Science

Healthy living
11:17 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Follow-up: $800,000 ad campaign designed to help us choose healthy

Public health leaders have concluded that we struggle most when the healthier choices take more effort than the unhealthy ones.
Public Health Seattle & King County

Why spend $800,000 to advertise what seems like common knowledge?  That smoking is bad for you, that eating nutritious foods is better than a diet of fast-food and physical activity is a good idea?

Because too many of us have trouble following those golden rules.

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bus ads
5:00 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Why Metro Transit refuses to run a public health message

This healthy living campaign is okay for billboards, but not for buses.
Public Health Seattle & King County

A major ad campaign launches this week to promote healthy living, with advertisements featured on Seattle-area television, radio and billboards. Just about the only place you won’t find the ads is on Metro buses.

The transit agency says the advertisements violate its new policy regarding public service announcements. The policy, adopted April 8th, prohibits ads that express a viewpoint on “matters of public debate about economic, political, religious or social issues.”

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Public health
1:09 pm
Thu July 28, 2011

Help track the West Nile virus

You can help King County health officials track potential cases of the West Nile virus by reporting dead birds. Crows in particular die quickly from the disease.
Leveretdreaming flickr.com

If you see dead birds, especially clusters of dead crows, King County health officials want to hear from you.

The dead birds could indicate the presence of West Nile virus, which can be deadly to humans. Over the next three months, dead birds reported to Public Health will be collected for laboratory testing for the virus if they are deemed suitable candidates for testing.

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oral health
12:43 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

Rotting toddler teeth targeted by pediatricians, dentists

Dan Hatten Flickr

Your average American’s teeth may be whiter and straighter than they were a generation ago, but for very young children, tooth decay is still one the biggest health problems. 

Dentists and pediatricians are meeting this week at the University of Washington to find ways to reverse the trend.

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Weather
5:40 pm
Tue July 19, 2011

Why no summer? Will it end?

Lower than normal pressures (in blue) and higher (in green) correspond to where temperatures are below and above normal.
National Weather Service, 7-15-11

Grouchy Northwesterners are starting to call this 'The year of no summer.' While we may be secretly glad to miss the heat wave that’s punishing the Midwest, we're wondering why we’re stuck with clouds … and when will it end?

When I talked to experts, the first thing they told me: It is no coincidence.

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Electronic health records
1:40 pm
Mon July 18, 2011

Program gives doctors access to records wherever they are

Paper copies of medical records are becoming a thing of the past. Now, there is a state and national effort to make electronic records accessible by doctors no matter where they are.
Flickr

If you’ve ever been to a hospital or doctor who can’t seem to get your medical records, be thankful for a new web-service launching this month. It allows doctors, hospitals and health insurers to quickly send medical records to each other, even if they're not in the same network.

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Cancer research
11:36 am
Wed July 13, 2011

Research 'factory' added to downtown Seattle's science hub

Cancer researchers will be growing specialized immune cells in this former biotech factory on Boren Ave. in Seattle
Jake Ellison KPLU

You may associate downtown Seattle with its shopping, hotels and offices, but the city's core also has a growing medical research community. From global-health focused non-profits to the University of Washington, it seems scientists all want to be near downtown.

The latest addition is a combination cancer research lab and bio-factory. Seattle Children’s Research Institute plans to open the new lab and "factory" in the Denny Triangle next month.

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childhood immunizations
7:40 am
Mon July 11, 2011

Injecting personal values into vaccine policy

Three-year-old Jeffery Trzeciak grimaces bravely as a doctor prepares to give him an anti polio inoculation in New Kensington, Pa., Feb. 23, 1957. The shots were given as part of " Victory Over Polio Day."
Associated Press

Parents who are hesitant about giving their children all the required immunizations have an unusual chance to share their views Tuesday. The national committee that decides when kids should get vaccines is taking testimony in Shoreline, north of Seattle -- inviting the public into a discussion of values. It’s just the second time they’ve asked for input.

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health care costs
6:01 pm
Thu July 7, 2011

Washington praised for how it cares for the poor and sick

Same as the South? Washington's health care spending for disabled Medicaid beneficiaries is among the lowest in the nation.
Todd Gilmer and Kronick Health Affairs (journal)

When it comes to caring for its poorest and sickest people, Washington state appears to be doing better than the rest of the country. At least, that’s the view from a new study that looks at Medicaid spending.

Public spending on health-care is a hot political topic these days, as states and the federal government try to balance their budgets. Researchers were wondering: How do the 50 states compare in their spending on Medicaid, which covers low-income people? Do some states spend more because they pay doctors higher fees?

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Science
2:30 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Point Defiance Zoo welcomes more red wolves

An endangered red wolf at Point Defiance Zoo.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The population of the Red Wolf Woods exhibit at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium just tripled in size. A new pair of wolves has arrived from the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas.

The wolves, Wilson and Havana, are a non-breeding pair. They're on display in an area separate from the exhibit's other resident, Graham.

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Science
6:00 am
Mon June 20, 2011

Clues to Washington's summer weather...or not

Kids and adults alike enjoy a warm day on June, 4 2011. Will there be more sunny days on the way this summer? It's tough to call.
Erin Hennessey KPLU

With the first day of summer this week, it’s finally beginning to look like it outside. If you think that’s a good sign for the rest of the season, think again. There really isn’t a good way to tell how summer will turn out.

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dying too young
1:10 pm
Wed June 15, 2011

Longevity: Is your community more like Albania or like Sweden?

Female life expectancies in Washington vary a lot by county.
IHME

If you live in certain counties in Washington, your life probably won’t be much longer than someone's in Albania or Mexico. On the other hand, the healthiest counties have life expectancies similar to Switzerland and Sweden.

This comes from new research showing life expectancy in many American communities is failing to keep up with the rest of the world. And the growing health gap is affecting women more than men.

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Bill Gates
2:59 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

Gates gave ‘remarkable’ interview ahead of vaccine conference

Bill Gates
KPLU

In an interview with the UK's Daily Mail, Bill Gates talked family, friends and global health. The world’s second-richest man was striking in his normalcy, sharing how he is teased by his kids, works too much and isn’t worried about a personal legacy.

"Legacy," he told the Dail Mail, "is a stupid thing! I don’t want a legacy. If people look and see that childhood deaths dropped from nine million a year to four million because of our investment, then wow!”

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Science
4:30 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

The great bee count

Bees love sunflowers.
bbcactii flickr

For a number of years, honey bee populations have been shrinking. It's called colony collapse disorder. To help understand this bee die-off, citizen scientists are being asked to keep an eye on their gardens this summer as part of The Great Sunflower Project.

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Corpse Flower
1:37 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

After peak bloom today, UW's corpse flower to fade fast

At 12:30 a.m. last night, the UW Biology Dept.'s corpse flower was nearly fully open and nearly at its peak smell. Waves of nausea reported by those around it.
University of Washington Biology Dept.

The University of Washington Biology Department says the corpse flower that reached the peak of its smelly bloom early Thursday will die in a few days.

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