Health | KCUR

Health

KCUR's health team focuses on health issues and their impact in Missouri and Kansas. Working with journalists at other public media stations and news outlets, reporters Dan Margolies and Alex Smith strive to bring listeners and readers timely, accurate and comprehensive coverage of a topic that leaves no one untouched.

Colby Ellis / Flickr - CC

Football can be pretty violent. Today, two local physicians discuss whether school boards should continue to support contact sports for high-schoolers. Then, get tips on crafting an apology that will avoid making a bad situation worse.

UMKC

If your body could talk to you about your health, what would it say? Today, we learn about the inner-workings of the human body. Then, we discover what yearbooks, newspapers and personal letters say about the world young women from the Kansas City area lived in, years before suffrage.

Kansas News Service File

It very well might be too late, but some Kansas lawmakers are moving ahead on a plan to expand KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program.

The House Health and Human Services Committee voted Thursday to introduce an expansion bill at the request of Rep. Susan Concannon, a Beloit Republican.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback began a quest to preserve his legacy with Tuesday’s State of the State address.

Facing an immediate budget crisis and a Legislature rendered more oppositional with the ouster of dozens of allies in last year’s elections, Brownback used the 30-minute speech to try to reassure Kansans that the right-wing policy path he has blazed the last six years is worth maintaining.

Pigs at a hog barn near Odelbolt, Iowa, sometimes receive antibiotics in their feed.
Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

In a hog barn in rural Iowa, veterinarian Paul Thomas’s approach sends pigs scurrying. He watches for unusual behavior. As he walks the length of the barn, Thomas notices one of the two-month-old hogs nestled against the railing at the edge of its pen and reaches over to gently pet the pig’s back. The pig shakes its head and drowsily gets up.

“He’s just sleepy,” Thomas says, and by the time he’s spoken the words, the pig has trotted off to join its pen-mates.

In the next room, Thomas hears something different.

From left: Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, Kansas Farm Bureau CEO Terry Holdren, Gov. Sam Brownback and Overland Park Regional Medical Center CEO Kevin Hicks.
Andy Marso / KCUR 89.3

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled a two-part plan Friday to bring more doctors to the state and quell health care shortages that he said threaten to kill rural communities.

Brownback, flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a hospital executive and the head of the Kansas Farm Bureau, harkened back to his days growing up in Parker — population 250 — to personalize the push for more rural doctors.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon today granted pardons to 18 individuals, including 16 clergy members and activists who were convicted of trespassing after they staged a protest in the Missouri Senate gallery over Missouri’s decision not to expand Medicaid.

The so-called Medicaid 23 – several of them well-known African-American ministers from Kansas City – refused to leave the gallery during their protest in May 2014 after they were ordered to do so by Capitol police.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Every Tuesday at 11 a.m., a big group gathers for "T'ai Chi for the Heart" at Turning Point, a healing center in Leawood, Kansas.

"We typically start with meditation, then we do our warm-ups and start T'ai Chi movements," says Al Hussar, who's been coming to the class for more than five years.

Hussar has diabetes, and he's supporting a wife with multiple sclerosis. Others in the room also suffer from chronic illnesses, or are supporting chronically ill loved ones.

Courtesy Jill Wagner

Jill Wagner’s life changed the day her then-10-month-old son, Dean, was hospitalized after a series of seizures.

Tests revealed that Dean had a rare genetic condition that put him at risk for a host of medical issues. By the time he was discharged, little Dean already had a handful of diagnoses, including one for autism. Doctors weren’t sure if he would ever walk, talk or read.

For the next eight months, Wagner, a businesswoman and former professor who lives in Salina, Kansas, tried to navigate the complex world of health insurance for applied behavior analysis, or ABA.

If the baby isn't sleeping, it's likely you aren't either. Today, we learn how your own habits can affect your child's nighttime routine. Then, how symptoms and treatment of headaches can differ between kids and adults. 

America's Health Rankings/United Health Foundation

Kansas was the only state where the obesity rate went up significantly in 2015, according to an annual report, and state officials are trying to figure out why and how to reverse the trend.

The state also lagged on vaccination rates and remained stuck in the middle on overall health, according to the America’s Health Rankings Report, which was released Thursday.

Adam Piotrowski / Flickr--CC

Donations to the Community Blood Center of Greater Kansas City always drop off around the holidays, but lower-than-expected collections last month have led to a shortage.

“We try to collect more blood in anticipation of those days off, and we usually do OK,” says Executive Director David Graham. “But we had more of a challenge this year than normal. November is traditionally a strong month of blood collections for us, and it wasn’t quite as strong this year.”

It's been three weeks since the election, and public reactions are still hot. Today, Kansas City's own David Von Drehle, editor-at-large for Time magazine, treads the political aftermath.

Study Finds Big Health Divides In Wyandotte County

Nov 29, 2016
Megan Wingerter / Heartland Health Monitor

It isn’t far from the gleaming bank buildings and high-end hotels to the rent-to-own stores and corner shops that stock more chips than fruit.

A visitor getting off the highway in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, would pass by a Hilton Garden Inn and several high-rise buildings bearing the names of financial companies.

Listen to Jerry Jones, executive director of the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, talk about the Kirwan report

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

First, a recollection of the Chief's overtime victory over the Broncos Sunday night. Then, a look at an agency that settled a case last month involving charges of illegal kickback payments, but is still doing business with the state of Kansas. Finally, Author Candice Millard recounts the adventures of a young Winston Churchill as detailed in her latest book.

American Psychological Association

On November 8, Missouri voters will decide on Constitutional Amendment 2. If passed, it would limit campaign contributions and, proponents say, the political sway of big-money donors. Also, if you think you're the only one getting stressed out by the presidential election, think again.

Paul Andrews

When Emmaline Twist debuted earlier this year, the self-described "post-punk shoegaze" quartet was embraced by area indie-rock tastemakers. The seasoned members of Emmaline Twist were previously in bands including the Latenight Callers, Onward Crispin Glover and the Silver Maggies.

3 reasons we're listening to Emmaline Twist this week:

A handler and a hog compete for the blue ribbon at the 2013 Colorado State Fair.
file: Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Showing livestock at the county fair can be a great source of pride for a youngster in farm country. It can also be a source of a novel flu virus capable of starting a pandemic.

According to new findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 people – 16 of them children – tested positive for strains of influenza never before seen in humans after attending agricultural fairs in Ohio and Michigan in August of this year.

Late October is a time for matchups, showdowns and playoffs of all sports. We continue our series on childhood development with some tips for keeping your kid-athletes in the game by avoiding repetitive motion stress and burn-out. Also, Bill Brownlee introduces Berwanger in this week's Local Listen.

First, the Ethics Professors decide whether complaining about politics without casting a vote is something to feel guilty about, and discuss the morals of disclosing Donald Trump's old tax returns without his permission. Finally, Brian McTavish gives us a rundown of the latest Weekend To-Do List.

We're used to mosquito bites here in the Midwest, but if you've found yourself intensely scratching a single, long-lasting bite for weeks, you've probably been bitten by the oak mite. The science behind these pesky critters that have made Kansas City their home, plus, another peek into nature with a writer who sowed his ideas in his gardens.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It may sound strange, but people with Parkinson’s disease are stepping into boxing rings to help combat their symptoms. They aren’t throwing uppercuts for a shot at a title, but experts say they are winning an improved quality of life, and so are their families.

Perhaps the most famous person to have the disease was former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali. Dr. Stanley Fischer told Up To Date host Steve Kraske that the ultimate cause of Parkinson's is probably a combination of "bad genes, bad luck and wear and tear."

Meet the young woman who runs a boxing program just for people with Parkinson's and the neurologist who explains how specific boxing movements can improve the quality of life for those with the disease.

Guests: 

Water is life — you drink it, cook with it and even shower in it — but unregulated runoff from farms and business can pose a threat to keeping it clean. A new series from Harvest Public Media, based at KCUR, looks at the conditions of water in Kansas City and throughout the Midwest.

Guests:

When children get headaches, it can be difficult for them  to understand or express what's bothering them. It can be equally challenging as a parent to decide on the appropriate action to take.

Guests:

Building a community isn’t easy; people and ideas may be the brick and mortar, but what are the tools? Fortunately, KU has narrowed that down to a toolkit — a website with resources to teach skills that improve the health and wellbeing of society. 

Guests:

Danny Danko / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Organizers are closing in on their goal of collecting 2,300 signatures to get marijuana decriminalization on the November ballot in Kansas City. 

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws' Kansas City branch (NORML KC) has been gathering signatures since June.

Dan Margolies / Heartland Health Monitor

Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, Wyandotte County has seen the number of its uninsured fall from 26 percent to 18 percent, one of the biggest drops in the country.

But it’s one thing to boast of boosting the ranks of the insured, another to steer them through a complicated and, at times, bewildering health care system.

With a $1.9 million grant from the United Health Foundation, announced today by county officials at the offices of the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, the county is now in a better position to do that.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Legendary KCUR and Kansas City radio reporter Dan Verbeck recently had a brush with death. With the help of his speedy arrival at the hospital, and the medical team's use of a technique called "therapeutic hypothermia," he was revived from a near fatal heart attack.

We hear Dan's story from his perspective, and then we hear from his doctor about the medical advances that allowed this to happen.

Guests:

Plenty of parents know the struggle of dealing with a toddler or teenager who hasn't slept well, but few realize their own habits could be affecting their child's rest. On today's program, we explore when it's time to worry about your kid's nighttime routine.

Guests:

  • Dr. Kevin Smith is a clinical psychologist who works in pediatric sleep medicine at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics.
  • Dr. Natasha Burgert is pediatrician at Pediatric Associates Kansas City.

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