Health

Stateside
5:26 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Aacorn Farm will provide community for adults with autism

Residents of Aacorn farm will work with livestock and perform daily farm chores
Peter Payette/Interlochen Public Radio

A new initiative in Kalamazoo county is in the works to provide a residential space for adults with autism, known as Aacorn Farm.

Aacorn stands for Autism Agricultural Community Option for Residential Need, and the organization is led by a group of parents who have children with autism. A residential community like this isn't the first of its kind, but it is for adults with autism.

The residential space aims to assist some of the nearly 50,000 Michigan residents who have been diagnosed with autism in Michigan, 16,000 of which are children.

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Health
3:17 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Warren's District Court evacuated after white powder found in letter

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts says no reports of injuries or illness.
City of Warren

Updated at 2:54 pm

The 40 evacuated court employees have left the police station, where they congregated after the powder was discovered.

Court proceedings are canceled for the afternoon.

The HAZMAT team says the court is safe and secure, though it'll take another 4 to 6 weeks of testing to figure out exactly what kind of powder the envelope contained. 

Meanwhile, four of the employees exposed to the mystery powder are being quarantined and examined in the hospital. They're not exhibiting any symptoms or illness, says Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green. 

He says either the city police or the FBI will take the investigation from here.

1:13 p.m.

The city of Warren evacuated the 37th District Court this morning because of a suspicious letter containing white powder.

According to Christina Hall from the Detroit Free Press, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said no one was hurt or sickened.

About 40 employees were at the neighboring police station awaiting the all-clear from the fire department to return to the court, 8300 Common Road.

Fouts said a letter was mailed from Chrysler to a third party and was delivered to the court by mistake. The clerk re-mailed the letter to the third party. On Friday, the letter came back to the court as undeliverable, Fouts said.

He said the clerk opened the letter this morning and the powder came out. Police, fire and Hazmat were called.

“The intended target was not the district court,” Fouts said, adding that he did not know to whom the letter was addressed or the type of letter it is.

Fouts said the substance did not appear to be a potentially dangerous one and that he anticipates the court will reopen today.

- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Health
1:52 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Air pollution linked to increased heart attack risk

Air pollution has been linked to increased risk of heart attack
www.marathonpetroleum.com

Air pollution is a serious problem in Michigan. It's already linked to health risks like asthma and autism, but now there's evidence it may also be behind the rise in heart attacks.

Sara Adar is one of the researchers at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health releasing this new study. She says, "Every increase in air pollution, it increases the likelihood that your arteries are gonna thicken. We see the same for risks of heart attack and strokes."

Adar says no air is completely clean, but that the Clean Air Act has led to fewer fatalities due to air pollution.

"So when we breathe these particles into our lungs, our bodies respond to those. And it triggers an inflammation response, because you know, it's not enjoying those particles in our lungs."

These new findings suggest even if you eat healthy food and get regular exercise, you still have a slightly greater risk of early heart attack if you live near lots of pollution.

Health
3:55 pm
Sat April 27, 2013

Cerebral spring cleaning

Autophagy at work, clearing out garbage within the cells, and keeping them in their stem-cell state
University of Michigan Health System

Around this time of year, we all try to do some spring cleaning.

Well, it turns out that your brain does some of that too.

Jun-Lin Guan, Ph.D, is a researcher at the University of Michigan and is the senior author of a new article that explained the importance of an important protein that helps our brains clean and maintain stem cells that reside deep in the brain. 

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Stateside
4:31 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Author shares insights for parenting in difficult circumstances

Robert Omilian
Facebook

When you are a parent, you’re making choices for your kids day-in and day-out.

Life can throws plenty of curve balls to a family, whether health, financial, or emotional. So how do families weather life’s challenges and make the right choices?

Michigan writer Robert Omilian tackles those key questions in his book, No Fear, No Doubt, No Regret: Investing In Life’s Challenges Like A Warrior.

The book was published by Ferne Press of Northville.

It recently won the 2013 Pinnacle Award for Parenting Books.

His insights were hard-won as he walked alongside his son Alan, who was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. The disease unfortunately, claimed his life in July of 2010.

You can listen to the full interview above.

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Stateside
4:57 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Wayne v. Washtenaw, a case of drastic health disparities

Access to doctors isn't the only thing that keeps you healthy
Ivan Baldivieso/Flickr

Men who live on one side of Rawsonville Rd. have a life expectancy that's six years longer than men on the other side.

In fact, the life expectancy for males in Washtenaw County is the equivalent of Switzerland, while in Wayne County it's the equivalent of Syria. 

Ron French is a contributing writer for Bridge Magazine, and recently published a story about the health disparities between Wayne and Washtenaw counties, and spoke with us about what he found.

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Health
3:13 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Report: many parents give toddlers cough and cold medicine when they shouldn't

It says it right on the label. "Child under 4 years. Do not use." But according to a new U of M poll, more than 40% of parents of toddlers do give them cough and cold medicines.
Drugsonline.com

University of Michigan researchers say more than forty percent of parents are making a serious mistake when they try to treat their toddlers for a cough or cold.

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be used in children under age of four. The drugs have not been proven effective for young children and may cause serious side effects.

But a new poll by U of M researchers says more than 40% of parents are using the medicine to treat their toddlers.

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Health
5:04 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Michigan health insurers urged to include genetic breast cancer screening, counseling

Credit wikipedia.com

The state is encouraging Michigan health plans to provide genetic counseling and testing for some types of breast cancer. 

Breast and ovarian cancer can run in families. Sometimes it's caused by an underlying genetic change passed from parent to child.

Jenna McLosky, who's the cancer genomics education coordinator for the Michigan Department of Community Health, says women who have a family history of breast cancer should consider tests for a change in the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes.

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Health
3:19 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Right To Life opposes U-M stem cell use in Lou Gehrig's disease treatment trial

Credit Maria Morell / University of Michigan

Right to Life of Michigan is criticizing a University of Michigan research project that will use fetal stem cells.

U of M announced this week it will lead a clinical trial looking at a potential treatment for ALS -- known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The nerve disease often kills people within three to four years after diagnosis.

Ed Rivet of Right To Life of Michigan says the stem cells U of M will inject into ALS patients come from an aborted fetus. The group is opposed to that and to embryonic stem cell research.

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Health
2:55 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

U-M to lead stem cell trial for Lou Gehrig's disease treatment

Credit University of Michigan

The University of Michigan is set to lead a national trial in the use of stem cell injections to study their effects on the symptoms of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

U-M will collaborate with Emory University in the Phase II clinical trial, pending approval by  the Institutional Review Board, which could take about a month. The FDA has approved the trial.

It's estimated between 30,000 to 50,000 people in the United States have ALS.

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Health
1:34 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Reducing the infant mortality rate in Michigan

Michigan ranks 15th in infant mortality according to the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Sono Tamaki Creative Commons

On an average day in Michigan, two babies die. That alarming statistic comes from the Michigan Department of Community Health, which says only 14 other states have worse infant mortality rates.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is with the Kids Count project at the Michigan League for Public Policy. She says expanding Medicaid coverage under the federal Affordable Care act could make a big difference in reducing this sad statistic.

"If we care about what's happening to kids in this state, we need to make this investment at the very beginning of life to make sure that more kids are born healthy."

"The Affordable Care Act would insure that more mothers to be would have ongoing access to care which is important in order to have a healthy pregnancy."

Lawmakers in Lansing are debating whether to expand Michigan's Medicaid rolls. There is some opposition to the idea. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pick up the tab for the expansion through 2016.

Health
4:40 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Employer-provided health insurance dips 15% in Michigan

Credit e-how.com

Michigan workers are losing their health-care coverage at a greater rate than any other state.

In 2000, about 78 percent of Michigan workers got insurance through their employer.

By 2011, that fell to about 63 percent.

Lynn Blewett is a University of Minnesota professor who took part in the national study funded by the nonprofit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Health
12:56 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Grand Rapids hospital plans expansion, renovation

Portrait of Betty Ford. A new cancer program in Grand Rapids is named after the former first lady.
Felix de Cossio White House

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A Grand Rapids hospital has broken ground on a $54 million expansion and renovation project and the establishment of a cancer program named after former first lady Betty Ford.

The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital announced plans Tuesday to double space for patients. The project also includes renovating three buildings and adding about 300 jobs in nursing, therapy and other specialties.

Ford's daughter Susan Ford Bales announced the creation of The Betty Bloomer Ford Cancer Rehabilitation Program in honor of her mother and grandmother, Hortense Neahr Bloomer. Both women were active supporters of the hospital and Betty Ford brought such previously taboo subjects as breast cancer into the public arena by candidly discussing her battle with it.

Mary Free Bed is a nonprofit hospital providing rehabilitation for children and adults.

Health
12:11 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Federal judge rules against Blue Cross in autism lawsuit

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A federal judge has ruled that Blue Cross must pay hundreds of Michigan families who were denied coverage for behavioral therapy for children with autism.

Blue Cross contends the therapy is experimental, but doctors disagree.

The ruling may cost Blue Cross about five million dollars.

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Health
2:32 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

E. coli outbreak and food recall includes Michigan

Farm Rich frozen foods involved in recall
Farm Rich

Two people from Michigan are among those sickened in a nationwide E. coli outbreak.

The E. coli outbreak has sickened 24 people in 15 states, including the two in Michigan.

The contamination has been traced to Farm Rich frozen food products including mini pizza slices, mini quesadillas with cheese and chicken, philly cheese steaks

with cheese, and mozzarella bites. The recalled products were sold at Kroger, Spartan Stores and other chain supermarkets.

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Health
11:39 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Urping: It's just what babies do

kbohn216 MorgueFile

Babies spit up -- a lot. It often happens when they eat too quickly  or too much. It's normal, but it sure can scare parents.

A University of Michigan study says doctors should be careful about using labels to describe babies with upset stomachs.

Dr. Beth Tarini, an assistant professor of pediatrics at U-M, says when doctors use terms like gastroesophageal reflux disease -- or GERD -- the only thing most parents hear is "disease."

"It can transform the way the parent views the child's health. It can take a parent who has a healthy child, and have that parent start to believe that that child is actually sick," Tarini says."Parents come into the office, understandably distressed that their baby is spitting up."

Tarini says sometimes physicians, in trying to help the parents, will reach for anything they can do to help, which can lead to the overuse of antacids, like Zantac.

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Health
12:37 pm
Sun March 31, 2013

Mackinac Bridge to be bathed in blue for autism

ST. IGNACE, Mich. (AP) - The Mackinac Bridge will be lit blue at sundown Tuesday and continue to be illuminated at night for the entire month as part of an autism awareness campaign.

The Mackinac Bridge Authority is working with several corporations and organizations for "Light It Blue Michigan." All costs are paid by private donations.

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Health
4:13 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Health care tax credits available for 745,000 Michiganders next year

Nearly three-quarters of a million Michiganders will qualify for a federal tax subsidy to help pay for health care premiums in 2014.
Credit moderncog / MorgueFile

Beginning in October, people can sign up to get help paying for health coverage under of the Affordable Care Act.

In Michigan, some 745,000 people will qualify, according to Families USA, a national non-profit organization for health care consumers.

Executive director Ron Pollack says in Michigan, 91 percent of those who will qualify for the tax credit are working families.

"In Wayne County, we estimate it's over 147,000 people; in Oakland County it's about 72,000 people; in Macomb County it's over 59,000 and in Kent County it's almost 46,000," Pollack says.

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Health
12:10 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Michigan doctors turn focus to pain management and quality of life

Credit University of Michigan Medical School

The University of Michigan Health System has begun training teams of palliative care specialists. The Adult Palliative Medicine Program puts more focus on helping patients manage the physical and emotional pain from chronic disease and dying. 

U-M Chief of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine Dr. Raymond Yung  is guiding the program. He says some patients think suffering is just the way it is -- that they're supposed to be tough. Some people may worry about addiction.

"This is not a reason for anyone to withhold pain medication that they need," Yung says. "In this patient population, actual issues with addiction is not a big problem at all."

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Stateside
4:39 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

What is palliative care and why should we talk about it?

Dr. Neshant Sekaran reports on palliative care
UofMHealth.org

How much do you know about palliative care?

If your answer is, 'not a lot,' you're not alone.

Though palliative care can serve an important role in a patient's life, it doesn't get much attention. 

Let's start off with a definition from Dr. Sekaran. 

Dr. Nishant Sekaran is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan, and is the author of reports about the growing palliative care industry in Michigan that Michigan Radio is airing this week. 

"When I talk to my patients, we are going to be very aggressive about focusing on your quality of life," said Sekaran. "That doesn't mean that you can't also be aggressive with pursuing medical therapy that is consistent with your goals and wishes about your care. Palliative care is really about clarifying what the patient's goals of care are while focusing on the physical and psycho-social  aspects of illness."

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