Health

Science/Medicine
1:12 pm
Mon December 20, 2010

Lunar eclipse tonight

A lunar eclipse in 2008
D'Arcy Norman - wikimedia commons user

Update December 21st, 2:00 a.m.:

Well, I woke up... the Earth's shadow is passing over the moon right now. NASA says it'll be in full eclipse starting at 2:41 a.m. and then the shadow will start slipping off the moon at 3:53 a.m.

Welcome to the shortest day of the year! Now... time for bed.

December 20th, 1:12 p.m.

It's not as special as a solar eclipse, which happens in one spot (say in Detroit, MI) around once every several hundred years, but a lunar eclipse is still pretty cool. Even if it does happen around twice a year.

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Medical education
6:05 pm
Fri December 17, 2010

Another university looks to move medical-related programs to Grand Rapids

MSU's College of Human Medicine building is the latest addition to the "medical mile".
John Eisenschenk Creative Commons

Another Michigan university is looking to take advantage of Grand Rapids’ medical mile. The area is known for the growing number of specialty hospitals, medical research facilities, and medical schools located there. Just a few months ago, Michigan State University opened a brand new skyscraper in Grand Rapids – a new home for its College of Human Medicine.

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Health
4:10 pm
Wed December 15, 2010

Bronson Healthcare to buy major stake in Battle Creek Health System

Kalamazoo-based Bronson Healthcare Group plans to buy a majority stake in Battle Creek Health System
Courtesy BCHS

Patients at Battle Creek Health System are expected to have more services and physicians available to them after a deal with a larger hospital is completed.

Bronson Health Group of Kalamazoo is buying a 51% stake in the smaller BCHS.

Denise Brooks-Williams is president and CEO of the Battle Creek facility. She says the two hospital systems have common goals.

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Health
6:38 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Spectrum Hospital completes first heart transplant in west Michigan

Rahn Bentley had his surgery November 27th, 2010
Bruce Rossman Spectrum Health

Doctors are celebrating the first successful heart transplant done in west Michigan. In February Spectrum Health was approved to perform heart transplants. Three other hospitals in Michigan are allowed to do the complicated procedure, but they’re all located in southeast Michigan.

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Health
3:43 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

More teens using marijuana, fewer using alcohol

The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research has been conducting this study for 36 years.
United Nations Photo

The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research has been monitoring drug use among teens for 36 years. This year's "Monitoring the Future" study had responses from more than 46,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.

They found that marijuana use is on the rise. 43.8% of 12th graders said they've used marijuana in their lifetime. That's up from 42% in 2009, and 42.6%  in 2008. From the study:

Marijuana use, which had been rising among teens for the past two years, continues to rise again this year—a sharp contrast to the considerable decline of the preceding decade

Alcohol use, on the other had has been decreasing. 54.1% of 12th graders said they'd been drunk in their lifetime. That's down from 56.5% in 2009, and 54.7% in 2008. From the study:

Alcohol use—and, specifically, occasions of heavy drinking—continues its long-term decline among teens into 2010, reaching historically low levels.

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Science/Medicine
3:04 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Marijuana, ecstasy use rising among 8th graders, say U of M researchers

 University of Michigan researchers say drug use is rising among middle schoolers.   They say it could be a ‘bell weather’ of problems ahead.  

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HEALTH CARE REFORM LAW
4:00 pm
Mon December 13, 2010

Michigan AG praises ruling striking down part of national health care law

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is praising a federal judge’s ruling striking down part of the federal health care reform law. 


The federal judge ruled the health care law is unconstitutional because it requires all Americans to buy insurance.   The Justice Department plans to appeal.

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Medical marijuana
10:07 pm
Mon December 6, 2010

Despite potential legal case, recall effort, city approves medical marijuana ban

People for and against the ban pleaded their case to city council Monday
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A Grand Rapid’s suburb is the latest city to adopt a ban on medical marijuana. Wyoming City Council voted unanimously in favor of local laws that reflect federal rules governing marijuana over the state’s new laws allowing medicinal use.

Mayor Jack Poll, who is also a pharmacist, says they would like to see medical marijuana dispensed as any other drug for the safety of the patient and the city’s neighborhoods.

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Medical marijuana
5:06 pm
Sun December 5, 2010

Wyoming to consider medical marijuana ban Monday

John Ter Beek in his grow room in Wyoming. Ter Beek has been a medical marijuana patient for a year and a half.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A Grand Rapids suburb will consider a ban on the state’s new medical marijuana law Monday night. Their decision comes days after the ACLU announced they’re taking three Detroit suburbs to court over similar bans.

Wyoming City Council will consider medical marijuana regulations that are similar to rules passed by Livonia, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham. Those cities are being sued by the ACLU on behalf of a medical marijuana patient with multiple sclerosis.

Attorney and medical marijuana patient John Ter Beek lives in Wyoming. He is also considering legal action if city council adopts the rules. He has been in talks with the ACLU about taking up his case. Officials with the ACLU confirm that but say it’s too soon to say if they will.

Wyoming’s City Council unanimously favored an early version of the ban last month. They have safety concerns when it comes to distributing medical marijuana. Under the new rules, the city would follow federal law over state laws about marijuana. Mayor Jack Poll says he expects final approval despite pending court cases.

Health Care
4:44 pm
Fri December 3, 2010

Holland to file lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield

Holland is the latest city in Michigan planning to file a lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield over variable fees. The fee is a 13.5% administrative access fee Blue Cross charged the city on any insurance claims filed by employees.  The city claims the insurer didn’t tell them about the fees for 17 years.

Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra says,

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Health
4:43 pm
Tue November 30, 2010

Health care leaders discuss how to improve nursing in light of new study

wkimediacommons

Health care leaders throughout the state are preparing for changes under federal health care reform laws. Dozens gathered at Grand Valley State University Tuesday to take part in a national discussion on how nurses can ease the transition.

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Sparrow Hospital Contract
8:37 am
Mon November 29, 2010

Sparrow Hospital nurses start voting today on a new contract

Sparrow Hospital nurses are supposed to start voting today on a new contract.

Last minute negotiations headed off a threatened lockout at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital ten days ago.

Hospital administrators threatened to lockout Sparrow’s 21 hundred nurses and support staff if they didn’t agree to the hospital’s final offer. 

Earlier, the nurses union authorized a strike and walked away from contract talks.

In the end, the two sides hammered out a tentative deal that included a modest wage hike and increase nurse staffing levels. 

Science/Medicine
12:56 pm
Wed November 24, 2010

Supporters push state senate to take up bill that would expand autism coverage

Brian Calley
Gophouse.com

Supporters are pushing the Michigan legislature to pass a bill that would expand health care coverage for autism treatment before the measure dies at the end of the lame duck session. The bills would force health insurance companies to offer coverage for behavioral therapies for autism.

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Medicine
10:42 am
Mon November 22, 2010

A call for safer CT scans

Patients getting overdosed by radiation are causing hospitals to more closely monitor CT scans.
user NithinRao Creative Commons

No doubt CT scans have improved a doctor's ability to make diagnoses. The ability to see inside the body without cutting it open has meant better treatment.

But CT scans can deliver high doses of radiation, which can lead to cancer later in life, or in severe cases, can cause severe burns and even death.

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Health
2:11 pm
Fri November 19, 2010

Allegiance Hospital takes smoke-free campus to new heights

Staff at Allegiance Hospital will no longer be able to smoke on or off campus during shift,
capl@washjeff.edu Creative Commons

At first glance, there's not much new about another hospital in Michigan going "smoke free" - more than 90% of Michigan hospitals can already claim that status. Here's how the Michigan Health and Hospital Association defines "smoke free":

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Medical Marijuana
6:39 pm
Sun November 14, 2010

Attorney, medical marijuana patient files case against Grand Rapids suburb

John Ter Beek has 12 plants in his grow room.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A medical marijuana patient and attorney is filing suit against a west Michigan city set to ban portions of the state's new medical marijuana law.

The city of Wyoming is poised to adopt a ban on growing medical marijuana next month through zoning regulations. If it does, it would join about 30 other Michigan cities with similar rules.

Attorney and medical marijuana patient John Ter Beek spent about $3,000 to create his small grow room for 12 plants. It's in the basement of his modest two-story home in Wyoming. He intends to keep it.

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Medical Marijuana
8:43 pm
Fri November 12, 2010

Federal judge hears arguments in Michigan medical marijuana case

Joseph Casias with his ACLU attorneys after Friday's hearing in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A federal judge in Grand Rapids heard arguments today in the case filed by a medical marijuana patient who was fired from Wal-Mart in Battle Creek.

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Medical Marijuana
4:38 pm
Thu November 11, 2010

Judge to hear arguments in medical marijuana case

(lky luciano/Google Creative Commons)

DETROIT, MICH. (Michigan Radio) - A federal judge in Grand Rapids will hear arguments tomorrow in a suit challenging the firing of a medical marijuana patient.

Joseph Cassias was fired from a Walmart in Battle Creek a year ago after he tested positive for marijuana.

Dan Korobkin is an attorney for the ACLU who's representing Cassias. He says employers from across the country are watching the case.

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Mental Health
5:09 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

Former First Lady discusses mental illness

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter speaks at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum Tuesday.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Rosalynn Carter is in Grand Rapids raising awareness of mental illness. She's promoting her new book about how to end what she calls a "national mental health care crisis."

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Tornado warnings issued (but is anybody paying attention?)
2:40 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

Severe storm prompts the National Weather Service to issue tornado warnings

 The National Weather Service issued numerous tornado warnings this afternoon, as severe storms rolled across Michigan.  No actual tornados were confirmed.

 A Michigan State University researcher says it’s time to reconsider how severe weather warnings are issued.

 Research Bob Drost says only about 63 percent of people take weather warnings seriously. 

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