Health

Health
10:30 am
Thu August 30, 2012

Update: West Nile virus reaches epidemic level in Michigan

Mosquitos are spreading West Nile virus.
user trebol-a Flickr

Update Aug. 30, 10:30 a.m.

Michigan health officials say an 87-year-old woman from Kent County is the fifth person to die from the West Nile virus in the state this year.

State Department of Community Health spokeswoman Angela Minicuci confirmed the death this morning.

She had no other details on the woman.

Aug. 29, 2012

Reports of West Nile virus cases keep coming in, and now Michigan health officials say the illness has reached epidemic proportions in the state.

Michigan State University entomologist Ned Walker recently told Michigan Radio's Rina Miller that the intensity of the virus is very alarming.  "I haven't seen anything that is this intense in my career," said Walker.

Officials said today an 86-year-old woman from Wayne County is the fourth person to die from the West Nile virus in the state this year.

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State of Opportunity
12:29 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

State of Opportunity: Michigan's most disturbing disparity

cheriejoyful Flickr

In Grand Rapids, African American infants are just slightly more likely to survive to their first birthday than infants born in the Gaza Strip. Six years ago, Grand Rapids had the worst infant mortality rate in the state. Today, it is sixth.

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Health
4:43 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Bedbug sighting prompts Detroit judge to clear courtroom

Michigan.gov

A Detroit judge ordered everyone out of her courtroom this afternoon after a bailiff observed bedbugs crawling on a man in the first row of seats.

The Detroit News reports that 36th District Judge Cylenthia LaToye Miller emptied the room so that a pest-c0ntrol company could come spray it down.

The man was in the courtroom accompanying a witness. His daughter later said she knew there were bedbugs in her father's house.

Miller told the News:

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Health
1:25 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

MDCH reports summer's second Michigan West Nile fatality

user xpistwv MorgueFile.com

Michigan officials say a second person has died from the West Nile virus, and 18 more cases have been reported this week.

Today, the Michigan Department of Community Health released figures (see chart) showing two deaths and 41 cases this season.

Officials last week said an elderly woman in Washtenaw County died from West Nile. Details of the most recent death were not released.

The data shows cases span several counties, including nine cases in Wayne, eight in Macomb, six in Oakland and seven in Detroit.

Yesterday, federal officials reported four times the usual number of cases in the current U.S. West Nile outbreak.

So far, 1,118 illnesses and 41 deaths have been reported nationwide. Typically, fewer than 300 cases are reported by mid-August.

Prevention tips include draining standing water in your yard, avoiding skin exposure to mosquitos, wearing mosquito repellant and reporting sick or dead animals to authorities.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Health
1:38 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Have an affinity for cats? It might just be the toxoplasmosis talking

Toxoplasmosis Life Cycle
CDC

Earlier this week, Michigan Radio's Rina Miller reported on an MSU study that links a parasite found in cat stomachs and undercooked meat to suicides.

That may be just the beginning for Toxoplasma gondii.

The infection it can cause in humans, called toxoplasmosis, appears innocent enough.

Many cases exhibit no symptoms and typically require no treatment.

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Health
10:42 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Why is lack of exercise the number one health concern for kids?

insipidlife flickr

Kids don't get enough exercise, and it's really bad for their heath. That's what many adults told a national survey. Lack of exercise was number one on the list of top-ten child health concerns according to the survey conducted by C. S. Mott Children's Hospital. Obesity and smoking rounded out the top three health concerns for kids.

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Health
2:55 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Childhood health poll: Americans most concerned about inactive, obese children

user kahle MorgueFile.com

People in the United States are more concerned about the physical fitness of their community's children than any other health issue.

That was the finding of a University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital poll on children’s health.

When asked about the nation's most pressing childhood health concerns, 39 percent of adults listed "not enough exercise," trailed by "childhood obesity" with 38 percent.

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Health
12:38 pm
Sat August 18, 2012

Parasite found in cats, undercooked meat may be factor in some suicides

jkt_de MorgueFile

A common parasite found in cats and undercooked meats  could pose a bigger risk to humans than previously thought. 

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Health
11:03 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Couple ends bid to swim across Lake Michigan

Sara and Jeff Tow aboard the S. S. Badger on their way to Wisconsin before the swim.
Facebook

Jeff and Sara Tow had to cut their swim across Lake Michigan short. The couple was publicizing the swim to raise awareness about postpartum depression. Strong currents in the lake and exhaustion were to blame.

From the Associated Press:

Family spokesman Ryan Reed says in an e-mail to the Associated Press that Sara and Jeff Tow were declared medically unable to continue the swim Wednesday. He says they were brought by boat to Ludington and taken to a hospital for evaluation.

The Grand Rapids-area couple got under way Tuesday morning from Two Rivers, Wis. They had planned to swim to the Big Point Sable Lighthouse at west Michigan's Ludington State Park.

Reed says strong currents slowed their progress.

Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley spoke with the couple prior to their attempt for our Seeking Change segment.

Health
4:04 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

Swine Flu variant strain found in Michigan child

user Julo Wikimedia Commons

The Kent County Health Department today reported that the first case of H3N2v influenza infection has been identified in a child from Washtenaw County.

The press release says the child was reportedly around swine at the Ingham County Fair this August, where the child may have contracted the infection.  The H3N2v flu was mild in this case, and did not require hospitalization.

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Health
10:56 am
Wed August 15, 2012

Grand Rapids duo begins postpartum depression awareness swim across Lake Michigan

The starting and ending points on the couple's swim across Lake Michigan
Google Maps

11:04 a.m.

Jeff and Sara Tow had to cut their swim across Lake Michigan short. The couple was publicizing the swim to raise awareness about postpartum depression. Strong currents in the lake and exhaustion were to blame.

From the Associated Press:

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Health
2:06 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Want kids' immunization records? There's an app for that

user Reeda Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan Health System is making some basic personal medical records available to patients on on the web.

Starting Wednesday,UMHS patients can go on the web or smart phone to check the results of a lab test, request a prescription refill, and other health routine matters.

Dr. Margaret Punch is in charge of the new project.

She says parents could use the portal to get their kids' immunization records, state.

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Health
4:37 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

VIDEO: UM Survival Flight adds three helicopters to the fleet

American Eurocopter 155
Elaine Ezekiel Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan Health System is phasing in three new helicopters to their Survival Flight fleet this week.

The new helicopters look like slender U of M football helmets. They can travel faster, farther and more quietly than the old helicopters, and carry additional equipment and fuel.

The new helicopters will replace their 14-year-old counterparts, the Bell 430. Flight nurses expressed enthusiasm for the new aircrafts, but they were also sad to see their old helicopters go. 

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Health
3:17 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Top five states in obesity: Michigan makes the list

Obesity rates in the U.S. States in orange have obesity rates of 30 percent or more.
Trust for America's Health

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health, the states with the top five obesity rates are:

  1. Mississippi - 34.9 percent
  2. Louisiana - 33.4 percent
  3. West Virginia - 32.4 percent
  4. Alabama - 32.0 percent
  5. Michigan - 31.3 percent

The rates reflect the percent of the population with a body mass index of 30 or higher. Body mass index is a calculation based on weight and height ratios. You can find your body mass index here.

The rates in the report were based on CDC data (part of the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey).

The top five "skinniest" states?

  1. Colorado - 20.7 percent
  2. Hawaii - 21.8 percent
  3. Massachusetts 22.7 percent
  4. New Jersey 23.7 percent
  5. California - 23.8 percent

From the group's issue brief:

 “Obesity has contributed to a stunning rise in chronic disease rates and health care costs. It is one of the biggest health crises the country has ever faced,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, TFAH executive director. “The good news is that we have a growing body of evidence and approaches that we know can help reduce obesity, improve nutrition and increase physical activity based on making healthier choices easier for Americans. The bad news is we’re not investing anywhere near what we need to in order to bend the obesity curve and see the returns in terms of health and savings.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder gave a policy speech last fall about the state's struggle with obesity saying "too many Michiganders smoke, are overweight, and don’t exercise." In that speech he called Michigan's health care system "broken." He also set a personal weight reduction goal for himself in the speech - something he's still working on.

Last year the state ranked 10th in the nation in obesity. The Trust for America's Health notes year to year comparisons are difficult because of changes in the CDC's methodology.

Health
4:57 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Listeners and doctors weigh in on 'Living with Cancer'

John Klein Wilson Michigan Radio

Yesterday, we hosted a live web chat that coincided with the airing of our one-hour documentary, "Living with Cancer."

People who logged on could ask our cancer experts, Dr. Anthony Shields and Dr. Michael Harbut from the Karmanos Cancer Institute, their questions about cancer and the environment. Some weighed in via Facebook and our blog, as well.

Here is a recap of the chat:

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Health
10:08 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Risky heart CAT scans reduced 60% in study

CAT scan in progress
University of Michigan Health System

Michigan hospitals reduced the inappropriate use of a risky and expensive CAT scan by nearly 60-percent in a recent study.

Kavitha Chinnaiyan is a cardiologist at Beaumont Hospital.

She says too often, doctors order heart CAT scans just to rule out heart disease - even if their patients have no symptoms.

She says that's not a good idea - and not just because the scans cost $500 to $1,500 per scan.

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Health
2:54 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Live Web Chat: Talking about cancer

Clockwise from top left: Carol and Loren Schultz, Karrie Martin, Amy Lobsiger with her partner Dan Sicko, Jason Ratliff with his father
Michigan Radio

Welcome to our live Web chat with the producers of our documentary, Living with Cancer: Rebecca Williams, Meg Cramer and Sarah Alvarez.

The show is airing now on Michigan Radio, 91.7 FM/91.1 FM/104.1 FM, or you can listen to the live stream above.

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medical marijuana
4:31 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

City of Wyoming's medical marijuana ban goes up in smoke

Medical marijuana patient John Ter Beek grows a few marijuana plants in the basement of his home in Wyoming, Michigan.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Court of Appeals has struck down a city ordinance banning medical marijuana. Supporters of the voter approved medical marijuana law are calling it a huge victory.

The Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming is one of several Michigan cities or townships that have restricted the medical marijuana act voters passed in 2008.

Wyoming resident and medical marijuana patient John Ter Beek sued the city in 2010. Shortly after the ACLU joined the case.

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Health
1:24 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Improving Michigan's infant mortality rate

Michigan Dept. of Community Health

The Snyder Administration has outlined its plan to reduce infant mortality in Michigan, but some say the plan needs more state funding to work.

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Health
7:12 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Online exhanges for health coverage not ready yet

User: cncphotos Flickr

There's been no action by the state House yet on creating online exchanges for people to comparison shop for health coverage.

That’s after another day of hearings by two state House committees on the question.

Governor Rick Snyder is pushing the Legislature to act quickly so Michigan qualifies for federal planning grants, and does not risk being forced into a federal system.

Representative Al Pscholka chairs the House budget subcommittee that would fund the exchange.

He says the numbers are big, and he wants to step carefully.

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