Science

Healthy Lifestyle
7:18 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Ready, set, walk!

Hundreds turned out at Seattle city hall for National Start Walking Day
Paula Wissel

How about going out for a stroll? Today is National Start Walking Day.  The American Heart Association, which sponsors the day,  says taking just 10 minutes three times a day to walk will help you live longer.

Several hundred people turned out at Seattle city hall to kick off Start Walking Day by taking a 30 minute walk around downtown. Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine led the way.

Read more
women's health
3:26 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Adding nuance to hormone therapy risks

Estrogen pills, made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, from the Women's Health Initiative study of hormone replacement therapy.
Dean Forbes FHCRC

Whether or not to take hormones has become one of life’s difficult choices as women face menopause, and look for ways to relieve the symptoms. A new study suggests women may be able to minimize the risks if they start in their 50’s.

It also shows negative effects appear more common for women if they take estrogen after age 60.

Read more
Emergency Preparedness
11:49 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Japan tsunami heightens interest in elevated 'safe havens'

This is an artist's rendering of the proposed tsunami shelter/new city hall that officials hope to build in Cannon Beach, Ore.
Courtesy Ecola Architects, PC

If you’re near the coastline and a major earthquake strikes, the advice as always is to scramble for higher ground. But sometimes, high ground is far away. For example, if you’re in Ocean Shores or Seaside, Ore., the best option could be to head for the rooftop of a sturdy building, if there is one.

In Westport, and communities along the Northwest coast,  the horrible and gripping images of destruction from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami are still top-of-mind. In this fishing and beach resort town, retiree Linda Orgel is one of hundreds of coastal residents spurred to become better prepared. That interest is being channeled into planning and design meetings for a possible string of manmade refuge towers.

Read more
Museum of Flight
10:59 am
Wed April 6, 2011

State delegation wants space shuttle to land in Seattle

Space shuttle Discovery is towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility after landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, March 9, 2011.
AP

In a bipartisan push to bring the retired Space Shuttle to the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington's U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, along with the state's entire congressional delegation, have sent a a letter to Charles F. Bolden, the Administrator of NASA, urging him to select the museum as the home for the retired NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter.

In the letter, the delegation says:

Read more
Science
4:08 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Scientists propose earthquake warning system

Damage in Seattle from the Nisqually Quake, Feb. 28, 2001. Could earthquake early-warning systems become common place on the U.S. West Coast?
AP

Earthquake scientists are hoping to build an early-warning system for Washington, Oregon and California.  It would give typically about five to 30 seconds of notice that a big quake was starting. The scientists have been meeting this week to craft a proposal. 

There’s no way to predict earthquakes. But once a big one starts, it sends out different kinds of shock waves that move at different speeds. One type is fast-moving, but barely perceptible. These are called P-waves. They arrive before the slow traveling but damaging shock waves (called S-waves).  

So, if you have precise sensors, they can detect the fast-moving waves and send out alarms. 

Read more
Elders and aging
5:10 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

Avoiding poverty as you age

Enjoy retirement, if you can, at Safeco Field
Matt McGee Flickr

How much income will you need to be financially secure after age 65?  It’s often hard to know. A new study shows what it costs for the elderly in Washington to live at home and stay out of debt.  

Read more
Science
1:25 pm
Mon March 21, 2011

Cancer joins AIDS, malaria as global health issue

The Uganda Cancer Institute, which is partnering with the Hutchinson Center of Seattle, to train physicians and treat local residents, on the campus of Mulago Hospital in Kampala, the nation’s capital.
Rob Gipman, Uganda Program on Cancer and Infectious Diseases FHCRC

The fight against diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis has made Seattle a center for global health. 

Now, increasingly, the battle is including cancer -- which might seem ridiculously impossible.  Isn’t it hard enough to fight infectious diseases in poor countries? Can we afford to start talking about the diseases like cancer, which we still struggle with in the United States? 

Read more
Atmospheric Sciences
3:38 pm
Fri March 18, 2011

Construction begins on high-tech Washington Coast radar site

This is the Grays Harbor County site for the new Washington Coast Doppler radar facility. Construction starts next week, and the site may be operating by September.
Google

Construction should start as soon as Wednesday at a site near Copalis Beach in Grays Harbor County on a Doppler radar station.

Sen. Maria Cantwell's office says it could be operating as soon as September, giving the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a better look at Pacific storms heading for the Northwest.

The new radar will fill in information that is missing because the Olympic mountains block the only other Western Washington Doppler radar station on Camano Island.

Read more
Japan Quake & Tsunami
3:19 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

Despite scary headlines, local radiation danger is negligible

Pharmacist Donna Barsky measures potassium iodide for a prescription at the Texas Star Pharmacy on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in Plano, Texas. The pharmacy has been receiving an unusually high number of calls about KI since the Japan quake.
AP Photo

From Chehalis to Chicago, local health food stores are seeing their stock of potassium iodide pills sell out, as public fear over radiation fallout from Japan's damaged nuclear plants continues.

The trouble is the fear doesn't match the risk, say numerous scientists and government officials, both here and across the nation, according to The News Tribune and other reports.

Read more
earthquake
1:23 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Japan’s quake, tsunami and what it teaches the Northwest

A tsunami wave carries cars, houses and other debris across farmlands in northeast Japan, Friday, March 11, 2011.
NHK via YouTube

You may have heard Washington has an earthquake fault similar to the one that devastated Japan.  While there are many fault-lines criss-crossing western Washington, the only one that bears a strong similarity is under the ocean, parallel to our coast-line.  It’s called the Cascadia subduction zone. 

Read more
Science
3:45 pm
Fri March 11, 2011

Japan tsunami illustrates risks facing Pacific Northwest coast

UW Brian Atwater (center) points out evidence of the 1700 Cascadia earthquake and tsunami to field-trip participants during a canoe trip along the Niawiakum River.
Brian Atwater University of Washington

The same type of tectonic earthquake that hit Japan - involving the collision of plates that make up the Earth's crust - could happen in the Northwest.  Similar faults lie in the Cascadia subduction zone. 

The head of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, John Vidale, told The Seattle Times' Sandi Doughton the Cascadia fault last ruptured in 1700.  Scientists believe it generated at magnitude 9 earthquake and a tsunami that may have been bigger than the one that battered Japan. 

Read more
Medicine
10:21 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Health procedures scrutinized for costs, benefits

If you've had arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis, maybe you shouldn't have.  And if you've tried any of these treatments, there are questions, too, about whether it was worth it:

Read more
Health
12:54 pm
Thu March 10, 2011

Norovirus outbreak at the Seattle Yacht Club

The Seattle Yacht Club mainstation clubhouse on Portage Bay
seattleyachtclub.org

A virus outbreak has closed the Seattle Yacht Club's mainstation clubhouse on Portage Bay. Dozens of people who attended the JO Ball and a private party at the end of February became ill with gastrointestinal symptoms. Yacht Club General Manager Steve Hall says the club contacted the King County Health Department, sanitized the kitchen area, and closed the facility until March 12.

Read more
Medical safety
7:04 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Rating hospitals based on number of errors

Thousands of people are still dying unnecessarily in America's hospitals, according to a new set of quality ratings.  That’s despite a decade of attention to preventing errors. 

More than 20,000 hospital deaths should have been prevented, just among Medicare patients (people over the age of 65), according to a report from Health Grades Inc. of Denver.

Hospitals in Washington as a group are about average in terms of their error rates.

Read more
Light Rail
6:14 pm
Fri March 4, 2011

Sound Transit's giant tunnel machine nearly finished

This tunnel boring machine, under assembly in Tacoma, will dig Sound Transit's tunnel through Capitol Hill in Seattle.
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

The giant digging machines that will bore twin tunnels from Husky Stadium to Seattle’s Capitol Hill are being assembled at the Port of Tacoma. They're called Tunnel Boring Machines, and they vaguely resemble Apollo-era rockets, lying on their sides. 

And with their current paint-jobs, sporting Sound Transit's green and blue colors, they might be Lego toys, inflated to a surreal scale.

Read more

Pages