<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Health Connection]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.comen-usMon, 22 May 2017 18:10:14 -0500Mon, 22 May 2017 18:10:14 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Tracking Transgender Surgeries]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 16:52:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/surgery-71205638.jpg

Plastic surgeons are now tracking transgender surgeries.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Researchers Discover 40 More Genes for Intelligence ]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 15:30:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brain_1200x675.jpg

Researchers found 40 new genes linked with intelligence Monday in study, but they say their finding doesn't show any clear genetic pattern for intelligence, NBC News reported. 

Instead, it shows that intelligence is possibly even more complex than anyone thought, and not easily explained. And it means specially designed smart babies are not in anyone's near future.

The study pointed to 52 genes that influence intelligence, some of them previously identified. Yet they account for less than 5 percent of the variation in human intelligence, the research team reports in the journal Nature Genetics.

Many of the genes have other known roles as well, although most are involved in brain development, the international team of researchers found.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kids Under 1 Shouldn't Drink Fruit Juice: Pediatrician Org.]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 17:20:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/217*120/juicegeneric.jpg

Fruit juice, long recommended as a source of vitamin C for children, has no nutritional value for kids under 1 year old and isn't as good as fresh fruit for other kids, according to a leading pediatrician group.

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that babies not be fed any fruit juice in the first year of their lives, according to a policy statement released Monday. One-hundred percent fresh or reconstituted juice can be gradually introduced into toddlers' diets, but kids up to 18 should drink at most one cup of it per day.

Fruit juice is lacking in the protein and fiber that is found in fruits, according to the recommendations, being published in the June issue of Pediatrics. That can lead to too much or too little weight gain.

"Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories," said Melvin B. Heyman, co-author of the policy, in a statement. "Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under 1."

It's the first change in the academy's recommendations for 16 years, according to the statement.

Fruit drinks do not have the same value as fruit juice, the pediatricians note, and doctors may prescribe fruit juice in some instances.

The Juice Products Association on Monday saying "U.S. juice manufacturers have long supported the nutrition guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics and we agree with the AAP’s recommendation that 100% fruit juice, in both fresh and reconstituted forms, 'can be a healthy part of the diet of children older than 1 year when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet.'

"Further, juice manufacturers are aligned with the AAP’s recommendations regarding fruit juice consumption by infants. These guidelines were first published in Pediatrics in July 2015," the statement said.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Collin County Opens First Level I Trauma Center]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 11:32:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/medical-city-plano-trauma.jpg

Residents in Collin County now have a Level I trauma center in their own backyard at Medical City Plano.

A Level I trauma center provides the highest level of care to patients.

Matthew Carrick, the trauma center medical director at Medical City Plano, explained traditional emergency rooms can take care of things like cuts and sprained ankles, a Level I trauma center can take treat someone who was shot or in a major car crash with head injuries and internal bleeding.

The center will always have trauma surgeons in-house and the operating room ready to take care of patients immediately when they arrive.

Carrick said trauma doctors have a term called the “golden hour” when they have about an hour to save someone’s life.

"If we have a trauma center right here where people are getting injured, we don't have to spend all that time in transport," he said. "We can spend that time in the operating room, getting the bleeding under control within an hour."

He said patients that usually have to take an ambulance or helicopter to trauma centers in Dallas or Fort Worth can now save time having a Level I trauma center closer to them.

The center will also help families in the area who are visiting their loved ones in the hospital. They will no longer have to deal with commuting and traffic to get to them.

Online: Trauma Center Levels Explained



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Health Headlines for Friday May 19, 2017]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 18:00:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Pets_Suffer_Seasonal_Allergies_Too_1200x675_948399683504.jpg

You may be suffering from allergies, but the same allergies could very well be taking a toll on your pet.
 

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<![CDATA[Help for Women Who Suffer From Urinary Incontinence]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 16:48:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/doctor-health-generic-1200-03.jpg

Doctors at the USF Health Center at the University of South Florida have developed new, cutting edge technology that uses nerve stimulation to help women who suffer from urinary incontinence.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McKinney to Publish Full Restaurant Health Reports Online]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 16:13:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-164850564.jpg

The City of McKinney Health Compliance Division will publish full health inspection reports for restaurants on the city’s website beginning June 1.

They city said in a news release Friday that the restaurants will be easily searchable on an interactive map.

"The main goal of the change is to place consumers in a position to make better informed decisions regarding their dining choices and to support McKinney’s continued efforts for transparency by providing easy access to public information," the city said in a news release.

Before the update the city published a numerical score for restaurants. Now, they'll make available the restaurant's full report.

"McKinney Health Compliance does not score inspection results on a standard zero to 100 scale but instead tabulates total demerits. If no violations are found, a score of zero demerits is achieved. Violations during inspections carry different weighted demerits, with the most critical violations being worth three demerits. If an establishment receives more than 30 demerits, a re-inspection is required and corrections must be made to bring the total score below 30 demerits in accordance with the Texas Food Establishment Rules (Chapter 228 of the Texas Administrative Code)," the city said.

The city added that later this year inspectors will use iPads in the field to streamline the process.

See the current McKinney restaurant inspections here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Caiaimage]]>
<![CDATA[New MS Drug 051817]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 15:02:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/MS+drug+testing+051917.jpg

Researchers are studying the effects of Ocrelizumab, a new multiple sclerosis drug.

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<![CDATA[NBC 5 Sponsoring Youth Baseball Tournament to Fight NF]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 14:58:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/bobbyNJack.jpg

Two on and two out in the bottom of the last inning. The pressure doesn’t get much bigger -- especially if you’re only six.

Well, how about adding to the equation the fact that the hitter in question is suffering from a rare disorder that would not allow his body to prevent the growth of tumors.

Just the fact that Jack Burke was on the field at all was a victory. Now he had a shot at winning the championship for his Little League team.

Yeah, no pressure there at all.

I met Jack shortly before the start of that Little League season six years ago. I had coached my sons for years and loved every minute of it. What I didn’t know was that this season was going to be by far my most rewarding.

My wife told me about a little boy down the street that was signing up to play ball and suggested that I get him on my team.

I’ll admit my first thought was, “Why, is he a really good player?” That wasn’t why my wife was making the suggestion.

Jack Burke, she told me, had neurofibromatosis. My wife Nikki wanted to be sure he had a coach who would be understanding and helpful, and make sure he didn’t get stuck in right field and batting last every game.

I’ll also admit that I had reservations about, not only taking Jack on my team, but about Jack being on a baseball field at all.

Well, suggesting that I take Jack on my team was one of the greatest favors my wife ever did for me as well as for all of Jack’s teammates. He may not have been a great player, but at six he was already a tremendous human being.

Jack and his family were a gift. Jake and Elizabeth Burke and their other two children, Luke and Gracie,

(great ballplayers in their own right) became friends. It was great having all of them as part of the team.

You quickly learn that happiness on the Little League ballfield is about being involved with good kids and good families. Jack and his family would have a lasting impact on me as a person.

Here was a kid who looked different, his face swollen from a tumor above his eye. He was small. No, I was always small, but Jack was even smaller than an average small kid. And because of his condition he was weak.

My guess is Jack’s vision also suffered because of NF. And here he was trying to do something that even the best in the world fail at seven out of the 10 times they try.

Jack came to every practice and game with a smile on his face. He worked hard. He improved. And, just as importantly, he was a great teammate. He was a player any coach would be proud to have on his team. He was a joy to coach.

So, two on and two out and it’s the bottom of the final inning in the championship game. I walked up to Jack and whispered something in his ear. Honestly, I have no idea what I said. I only know I did it because his dad, Jake, remembers that I did it.

I don’t think it mattered much what I said though, Jack already knew what was going to happen.

Base hit! Run, score! Little League Champions!

Yes, sometimes the endings are just like the movies.

Fast forward to 2017. I now live hundreds of miles from the Burke family. They are in Georgia, where that “Greatest of All Time” Little League Championship game took place. I live in DFW.

I still keep in touch with the family. I keep up on Jack’s progress through his website and foundation, Cure NF with Jack (www.CureNFwithJack.com). And if you’re ever in need of a good cry, read some of his dad’s blogs on that site. Jake is not only an exemplary human being, working to help his son and others like him, but he is also an exceptional writer. They inspired me to reach out to the NF community here in Texas. I’ve done several stories and helped out with some charitable events as well.

Now I’m taking it to the next level. And it’s long overdue.

This year NBC 5 is teaming up with the Children’s Tumor Foundation and Baseball Nation Texas to raise money to help Jack, and other kids like him, all over North Texas.

“End NF with NBC 5” is a youth baseball tournament that will take place June 24-25 in North Texas at fields all across our area.

Already more than 150 teams are expected to participate. But there is plenty of room for more.

Is your kid on a team? Do you know someone whose kid plays on a team? Tell them to head to baseballnationtx.com and sing up for the big event!

A portion of all the entry fees with go to CTF. And there are more ways to help. You can make a donation here; https://join.ctf.org/nbc5. And the weekend of the event there will be a raffle with items like suite nights at the Stars and Mavericks up for grabs. And there will be other ways to contribute.

I’m so excited to have teamed up with CTF and Baseball Nation Texas for this event. I’m excited to have an opportunity to return the favor to Jack Burke. That 6-year-old boy did more for me than he’ll ever know. The way I see it this is the least I could do for him.

After our first tournament meeting to discuss the event, I said, “Hopefully this will be the first annual of many.” I quickly caught myself and corrected, saying, “hopefully we won’t have to do that many before we find a cure.” Come on out and play some ball and help us out.



Photo Credit: Burke Family
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<![CDATA[Facebook Group Helps Ease Storm Anxiety]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 16:31:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cloudy+sky+dfw.jpg

Severe weather can spawn storm fear for many people, but two North Texas women say they're here to help.

Cassie McQueary and Tiffany Beatty started a Facebook support group called DFW Storm Support a few years ago and it gives its 800 members a judgment-free place to turn.

"Storm anxiety: you can't discuss it. People look at you so crazy because you're scared of rain. I've witnessed it. I've been called 'storm girl,'" McQueary said.

Lilapsophobia is an abnormal fear of tornadoes and is a type of astraphobia, which is fear of thunderstorms.

"Somebody that has a phobia, that's something that is really diagnosable, that is something that is intense enough and severe enough to interfere with how a person functions," said Dr. Andrea Smith, a clinical psychologist at Medical City Green Oaks Hospital, part of the Medical City Healthcare system.

It doesn't take much to trigger the panic.

"Words like 'instability,' 'tornado,' of course, 'rotation,'" Beatty said. "Your heart races. Your palms start to sweat. Your brain is just scattered. You can't eat."

Beatty and McQueary have found that knowledge is the best medicine, and during storms Beatty will retreat to her makeshift weather tracking room, where she watches what's happening on the radar and updates the storm anxiety support group.

"It takes a lot of different ingredients to come together to make a tornado," McQueary said. "Knowledge is power and it's really helped me."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[End NF with NBC 5 Youth Baseball Tournament]]> Thu, 18 May 2017 17:32:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NF+Web+2017.jpg

NBC 5, The Children's Tumor Foundation and Baseball Nation are teaming up to end neurofibromatosis at the End NF with NBC 5 Youth Baseball Tournament June 24 and 25.

Neurofibromatosis (NF) causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation, who’s mission is to drive research, expand knowledge, and advance care for the NF community.

To register your team for the End NF with NBC 5 Youth Baseball Tournament, visit www.BaseballNationTX.com. To learn more about the Children's Tumor Foundation, visit www.CTF.org.

End NF with NBC 5

Benefiting Children's Tumor Foundation
June 24 – 25
Register Today!
www.BaseballNationTX.com



Photo Credit: Children's Tumor Foundation]]>
<![CDATA[Consumer Reports Ranks Top Sunscreens of 2017]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 07:17:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-200535755-001.jpg

If you think all sunscreens are created equal, think again.

Consumer Reports has released its annual list of top sunscreens as well as a warning about the SPF number on some bottles: If you put too much faith in them, you could be putting your skin at risk.

SPF, which stands for sun protection factor, measures how well a sunscreen guards against ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, the chief cause of sunburn and a contributor to skin cancer.

For the fifth year in a row, Consumer Reports found some sunscreens during testing failed to provide the level of protection promised on the package. In fact, of the more than 60 products tested, 23 were found to have less than half of the labeled SPF number.

The Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to have their products tested to determine the SPF because sunscreens are classified as over-the-counter drugs. However, the agency doesn’t routinely test sunscreens itself and manufacturers don’t have to report their results to the FDA unless the agency requests them.

According to Consumer Reports, an FDA official at a public meeting in June 2016 said the agency only had the resources for 30 employees to cover more than 100,000 over-the-counter drugs, which limits what they can do to oversee sunscreens.

"Manufacturers test sunscreens for SPF before their products hit the market, but unless they are reformulated, that may be the only testing they do. That’s one reason CR tests sunscreens," Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports Health Editor, said.

The agency found a number of sunscreens that provide solid protection against sunburn, skin cancer and wrinkles and are also a good value.

Below are 14 recommended sunscreens that received excellent overall ratings:


  • LA ROCHE-POSAY - Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk, $36
  • EQUATE (Walmart)- Sport Lotion SPF 50, $5
  • PURE - Sun Defense Disney Frozen Lotion, SPF 50, $6
  • COPPERTONE - WaterBabies Lotion, SPF 50, $12
  • EQUATE (Walmart)- Ultra Protection Lotion, SPF 50, $8
  • OCEAN POTION - Protect and Nourish, SPF 30, $8
  • AVEENO - Protect and Hydrate lotion, SPF 30, $8
  • UP and UP (Target)- Sheer Dry-Touch Lotion, SPF 30, $5
  • COPPERTONE - Clearly Sheer Lotion, SPF 50, $7
  • NEUTROGENA - CoolDry Sport Lotion, SPF 30, $9.50
  • NEUTROGENA - Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Lotion, SPF 45, $9.50
  • HAWAIIAN TROPIC - Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance Lotion, SPF 50, $10.50
  • WELL AT WALGREENS - Baby Lotion, SPF 50, $3
  • COPPERTONE - Sport High Performance Lotion, SPF 50, $12




Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Apps Change Access to Medical Care in North Texas]]> Fri, 19 May 2017 17:46:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/the-instagram-app-is-seen-on-an-iphone-on-16-march-2017-picture-id654212044.jpg

A new app is now up and running in parts of North Texas that lets patients find and book a same-day urgent care doctor's appointment.

According to users of Solv, they can search for an urgent care center who is available on their schedule, takes their medical insurance and is nearby.

"I didn't have to call three or four different urgent care places, see when they have appointments, see if they take my insurance. It was like magic," said Amanda Hunter, a mother of two in Dallas.

The app recently went live in Dallas after a six-month private beta test, and healthcare providers who were part of the beta test say it's bringing healthcare into the current space of technology.

They say the technology reduces their wait times, provides up front costs and lets patients review their visit.

"In healthcare, as we know, we kind of lag a little bit, but I think with this kind of system and app, it's really in the palm of your hand," said Dr. Khoshnood Ahmad at Pediatric Urgent Care of North Texas in Frisco.

"We aren't sitting in a waiting room all afternoon, hoping to be able to get in somewhere. It's just making it easier," Hunter said.

Another app is offering a different kind of service in Grapevine.

The Grapevine Fire Department has partnered with the PulsePoint Respond app, which alerts CPR-trained citizens of nearby cardiac events when in public places so they can administer aid until paramedics arrive.

The app also notifies users of the closest available Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

According to a city spokesperson, early application of bystander CPR and rapid defibrillation from an AED have proven to be crucial in improving a person's chance of surviving sudden cardiac arrest.

PulsePoint can be used by anyone who has been trained in CPR.



Photo Credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Common Lead Test May Be Wrong, FDA and CDC Say]]> Wed, 17 May 2017 14:10:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/206*120/AP_551526133025.jpg

As NBC News reports, many children and pregnant women may need to get new lead tests because one of the most common lab tests may have given falsely low readings, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

The blood tests were made by Magellan Diagnostics and it's the only FDA-approved test used in most doctor's offices, the FDA said.

Any adult or child who had blood drawn for a lead test since 2014 may have to be re-tested, the FDA said.

Studies have shown many U.S. public water supplies are contaminated by lead.

Lead kills developing brain cells and the consequences are permanent. That can include lower IQ scores, poor school performance, inattention, impulsive behavior, aggression and hyperactivity.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio]]>
<![CDATA[Hospital Volunteer Brings Smiles to Kids, Staff for 38 Years]]> Wed, 17 May 2017 14:20:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Amy-Cox.jpg

Every Wednesday, you will find Amy Coxe working away at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

Coxe helps doctors and nursers care for children just out of surgery and she's been showing up for 38 years.

"Longer than most people here have been born," she said.

A volunteer four nearly four decades, Coxe witnessed the first pediatric heart transplant in Dallas and has logged more than 6,200 hours of community service.

Every week she shows up to bring a smile to the faces of young patients and to the medical team. 

"I know on Wednesday mornings she'll be here," registered nurse Ashlie Privett said. "To see someone who comes in as a volunteer, who does this everyday and she comes in with a smile, it's just a reminder. You're here to make life better for each other."

"A lot of things go on here that are not happy things, but a lot of things are very happy for the children because they're going to feel better," said Coxe.

It's that mission that keeps Coxe moving and returning week after week. 

"It's always a good thing if you're trying to make it a little bit better," she said.

If you're interested in being a volunteer, click here.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Ask the Pediatrician About Congenital Heart Defects]]> Tue, 16 May 2017 18:13:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/102008+Baby+Pacifier.jpg

NBC 5 Health Reporter Bianca Castro talks with Dr. Eric Mendeloff from Medical City Children's Hospital about babies that are born with congenital heart defects.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Health Headlines for Tuesday May 16, 2017]]> Tue, 16 May 2017 17:55:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/west+nile1.JPG

NBC 5 Health Reporter Bianca Castro has a look at the health headlines for Tuesday May 16, 2017.

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<![CDATA[Bills Cut Funding To Highest Level Emergency Departments]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 17:04:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ER+FUNDING.jpg

Trauma centers across the state are at risk of losing funding used for highly trained medical personnel and services, according the chairman of the Texas Hospital Association.


Jeffrey Canose, MD, senior executive vice president and COO of Texas Health Resources in Arlington, says 12 bills up for debate in Austin would change or end the Driver Responsibility Program, which provides about $50 million in funding to the state's trauma centers, yet none, except one of those bills, replenishes the funding that would disappear.

In the Driver’s Responsibility Program, portion of any person’s speeding/motor vehicle ticket goes to trauma funding at these facilities. 

Level 1s and Level 2s trauma centers get a bigger piece of the funding since they provide more services and must maintain more staff for accreditation.

"The trauma centers won't be able to keep their trained specialists, won't keep up blood banks at the level required to take care of mass casualty and people's lives will be put at risk," says Dr. Canose.

"Without them, people really do run the risk of failing to have their life saved if they're in a major accident."

He says the programs cost undue burden on the courts and do need change, however worries about consequences of a lack in funding for the state's 40 or so Level 1 and Level 2 trauma centers.

Two weeks remain in this year's legislative session.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Caffeine Overdose Killed South Carolina Teen: Coroner]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 17:07:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/GettyImages-571245571.jpg

A 16-year-old South Carolina boy who collapsed in a classroom had so much caffeine over a two-hour span that it killed him, a medical examiner said Monday. 

Davis Allen Cripe died April 26 at Palmetto Health Parkridge Hospital after collapsing at Spring Hill High School. He drank a large diet soda, a latte and an energy drink in the two hours before he fell ill, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said in a press conference Monday. 

Watts officially ruled the cause of death as a caffeine-induced cardiac event. He said Cripe had no family history that would have compounded the effects of caffeine and said the boy was otherwise healthy when he died. 

"We lost Davis from a totally legal substance," Watts said. "It was so much caffeine at the time of his death that it caused his arrhythmia."

The coroner said caffeinated drinks can be "very dangerous."

"I'm telling my friends and family: Don't drink them," he said. 

Cripe's father, Sean Cripe, attended the press conference. He said he hoped his son's death would save other lives by exposing the potential dangers of excessive caffeine.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Under-Eating, Over-Eating, & Weight Loss with Larry North]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 14:39:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Talk_St_641_Larry_Food_1200x675_944131651996.jpg

Discussing the correlation between under-eating and over-eating in your weight loss journey with Larry North, the leading expert on health, fitness, nutrition, and weight loss. Learn more by visiting www.larrynorth.com.

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<![CDATA[Mobile Mammography Unit Tours Hunt County in May]]> Sun, 14 May 2017 12:03:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mammography+coach.jpg

A heads up for all the busy women in Hunt County, a mammography unit is on the move and could be coming to a town near you.

The Tubby Adkisson Mobile Mammography Coach is making several stops in Hunt County throughout the month of May.

The mobile mammogram unit is outfitted with the latest digital equipment and everything doctors need to conduct mammograms.

Named for volunteer Nita 'Tubby' Adkisson, the coach makes visits to businesses, churches and locations throughout Hunt County.

Most insurance plans are accepted and a $100 flat fee is available for those who choose to pay cash. Appointments for these remote mammograms are scheduled in advance so that insurance and eligibility can be verified. Financial resources may be available by calling 903-408-5720.

To schedule a date at your business or location, call 903-408-5010 or CLICK HERE for a list of upcoming dates and locations.

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<![CDATA[Health Headlines for Friday May 12, 2017]]> Fri, 12 May 2017 18:27:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/knee+surgery1.jpg

NBC 5 Health Reporter Bianca Castro has a look at the health headlines for Friday May 12, 2017.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Funding Cuts Threaten Rehab Drug Courts]]> Fri, 12 May 2017 07:24:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rehab-drug-court.jpg

Friday marks an important day for dozens of adults who once faced hard prison time.

30 men and women will graduate from drug court, which is one of many “specialty courts,” in Dallas County.

The 12-to-18-month probationary program takes a more holistic approach to rehabilitation. Judge Lela D. Mays has been presiding over drug courts for 15 years, and STAC court for 10 years. She has witnessed former defendants (who once struggled with addiction) transform during the year long program.

“I think it makes a difference when you really treat someone in the criminal justice system as a person,” said Mays. “I never call people by their number, I call people by their name. Yes, they have offended someone in some way. They are here, they’re on probation, they have a case, but I also think it’s important to find out what is really going on. What is behind the substance abuse,” she said.

Getting to the root of addiction can take time. Drug court officers accountability and encouragement, but the program also demands discipline.

“It was hard for me at first,” said Tammy McAlister, who graduates Friday from the program.

“The first three months were overwhelming. I had to be in court at least twice a week, we are constantly drug tested, I had to check in with my probation officer, counselor, and peers,” she said.

McAlister lives in Irving and would take the one hour 45 minute bus ride into downtown Dallas several times a week.

“It was worth it! I would be dead or in prison if it wasn’t for this program," McAlister said. "I have so much more to look forward to. I want to go to school, and I’m going to get my own car and pay for it myself. It’s a great accomplishment. They may seem like little things, but to me its huge. I have burned so many bridges and to see my relationship restored, and my identity and sense of worth restored, it’s a great accomplishment,” she said.

McAlister’s family were set to fly in from Oklahoma to see her graduate from the program. Some of the police officers who arrested them will be at the ceremony cheering the graduates on.

The program has cut the recidivism rate in half, but cuts to grant funding could potentially halt the progress made in Dallas County. Specialty courts throughout Texas will be take a hit and lose funding at the end of August 2017.

The Press Secretary from the Office of the Governor confirmed the cuts in funding.

“Due to a statewide decrease in court fee collections, the Criminal Justice Division has less available discretionary funds to invest in these important programs," said John Wittman, Texas press Secretary. "To ensure these finite resources can be maximized, CJD is working to instill practices that will ensure operational excellence and identify those programs that are most effective at helping Texans make the most of their second chance.”

Full Letter: John Wittman

Press Secretary

Office Of The Governor

The budget will be tight, but Dallas County leaders are determined to keep the program afloat. “I think there are a lot of people who are misled without the proper information, and they are not equipped to make that analysis,” said Dionne Chesher who graduated from Drug Court almost eight years ago. “One visit to the court room and one visit to a graduation, get involved and you would see that it really is helping,” she said.

According to recent statistics, specialty courts have helped to cut the recidivism rate in half in Dallas County. The graduation ceremony takes place this afternoon.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Health Headlines for Thursday May 11, 2017]]> Thu, 11 May 2017 17:50:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vision.jpg

NBC 5 Health Reporter Bianca Castro has the health headlines for Thursday May 11, 2017.



Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[Taking Steps to Prevent Skin Cancer]]> Fri, 12 May 2017 10:42:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/209*120/skin+cancer+detection+camera+79.JPG

In today's health connection, we talk to Medical Oncologist Dr. Charles Cowey of Texas Oncology-Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center about the prevalence of skin cancer in the U.S. and how you can prevent skin cancer.

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<![CDATA[Patients Beg for Pricey Drugs on Facebook Black Market]]> Thu, 11 May 2017 15:28:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-141926979.jpg

Desperate patients are swapping pricey pharmaceutical drugs on Facebook, NBC News reported.

NBC News searched Facebook and found postings to trade insulins, EpiPens, asthma inhalers and other prescription medications.

"If it weren't for the online diabetes community I would be dead," said Amy Leyendecker, a 43-year-old medical transcription student from Kentucky living with Type-1 diabetes who requires daily doses of insulin to stay alive.

Doctors say patients like Leyendecker take a big gamble.

"Patients can put themselves in grave danger by using insulin 'traded' online," said Dr. Joshua Miller, medical director of diabetes care at Stony Brook Medicine, running the risk of infection, or fluctuating blood sugar levels if the insulin was expired or stored incorrectly.



Photo Credit: John Moore/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scientists Find Root Cause of Gray and Balding Hair]]> Thu, 11 May 2017 08:51:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/gray+hair+study+ut+southwestern.jpg

Scientists in North Texas have identified the cells that cause hair to turn gray and to go bald – findings that could one day help identify possible treatments.

Researchers from the University of Texas Southewestern Medical Center accidentally stumbled upon the discovery while studying a rare genetic disease that causes tumors to grow on nerves. 

"When we saw the mice that we were expecting to form a tumor turned gray, we were really excited!" said Dr. Lu Le, an associate professor of dermatology at UT Southwestern.

The researchers found that a protein called KROX20, more commonly associated with nerve development, switches on in skin cells that become the hair shaft.

These hair cells then produce another protein called stem cell factor (SCF). In mice, these two proteins turned out to be important for baldness and graying.

When researchers deleted the SCF gene in mice, the animals' hair turned white; when they deleted the cells that produce KROX20, the mice stopped growing hair and eventually went bald, according to the study.

"We were really excited because as a dermatologist, I treat patients with hair disease, so when we found the root cause of why hair turns gray and hair loss, we just cannot let it go," Le said.

More research is needed to understand if the process works similarly in humans, and Le and his colleagues plan to start studying it in people.

Le hopes that, armed with this knowledge, scientists can develop a topical compound or transplant the necessary gene to hair follicles to correct these cosmetic problems.

Researchers say the findings could one day also provide answers about why humans age in general as hair graying and hair loss are among the first signs of aging.

At Hair Revival Studio in Dallas, clients say the possibility of a treatment for gray hair and baldness sounds remarkable.

"Everyone wants to have a good head of hair. There's a lot of confidence that comes with that," said Brandon Stewart.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Pacemaker Treats Stomach Paralysis]]> Wed, 10 May 2017 18:07:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/stomach+pacemaker1.jpg

According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as five million Americans may suffer from gastroparesis, a stomach paralysis that makes it very difficult to digest food.

It affects people with diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, and for one-third of the patients the cause is unknown. There’s now a treatment giving people back their lives.

Erica Davila has had stomach problems her whole life. She was misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. The pain and nausea became so bad she had to leave her job as an operating room nurse.

“It’s a horrible way to live. I felt like I couldn’t be myself and didn’t have an interest in food," Davila said.

She was diagnosed gastroparesis, a rare condition caused by a nerve dysfunction that results in stomach paralysis. The most severe cases require a feeding tube.

Dr. Ken Brown, a gastroenterologist at Medical City Plano, often treats the condition and said a normal stomach gets an electrical signal to push food through with no problem.

"So with gastroparesis, it happens when the stomach itself doesn't accommodate very well and those power lines that push stuff through, well, something is off," he said.

Medication and diet therapy didn’t work, so a gastric stimulator, similar to a pacemaker for the heart, was inserted into Davila’s stomach. It sends an electrical impulse to jump start the stomach muscles.

"It sends an electrical impulse and tells the stomach to start contracting," said Brown. 

“Life is far better now. I’m able to eat more than I used to,” Davila said. Including practicing martial arts with her husband Brian.

Doctors use at least five different tests to diagnose gastroparesis and rule out conditions that may cause similar symptoms.  People with gastroparesis are encouraged to eat a modified diet that is low in sugar, fiber, dairy, and wheat.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Ask the Pediatrician: Cholesterol and Children]]> Tue, 09 May 2017 17:25:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ask_the_Pediatrician_4p_050917_1200x675_939987523544.jpg

Dr. Don Wilson, a pediatric endocrinologist at Cook Children's Medical Center, talks about cholesterol and children.

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<![CDATA[Medical App Helps Save Lives of Heart Attack Patients]]> Tue, 09 May 2017 17:57:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ambulance+GettyImages-478895016.jpg

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Grapevine and several northeast Tarrant County EMS teams are using a new technology called Pulsara.

The app, which can be downloaded onto a smartphone, joins together the EMS team, emergency department team and hospital cardiac catheterization team with one touch.

The technology was recently used to save the life of 55-year-old Thomas Moran, a North Texas limousine driver.

Moran suffered a heart attack while waiting for a client at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in February.

"I had a slight pressure on my chest. It wasn't like an elephant sitting on my chest, but it was a slight pressure. The main thing was I couldn't get any air, no matter how hard I tried to breathe," Moran said.

"We knew when we walked into the terminal area that this guy is having a cardiac event, just by the way he looked," said Lamar Adams, paramedic with the D/FW Airport EMS Team.

The D/FW Airport EMS team is one of 11 Tarrant County EMS systems using Pulsara.

The EMS team can alert the emergency department of an incoming patient, along with medical history details. Physicians can view real-time ECGs on their phone and determine if the patient immediately needs a procedure in the cardiac cath lab set up.

The use of app is shaving minutes off door-to-balloon time.

The national goal is 90 minutes, but new this app has significantly reduced the time to as little as 26 minutes, as was the case with Moran.

"This makes it so we know what we are dealing with when we get to the hospital. We know, especially in a situation like this, that this is a major, life-threatening, big territory and that we need to get there quickly," said Dr. Kevin Theleman, Moran's attending interventional cardiologist at Baylor Scott & White Grapevine.

Moran was treated quickly and suffered no heart damage.

"I had no idea what they were doing or how they were doing it. All I know is that they saved my life and I'm very happy to be walking around, talking to everyone," Moran said.

Baylor Grapevine piloted the new technology with D/FW Airport, Grapevine, Southlake, Euless and Keller EMS teams.

Before implementing this app, the EMS teams and hospital teams communicated through pagers, faxes and emails.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Senate Group Draws Fire for Lack of Women Working on Health Care]]> Tue, 09 May 2017 14:36:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mcconnell-gop-senate.jpg

The core group of 13 Republican senators tasked with crafting health care legislation to repeal Obamacare is under fire for not including any women senators, NBC News reports.

Some Republican women, like Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have expressed disappointment at being shut out of the working group, led by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. 

McConnell has denied there is a problem with the group’s makeup, saying that every Senate Republican will have their say.

Democrats have been quick to point out the lack of women in the group. "I would hope that Senator McConnell would be a little more sensitive to the fact he's picked a dozen men on his side, there are certainly some very competent women he could've chosen," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told MSNBC Tuesday.



Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Life Expectancy Varies by 20 Years Across US Counties]]> Tue, 09 May 2017 09:10:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/america-life-expectancy-jama-study.jpg

Americans' life expectancy varies by nearly a generation across counties in the United States, according to a new study, from a high of 87 years in Colorado's ski country to a low of 66 years in southwest South Dakota, with other parts of the Dakotas, Appalachia and the Mississippi river basin close behind.

NBC News reported that obesity and diabetes could explain a big chunk of that 20-year difference, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA Internal Medicine Monday.

Many studies have shown that where Americans live has a big effect on how long they live. But Dr. Christopher Murray's team at the University of Washington found that the disparity has increased by five years since 1980, when they looked at life expectancy and risk of death for each county across the U.S. from then until 2014.

"The magnitude of these disparities demands action, all the more urgently because inequalities will only increase further if recent trends are allowed to continue uncontested," the team wrote.



Photo Credit: American Medical Association]]>