Health

(Flickr Coastlander)

The search for signs of West Nile Virus is once again taking place in Michigan.  Symptoms of the mosquito-borne illness include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches.    August and September is the prime time for the virus.  

West Nile Virus first appeared in Michigan in 2002 and the number of human cases peaked a few years later.  Kim Signs is an epidemiologist with the state Department of Community Health.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A new University of Michigan study finds a connection between spirituality and recovery for cardiac patients. U of M researchers took cardiac patients for a four day non-denominational spiritual retreat. 

During the retreat, the patients were encouraged to engage in meditation, guided imagery, drumming, journal writing and outdoor activities.  

Amelia Carpenter / Michigan Radio Newsroom

University of Michigan nurses say the quality of patient care will suffer if they can’t reach an agreement in contract talks with management. Some nurses say they will leave their jobs. The two sides are debating financial issues including pay increases, health insurance and benefits in contract talks that resume today (Wednesday). The union representatives have added to an existing complaint with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission charging management with bad faith bargaining and making one-sided changes to some nurses’ working conditions. The union says the university made an assignment change without consulting them first.

Jeff Breslin is President of the Michigan Nurses Association. He says one of the key issues in hospitals is retaining staff.

"You get the expertise – you have nurses that can walk into a situation , assess it and know what needs to be done at the drop of a hat where new nurses – they will get to that point but they need the skill, they need the experience and they need the expertise from the people who have been there to pass that on to them," Breslin said.

The university health system said in a release they do not agree patient care will be affected with the new contract.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

John Chevier / Flickr

This morning we posted Mark Brush's story about giving blood, including why some people are disallowed from giving.

The story started with a post to Facebook about giving blood, and the comments you posted about the rules for giving.

Now that the final story has been posted, people are still reacting.

Anita Weber says, "Here's one way they can start...by using different sized needles! I've been turned away three times because they only use one size of needle. I avidly exercise so I'm not buying them telling me to lift weights more! My veins are the size they are! Their loss! I wanted and still want to donate!"

Carrie Paps responds, saying, "I give all the time, 2 gallons so far, but I understand the issues. Sometimes my iron is too low and sometimes they can't find a vein."

Craig Hennigan still objects to rules for giving blood. He says, "The lifetime ban for gay men is still stupid, homophobic, and wrong."

redcrossofnci.org

  The American Red Cross says they're facing a critical shortage to the nation's blood supply. And blood donations often drop in the summer when people are busy or traveling.

So they want you to give.

When we posted information about the appeal on our Facebook page, it sparked a debate about blood donor screening.

Not everyone can give blood. Only about 37%  of us can. Donors are pre-screened for potential exposure to diseases to keep the blood supply safe.

But many people feel some healthy donors are needlessly kept from donating blood.

imelenchon / MorgueFile

State health officials say three cases of tetanus have been reported in Michigan recently. The disease is serious, but it’s also preventable. 

Tetanus – also known as lockjaw --  is caused by a bacteria found in the soil and can also be spread through feces and saliva.

Pat Vranesich is with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

She says most years there are no cases reported. But in 2010 two cases were found, and there has been another increase this year.

An anti-malaria drug may provide better treatment to those with autoimmune diseases like arthritis and multiple sclerosis, according to a study by the Van Andel Institute.

The anti-malaria drug, chloroquine can be used to replace anti-inflammatory medications like steroids.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Embryonic stem cell research at the University of Michigan is an indirect winner in a federal court decision.   A U.S. District judge today tossed out a lawsuit challenging federal funding for the controversial medical research.

user meddygarnet / Flickr

UM Flint received around $2.1 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for nursing programs geared toward minority groups.

The university highlighted three programs that will receive funding.

  1. $1.2 million will go to a program call UM-FIND (UM-Flint Initiatives for Nursing Diversity) to continue its work aimed at "increase nursing education opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds." The grant provides funding to the program for the next three years.
  2. $700,000 will go to UM-FISCUP (UM-Flint Initiative to Strengthen Care to Underserved Populations). The program educates graduate nursing students about poverty and health care disparities among medically underserved populations. "It will allow an increase in student clinical placements with underserved populations and in the number of minority nurse practitioners, and that will lead to improvements in the by and large health of Flint and Genesee County residents."
     
  3. $221,000 will be used for scholarships for disadvantaged student scholarships and $32,000  will be used for graduate student stipends for Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Anesthesia students.
User: kynan tait / Flickr

Lansing City Council put a limit of 48 medical marijuana dispensaries allowed in the city.

Carol Wood is a Lansing City Council member. She says she would like to see fewer dispensary licenses available in Lansing.

“When you look at the fact that we have 27 pharmacies that have a variety of different drugs that they’re able to access out of there and that we are looking at 48 licensed establishments for only one drug, it doesn’t seem that there’s been necessity for us to have that many to take care of the residents of the city of Lansing.”

U.S. Army / Flickr

We spoke with Bridget Tuohey of the Red Cross of Southeast Michigan about today's urgent nationwide appeal for blood donations, after tornados and other disasters impacted the agency's ability to collect blood this summer.

Tuohey says Michigan has been critically short of blood for three weeks now. 

Normally, the state can turn to other areas of the country to get blood when there's not enough donation here.  That's not the case now, says Tuohey, and the Red Cross can no longer completely fill standing orders for blood from state hospitals.  Some hospitals are postponing elective surgeries as a result.

The Red Cross needs all blood types, but especially A-negative, B-negative and O-negative.   O-negative is called the universal blood type because it can be given to anyone in an emergency.

People who can donate can walk in to a clinic.  But Tuohey says it's best to make an appointment ahead of time by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767.)

User: Almond Butterscotch / Flickr

Death from prescription drug overdose is on the rise in Michigan.

More Michiganders are dying from prescription drug abuse than from heroin and cocaine combined. In 2009, almost 460 Michiganders died of overdoses from one or more prescription drugs, up from nearly 410 deaths the year before. Data from 2010 is still being collected.

Larry Scott is with the Michigan Bureau of Substance Abuse and Addiction Services. He says there is one way to prevent the rise of prescription drug abuse.

User GovWin / Flickr

The Detroit Free Press profiled Jerry Linenger today, a former mission specialist for the shuttle Discovery, who talked about his mixed emotions regarding today's final shuttle launch.

From the article:

G.L. Kohuth / Michigan State University

It looks like something good might come out of the startling news two years ago that more than 10,000 rape kits in Detroit were found in a warehouse, untested.

Michigan State University researcher Rebecca Campbell is sifting through policies and interviewing police staff in Detroit to try and figure out why the sexual assault kits were gathering dust instead of getting tested.

And she says her findings won’t just apply to Detroit:

"Oh, this is not unique to Detroit. Not at all. This is happening in communities all throughout the United States."

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The federal health care law is scheduled to take effect in 2014.  Health care leaders in Washtenaw County say they are not ready. 

Laura Weber reports: 

Two-thirds of all babies born to Michigan women in their early twenties are born out of wedlock. That’s according to a new report from the Michigan League for Human Services.

The reports shows a significant uptick over the past decade in the number of babies born out of wedlock to women in their twenties.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is with the League. She says teen pregnancies out of wedlock used to be more prevalent.  

User: Caneles / Flickr

It’s the hottest season of the year and health professionals want people to remember to protect themselves from the sun. 

Dermatologists say it is important to stay out of the sun during peak hours from 10am to 3pm; Also seek shade; Wear protective clothing; Double up on sunscreen and reapply every two hours.  Frank Wang is with the University of Michigan Department of Dermatology

You do want to protect yourself because even one bad blistering sunburn can increase your risk of melanoma two-fold.

User: scariepants / Flickr

You can no longer sell or give away a traditional drop-side rail crib in Michigan or in the rest of the country.

Drop-side cribs are one of the most popular crib designs. They have a side rail that can be raised and lowered for easier access to the child.

Drop-side cribs have caused more than 30 deaths since 2000.

Crystal Phillips is the Safety Center coordinator at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. She says she is telling parents to stop using the drop-side cribs immediately.

Mark Coggins / Flickr

A new survey found the state of Michigan is not ready to implement the health care overhaul passed by Congress. The Affordable Health Care Act is supposed to go into effect in 2014.

Marianne Udow-Phillips  is the Director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation. She says more people will be eligible for Medicaid under the new health care act and this might overwhelm an already strained health care system:

Nasa's Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr

Here's your Friday "Science is awesome" moment, care of the Washington Post.

The story is about a black hole eating a star like our sun and shooting out gamma rays.

Oh...and it only happens once every 100 million years.

Chuck Caveman Coker / Creative Commons

The Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs will fight a federal court ruling they say sets a bad precedent for medical marijuana patients.

mich.gov / Michigan Government

An organization that works to prevent teen pregnancy says steady progress has been made over the past couple of decades. But also it says the cost of teen pregnancy remains high, socially and fiscally. 

More than 260,000 teenage girls gave birth in Michigan between 1991 and 2008.

The cost to state taxpayers was about $7.6 billion, according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Today, workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan tested out a system that will start cleaning up an enormous volume of radioactive water there.

The water has flooded many buildings at the complex, and it has seriously complicated efforts to bring the crisis there to an end. But it's also essential to keep the reactor cores from overheating.

Corvair Owner

A fish-killing virus has been found in Budd Lake in Clare County. The viral hemorrhagic septicema or VHS virus can infect a lot of species in the Great Lakes basin.

Gary Whelan, from Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division, says the number of fish at risk is small compared to the fish kill found in Lake Erie in 2006. 

hitthatswitch / Creative Commons

Clean Works Needle Exchange began ten years ago. At the time it was very controversial for Grand Rapids city commissioners to adopt local laws that would give drug users access to clean syringes.

Tami VandenBerg leads the non-profit that runs the Clean Works Needle Exchange. She says they provide clean needles for about 600 people a year.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is accusing a prescription drug wholesaler of illegally inflating prices of medicine purchased by the state's Medicaid program.

Schuette says he's filed a lawsuit seeking to recover millions of dollars from McKesson Corp. The attorney general says Michigan spent about $2 billion on brand-name pharmaceuticals from McKesson from 2001 to 2009.

The lawsuit filed in Ingham County court also names other defendants, including the company that publishes drug pricing data. An email seeking comment was left Monday with San Francisco-based McKesson.

Schuette is promising to "bring the hammer down" on anyone who tries to cheat Michigan. The lawsuit isn't unique. Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout says other states have sued and settled.

Tim Ellis / Flickr

The recent E. coli outbreak, based largely in Germany but affecting a total of twelve countries, is responsible for at least 22 deaths with thousands more reported ill.

At least one of the victims of the recent E. coli outbreak is in Michigan.

jamesjyu / via flicker


There’s a big push these days to eat more locally-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables.  St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor has started a farm on its property to supply fresh produce to hospital patients, employees, and the community.  Bridget Bodnar reported on this story for Michigan Radio and she spoke with Morning Edition host Christina Shockley about it.

Flickr user Chuck Caveman Coker

A judge in Grand Rapids says the state of Michigan must comply with a federal request to turn over information about the medical marijuana records of six people in the Lansing area. The Department of Community Health had refused to comply with a subpoena from federal agents without a court order. That's because Michigan's medical marijuana law has a confidentiality provision.
    

Flickr Chesi-fotos CC

New University of Michigan research finds a link between bullying and sleepiness.  U of M researchers looked at students in Ypsilanti public schools and found students who got in trouble for bullying were twice as likely to be sleepy during the school day or suffer from sleep apnea. 

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