe disease," the authors of a recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology write.

'Voices of Autism' explains the silence

Jul 15, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - One summer about 30 years ago, when Anne Spollen was 15, she first met “the silent, green-eyed boy who moved in next door.”

“He doesn’t speak,” his mother whispered to her. “No one knows why.”

bat
Provided by George Johnson | Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - Bats are dying. A plague has killed tens of thousands of them in the Northeastern states this spring. The cause of "white nose syndrome," named for a white fungus that appears on bats' noses and wings, is a mystery to biologists.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 11, 2008 -  Doctors caring for children should start cholesterol screenings for those as young as two years old to focus on reducing the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a report published in the July issue of Pediatrics. The policy replaces a 10-year-old statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics on cholesterol in childhood and adds to one issued by the American Heart Association last year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 9, 2008 - As the baby boomer generation ages, so do the problems associated with its unofficial motto: Sex, Drugs, Rock n' Roll.

The British Medical Journal reported online June 27 that sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea and syphilis, are on the rise among older adults in the United Kingdom. The researchers conclude: "The results indicate that sexual risk-taking behaviour is not confined to young persons." 

On Science: Tanning to death

Jul 8, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 8, 2008 - Almost all the cells in your body replace themselves as they wear out, your skin cells more frequently than any other tissue. Exposed to a lot of wear and tear, the cells of your skin divide about every 27 days to replace dead or damaged cells. In each instance, the skin sloughs off dead cells from the surface and replaces these with new cells from beneath. The average person will lose about 105 pounds of skin by the time he or she turns 70.

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