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If you've felt smug and safe using built-in, voice-controlled technology for text messages, email and phone calls while driving, forget it. There are some sobering findings about the risk of distraction from the American Automobile Association and the University of Utah.

The proliferation of hands-free technology "is a looming public safety crisis," AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet says. "It's time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars."

We might need to change the definition of a designated driver from noble abstainer to something along the lines of not as drunk as you.

The idea of having one person in a group agree not to drink so that everyone else can get home safely after a night of alcohol-fueled fun has been promoted as a way to reduce the dangers of drunken driving, especially among teenagers and young adults.

Working families without health insurance will get extra attention all over Washington this fall. Health organizations are getting $6 million in federal grants to send health recruiters to libraries, church pulpits, and shopping malls. 

Face-to-face marketing and in-person recruiting are needed, according to the masterminds behind the the new health-care law, because about 25% of the uninsured won’t be able to use the new website.

(white rabbit) / Flickr

Washington state has earned a top grade from the American Cancer Society when it comes to helping people suffering from long-term pain. However, the state’s law on pain medication is unusual enough that the Cancer Society is surveying doctors to learn more about how it’s working.

In the past, many patients in chronic pain—lasting months or years—believed they were just supposed to suffer through it.

Exactly one year has passed since an angry and unstable man killed four people at Seattle’s Café Racer and one more woman near downtown before shooting himself. Ian Stawicki was never diagnosed with a mental illness, but he exhibited many of the signs.

When someone is in a mental health crisis, who decides if the or she gets hospitalized involuntarily?

Planetary Resoruces

A company devoted to space exploration is planning to make an orbiting telescope available to students, scientists, and space enthusiasts.

Bellevue-based asteroid mining company Planetary Resources hopes to eventually extract rare minerals from asteroids. But first the company must prospect, which will involve a fleet of space-based telescopes. Now the company has announced it will deploy an extra telescope for public use, paid for by a crowdfunding campaign on the website Kickstarter.

Associated Press

Doctors are sounding an alarm about marijuana and young children, especially when it comes to marijuana-infused products, or "medibles". 

The rise of medicinal marijuana has brought a growing number of food products that contain the drug and might appeal to kids. Pot brownies have been around for decades, but nowadays you can also find pot cookies, lollipops, bon-bons, lasagna, and more. These products make it easier on someone who needs to use marijuana for medical reasons but doesn’t want to smoke. 

Associated Press

If the price tag for health insurance goes up under Obamacare, it’s likely to hit some policy holders in their 20s, economists have warned. Now that the first round of numbers are available in Washington state, we can see whether that’s the case.

If the price tag for health insurance goes up under Obamacare, it’s likely to hit some policy holders in their 20s, economists have warned. Now that the first round of numbers is available in Washington state, we can see whether that’s the case.

Associated Press

Starting this fall, all high school students will get CPR training under a new mandate signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The students don’t have to get certified in CPR—the proposal for certification was rejected as too cumbersome for public schools. But the state-mandated health class, which kids typically take in 9th or 10th grade, will now include a day or two of CPR training. 

Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press

A silent epidemic in the baby-boomer generation has health officials urging widespread testing. It’s hepatitis C, which can quietly infect your liver for years, leaving tiny scars but without showing any symptoms. 

Left untreated, you end up with cancer or in need of a transplant.

Now, a new battery of tests and better treatments are arriving, just as boomers reach an age when their livers could suddenly fail.

Justin Steyer

May 6 isn’t known for much. Perhaps it languishes in the shadow of its older sibling, Cinco de Mayo.

But at least this year, May 6 saw something special when the mercury climbed to a record-breaking high of 87 degrees at Sea-Tac Airport around 5 p.m., crushing the past record high of 79 set in 1957.

istockphoto.com

Washington is one of the least religious states in the country, but when it comes to health care, it has some of the fastest growing religiously-affiliated hospitals, partly because so many hospitals are merging.

The trend has some communities worried about losing access to certain medical procedures—if they’re not allowed under church teachings. 

“The food’s not so bad,” says Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, commander of the International Space Station.

Hadfield shared video of himself enjoying a post-lunch dessert of chocolate pudding cake and coffee.

Hadfield let the cake float out of its container in the gravity-free space before chasing after it a la Homer Simpson

Nurses, teachers and other school staff will likely have more flexibility next fall to give adrenaline shots if a student goes into allergic shock. Both houses of the Legislature have unanimously approved a bill that loosens restrictions on how and when schools can use an epinephrine injector. 

The change is meant to save the lives of kids who have a severe allergy, including some rare cases in which the first-ever reaction to a not-yet-diagnosed allergy takes place at school or on a field trip.

Keith Seinfeld / kplu

College and high school athletes are typically in top physical shape. Except a few have an invisible heart condition that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest, where they drop dead on the court or field.

A new study by a group of physicians led by a team doctor for the University of Washington Huskies recommends all student athletes get a high-tech heart scan called an electrocardiogram, or EKG.

The catch is their doctors probably need additional training.

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