2:00 am
Fri January 25, 2013

'These people are murderers': The drug network behind a deadly outbreak (Part 2)

Roughly 1,000 people in Michigan were injected with contaminated meds

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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11:06 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Michigan doctors saving lives in fungal meningitis outbreak (Part 1)

Anita Baxter holds a photo of her mom, Karina Baxter. Karina died of a stroke related to fungal meningitis
Kate Wells Michigan Radio

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

Fifteen people from Michigan have died from fungal meningitis, more than in any other state.

It’s tough to know for sure why Michigan wound up with a full third of all cases nationwide. Bad luck? A graying population seeking pain relief medication that, in this case, turned out to be contaminated? Or a bustling, privatized network of pain clinics spread across the state?

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4:40 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Michigan is 5th heaviest in nation: Health officials target obesity epidemic

Credit clarita / MorgueFile

Many Michigan residents are carrying an unhealthy amount of weight and the problem is getting worse.

Michigan is the fifth-heaviest state in the nation, according to Michigan Department of Community Health Director James Haveman.

"In 1995, 18% of the adult population was obese in Michigan. By 2010, it had increased to 32 percent," Haveman says. "Currently in Michigan, some 800,000 children and five million adults have a weight problem. If unchanged, obesity could reach 50 percent by 2030."

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4:11 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Stateside: Fending off bitter temperatures with shelters

More Michigan residents are seeking help at homeless shelters and warming centers this winter.
SamPac creative commons

Reverend Chico Daniels and Reverend Faith Fowler are giving shelter to the homeless.

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

During these frigid weeks the warmth of a home is invaluable.

But for the homeless, these winter conditions pose life-threatening challenges.

Reverend Chico Daniels, president and chief executive of Mel Trotter Ministries and Cass Community Social Services  executive director, Reverend Faith Fowler, spoke with Cyndy about the necessity of homeless shelters in the winter.

“In the Cass Corridor we have a warming center for 50 homeless women and children. Beyond that we have two regular shelters and some transitional housing,” said Fowler.

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4:52 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Stateside: Looking at Michigan's new abortion law 40 years after Roe v. Wade

Protestors in favor of pro-choice.
Rick Pluta Michigan Public Radio

Dr. Harris discussed recent legislation regarding abortions in Michigan.

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

Among the flood of bills passed in the waning days of 2012 came House Bill 5711.

The bill was signed by Gov. Snyder last month and became law (Public Act 499 of 2012).

Dr. Lisa Hope Harris Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Michigan spoke with Cyndy about the new law and its implications for the state.

“There are four components to the new law. The first is that health centers that provide 120 or more surgical abortions per year and advertise those abortions be licensed as free-standing surgical centers. The law does include waivers… Clinics will very likely be able to comply with this regulation. That means that women are unlikely to be directly affected by the component of the new law.”

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5:44 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

3 new infections in Michigan from bad steroids

CDC scientist Naureen Iqbal reads results of antifungal drug susceptibility testing during the multistate meningitis outbreak.

Michigan health officials have reported three more infections in the past week linked to contaminated steroids supplied by a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says at least 244 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.

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1:14 pm
Sun January 20, 2013

U-M phone app guides self-exams to help detect skin cancer

Credit University of Michigan

Many Michiganders are among the more than two million Americans diagnosed with skin cancer each year. It's the most common malignancy.

The majority will discover they have basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas, but about 50,000 people will learn they have melanoma, which is particularly difficult to treat if not caught early.

A free phone application called UMSkinCheck helps people examine their skin and keep track of changes.

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4:44 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Stateside: Assessing mental health in Michigan

Developers used tax credits to redevelop a former mental hospital in Traverse City

Stateside's mental health panel.

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

Today we looked at Michigan's treatment of mental health.

Milton Mack, Chief Judge of Michigan County Probate Court, and Dr. Michele Reid, Medical Director of Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency, spoke with Cyndy about the ways we treat mental health.

“I see case after case of people who didn’t get timely treatment. We have a mental health model in Michigan which is based on inpatient, but we live in an outpatient world….Today we know that early intervention helps people survive,” said Mack.

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5:35 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Confirmed flu cases down, health officials warn people to keep guard up anyway

Robert Couse-Baker Creative Commons

Maybe people are washing their hands and staying home when they’re sick. Maybe they’re not even going to the doctor’s office; toughing it out at home on the couch instead.

We don’t know why exactly, but the number of confirmed flu cases in Kent County this week dropped 43-percent from the week before. The number of people visiting the emergency room with flu-like symptoms has also decreased.

Statewide numbers are less dramatic, but also down from a peak in December.


“If you haven’t gotten a vaccination yet, get it,” Lisa LaPlant, a Kent County Health Department spokeswoman said. “There is a possibility that we could see resurgence of flu,” she adds.

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4:20 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

State health official: No flu vaccine shortage in Michigan


Michigan Health officials say there is not a shortage of the flu vaccine.

Angela Minicuci  is the spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, and she says while there is enough vaccine, some people may have to wait a few days to get the shot at their local pharmacy.

"There's an unusually high demand at this point in the season than we typically have," she said.

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4:38 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Stateside: Michigan is now fifth most obese state in America

Michigan's waistline continues to expand. The Endocrine Society and The Hormone Health Network

Dr. Peterson spoke with Cyndy about handling the state's obesity issue.

It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of Michigan residents will be obese by 2030.

But don’t throw your salad out in reckless abandon just yet.

There is hope for your waistline, said Dr. Tom Peterson.

Director of Quality, Safety and Community Health at DeVos Children’s Hospital, Peterson helped organize ShapeMichigan.

According to Peterson, obesity is a relatively new problem.

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2:00 pm
Sun January 13, 2013

Study: Many patients don't adhere to at-home cancer medication regimen

Credit Penywise / MorgueFile

People who take cancer treatments in pill form at home may not be using the medicines properly. 

A study by Michigan State University found that more than 40 percent of people took too many pills or missed doses of their oral cancer medications.

"Unfortunately, that can mean that it's not combating the cancer, or the medication is not able to work because the patient hasn't received enough of the medication," says Sandra Spoelstra, an assistant professor at MSU's College of Nursing.

Spoelstra says some oral anti-cancer agents are taken just once a day.

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4:33 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Stateside: The great grape state

Michigan's wine industry is revealing its bounties to the country.
user farlane flickr

Christopher Cook talks about Michigan's wine industry.

Michigan is the fourth-largest grape producing state.

This is good news for wine lovers.

According to the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, there are 101 commercial wineries producing more than 1.3 million gallons of wine annually.

Christopher Cook, Chief Restaurant Critic and Wine Writer for Hour Magazine, spoke with Zoe Clark about the state’s growing industry.

“When our auto industry was in so much trouble, the wine industry was beginning to boom. In the past decade it has come the distance and has now reached a point in quality and size where it is being recognized across the country,” said Cook.

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5:16 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Henry Ford doctors test stem cell treatment for heart attacks

Credit wikimedia commons

Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit are looking into how well stem cells can repair damaged hearts.

It’s part of a national study looking into potential new treatments for people who have suffered severe heart attacks.

“We extract the patient’s stem cells directly from them themselves. And then select for a specific population of stem cells,” said Dr. Gerald Koenig, a Henry Ford cardiologist. “And then re-inject them into the heart, by way of the heart blood vessels.”

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2:42 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Nurses say understaffing at two Michigan hospitals puts patients at risk

clarita MorgueFile

A federal complaint has been filed against two Lenawee  County hospitals. 

Nurses at Bixby Hospital in Adrian and Herrick Hospital in Tecumseh say chronic understaffing is putting patients at risk. The nurses are asking the National Labor Relations Board to intervene. Dawn Kettinger  is with the Michigan Nurses Association.

She says nurses often have to care for six or seven patients at a time, and are mandated to work 16-hour shifts.

"All the research tells us all of these practices translate to medical errors, more infections, even patient death," Kettinger says. "If you or a loved one needs to use the services of these hospitals, we'll do the absolute best we can, but it's getting tougher and tougher to give you safe care."

Kettinger says staffing levels vary by units, but says on a medical surgical floor, one nurse should not have to take care of more than four patients.

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4:00 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Stateside: Entering flu season equipped with vaccination

Dr. Sienko says patients cannot get sick directly from flu vaccinations. The worst symptom following the vaccination is usually a sore arm.
user the consumerist Flickr

This audio is pending

Flu vaccinations are invaluable for anyone aiming to stay healthy this winter.

Dr. Dean Sienko, Interim Chief Medical Executive for the Michigan Department of Community Health, stressed the importance of vaccinations.

“It looks like this is going to be one of our worst flu seasons in the past decade. The important thing is that citizens take this seriously.”

According to Sienko, only 20% of the Michigan population has been vaccinated. He recommended that almost everyone over six months of age receive a vaccination.

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2:00 pm
Sat January 5, 2013

Public hearing will discuss adding Parkinson's disease to medical marijuana list

Credit normalityrelief / morguefile

Parkinson's disease could be added to the list of illnesses that would qualify for medical marijuana use in Michigan.

A public hearing in Lansing later this month will address the issue.

Parkinson's disease  is a disorder of the brain that leads to tremors and stiffness. It can cause difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination. 

Dr. Kelvin Chou is an associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan. He says about one in every 1,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Parkinson's.

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3:33 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Another death in Michigan linked to tainted steriod injections

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan health officials have confirmed an 11th death in the state linked to tainted steroid injections.

The steroid injections were intended to relieve back pain. But the steroids were contaminated.

Angela Minicuci is with the Department of Community Health.

She says the 87 year old Washtenaw County woman who died December 30th was being treated for an epidural abscess.

Minicuci says abscesses have been the most diagnosed ailment related to the tainted steroid investigation.

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2:14 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Michigan flu cases on the rise, state confirms third child death

This graph shows the percentage of flu-related patient visits peaking earlier than in past years.
Michigan Department of Community Health

Flu cases in Michigan continue to rise as the Department of Community Health (MDCH) confirmed last week that a third child and at least two adults have died from the illness.

According to the state’s most recent Influenza Surveillance Update, there have been 252 confirmed cases of the flu for the 2012-13 season (starting Sept. 30, 2012).

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3:58 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Heart valve replacement procedure increasingly used for high-risk patients

The SAPIEN heart valve
Credit Edwards Lifesciences

More Michigan hospitals are using a new device to treat a heart condition without  invasive surgery. 

About 1.5 million Americans suffer from aortic stenosis. That's when a valve in the main artery carrying blood out of the heart doesn't fully open.

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