Science & Health

Bentley-Health Insurance
5:08 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Gov. Bentley Defends Decision On Health Exchange

Governor Robert Bentley says a state run health insurance exchange could cost Alabama $30-$50 million.
Credit State of Alabama

Gov. Robert Bentley is defending his decision against creating a state-based health insurance exchange program and expanding Medicaid in Alabama.


Bentley once touted a state-based health insurance exchange, but now he says state control is impractical.


The governor's decision means the federal government can now set up a health insurance marketplace for the state under the new federal health care law.


Bentley says that law is cumbersome and unworkable.

Read more
Science & Health
3:28 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Matching DNA With Medical Records To Crack Disease And Aging

A light micrograph image of telomeres, shown in yellow, at the end of human chromosomes. Women tend to have longer telomeres than men and tend to outlive men, according to new research matching genetic information with medical records.
Peter Lansdorp Visuals Unlimited/Corbis

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 4:29 pm

A massive research project in California is beginning to show how genes, health habits and the environment can interact to cause diseases. And it's all possible because 100,000 people agreed to contribute some saliva in the name of science.

Read more
Science & Health
1:11 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

More Teens Take Steroids To Trade Fat For Muscle

Six percent of teenagers say they've used steroid drugs in the past year, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.
iStockphoto.com

Many teens aspire to have lean bodies and big muscles, like the professional athletes they so admire. But they don't always want (or know how) to sweat to get them. A new study finds a surprisingly high number of teens have used steroids to try to slim down and bulk up.

Six percent of teenagers say they've used steroid drugs in the past year, which is a lot higher than the 1.1 percent reported in a 2011 survey.

Read more
Science & Health
7:47 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Lawmaker to Get Update on Birmingham Pollution

(Information in the following story is from: The Birmingham News, http://www.al.com/birminghamnews )

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell will soon get an update on environmental contamination in a North Birmingham neighborhood.

Sewell plans a meeting Monday with officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is conducting testing in the area.

Read more
Science & Health
2:28 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Caffeine Gives Endurance Athletes A Third And Fourth Wind

Sarah Piampiano holds two energy gels, one with caffeine and one without, as she runs in this year's Ironman World Championship.
Murray Carpenter for NPR

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 9:38 am

The Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, is an extreme event — a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, topped off by a marathon.

Throughout the event, racers drink plenty of fluids and eat energy bars or gels. Most also take a performance-enhancing substance that is legal and effective — caffeine.

"While I'm racing, caffeine is actually a pretty important part of my day, particularly in the Ironman, where it's such a long race," says Sarah Piampiano, a professional triathlete.

Read more
Science & Health
2:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Can You Move It And Work It On A Treadmill Desk?

Employees at at Salo, a Minneapolis-based financial consulting firm, walk while working on treadmill desks. The firm offers treadmill desks for employee use and encourages an active workplace environment.
Salo LLC

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 9:38 am

As we've reported, there's a backlash brewing to sedentary office life as more people realize how sitting all day can do a body wrong.

I work at home and often sit in front of my computer doing research and writing. So I thought I'd give a treadmill desk a try.

Read more
Science & Health
7:54 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Infection Data from Alabama Hospitals Online

The public now has access to some of the information reported by Alabama hospitals about healthcare-associated infections.


The Legislature passed a law in 2009 requiring hospitals to report infection information to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Now, the department has started putting that information online at: http://www.adph.org/hai

Read more
Diabetes
5:26 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Diabetes Rates Rocket In Oklahoma, South

Heath officials says the nation's diabetes problem is getting worse with big changes in Southern states.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Wikimedia Commons

The nation's diabetes problem is getting worse, and health officials say the biggest changes have been in Oklahoma and a number of Southern states.


The diabetes rate in Oklahoma more than tripled over 15 years, and also boomed in Southern states like Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama.


Most cases are the kind of diabetes linked to obesity. Health officials believe extra weight explains the increases in the South and Southwest. They also say the rates overall are up because people with diabetes are living longer.

Read more
Science & Health
8:23 am
Thu November 15, 2012

Medicaid Might Use Managed Care in Alabama

Dr. Don Williamson is leading the state's Medicaid reform effort.
Credit blog.al.com

An Alabama health officer says the state's Medicaid program probably will move to some type of managed care system.


The Tuscaloosa News reports (http://bit.ly/XIrxX2 ) that such a program would operate much like private insurance functions with commercial management companies or community-based care.

Read more
Science & Health
12:55 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

UAB Medical Agencies to Stop Hiring Tobacco Users

UAB Medicine says it's going to quit hiring anyone who uses tobacco starting next year.

The system announced Wednesday that its hospitals, clinics and other divisions will no longer hire anyone who smokes or uses smokeless tobacco products after July 1, 2013.

The policy doesn't apply to the broader college community of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

UAB Health System chief executive Will Ferniany says tobacco is a major cause of illness and death in Alabama, and the medical system wants to encourage people to stop using tobacco.

Read more
Science & Health
5:40 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

VIDEO: In Australia, A Total Solar Eclipse

The Diamond Ring effect is shown following totality of the solar eclipse at Palm Cove in Australia's Tropical North Queensland Wednesday.
GREG WOOD AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 10:30 am

There were two minutes of stunning astronomical coincidence over Australia today.

It was a total solar eclipse and the images are just stunning:

The AP reports that people across Australia waited on boats, hot air ballons, hill tops and beaches waiting for the sublime moment. Some worried that clouds would obscure it.

But totality, or the point at which the moon completely covers the surface of the sun, lasted 2 minutes and 5 seconds and it was spectacular.

Read more
Governor-Insurance Exchange
5:13 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Gov. Bentley Says No To Health Insurance Exchange

Governor Robert Bentley says the state won't create a health insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Credit State of Alabama

Alabama's governor says the state won't create a health insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act or use the law to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income Alabamians.


Gov. Robert Bentley made the announced Tuesday while speaking to the Birmingham Business Alliance. Friday is the deadline for states to notify President Barack Obama's administration whether they will create a state exchange or let the federal government implement one for them.

Read more
Science & Health
4:30 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Calif. To Begin Rationing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

California begins a new plan to ration greenhouse gas emissions from large companies on Wednesday. Big companies must limit the greenhouse gases they emit and get permits for those emissions. Above, the Department of Water and Power San Fernando Valley Generating Station, in Sun Valley, Calif., in 2008.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:18 pm

California begins a controversial experiment to curb climate change on Wednesday: The state will start rationing the amount of greenhouse gases companies can emit.

It's the most ambitious effort to control climate change in the country. Some say the plan will cost dearly; supporters say it's the route to a cleaner economy.

Here's how the climate deal works. Big companies must limit the greenhouse gases they emit — from smokestacks to tailpipes — and they have to get permits for those emissions. The clock starts Jan. 1.

Read more
Science & Health
4:00 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

'Antidote' Prescribes A 'Negative Path To Happiness'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 4:20 pm

We're heading toward that time of year when self-help industry publishers rub their hands together in anticipation. The holiday season and the inevitable New Year's resolutions that follow tend to turn our minds toward happiness — getting it, keeping it and maintaining it. But journalist Oliver Burkeman says whatever your plan, you are most likely doing it wrong.

Read more
Science & Health
2:11 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

OK To Eat Before Rolling Up Sleeve For Cholesterol Test?

Before filling one of these tubes with blood for a cholesterol test, you're supposed to keep your stomach empty. But that may not be necessary.
Nancy Louie iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 4:49 pm

Skipping breakfast to take a medical test is nobody's idea of fun. And it's one reason why many people never get around to having a cholesterol test.

So it's good news that some doctors are now saying that for most people, a nonfasting cholesterol test will do just fine.

But who gets to take a pass on the unpleasant skip-your-breakfast routine? To find out, Shots called Samia Mora. She's a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

Read more

Pages