Science & Health

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Science & Health
2:49 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Malaria-Like Disease Follows Lyme's Path In New England

As white-tailed deer have returned to New England in the past century, they've brought with them tick-borne parasites that cause human diseases.
marcinplaza iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 12:07 pm

There's more than deer lurking in the New England woods these days.

Diseases carried by ticks that hitch rides on deer are rising in the Northeast, researchers said Monday at a meeting about tropical diseases.

In particular, babesiosis — a disease that mimics malaria — is catching up with Lyme disease in some communities.

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Science & Health
6:36 pm
Sat November 10, 2012

Alabama groups share oil spill funds

Credit Associated Press

Nearly two dozen groups in Alabama will share more than $8 million in oil spill funds to promote Gulf Coast tourism and seafood. The administrator of the claims process for the 2010 oil spill, Patrick Juneau, announced the first round of grants this week.

   BP is spending $57 million to bolster the tourism and seafood industries as part of a proposed settlement for the 2010 oil spill that sullied local beaches and put a dent in the regional economy.      

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Science & Health
3:41 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

You Can Thank A Whey Refinery For That Protein Smoothie

Tim Opper, of Cabot Cheese, inspects equipment that separates whey protein from sugar in the company's whey processing plant.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 8:52 am

If you've ever checked the ingredient list on a PowerBar or a high-protein smoothie, you probably have stumbled across these words: "Whey protein concentrate." You'll find it in a growing number of prepared foods.

This mysterious ingredient is derived from one of the oldest of human foods — milk. But capturing it requires huge factories that look more like oil refineries than farms.

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Science & Health
1:34 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Polio Hides Out In A Few 'Sanctuaries' In Nigeria

Ado Ibrahim carries his son Aminu through a village in northern Nigeria. Aminu, 4, was paralyzed by polio in August.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 3:05 pm

Nigeria is the world's epicenter for polio. It's the only place where cases are ticking up, and it's been the source of outbreaks in other countries since 2003.

There was a disappointing update from public health officials Thursday about the polio situation in Nigeria. Despite beefed-up efforts to vaccinate kids and a flood of new resources, Nigeria still hasn't turned the corner on polio.

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Science & Health
7:41 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Meteor Expert to Discuss Ala Event in Huntsville

Credit blog.al.com

An expert on meteors is visiting Huntsville to discuss the recent meteorite shower in north Alabama.


Marc Fries will speak at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center on Thursday morning.


Fries is a specialist in finding and recovering meteorites. He still focus on an Oct. 30 shower across the state's northern counties as he talks about using Doppler weather radar to find meteorites on the ground.


Two meteorite fragments have been recovered in Winston County, near Addison.

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Oil Spill Grants
4:51 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Recipients Picked For BP Tourism, Seafood Grants

More than 100 nonprofits have been picked to receive grants to promote the Gulf Coast's tourism and seafood industries after BP's 2010 oil spill.
Credit http://www.alabama.travel/ / Alabama Tourism Department

More than 100 nonprofit groups and government entities have been picked to get shares of $43.7 million in BP funds to promote the Gulf Coast's tourism and seafood industries following the company's 2010 oil spill.


The first round of grants announced Wednesday by court-supervised claims administrator Patrick Juneau is part of a proposed settlement between BP and a team of private plaintiffs' attorneys.


The deal calls for BP to fund a total of $57 million in tourism and seafood promotion grants.

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