Health

KCUR's health team focuses on health issues and their impact in Missouri and Kansas. Working with journalists at other public media stations and news outlets, reporters Dan Margolies and Alex Smith strive to bring listeners and readers timely, accurate and comprehensive coverage of a topic that leaves no one untouched.

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

When it comes to the “discussion draft” to replace Obamacare that U.S. Senate Republicans unveiled Thursday, Missouri’s two senators could not be farther apart.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts website

Kansas U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts is not enthusiastic about the Senate’s version of the Obamacare replacement bill.

Nevertheless, he supports it.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On average, men live significantly shorter lives than women, frequent the doctor less, and die at higher rates in nine of the top ten causes of death. Today, we find out how masculinity is related to men's health.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

In voting for a $1.2 billion tax increase to bolster the budget for the next two years, the Kansas Legislature avoided a projected $900 budget hole and began restoring past cuts to the mental health system.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

KCUR health reporter Alex Smith has won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for a radio feature about a deaf man who regained his hearing through cochlear implants.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Erin Smith doesn’t watch a lot of TV.

Instead, the 17-year-old spends her evenings perfecting an online tool she created. The tool, called FacePrint, can detect Parkinson’s disease years before current diagnosis methods by recording your facial reactions with a webcam at home.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A typical high schooler's concerns don't usually include developing a method for early detection of Parkinson's disease. Today, we meet a 17-year-old who is using face-recognition technology to do just that.

Elementary school kids form a line behind their teacher as they prepare to tour the House chamber in the Missouri Capitol building.

Statistically, about one in every nine of these kids will have a major depressive episode between the ages of 12 and 17, according to the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

State lawmakers, who draft laws that regulate and fund many mental health programs, just wrapped up their 2017 session.

More than half of Missouri’s counties don’t have a licensed psychiatrist, and nearly half don’t have a licensed psychologist.  

Andrew Turner / Flickr - CC

Parents want to know their kids are on track when it comes to hitting key developmental milestones. At what age should your child be able to perform certain tasks — feeding themselves, walking, or talking, for instance — and when is it time to worry? We talk with pediatric experts about gauging your little one's progress, and how to keep an eye out for potentially critical delays.

Intropin / Wikimedia Commons

Another major pharmacy chain in Missouri now offers naloxone, the potentially lifesaving drug that prevents opioid overdose deaths, to Missourians without a prescription.

Hy-Vee announced Wednesday it will now sell the drug to customers in Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The monarch butterfly migration is one of the most beautiful phenomena in nature. Today, we speak with an Overland Park native who is following the migration on her bike, a 10,000-mile trip. Then, we shine a spotlight on Angel Flight Central, a Kansas City charity staffed by volunteer pilots who fly patients in need to essential medical care.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the American Health Care Act, the GOP-backed bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. 

House Republicans approved the plan by a narrow margin, 217 - 213. The measure goes next to the Senate.

In the waning hours before the vote, Indivisible Kansas City, a local branch of the national movement, organized a protest outside Republican Congressman Kevin Yoder's office in downtown Overland Park, Kansas. 

Joseph Morris / Wikimedia Commons

This post was updated at 1:38 p.m. on Thursday.

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve the American Health Care Act, touted by the GOP and President Donald Trump as a better alternative to President Obama's signature health care effort, the Affordable Care Act. The final vote, 217 - 213. All 193 Democrats in the House, joined by 20 Republicans, opposed the bill. 

Courtesy Summer Breeze

Lenexa drummer and philanthropist Billy Brimblecom says he’s put blood, sweat, and tears into trying to be an original musician.

“But seriously, one of the most fun and — dare I say — at least locally successful things I’ve done, is this.”

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3 FM

Hungry kids need good food. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. According to a Huffington Post article from February, school lunch programs are one of the most regulated nutritional programs. 

We'll get to know a few local "lunch ladies" and check in on school lunch programs in our area.

Guests:

Andrew Goloida / Flickr - CC

Some symptoms of allergies are easily recognizable: itchy eyes, runny nose, congestion and coughing. But excessive ear infections and sore throats — even snoring — can be a harbinger of sensitivity in some kids to the environment. Even doctors can be challenged to suss out whether little ones have a run-of-the-mill cold or something more. Today, pediatricians offer guidance for dealing with kids suffering from allergies.

The U.S. National Archives

When President Harry Truman moved into the White House, he thought the creaks and groans meant it was haunted. It turns out it was just in imminent danger of collapse. Today, hear the story of how the executive mansion was completely gutted and restored. Then, what takes more than seven years and 900 international volunteers to complete?

Writers Guild Foundation

Despite its shoestring budget and remarkably short shooting schedule, High Noon is revered among cinephiles. Today, author Glenn Frankel reveals how the 1952 film reflects the turbulent political climate of the Red Scare. Then: Buildings can affect our sleep, what we eat and how we feel.

United States Mission Geneva / Wikimedia Commons--CC

The Band's legendary final performance was over 40 years ago, but their fame lives on. The hit group's lead guitarist, Robbie Robertson, shares stories from the time he wrote "The Weight" in one night to jamming with Bob Dylan.

Roundup, the Monsanto brand name pesticide built on the chemical glyphosate, is used on farm fields and on lawns and gardens.
File: Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

After court documents unsealed Tuesday raised questions about its research methods, chemical giant Monsanto says it did not ghostwrite a 2000 study on the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in its flagship pesticide Roundup.

Nic McPhee / Flickr - CC

For parents who have a picky eater in the house, mealtime can feel like a battle. Today, we get tips from health professionals — and from listeners with front-line experience — for encouraging good routines in the kitchen and at the table. We'll also explore ways to get your kids interested and involved in preparing the food they eat.

William Shepard Walsh / Flickr - CC

For the 3rd year in a row, Abraham Lincoln topped C-SPAN's presidential leadership survey. On Presidents Day (more accurately known as Washington's Birthday), we explore the struggle over emancipation and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

When it comes to chronic pain, opioids are the go-to treatment. But in light of the so-called "opioid epidemic," what are the viable alternatives for people living with pain? And what is it like to live with physical pain, knowing it will never fully go away?

Guests:

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas legislators concerned about health issues are doing something unusual in politics these days: getting bipartisan.

Veteran legislators from both parties who lead the House and Senate health committees have formed the Healthy Kansans Caucus.

The first meeting attracted about a dozen lawmakers Friday to a conference room at the Kansas Health Institute in Topeka.

Many of them were elected for the first time in November. One of the freshmen, Rep. Tom Cox, said the new crop of legislators are more interested in problem-solving than partisan wrangling.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Dr. Damon Heybrock’s office doesn’t look like a traditional medical clinic.

Heybrock finished converting a two-story row house into a medical practice in September, putting exam tables in the bedrooms and a centrifuge for lab tests next to the kitchen sink.

Original pieces by Kansas City artists cover the walls of the clinic in Westwood, which Heybrock named Health Studio KC.

The look isn’t the only thing that’s different about his practice — so is the payment method. 

Ashley Booker / Hutchinson News

Eight rural communities across Kansas will share $120,000 in grants over the next year to find ways to improve access to fresh produce.

Fresh vegetables and fruits can be hard to find in rural Kansas because some grocery stores have closed or are struggling to survive.

Shawn Semmler / Flickr - CC

Increasing violence in Kansas City has gotten a lot of attention, leading one church to sponsor a forum where community members can workshop ideas to solve the problem. We'll preview that discussion. Then, we find out how the presence of a Fortune 500 company in Ferguson, Missouri, illustrates a history of fiscal imbalance and racial capitalism.

questdiagnostics.com

When Amanda January was growing up in Gardner, Kansas, regular doctor’s visits weren’t a regular thing at all.

“When I was a kid we almost never went to the doctor,” January says. “I was rarely sick. My siblings were rarely sick. We just didn’t go.”

She’s now a dancer and Pilates teacher who works hard to manage her health, but she’s still skeptical about doctors.

“Some doctors might care more about paying off their student loans than their patients,” she says.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Editor’s note: An update to this story was posted at 5 p.m. Jan. 26.

About 350 elderly and disabled Kansans are suddenly without dental care after an Oklahoma City company informed nursing homes that it was suspending services for Kansas residents whose Medicaid applications are pending.

The company, Sterling Dental, sends dentists to nursing homes in Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas for on-site care.

Colby Ellis / Flickr - CC

Football can be pretty violent. Today, two local physicians discuss whether school boards should continue to support contact sports for high-schoolers. Then, get tips on crafting an apology that will avoid making a bad situation worse.

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