Health & Science

Science news

a photo of a doctor talking to a patient via computer
AGENTURFOTOGRAFIN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

The percentage of medication induced abortions has been increasing each year. In 2018, about 30% of all abortions tracked by the Ohio Department of Health were medication induced. 

Now, a bill to prevent doctors from using telemedicine to provide abortion-inducing drugs has been introduced. But  backers of the bill don't know of any cases where that is happening in Ohio right now.

a photo of a sick baby
KEITH HOMAN

The respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, that babies and older people can get after being around someone who appears to have a cold is not new. But it’s the second leading cause of infant death.

The Ohio Department of Health doesn’t track RSV cases because the Centers for Disease Control doesn’t require reporting of it. But Dr. Maria Mejias of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus says there have been 1,800 cases of RSV since October in her medical center alone.

More than 100 boys and girls will compete in the Silver Gloves regional boxing tournament Jan. 18 and 19 on Cleveland's East Side — and, for some, it could be a stepping stone toward the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The boxers, aged 8 to 16, come from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. They qualified for the tournament by winning state-level competitions and by being members in good standing of USA Boxing, the governing body for Olympic-style amateur boxing.

Cuyahoga County is taking steps to protect adults with disabilities from abuse or neglect. The Guardian Partner Program aims to assess the care being provided to nearly 7,000 wards of the county.

Guardians currently provide a report every two years on any changes in diagnosis, care plan or living arrangements for adult wards, said Probate Court Magistrate and Deputy Court Administrator Jennifer Alexander. But the court doesn’t usually interact with the adults themselves outside of an initial hearing or service, she said.

OPERS board sitting at a table discussing health care assitance meeting
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Thousands of retirees in the state's largest pension fund will see changes to their health care benefits. The leaders of the Members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System have voted to change the way retirees receive health care, and a portion of those would have to find their own plan. 

The change eliminates what's known as the group plan for OPERS retirees under 65 and will instead give them a stipend for their own plan.

Retirees over the age of 65 on Medicare will receive less aid intended to fill in the gaps in coverage.

Deadly drug overdoses in Ohio fell nearly 22 percent in 2018, to the lowest number in three years. And overdose deaths dropped in every category of drugs except one.

CHRIS CHARTIER / ASHLAND UNIVERSITY

First impressions can have lasting consequences.

New research is delving into how we evaluate a stranger’s face, and pass judgments based on fleeting impressions.

A new, worldwide collaborative started at Ashland University is helping explain that process, and tackle other questions.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair looks at how the Psychological Science Accelerator is putting a new face on how science is done.

a photo of doctors operating
CLEVELAND CLINIC

The Cleveland Clinic is using new 3D printing design to treat breathing disorders. Dr. Thomas Gildea spent five years researching airway stents. Before his design, stents were either straight or had to be cut and stitched together to fit each patient’s needs. He said they often caused even more problems for patients.

“Over time the stents become the problem often worse than the disease,” Gildea said.

He said one patient required frequent adjustments to prevent serious problems with inflammation.

a photo of LED lights at Amsterdam Rainbow Station
DAAN ROOSEGAARDE / CREATIVE COMMONS

You may know semiconductors from computers: they’re a material somewhere between an electrical conductor and an electrical insulator that can be used as an extremely fast switch. However, semiconductors are also what we have to thank for the revolution in energy-efficient LED lighting technology.

“One of them is gallium nitride. The reason it's a good light bulb is, if you can excite an electron, say, with applying a voltage, then when it de-excites, it emits a photon. And these are the photons that make it a good light bulb.”

photo of maureen corcoran
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s Medicaid program has rolled out a new tool that's meant to help cut down on confusion when it comes to prescription drugs.

The state is hoping a new drug list will help improve communication between patients, doctors and pharmacists.

Ohio Medicaid has released what's known as the Unified Preferred Drug List, which names all the preferred medications under Medicaid, using both the brand and generic names.

a photo of medical researchers
NIH CLINICAL CENTER / CREATIVE COMMONS

"There are technologies that we can use now like next generation sequencing where it allows us to take a really teeny tiny piece of DNA or RNA and generate thousands if not millions of measurements. And then we sort of look at each other like, now what do we do?"

Jill Barnholtz-Sloan is a biostatistician and professor in Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine. She’s using statistics and math to help researchers untangle risk factors and survival factors for different types of brain tumors.

2020 To Be A Busy Year For Opioid Lawsuits

Dec 27, 2019

Legal battles over the opioid crisis will carry on into 2020, as several more cases begin to move toward trial in federal courts around the country.

After overseeing thousands of opioid lawsuits from his Cleveland courtroom for the past two years, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster has begun sending cases to other federal judges. Polster has recommended that suits brought by the Cherokee Nation, city of Chicago and San Francisco be moved to federal courts in Oklahoma, Illinois and California.

Preliminary data show the infant mortality rate has dropped for every demographic in Cuyahoga County in 2019 except white babies, for which it increased slightly. The overall rate in 2019 (not counting December) was 7.75 per 1,000 live births, compared to 8.65 in 2018.

Although the African American infant mortality rate dropped from 15.49 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018 down to 13.97 in 2019, Cuyahoga County Board of Health statistician Richard Stacklin said black babies are still more than 3.5 times more likely to die than white babies.

a photo of a black hole
NASA

“It's known that the universe is expanding; of course it's been known since the 1920s. The surprise we were hit with in the 1990s is that the expansion is accelerating, and so it's a big mystery, what causes that to happen,” Harsh Mathur said.

Mathur is a professor of Physics at Case Western Reserve University, and he’s exploring the mathematics that could explain how the universe accelerates as it expands.

syringe and vile of medicine
SHUTTERSTOCK

The Ohio Department of Health’s Melanie Amato says the flu season ramped up early this year. More than 400 Ohioans have been hospitalized so far. 

“We have moved into widespread, meaning there is flu in every corner of the state at this time,” Amato said. 

JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

This story was originally published on June 3, 2019.

WKSU asked listeners for ideas for what to explore in the next episode of our Exploradio science series.

We had some great suggestions. When the ideas were put to a vote, the top choice was –

“Is enough being done to find a cure for type-1 diabetes?”

In this week’s Exploradio, we try to find the answer.

One hundred years ago Woodrow Wilson was president, and women were on the verge of getting the right to vote. Dorothy was the third most popular name for girls in 1919, according to the Social Security Administration, and the chance of a baby girl born that year living to age 100 was 1.9%.

So imagine the odds of three girls named Dorothy, all born in 1919, growing up in the same hometown (Auburn, Maine), graduating from the same high school in 1937, and celebrating their 100th birthdays together in 2019.

Northeast Ohio Schools Open Employee Health Clinics To Cut Costs

Dec 21, 2019

The I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, has gained national attention because it was founded by basketball great Lebron James.The school is known for inventive classroom techniques. But right next door the Akron school district has also been trying to innovate by opening an on-site health care clinic for school employees and their families.

Keith Liechty Clifford, school improvement coordinator, has been a frequent patient since the Paladina clinic opened about a year ago.  It’s optional for district employees, he said.

A health-surveillance system put in place after the terrorist attacks of September 2001 has been used to pinpoint the cause of the vaping-related lung injuries that have killed 54 Americans and sent more than 2,500 people to the hospital.

Using this system, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that the lung injuries rose sharply in June of this year.

a photo of a man fishing
SUZBA / CREATIVE COMMONS

The fishermen of Iceland became concerned around a decade ago. The capelin, a small fish that’s a staple catch, and a crucial link in the ocean ecosystem, stopped migrating like they used to. To whom did they turn? A team of mathematicians.

“So what I think about is particles but each particle gets to make decisions. And it makes decisions based on what the particles around it are doing," Dr. Alethea Barbaro said. Barbaro is a mathematician at Case Western Reserve University. 

a photo of a Naloxbox narcan kit
AKRON-CANTON AIRPORT

Religious leaders in Stark County are taking new steps in an effort to reduce opioid overdoses.

Participating houses of worship will help distribute naloxone to anyone who needs it.

Naloxone is already available county wide. But some people are not comfortable going into health centers to get the lifesaving drug.

Rev. Walter Moss is president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Association of Stark County and vicinity. He said providing naloxone is about helping the community.

CMNH

A Cleveland researcher has been named to the list of “10 People Who Mattered in Science” for 2019 by the prestigious journal Nature.

There are about 20,000 children and adults in the Greater Akron area with autism. Now, Cleveland Clinic Akron General is specifically working to accommodate adults on the spectrum. For one doctor, these changes are personal.

Dr. William Lanzinger is a hand surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Akron General and the board chairman of the Autism Society of Greater Akron.

But he’s also a father.

“From a parent perspective, any time there is any accommodation done for my son, I would say I am very grateful,” Lanzinger said.

Lorain County has released its Community Health Improvement Plan, which outlines health issues it will focus on over the next three years.

The top priorities include chronic disease, maternal and child health, mental health, substance abuse and cancer.

Lorain County Public Health Commissioner Dave Covell said the county will have a strong focus on children's health, especially kids age one to five.

An Ohio State University professor is helping lead a project NASA says will play an important role in space science over the next decade.

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