Health

click / MorgueFile

An organization of physicians says more isn't always better when it comes to medical tests.

A national campaign called "Choosing Wisely" looked at a list of common procedures that doctors and patients should question.

Dr. Jim Froehlich is director of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Michigan.

He says a stress test before a simple surgery is one example of an overused procedure.

"That's not always useful, especially if the planned procedure is of such low risk that if even if someone has some heart disease, it's unlikely to adversely affect them," Froehlich says.

Icare4autism.com

A new Michigan State University study finds a link between autism and a brain abnormality in low birth weight babies.

Tammy Movsas is an assistant professor of pediatrics at MSU and medical director of the Midland County Department of Public Health.

She’s been studying ultrasounds of low birth weight babies. She discovered babies were seven times more likely to develop autism if they had enlarged cavities in the brain that store spinal fluid.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Whole Foods announced today the store will open on June 5th in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood and will employ 75 people.

The store will be on the corner of John R and Mack, right off of Woodward Avenue.

The Associated Press reports details about job openings will be posted online April 2nd.

In the meantime, Whole Foods is holding informational meetings about jobs on March 5th, 6th, and 7th.

Parts of Detroit have been described as "food deserts," where access to healthy food can be a major problem. Whole Foods hopes to fill that void in Midtown.

The Austin, TX based chain received millions in tax breaks to build the store.

Some have questioned whether this is fair to other grocery stores operating in Detroit.

When it was announced that a Whole Foods would open in Detroit in 2011, Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra spoke with the competition:

Kim Smith lives in Detroit. Last year she opened Kim’s Produce, just a couple blocks over from where her competition will soon set up shop. As a resident of Detroit, she’s excited about Whole Foods coming to town:

"I mean that’s the question on everybody’s mind: When they move to Detroit, where am I gonna shop? So I think it is a really good thing for Detroit."

As for what Whole Foods will mean for her business?

"I don’t know. I really don’t know if we can really compete."

Nicole Haley / Nicole Haley Photography

Detroit has plenty of smart, talented kids who could have a bright future in medicine. But the few who do go into the field often don’t stay in the city after they graduate.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, fewer than eight percent of Michigan’s doctors are black or Hispanic.

The University of Michigan School of Medicine hopes to spark a change with its “Doctors of Tomorrow” program. 

A group of ninth-graders from Detroit’s Cass Technical High School is gathered around a gurney at U of M’s Clinical Simulation Center.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bill to set up a healthcare exchange in Michigan under the Affordable Care Act has cleared the state House.

The state would form a partnership with the federal government to create an online marketplace people could use to buy health insurance.

The bill passed easily with bi-partisan support. But many Republicans are not on board.

Representative Bob Genetski says he does not trust the federal government to respect Michigan’s interests.

Researchers explore a connection between social media and depression

Feb 28, 2013
Facebook.com / Facebook

Social media is rapidly becoming more than just a tool to stay connected with friends and old flames.

A University of Michigan conference this week about Depression on College Campuses highlighted new data which suggests that sites like Facebook are becoming outlets for people to communicate signs of depression.

Blue Cross Blue Shield building on Lafayette in Detroit.
Mikerussell / wikimedia commons

The Michigan House passed SB 61 and SB 62 today on a 92-18 vote. The bills go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote, and then they'll head to Gov. Snyder's desk for his signature.

The bills are aimed at overhauling how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan operates in the state.

Similar bills were attempted in the last session of the legislature, but they contained controversial abortion language. The language required an optional rider for abortion coverage.

Gov. Snyder vetoed those bills.

These new bills don't have the abortion language.

More on the changes from MLive's Melissa Anders:

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bill to set up a healthcare exchange in Michigan has passed its first hurdle in the state Legislature. A House panel today voted to accept more than $30 million from Washington to set up the exchange.

It would be a partnership between the state and the federal government under the Affordable Care Act.

House Appropriations Chair Joe Haveman says the alternative would be a federal exchange with no state control.

“Although it may appear like it was a step in the wrong direction or endorsing Obamacare, this was the conservative vote. The other vote was the liberal vote to say ‘we want the federal government to take us over.’”

Governor Rick Snyder wanted an exchange run entirely by the state. But lawmakers did not act in time, and that’s now off the table.

The bill now goes to the floor of the state House.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan health officials have reported three more infections and one more death linked to contaminated steroids supplied by a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says at least 249 people have been infected with illnesses including fungal meningitis that are part of a national disease outbreak. The steroids are used in injections to treat neck and back pain.

The department reports that at least 16 people have died in the outbreak.

mconnors / MorgueFile

A study from Michigan State University says it's not just people with families who have a hard time balancing work and life.

Single people have the same issues, but they may not get the same workplace flexibility as those with kids.

Ann Marie Ryan is a Professor of Organizational Psychology. She says employers need to make sure all workers get a break once in a while.

user Explore the Bruce / Flickr

Frida Waara is an instructor in the upcoming Becoming an Outdoors Woman event this weekend in the Upper Peninsula's Big Bay, sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources.

The event will help women - even the most devoted Netflixers - develop skills that encourage and maintain an active lifestyle during a Michigan winter.

So, how does Waara get women to be active outdoors when the weather drops below zero?

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Waara about the program and the importance for women to be active year round.

Official portrait

Governor Rick Snyder has called for a review of how Michigan provides mental health services.

The governor has signed two executive orders to come up with recommendations.The executive orders create two separate commissions.

Both of them will be led by Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

One major goal is to identify gaps that send people to jails and prisons instead of to programs that could treat their illnesses.

The plans also include teaching police, teachers, and clergy to spot signs of mental illness, earlier intervention for children with mental health issues, and helping more people get into treatment instead of being sent to jail or prison.

Administration officials say this will be the first thorough review of mental health services in Michigan since the state shut down its psychiatric hospitals in favor of community-based programs in the early 1990’s

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is taking steps aimed at improving mental health services in Michigan.

The Republican governor issued two executive orders Wednesday to bolster mental health initiatives in the state.

The first creates a Mental Health and Wellness Commission. The commission will be led by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and will advise the Michigan Department of Community Health on ways to strengthen mental health services.

Danielle Malzewski

Michigan needs babies and it needs the women who are willing to have them.

That's the takeaway after demographer Kurt Metzger crunched the numbers and analyzed the state's birthrate.

What is going on with this "anti-baby boom," and what might this mean for us as a state?

Kurt Metzger is the  director course at Data Driven Detroit. He joined us from his Detroit office to tell us about the drop in the birthrate and how it affects our state.

You can listen to our interview with him above.

UM Study suggests insurance biggest factor in doctor selection

Feb 19, 2013
Courtesy: C. S. Mott Children's Hospital

A new University of Michigan study suggests recommendations by friends and family are more important than online reviews when selecting a doctor.

Dr. Matthew Davis is a pediatrician at the University of Michigan Mott Children’s  Hospital, and director of the National Poll on Children's Health.  He says location and whether a doctor will accept your insurance are the top two factors for parents.   He added, “the fact that it so far outranks, the type of practice that a Doctor provides, is a major commentary on the importance of how expensive health care is in the US and how it can really influence a family’s decision-making.”

Bedbug on human skin
Piotr Naskrecki / CDC/Harvard University

Ursula Zerilli at MLive.com is reporting that a second Kalamazoo Library site has been closed due to bedbugs.

This time they were found in the Children's Room of the Kalamazoo Public Library's Central Library.

Earlier this week, MLive.com reported they were also found at the Washington Square Branch.

"We received a couple of books in the drop box and during a routine inspection, bed bugs were found," said Farrell Howe, a library spokesperson. "They were quarantined in plastic bags and destroyed and we are having an inspection take place."

Because they can become a big problem, the library staff is now trained to check every returned book binding for bed bugs.

The Children's Room is closed until Wednesday.  The Washington Square Branch got the OK to reopen last week after "bug sniffing" dogs inspected the site.

The Kalamazoo Public Library's Central, Oshtemo, Eastwood and Alma Powell branches have also been tested.

- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Wayne State awarded $165.9M medical research grant

Feb 15, 2013
user dig downtown detroit / Flickr

Wayne State University just had their largest research contract renewed.  

According to David Jesse's article in the Detroit Free Press, the grant is worth $165.9 million and will cover the next 10 years.

Grafixar / MorgueFile

A surplus of hospital beds in Michigan could be pushing up medical costs. 

Paul Delamater  is a research specialist at Michigan State University's Department of Geography.

He says Michigan already has about 7,000 more hospital beds than it needs -- especially in urban areas.

"I found that the availability of beds themselves actually caused utilization to rise," Delamater says. "If a new hospital is built, there's pressure to get people into those beds regardless of the medical-based need for putting them in that hospital bed."

cdc.gov

A 73 year old man from Grand Traverse County is the latest Michigander to die in connection with a batch of tainted steroid injections.  

13 people in Michigan have now died.   Three more Michiganders have died in Indiana.

The steroid injections were given to relieve back pain.  But, the injection contained a fungal contamination. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Sparrow Hospital officials in Lansing are celebrating their recent certification as Michigan’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center.

The Lansing hospital is one of only 20 centers recognized for its stroke treatment, which starts with diagnosis, through hospital treatment and outpatient therapy.

Dr. Syed Hussain is the medical director of Stroke Services at Sparrow.   He's also an MSU HealthTeam neurologist.

He says discussions about expanding Medicaid coverage in Michigan may help with providing some elective and preventive care.

clarita / MorgueFile

Many pregnant women who visit emergency rooms may not be getting treatment for sexually transmitted infections. 

A Michigan State University study finds a small number of the pregnant women tested at three West Michigan hospitals got the medication they needed.

That's because it takes about 48 hours to get the test results for chlamydia and gonorrhea and the women often can't be reached after they leave the emergency room.

flickr user Southworth Sailor

Today, I reported for State of Opportunity on some alarming new statistics on child abuse and neglect in Michigan.

You can click here to get the full story.

There is some debate about how to interpret a few of the statistics in the story.

One of the things I discovered while reporting the story is that it's actually hard to get good numbers on abuse and neglect in Michigan.

The state Department of Human Services provides a monthly fact sheet that includes the number of cases that were investigated, and how many were confirmed. But the numbers only cover two months worth of reports, and there's no detail on the nature of the cases, or where they occurred.

The Michigan League for Public Policy worked with the DHS to publish some more detailed measures of abuse and neglect in the latest Kids Count report.

From my perspective, even this report leaves as many questions as answers. 

That said, the statistics we do have are cause enough for concern.

Here are four to keep in mind: 

Michigan awards $2.5 million for HIV-AIDS prevention

Feb 5, 2013
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World_Aids_Day_Ribbon.png

The state of Michigan today awarded $2.5 million for HIV-AIDS prevention and intervention in urban communities throughout the state.

Some of the cities that will directly benefit from the fund include: Detroit, Kalamazoo, Dearborn, Ypsilanti, Saginaw, Lansing, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Flint.

Thomas Anderson / Flickr

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Is the State of Michigan going to expand its Medicaid coverage? That's the question on the front burner at the Governor's office these days as he prepares to unveil his new budget to the Legislature this week.

Cyndy spoke with Detroit Free Press reporter Kathleen Gray who helped break down the Medicaid program in the state and talked to us about the pros and cons of expanding Medicaid coverage to another half a million people.

The Affordable Care Act will assist states in expanding their Medicaid eligibility limits for adults to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, (that's and income of about $14,860 per year for one person).

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan health officials have reported two more infections in the past two weeks linked to contaminated steroids supplied by a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says at least 246 people have been infected with illnesses including fungal meningitis that are part of a national disease outbreak. The steroids are used in injections to treat neck and back pain.

The department reports that at least 15 people have died in the outbreak, unchanged from two weeks ago.

Flickr user Amy the Nurse

It’s not uncommon for newborn babies to have an unclear gender. About one in 300 infants have a disorder of sex development (or DSD). That means babies have atypical sex chromosomes, atypical gonads, or atypical genitals.

For some parents, the experience can be overwhelming and in the past, shame and secrecy have been associated with the disorder.

Andrian Clark / Flickr

We're getting a lot of feedback about last week’s series on the fungal meningitis outbreak in Michigan. Some of you loved the series. Some of you, not so much.

But there is one response that we want to share with you. It’s from Dr. Stephen Andriese, whom our reporter Kate Wells interviewed and quoted in the piece.

Dr. Andriese works at Neuromuscular & Rehabilitation Associates of Northern Michigan, which received and administered some of the contaminated drugs that led to this outbreak.

mconnors / morguefile

Most Michigan doctors say they are prepared to take on a wave of new patients -- if the state approves an expansion of its Medicaid program.  

Under the Affordable Care Act, nearly 300,000 more people could be added to the state's Medicaid rolls next year.

Marianne Udow-Phillips of the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation says the nonprofit group surveyed 1,500 Michigan physicians.
 
"Overall, 81% of primary care physicians say they're going to expand their practices to take new patients come 2014," Udow-Phillips says.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Governor Rick Snyder says he has concerns about whether Michigan's health care system could handle the increased number of patients if the state agrees to expand Medicaid eligibility.

The Republican has said one of the benefits of opting in to an expansion under the Affordable Health Care Act is it would allow the state to significantly expand assistance for those who need mental health care.

Snyder said Friday that he hasn't made his decision but will announce it during his budget address on February 7th.

mconnors / morguefile.com

This is the second in a two-part series. Click here to hear part one.

More than 240 people in Michigan are sick with fungal meningitis after receiving contaminated back pain injections. 

Now, the victims want justice. They’ve spent weeks in the hospital, racking up massive medical bills.

Those are the lucky ones: 15 Michiganders have died so far in this epidemic.

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