Health

Roller coasters may help you get rid of kidney stones.
wikipedia

Sometimes science moves in a mysterious way.

A few years back, urologist David Wartinger, a former Michigan State University professor, saw a student patient who he'd been treating for kidney stones. The patient had just returned from spring break in Florida.

"And he told me, doc, you're not gonna believe this, I went on a roller coaster and I passed a kidney stone. I got right back on the same coaster, I passed another stone. I got back on the coaster a third time and I passed three stones in a row."

A classroom in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan non-profit group will provide more healthcare resources for Flint public schools.

The Genesee Health Plan is expanding its Community Health Workers program to all Flint Community Schools. The program wants to identify the health care needs of students and families in the community. 

Jim Milanowski is the president and C.E.O. of the health plan.

Flickr user/Devon Buchanan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It was a case that ignited the nation: Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was convicted of raping an unconscious woman behind an alley dumpster after a party.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

 

  

It has been a year now since Michigan and the world learned that the lead levels of children living in areas of Flint has doubled, even tripled.

It was September 2015 when pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha braved the scorn of certain state employees to present her stunning research findings that proved that elevated lead levels in Flint children correlated to the the switch to Flint River water.

  

As we know by now, the dismissive state officials were wrong, and Hanna-Attisha was right.

A contemporary engraving depicting President Garfield leaning after being shot by Charles Guiteau. He is supported by Secretary of State James Blaine.
Public Domain

The next time you're at the doctor's office and you notice all the hand washing and sterile equipment, think of President James Garfield and count your blessings that it's 2016 and not 1881.

On this day in 1881, President Garfield died, completing what Dr. Howard Markel describes as "an agonizing march towards oblivion that began on July 2." 

CREDIT FLICKR USER MIC445 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

"Hearing voices" is known as an auditory hallucination. The Mental Health Foundation tells us that it may or may not be associated with a mental health problem.

It's the most common type of hallucination in people with disorders such as schizophrenia. 

There's a stigma that follows such hallucinations. If you speak openly about hearing voices, you're likely to be labeled, medicated, even hospitalized. 

But the Hearing Voices Network thinks it has another way to help people understand and learn to live with those voices. 

McLaren Hospital in Flint and the Genesee County Health Department have been working with the Centers for Disease Control since a court order is preventing local officials from talking directly with the state health department.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials are confirming an eighth case of Legionnaire's disease in Genesee County.

A press release from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says state health department officials can’t say much about the latest case because of a court order preventing it from talking directly to Genesee County health officials.

The court order is part of a criminal probe of the Flint water crisis, which includes the state health department.  

According to Chopra, diagnosis is a complicated process made only more difficult by time constraints.
Public Domain

The Next Idea

If ever there is a time you want your physicians to be on top of their game, it's when he or she is determining your diagnosis. 

Yet, doctors who are overworked and stressed do make mistakes. And the results can be fatal.

One famous case: actor John Ritter was diagnosed and treated for a heart attack. Turns out he actually had a tear in his aorta, which killed him.

Dr. Vineet Chopra is with the Patient Safety Enhancement Program, and he's researching ways to change the way physicians work to give them more time to think about their patients' diagnoses. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Health advocates are pushing what's billed as a simple way to have more CPR-trained lifesavers in Michigan: requiring the instruction in school.

  The legislation easily cleared the Senate in the spring and is pending in the House. Supporters hope the chamber will vote this month before members breaks again to focus on the November election.

  The bill would require that schools provide instruction in CPR and the use of defibrillators at least one time between grades 7 and 12.

Michael Hood and Laurie Carpenter, founders of the humanitarian aid group Crossing Water.
Stephanie Kenner / Crossing Water

This weekend the group Crossing Water is calling for volunteers to continue the work they've been doing for a long time now: going door to door helping Flint residents deal with the water contamination in the city. 

McClaren hospital sign.
courtesy of Signs by Crannie / http://signsbycrannie.com/

A dispute between Michigan’s governor and attorney general is spilling over into institutions charged with protecting public health.

The state Department of Health and Human Services issued a press release yesterday saying there’s a seventh case of Legionnaire's disease in Genesee County. But it added it can’t say much more because it’s blocked by a court order from learning more.

From the release:

A motorcyle rider with no helmet and a passenger with a helmet.
IIHS

Motorcycle crash injuries became more serious after Michigan repealed its mandatory helmet law in 2012.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety teamed up with researchers at the University of Michigan Injury Center, the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute to look at the numbers.

They found that skull fractures after a motorcycle crash increased nearly 40% in the year after the state Legislature said riders over age 21 could skip wearing a helmet if they so chose.

Kristy Kopec told us that though she didn't know it at the time, but "it was all over with" the first time she took opiates.
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan has a fierce fight on its hands. A fight to keep people out of the clutches of opioid and heroin addiction. 

A vial of prescription drugs
Flickr user SHARYN MORROW / FLICKR / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

“I remember looking at some of the early federal reports involving opioid pain killers and overdose deaths and they had increased so rapidly, when I was looking at the data I was convinced someone had put a decimal point in the wrong place,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny said.

Kolodny is a senior scientist at Brandeis University and executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. He spent time working in addiction medicine in New York City during the early 2000s.

“The sharp increase was very real and what we would ultimately come to recognize is that we were at the beginning of a new, very severe epidemic,” Kolodny said.

A Michigan State University researcher is looking at whether home Wi-Fi systems can be used to help the elderly while protecting their privacy.

The families of many at-risk seniors rely on online cameras, wearable devices or sensors to make sure they haven’t fallen or suffered a medical problem.    

But at a cost of their privacy.

Mi Zhang is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the MSU College of Engineering, He’s received a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a home Wi-Fi signal into a near range radar.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This may be a dry Labor Day for some Flint residents.

The city’s nine water distribution centers will be closed on Monday. They’ll also be closed on Sunday as usual.

Mission Flint spokeswoman Tiffany Brown says the decision to close on Labor Day was based on low demand on the last two holidays.  She says demand was a third of normal on Memorial day and the Fourth of July.

CDC / CDC

Michigan wants college students to go back to school with more than just textbooks.

State health officials are urging college students to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations. 

The recommendation for vaccines comes after a meningitis death of a college student in Macomb County earlier this year.

"Much of what we do in public health is providing the information and the tools by which our college campuses can keep their students healthy," says Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan's chief medical executive. 

Stateside 8.30.2016

Aug 30, 2016

 

Today, could dental therapy improve access to care in Michigan? We hear both sides of the argument. And, we learn the results of the 2016 state standardized test, M-STEP. 

Courtesy of the Michigan Dental Association

There’s been growing awareness that dental health isn’t just about appearance and avoiding cavities. It’s also essential to overall health.

For instance, poor oral health has been tied to cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections like pneumonia, diabetic complications and dementia.

This means it’s crucial to bring dental care to areas and populations that are underserved by dentists.

Some think Senate Bill 1013 could be the way to do that in Michigan.

The bill was introduced earlier this summer by Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake). It’s modeled after a program in Minnesota that set up a midlevel dental professional called a dental therapist.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris sits down with Cynthia Canty for an interview on Stateside.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Whenever there's a story of violence that takes over the news cycle, parents face a challenge: How much do you tell your child? How do you answer your child's questions? Do you wade right into what happened and why? Or do you divert them, and try to give them something different to think about?

For parents of color, these challenges come up with each act of police-related violence on black males, or violence aimed at police officers who are just doing their jobs, such as in Dallas or Baton Rouge.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris is a pediatrician doing research on the impact racism, and these racially-charged news stories, can have on children.

flickr user zeevveez / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The time is getting closer for launching special tax-free savings accounts for Michiganders with disabilities.

It's called MI-ABLE, the Achieving a Better Life Experience program. 

MI-ABLE was signed into law in Michigan late last year. Now, word has come that the state has firmed up a contract with a Florida-based company to manage this savings program.

Studying identical twins could unlock some of our medical mysteries
DVIDSHUB / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Twins: They look alike, many of them sound and act alike. They could also hold the power to help the medical world unlock some of its biggest mysteries.

surgical instrument tray
wikimedia / creative commons

Michigan's Bureau of Community and Health Systems has launched an investigation into dirty, broken, and missing instruments at Detroit Medical Center hospitals.

The investigation was prompted by a report in the Detroit News showing a pattern of improper cleaning and sterilization at DMC facilities,  putting patients at risk for over eleven years.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city’s water crisis has given many people in Flint sleepless nights.

Last night, the man who helped reveal the problem spent a sleepless night seeing if things are getting better. 

In the wee small hours of the morning, Virginia Tech water expert Marc Edwards took and tested water samples at the Flint home of Lee Anne Walters. It was in Walters’ home that the extent of the city’s water crisis was first confirmed.

Edwards tested the water hourly to see how chlorine and bacteria levels changed during the hours when water generally flows slower through the system.

Stateside 8.25.2016

Aug 25, 2016

 

Today, we hear about possible upsides to the Flint water crisis. And, we learn how dirty surgical instruments could be endangering patients at the Detroit Medical Center.

Courtesy of Predrag Klasnja / https://www.si.umich.edu/people/predrag-klasnja

The Next Idea

In the 1970’s, the Japanese concept of “Kanban” turned the U.S. auto industry on its ear – “just in time” inventory and manufacturing.

Now, that just-in-time concept is being applied to keep people on track after rehabilitation.

Just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAI) can bring health support to you right through a smartphone.

A repeatedly sewage-flooded basement on Detroit's east side.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Two recent cases of Hepatitis A in Detroit are sparking a larger public health response.

That’s because the people who tested positive for the virus had both recently dealt with basement sewage backups, which have plagued an area of Detroit’s east side during rainfall this summer.

It’s not entirely clear how they got Hepatitis A, but contact with sewage is a known path of transmission.

But just in case, the Detroit health department will offer the vaccinations for free or at low cost to all Detroiters affected by the recent flooding over the next week.

Flickr user Stanford EdTech/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In 2010, now Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. One decision he made was to streamline the process of sterilizing medical instruments.

The result: A sole Central Sterile Processing Department in the basement of Detroit Receiving Hospital.

That department is responsible for cleaning and sterilizing instruments for all five DMC hospitals in Midtown Detroit. That includes Children’s, Detroit Receiving, Harper, Hutzel Women’s and the DMC Heart Hospital.

This means workers must clean and sterilize thousands and thousands of instruments then package them for surgical procedures.

An investigation by Detroit News reporters Karen Bouffard and Joel Kurth revealed that DMC surgeries are now plagued by dirty or missing instruments and equipment.

Photo of Gov. Rick Snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County health officials insist a court order restricting communication with state health officials is not preventing them from investigating cases of Legionnaires Disease.

The court order is related to the Attorney General’s investigation of the Flint water crisis. 

The Snyder administration is challenging the order.

Buddy-to-Buddy sends volunteer veterans to help other veterans or servicemembers
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Who can understand the problems, fears and worries of veterans and military service members better than someone who has served?

That's the idea behind Buddy-to-Buddy. It's the only program of its kind in Michigan, focused on peer support. Veterans who can help other vets and service members. 

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