4:59 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Health officials ask for quick action on new street drug

Credit keyseeker / MorgueFile

Michigan health officials have asked  the state to put a new class of synthetic drugs on the state's controlled substance list. 

Street drugs with names like 25i, 2CB or 2X are made with a chemical called phenethylamine -- a stimulant.

Its appearance in Michigan has prompted the Michigan Department of Community Health to issue an imminent danger notification to the Michigan Board of Pharmacy.

Angela Minicucci is with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

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4:54 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Health expert weighs in on 'moral objection' bill

A trade group is challenging Michigan's new health claims tax.
Adrian Clark Flickr

The lame duck session in the Michigan legislature has been the most active in recent memory. While so-called "right-to-work legislation, signed by Governor Snyder, has gotten the most attention there are a number of other controversial bills working their way through the legislature. They include a bill that would allow health care providers, facilities, or insurers deny service based on religious, moral or ethical objections. The providers would have to provide service in emergency situations. I talked with Peter Jacobson, Professor of Health Law and Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

5:20 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Stateside: Understanding depression in teens

Eric Hipple works to spread awareness of teenage depression

Depression in teens is a serious illness with a difficult diagnosis.

To better understand how to effectively communicate with one’s child we spoke with two men from the University of Michigan Depression Center.

Dr. Richard Dopp is a psychiatrist who specializes in teenage depression. And Eric Hipple, a former quarterback for the Detroit Lions, is the Center’s Outreach Coordinator.

“There is a lot of news that goes out when there is the loss of a teen. What we see over time is certain populations will have an increase in suicide, but what you are actually seeing is more people are talking about it,” said Dopp.

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4:56 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

UM researchers developing treatment to make bone marrow transplants safer

Dr. Sung Choi
Christy Barnes University of Michigan

University of Michigan researchers are developing a new use for an old drug.

Small doses of medicine already used to treat cancer may reduce inflammation in patients after a bone marrow transplant.

These transplants can save a cancer patient's life, but many recipients suffer from a life-threatening side effect called Graft-versus-host disease. It occurs when the donated cells attack their new host's tissues.

The drug Vorinostat could help reduce that risk. For the first time, researchers at U-of-M's Comprehensive Cancer Center are testing that possibility on human patients.

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11:02 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Why some seniors are sick over Blue Cross overhaul

Some seniors say the changes will hit them hardest.
photo by Anna Strumillo Phuket - Thailand

A lot of Michigan seniors are not happy with some of the proposed changes to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The legislature is overhauling Blue Cross, changing it from a charity to a state-tax paying business.

But some seniors say it could make their healthcare bills skyrocket, or even take away some of their health insurance plans all together.

Now, if your brain is starting to hurt at this point, don’t worry:  contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to understand this healthcare change stuff. Promise.

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5:13 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Michigan ranks 42nd nationally in funding smoking prevention

User: wcizmowski

Michigan ranks among the worst states for funding anti-smoking programs.

Each year, the state collects over one billion dollars in tobacco taxes and settlement money from a 1998 tobacco company lawsuit.

A new report by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids says Michigan only spends one tenth of one percent of that money on programs that reduce or prevent smoking.

As a result, the state has been ranked 42nd in spending money to keep kids away from cigarettes.

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4:39 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

New blood test can determine paternity before birth

The ArcPoint Lab in Kalamazoo
Rick Van Laan ArcPoint Labs

Pregnant women in Michigan can now use a simple blood test to identify the father of their unborn child.

Three labs across the state now offer the noninvasive prenatal paternity test. The Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing sites are part of the ArcPoint Franchise Group.

With only a blood sample from the mother and a cheek swab from the potential father, paternity can be determined as early as five weeks after conception.

At that time, the pregnant woman's blood starts carrying fragments of the fetus' DNA.

The labs send the mother's blood samples and potential father's cheek swab to a different lab in Columbia, Md., where technicians compare genetic markers to determine paternity.

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5:42 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Early stage breast cancer patients get too many tests

A new study finds about a quarter of people with early stages of breast cancer get expensive tests they don't need.

Advanced imaging - like CAT scans, PET scans, or bone scans - are usually not recommended for people with ductal carcinoma in situ, stage one or stage two breast cancer.

Tara Breslin is a cancer surgeon at the University of Michigan.

She says it's not clear who is asking for the extra scans, but it could be both doctors and patients.

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10:57 am
Tue December 4, 2012

Blue Cross Blue Shield legislation delayed

A state House panel has delayed a hearing, on a proposal to end the tax exempt status of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The legislation would transform the charitable trust into a customer-owned non-profit.

The House Insurance Committee Chairman says lawmakers need to work out concerns with parts of the legislation.

The committee is expected to reconvene this week.

Supporters say the proposal would modernize Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and allow it to be taxed and regulated as its competitors are.

Critics argue that it would reduce oversight of a company that controls 70 percent of the market.

The legislation passed the state Senate in October.

5:05 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Federal grant places 85 doctors-in-training in southeast Michigan

User: mconnors

A federal grant will put more primary care providers in medically-underserved areas of southeast Michigan.

The $21 million grant will help train medical residents in five federally-qualified health centers.

The program is a partnership between Michigan State University’s medical school and the Detroit-Wayne County Health Authority.

Chris Allen is CEO of the Health Authority. He says it will add much-needed primary care doctors to the medical safety net.

“And it ultimately will provide medical homes for the people who live in these areas, and thus not a reliance on the emergency room for their care," he said.

Allen says residents who participate in the program will be eligible for medical school loan forgiveness.

The plan is to train 85 residents over three years, starting next summer. Allen says after learning the practice in southeast Michigan residencies, the new doctors will stay in the area.

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2:36 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Stateside: Dr. Jack Kevorkian's legacy

Kevorkian's controversial case raised numerous quality-of-life questions
Greg Asatrian wikimedia commons

Jack Lessenberry talks about Kevorkian's legacy.

Twenty-two years ago today, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was first charged with murder.

He was charged with the death of Janet Adkins, an Alzheimer's patient who traveled from Oregon seeking Kevorkian’s assistance in ending her life.

Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry knew Kevorkian and extensively covered his trial.

“Kevorkian was more of a scientist than a doctor. He was obsessed with death and obsessed with the idea of organ transplants. He was presented by Geoffrey Fieger as concerned with alleviating peoples’ suffering,” said Lessenberry.

Lessenberry found Kevorkian to be both impatient and strikingly intelligent.

“He was brilliant; he probably had an IQ of 200. He was a restless person and a self-destructive person. He was a very different individual,” said Lessenberry.

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6:26 pm
Sun December 2, 2012

Michigan cases tied to meningitis outbreak hit 197

Michigan health officials say the number of state residents infected during a national outbreak of fungal meningitis has risen by nine to 197, with 13 deaths.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says that as of Friday, there have been 68 meningitis cases, 116 epidural abscesses, one stroke and 13 joint infections. The total of 197 infections is up from 188 in Wednesday's count.

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1:08 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

MSU Researchers: Murder spreads like disease

Credit wikimedia commons

A group of Michigan State University researchers say violence spreads through communities in much the same way diseases do.

The researchers looked at homicide data from Newark, New Jersey over a 26-year period, from 1982-2008.

Researcher and study author April Zeoli says the work stemmed from the perception that violence is “contagious.”

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4:58 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Stateside: When body parts become commodities

The idea of body parts as commodities is of interest to Dr. Adam Lutzker
Gray's Anatomy

For some, the idea of body parts functioning as units of exchange is unsettling.

But for Dr. Adam Lutzker, the concept is one worth investigating. Lutzker teaches at the University of Michigan- Flint, where he recently gave a lecture entitled “Human Body Parts as Commodities.”

Born from a teaching strategy used to spark his students’ attention, the lecture challenges what we view as viable commodities.

“A commodity is anything that is produced for profit and bought and sold. With a commodity, we tolerate the fact that not everyone will get them. This was the debate- should things be treated as commodities? Should they be treated as rights?” said Lutzker.

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4:29 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Study: Number of uninsured in Michigan would fall 46% under Medicaid expansion

Click MorgueFile

About a half million more Michigan residents would be covered by Medicaid  if the state implements an expansion of the program offered by the federal government.

Some two million people in Michigan who live below the poverty line are already receiving Medicaid to cover hospital and doctor visits,  prescriptions and other services.

Under the Affordable Care Act, Michigan could take advantage of 100 percent federal financing for the first couple of years to expand the program and 90 percent after that.

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11:29 am
Wed November 28, 2012

70 percent of women who get double mastectomies don't need them

70% of women who get double mastectomies don't need them

The statistics are scary: some 40,000 women are dying from breast cancer each year.

But some breast cancer survivors are getting double mastectomies they don't need, in the wrong belief it helps keep cancer from coming back.

That's according to a new University of Michigan study. For some survivors, the study says, the fear of cancer returning is so strong, they're getting risky surgeries for some false peace of mind.

If you've survived breast cancer, it can make medical sense to get that cancer-ridden breast removed.

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6:21 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Research surprise: Human sweat glands do more than sweat

It's not every day that researchers learn something completely new about how the human body works.

To be sure, researchers already knew that human beings have a unique kind of sweat gland, not found in any other animal.

But they didn't know everything those sweat glands do.

Laure Rittié of the University of Michigan says it was assumed that our hair follicles create new skin cells to heal wounds - because that's how rodents and pigs do it.

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4:03 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

Michigan's meningitis death toll rises

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Officials say the Michigan death toll from a national meningitis outbreak has risen to 13, with at least 167 infections reported.

The fungal meningitis is linked to contaminated steroids produced by a Massachusetts pharmacy used in injections for neck or back pain.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said Wednesday that the state has had 67 cases of meningitis, including the 13 deaths. In addition, there have been 91 epidural abscesses, one stroke and eight joint infections.

2:07 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Money, ego, and meds: Why would UM doc sell out to hedge fund?

Dr. Sid Gilman of the University of Michigan
University of Michigan Health Systems

You're an 80-year-old famed neurologist at the University of Michigan. You're a giant in your field, with a list of honors and awards as long as your arm. You're such a big name in Alzheimer's research that major drug companies ask you to run their clinical trials.

And then you blow it all by giving secret information to a hedge fund investor in what the FBI and the SEC are calling most lucrative insider trading scheme ever. 

But, why?

The Money

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4:11 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Stateside: LGBT Parenting

A healthy relationship with one's gay child is of great importance
user Marlith Flickr

A child's decision to discuss his or her sexuality with a parent is a defining moment.

A parent's reaction can have critical effects on the confidence and health of their child.

Author Anne Dohrenwend addressed the ways one should communicate with a homosexual child.

Her new book, “Coming Around: Parenting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Kids,” assesses healthy relationships between parents and their gay children.

Mike Neubecker of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) also spoke with Cyndy.

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