Science

Climate Research
2:47 am
Tue December 28, 2010

Coastal fog not following climate change script

A fog shrouds a Washington coast highway in 2008.
Flickr/Ravenelle

Ever had a summer beach vacation chilled by dense fog? Then you might be interested in new research at the University of Washington. A scientist there is looking at how fogginess along the coast has changed over time. 

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Health
5:04 pm
Wed December 22, 2010

Health history can be a gift to family members

Dr. Marius Laumans, right, examining Lynnette Drake, at a Group Health facility in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Along with egg nog and presents, doctors say families should share their health histories this holiday season.  Health officials say family history is a leading predictor of illnesses and a big gift for loved ones. 

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Watching the Sky
2:30 pm
Mon December 20, 2010

Lunar eclipse tonight

This is a photo of a total lunar eclipse in 2007, as viewed from the nation of Macedonia. North and Central America will be in the best position to view tonight's total eclipse.
AP

Western Washington can look forward to an added gift of the Winter Solstice: a total eclipse of the moon. The heavenly event begins at 10:32 pm tonight, with the moon in full eclipse from 11:41 pm to 12:53 am, according to NASA.

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Smoking
11:06 am
Thu December 16, 2010

Electronic cigarettes considered a new public health threat

Galen Kipe holds an electronic cigarette. For the 34-year-old who has tried quitting a number of times, Kipe has swapped real smokes for an electronic cigarette.
Gerry Broome AP Photo

Just when you thought cigarettes were headed for obscurity, along comes the electronic cigarette.  The King County Board of Health is restricting these "e-cigarettes" in the name of protecting youth -- and keeping a stigma against smoking. 

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Public Health
3:40 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Whooping cough hits Tacoma elementary school

A whooping cough outbreak at an elementary school in north Tacoma has sickened at least six children.  Investigators are looking into additional cases. 

The disease, also known as pertussis, can cause serious illness in young children, especially infants.  More than one-third of infants less than one year old who get the disease must be hospitalized, according to the Tacoma - Pierce County Health Department.  

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Weather
4:39 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Pineapple Express brings flooding on Sunday

Forecast from the U.W. showing an "atmospheric river" bringing wet clouds from the tropical Pacific (in the lower left) to the Northwest coast
UW/Dpt. of Atmospheric Sciences (http://www.atmos.washington.edu/mm5rt/)

A big rainstorm is headed to western Washington this weekend.  Forecasters say Saturday should start out pleasant, with the rainstorm hitting south Puget Sound in the late morning, and the Seattle area by around noon.

It’s not supposed to be as bad as devastating storms a few years ago, but flooding is likely on some rivers. 

There are a few rivers in western Washington that flood regularly – such as the Skokomish and the Tolt.  This year, you can add one more to that list, a section of the Puyallup River in eastern Pierce County.

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Health Insurance
3:33 am
Wed December 8, 2010

Kreidler rejects Regence rate hike

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has rejected a new rate increase requested by one of the state’s largest health insurers.  It’s the second time in recent months Kreidler has sparred with Regence BlueShield. 

Regence is seeking a 3.7% increase for its Washington customers, including the Asuris subsidiary, starting January first, to cover the cost of new benefits required by the federal health law.  This applies to its individual insurance plans, not to plans provided through employers.

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Public Health
10:28 am
Fri December 3, 2010

MRSA study of fire station shows the deadly bacteria is everywhere

Firefighters and medics may be at higher risk for carrying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than the average person, according to results from a UW study.
UW / Marc Beaudreau

The drug-resistant strain of staph infection MRSA is known to be a problem for many hospitals.  A pioneering study from the University of Washington shows that it's also resilient enough to spread from medic units all the way into the living quarters of firefighters. 

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Humanosphere
4:05 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

Three things make this World AIDS Day different

Wikimedia.org

KPLU's Humanosphere blogger Tom Paulson has a great post today about why the Gates Foundation's director of HIV and tuberculosis programs feels this year's World AIDS day is different than it's dozens of predecessors. 

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AIDS
11:43 am
Wed December 1, 2010

HIV cases stay steady, predominantly gay

The number of people getting newly infected with HIV has stayed steady in Washington since 2005.  There are about 570 new cases a year.  Most of those – 63% -- are gay and bisexual men.  The Washington Department of Health says those numbers justify changes in how it distributes funding, starting in January. 

Science
4:58 pm
Tue November 30, 2010

Hospitals reveal surgical infection rates

Surgery at U.W. Medical Center
Keith Seinfeld KPLU

If you ever need elective surgery, more websites keep appearing to help you pick the safest hospital.  Now, you can compare all the hospitals in Washington based on their infection rates following some common surgeries. 

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Science
5:23 am
Mon November 29, 2010

Sweetened beverages target of health campaign

Sugary drinks, like these sodas, are the target of a new public health campaign in King County aimed at parents. Beverage industry leaders oppose their effort as 'ineffective.'
AP

Voters may have repealed taxes on sodas, but that’s not scaring away public health leaders.  They’re urging parents to keep their kids away from sodas and other sugary drinks this holiday season.  It’s part of an overall effort to combat obesity. 


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Preventive Medicine
6:21 pm
Wed November 17, 2010

Smoking prevention saves millions with fewer hospital visits

Washington state anti-smoking measures are working, according to state officials. They claim a new study shows ten years of tobacco education efforts prevented 36,000 smoking-related hospitalizations.
AP

Washington state says it has evidence its anti-tobacco program is not only saving lives but saving money for taxpayers.  That comes as the program faces near elimination because of budget cuts. 

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Health Insurance
3:16 am
Mon November 15, 2010

Open enrollment season and Medicare changes

Open enrollment time for Medicare puts the spotlight on recent changes and effects on prescription drug benefits.
iStock


We’ve been hearing a lot about the politics of health care lately.  In the meantime, many employers are in open enrollment season, making for a confusing month when it comes to health insurance.  And for seniors on Medicare,  November brings the annual dilemma about prescription drugs.

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Medical Mistakes
4:57 pm
Wed November 10, 2010

State finds "no deficiencies" at Seattle Children's

Seattle Children's in the Laurelhurst neighborhood has been under scrutiny for its procedures after three high-profile errors.
AP

Following three high-profile cases involving its patients, Seattle Children's Hospital has been given a passing report card of "no deficiencies" by the  state Department of Health, according to the Associated Press.  Inquiries  of nurses and other health care providers involved in the cases are still ongoing.

The Associated Press reports:

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