Health

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Michigan now has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who do not have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

Despite adamant statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers of Disease Control that vaccines have no link to autism, an anti-vaccination movement is growing online, from parent to parent, and through activist celebrities, such as actress Jenny McCarthy.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and physicians are mounting fresh efforts  to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

This vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

We wanted to see how this story is being played out in the exam rooms of a busy pediatric practice, day-in and day out. Oakland County pediatrician Dr. Martin Levinson has been practicing medicine for 33 years. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There is some good news in Michigan’s battle with obesity.  

Fewer Michigan children qualify as obese. 

More than 30% of Michiganders are considered obese.   Michigan ranks as the 5th fattest state in the union.

But there may be hope for the future.

A new Centers for Disease Control report finds a slight decline in obesity rates for “low-income” pre-school children in Michigan.  

The rate dropped from 13.9% to 13.2 % between 2008 and 2011.

everydayfamily.com

Michigan has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and a new effort is underway to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

The vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

“As parents prepare to send their children back to school….it is important they make sure each child is up to date with their immunizations,” says Dr. Kenneth Elmassian, the president of the Michigan State Medical Society.

More than a hundred children in Washtenaw County have been treated for Whooping Cough this year. There were nearly 850 cases statewide last year. One 3 month old child died. 

Cases of other preventable diseases are also on the rise in Michigan. State health officials blame Michigan’s declining child vaccination rate. 

NCI

Michigan's cancer profile can cause unease, especially if you live or work near polluted waterways or land. Federal health data show that where you live might determine whether you will get cancer and what type.

Journalist Norm Sinclair looked at the "cancer hot spots" in Michigan for the August issue of DBusiness magazine, and he joined us today from Oakland County.

dr_relling / Flickr

The first human case of West Nile virus is being reported in Michigan this week.

Last year, the virus killed 17 people in this state.

Here's the good news: There has been lots of rain this year.

It turns out the kind of mosquitos that carry West Nile like dry, hot weather.

The bad news: we're not in the clear yet. August and September are the peak months for mosquitos.

It wasn't until this time last year that Michigan had its first human case in 2012.

"The fact is, we're seeing it in animals, now we're seeing it in humans,” says

photo by Anna Strumillo Phuket - Thailand / www.fotopedia.com

Only five states will spend less per capita than Michigan to spread the word about the federal health care law, the Associated Press reported.

From the AP:

“Michigan's $5.7 million in outreach spending amounts to 58 cents per resident. That's far less than states that are embracing the Affordable Care Act.”

Across the country, states and the U.S. government are pumping out advertising campaigns to get people familiar with changes under the Affordable Care Act. Billions of dollars from state and federal coffers alike are expected to be spent on getting the word out on new requirements, as well as the health insurance exchanges opening on October 1.

But according to the AP, Michigan has declined money the majority of federal funding for the promos:

childhelp-usa.com

Child abuse is on the rise in Michigan.

That's not just opinion or speculation.

As recently as 2006, Michigan's rate of child abuse and neglect was below the national average.

Today, it is more than 50% higher than the national rate.

And this surge in child abuse comes exactly as state spending on abuse and neglect prevention has been cut sharply.

Why are child abuse and neglect rates so high in Michigan?

For the answer we turn to Jane Zehnder-Merrell, the project director for Kids Count in Michigan at the Michigan League for Public Policy, and Cathy Weissenborn, the President of CARE House of Oakland County, the Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Oakland Count.

http://www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org/

Three of the five men linked to the biggest meth bust in Michigan have been sentenced to federal prison.

It began with a traffic stop in Paw Paw, which led police to discover more than 20 pounds of pure methamphetamine from the vehicle and from a pole barn in Van Buren County.

U.S. Homeland Security believes methamphetamine was being smuggled into the country in hidden compartments of vehicles and then sold in West Michigan.

And crime reports show that southwest Michigan counties top the state list for meth lab busts, while burns from explosions and spills from cooking meth are on the rise in Kalamazoo County, and meth cases crowd court dockets in southwest Michigan.

Jen Cervi founded the Collegiate Recovery Program while she was a student at the University of Michigan. Today she's a substance abuse coordinator at Michigan Ability Partners.

And Jen Cervi is a recovering meth addict. She has been sober since May 13, 2006.

flickr.com

Schizophrenia affects nearly 2.4 million Americans. The mental disorder enables patients to feel like they are "hearing voices," and have difficulty with change.

Now, Michigan State University researchers have made a discovery that could help treat some symptoms of Schizophrenia. While current antipsychotic drugs are able to reduce hallucinations, the new study finds information that may eventually help patients cope with other symptoms. These include trouble responding to change, lack of motivation, and the inability to experience pleasure.

Detroit Free Press

It's a safe bet to state that one of the greatest sports rivalries in America is the one between Michigan and Ohio State.

Well, there's a "Beat Michigan" campaign happening right now in Buckeye-land that even the most die-hard Wolverine fan could not complain about.

A 12-year-old Ohio State fan---a true Ohio State fan---has been fighting brain cancer for the past two years. And to get him through the grueling chemo to help him marshal every bit of energy towards beating that cancer, young Grant Reed has named his tumor "Michigan."

And guess what, it's working! And there's nothing like some Internet fame to take a kid's mind off of the tough realities of a cancer battle.

Grant's dad, Troy Reed, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Melodi2 / MorgueFile

People older than 50 may be struggling less with depression than they used to -- with some exceptions. 

A study by the University of Michigan finds that fewer older adults reported symptoms of depression between 1998 and 2008 than in the previous ten years.

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A new survey by the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT) finds Medicaid recipients are the happiest with their health insurance. 

65% of people with Medicaid insurance rated it as very good or excellent - compared to  54% with Medicare insurance. 

51% of people with employer-based insurance rated it as very good or excellent. 

The lowest number was among the individually-insured group - those are people who buy their own insurance.  Only 43% said it was very good or excellent.

US Embassy Canada / Flickr

The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donations. Donations were down about 10% in June and the first week of July, which translates to about 50,000 fewer donations overall.

A study of young assault victims in Michigan finds many are at high risk for gun possession and aggression.

The University of Michigan Injury Center conducted a survey of young people treated for assault injuries at an emergency department in Flint.

Gun violence kills more teens and young adults than anything except auto accidents, according to the report.

metrohealth.org

A new study finds young men are at a greater risk of dying from melanoma than young women.

But a University of Michigan expert worries some people will take the wrong message from the study.

Melanoma is one of the most serious forms of skin cancer.

Researchers say their study shows young men were 55% more likely to die from melanoma than young women. The study appears in the journal Dermatology.

Michael Sabel is in U of M’s surgical oncology division. He was not involved in with the study.

State officials say participants and spectators at an endurance event last weekend at Michigan International Speedway were exposed to Norovirus.

The Michigan Department of Community health says the outbreak at the "Tough Mudder" contest has been confirmed.

A spokeswoman says more than 200 reports of gastrointestinal symptoms were reported since July 1.

She says in most people, the illness lasts for one to two days and includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

kamuelaboy / MorgueFile

Every year there are news stories about the dangers of swimming, yet people drop their guard and accidents happen.

Flickr

Women of Michigan, something's going on.

Somehow, the "men's team" is gaining ground on the "women's team." Census results show a surprising trend: the state's male population is growing... and men are living longer.

Our go-to guy when it comes to crunching Census data is Kurt Metzger. He's the director of Data Driven Detroit and he joined us today to discuss the new statistics.

Listen to the full interview above.

Chronic illnesses take a huge toll, both on the patient suffering from them, and on the overall health care system in the form of much higher health care costs.

Ford Motor Company says 61% of its health care costs are from employees who suffer from at least one, but often multiple, chronic illnesses. Those include heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and asthma.

The company hopes to reduce those costs, while improving the quality of life for the people burdened by chronic illness.

user Robertv! / Flickr

Did a law aimed at reducing methamphetamine use in Michigan produce results?

In 2011, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that curbed the amount of pseudoephedrine Michiganders can buy. An active ingredient in some cold and allergy medications, pseudoephedrine is also a critical component to meth production.

user Calgary Reviews / Flickr

According to Islamic law, food must be prepared within the criteria of “halal.” Primarily, this refers to the way that meat is killed and prepared.  

There were only two McDonald’s restaurants in the United States that offered halal products and both were in east Dearborn.

But the two branches were accused in 2011 of selling non-halal products that were advertised as halal and a lawsuit ensued.

The case was settled this past April.

user herval / flickr

Our State of Opportunity project focuses on kids and what it will take to get them ahead. At the most basic level, that means ensuring children are healthy. But as Michigan Radio’s Jennifer Guerra reports, nationwide drug shortages could threaten even that most basic task.

We called every neonatal intensive care unit in Michigan, and all but one got back us. Each one has experienced or is experiencing a wide variety of drug shortages in the NICU.

USFWS Midwest

Helping blind children and adults connect with nature: that's Donna Posont’s mission.

She's the director of a group called Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind and one of their projects is called Michigan Birdbrains. The project involves teaching blind individuals how to identify birdcalls, and then taking them out on nature walks to find the birds. Not only does this help participants gain confidence, but it also promotes environmental consciousness. 

Donna Posont joined us today to discuss the project further.

Listen to the full interview above.

wikimedia.org

It might be embarrassing, but expecting mothers: it is ok to tell friends and family to be vaccinated before they see your baby.

Pertussis, or Whooping Cough as it is more commonly known, is at the highest level of outbreak in the past 50 years. Ann Arbor specifically, reports a high level of the disease in their schools.

So, why does this put your newborn in danger?

wikimedia commons

Remember how your mother told you to "sit up straight?"

Well, she wasn't picking on you. She was right.

Medical experts say poor posture can be hazardous to your health -- and to business.

Two-thirds of people who work at desk jobs suffer from neck, shoulder and back pain, says Lisa DeStefano, who chairs Michigan State University's Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

That pain leads to about $3 billion loss in worker productivity every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"We need to line our head and trunk up over our pelvis," DeStefano advises. "It will help decrease the amount of strain on our neck and shoulder muscles."

Rina Miller / Michigan Radio

There’s a new kind of healing happening at a Michigan hospital. The prescription includes seeds, soil, sun, and water.  

It’s a hot, humid day, but there’s a nice breeze blowing through a hoop house at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital. That’s a greenhouse that can be used almost all year long.

It’s like walking into an oasis.

There’s a waterfall that flows into a small pond where a few koi live. 

The smell of rich, earthy compost fills the air. There are wooden planters that can be raised and lowered and another planter that turns like a Ferris wheel.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

For a lot of uninsured families in Michigan, this is a big week.

Lawmakers in Lansing are sloooowly moving ahead with expanding the state’s Medicaid program.

That would give another 470,000 Michiganders coverage.

So who exactly are we talking about here?

The morning I meet Jen and Todd Nagle, we have no clue the day will end with Todd being rushed to the doctor for chest pains.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan taxpayers may soon be able to support Alzheimer’s and ALS research with just a flick of a pen.

Last week, the Michigan House passed a bill that would create a checkoff form supporting unpaid caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, as well research and care for patients with ALS — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

By checking a box on their income tax form, Michigan residents could choose to give to the ALS of Michigan Fund, with money heading to research, patient services, and ALS clinics around the state.

The bill is expected to pass today in the state Senate.

But the provision supporting ALS research might raise some eyebrows, especially in light of Michigan’s contentious history with stem cell research.

Eight people have overdosed from heroin over the past two days in Washtenaw County, according to the health department and the sheriff's office. One person died in Saline, and seven others were hospitalized.

Sergeant Geoff Fox of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office says heroin use in Michigan is increasing.

Up to half a million Michigan residents could lose their health insurance if the legislature fails to expand Medicaid.

Low-income Michiganders covered by local health plans could lose their coverage in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. The law was written with the assumption states would accept federal funds to expand Medicaid.

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