Health

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

Anglin Public Relations

Up to two thousand people will receive free dental care during a two day event in Saginaw.

Today and tomorrow, more than 300 dentists and volunteers will be treating poor Michiganders in need of dental care at Saginaw Valley State University’s Ryder Center.

Patients will receive fillings, extractions, cleanings and other procedures during the two day event.   

Steven Harris is the chairperson of the event. He says the ‘Mission of Mercy’ event is not only intended to provide much needed dental care, but also to dramatize the need for more state funding.

Medical diagnostic equipment
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

  More than a dozen insurance companies want to be part of a health care exchange that provides coverage to Michiganders under the new federal health care law.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, McLaren, United Healthcare and ten other insurance companies have applied to be part of the new health care exchange.

Beginning in October, Michiganders will be able to use a federally run exchange to compare the health care plans.  It’s all part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," which takes effect in 2014.

It’s coming.

In just six months, the Affordable Care Act will be going into full-effect. While many changes are already in place, 2014’s the big year for the law — it’s the year when all citizens are required to get insured.

But what if you already have insurance? How will you know what subsidies you’re eligible for? And where do we find these subsidies?

James Gathany, Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Michigan’s West Nile Virus season is getting off to an earlier than normal start.

State health officials report a wild turkey in Gratiot County tested positive for the mosquito-borne illness last month.

Angela Minicuci is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says the first signs of West Nile don’t usually appear in Michigan until the end of June or the beginning of July.

“So to see it toward the end of May is a little bit earlier than usual…but it’s not strange considering how strong of a West Nile year we had last year,” says Minicuci.

Photo courtesy of the Snyder administration.

The Michigan Legislature is getting closer to approving a state spending plan.

On Wednesday, the state Senate passed a education funding bill. And after lawmakers come back from the Mackinac Policy Conference, a broader budget is slated to pass next week.

But so far, debate on proposed appropriations have been mostly divided on party lines.

One issue on the partisan divide: Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The federal healthcare law called for broadening health insurance coverage to low-income adults — including some 400,000 in Michigan.

Out of 30 Republican governors, only six supported the expansion. Gov. Rick Snyder was one of them.

"Expansion will create more access to primary care providers, reduce the burden on hospitals and small businesses, and save precious tax dollars,” Snyder said in a press release in February. "This makes sense for the physical and fiscal health of Michigan."

But federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid has been left out of the Republican-supported budget, running counter to Snyder’s recommendation.

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Last year, some 8,100 refugees and asylum seekers fled their home countries and came to Michigan hoping to start a new life.

Many of these people might have wanted to stay at home, but war and organized violence made it impossible, and the United States opened its doors to them.

The World Health Organization estimates a full 50 percent of these refugees are suffering from mental illness.

The doctors and therapists who work with these refugees believe that number is too low.

What is life like for these wartime refugees and asylum seekers in Michigan? And what's being done to ease their transition into their new life and help treat these people as they suffer from psychiatric disabilities?

Hussam Abdulkhalleq is the program supervisor at the ACCESS Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center in Dearborn, the largest Arab-American human services non-profit in the nation.

He joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

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A new study at the University of Michigan is looking at why hormone-based treatments stop working for some men with advanced prostate cancer.

About 50 percent of men with prostate cancer have what's called a gene fusion that may cause some treatments to stop working, says Dr.Maha Hussain, a U-M professor of medicine and urology who is a co-leader for the prostate cancer program.

"We found out that potentially the fusions, if they occur in a patient, may likely be more responsive to newer forms of hormone treatment."

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The University of Michigan Health System and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor are working together to improve care for patients age 70 or older.

The Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit is housed on the tenth floor of St. Joe's East Tower.

It's one of the few in the country that will follow a model of care intended to help older patients recover from illness or injury.

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You've probably seen those funny signs in backyard pools that say, "We don't swim in your toilet, so please don't pee in our pool."

Well, it's not a joke.

Martha Stanbury is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says if pools aren't properly maintained, they can make you sick.

University of Michigan

An Ohio baby is likely alive today because of the collaborative ingenuity of two University of Michigan doctors and their teams.

Kaiba Gionfriddo has a condition called tracheobronchomalacia – a blockage of the airway to the lungs. The condition affects about 1 in 2,200 babies born in the U.S. Many grow out of it by the time they’re two or three years old. Sometimes the disorder is misdiagnosed as asthma.

Kaiba stopped breathing every day, and his parents, April and Bryan Gionfriddo, were told their child would probably not survive.

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A planned mega-merger between two of Michigan’s largest health systems has been scuttled.

Beaumont and Henry Ford health systems are two of southeast Michigan’s three largest health care providers.

University of Michigan researcher Rachael Pierotti took a closer look at the global attitudes about domestic violence. What she's discovered seems to point to a major shift in the way people around the world think of domestic violence.

Pierotti is a graduate student in sociology at U of M and a PhD candidate. Her study was published in the American Sociological Review. She joined us today in the studio to discuss her findings.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Of all the medical diagnoses a physician can make, the diagnosis of ALS--amyotrophic lateral sclerosis--is one of the most devastating. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, medical researchers are hard at work seeking a cure or at least a way to ease the symptoms of this neurological disease.

The University of Michigan is in the forefront of this research. Researchers are asking the question, can stem cell injections delivered directly into the spine lessen the effects of ALS?

Researchers at the U of M hospital have recently wrapped up phase 1 of a critical trial exploring just how these stem cell injections work in patients with the deadly disease, and they have gotten the go-ahead to proceed with phase 2.

The head researcher of this ALS project, Dr. Eva Feldman joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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A new report says dog bites are a big problem in Michigan.

The American Veterinary Medical Association ranked Michigan sixth in the nation for dog bites.

According to the association, insurance companies paid out $4.6 million in claims for dog bites in Michigan in 2012.

Bonnie Beaver is a former AVMA president. She says they’re not sure exactly how big the problem is.

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A groceries-for-guns exchange is set for Saturday in Detroit. People who turn in an unloaded gun will get a $50 grocery gift card.

Gerald Acker is a partner in the Southfield law firm Goodman Acker, which is sponsoring the event. He says they want to do something about gun violence.

Those who want to opt out of DTE Energy’s smart meter program now face a fee.

According to MLive, the Michigan Public Service Commission “ruled that DTE can charge customers an initial fee of $67.20 and a monthly fee of $9.80 to opt out of the smart meters.”

Melissa Anders reports that:

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