Health

Around 94,000 medical marijuana licenses have been issued in Illinois, and about 600 of them are for children under the age of 18.

Students who need medical marijuana – typically to treat conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy – used to have to rely on their parents to come to school and give them their treatment. Now, students can get their cannabis from the school nurse, or administer it themselves under the nurse’s supervision.

The federal government recently raised the smoking age to 21 to help curb teen vaping.  Some are applauding the decision as a win for public health. Others worry it was a knee-jerk reaction.

Just a few weeks ago, some Midwest state legislatures were aiming to raise the legal age for smoking. But Congress moved first, setting a new national age limit of 21. Now, some anti-smoking advocates say that’s not enough. 

Why This Free Health Clinic Is Pushing To Expand Medicaid

Jan 8, 2020

On a chilly afternoon, Terry Cox has come to Mountain View, Mo., to see a dentist. He’s waiting on a bench outside a converted rectory.

“Came to get a tooth check and see what they got to do to it," Cox says. "Maybe get ‘em all out.”

The 56-year-old works in northern Arkansas, and drove an hour and a half to the Good Samaritan Care Clinic.

Across the country, nearly 95,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant. And the list has been growing for years. That's pushed some people to try unusual ways to find donors.

A wide range of healthcare issues drew headlines in 2019, affecting the lives of millions of Americans. Here are some highlights from Side Effects Public Media's coverage across the Midwest:

Vaping. In the second half of the year, this crisis exploded onto America's consciousness. 

Across the United States, Alzheimer's is a growing problem. The number of people with the disease is expected to increase nearly 15 percent over the next eight years. There’s no cure, but some caregivers are using music to help. 

There are just weeks left until adult-use recreational cannabis becomes legal in Illinois. While many consumers have been looking forward to that day since lawmakers passed the legislation in May, cultivators have been scrambling to prepare for the demand.

WCBU’s Dana Vollmer visited one central Illinois producer to see how preparation efforts are going.

The United States spends more than $3 trillion on health care every year. That comes out to about double the spending per person than other wealthy nations—yet with worse health outcomes in comparison.


Illinois’ Attorney General is suing e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs, alleging the company intentionally hooked teens on vaping.


In many Midwest states it’s illegal for someone with HIV to have sex without telling partners about the illness. Some public health experts are pushing to change those laws.

It’s open enrollment season for the health insurance marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act. But many people who need to sign up may not know it. The Trump administration has made a number of moves to diminish the law, including cuts to marketing and outreach. That creates obstacles for groups that help people sign up. 

Likely more than 100,000 Illinoisans will lose food stamps under a rule change finalized by President Donald’s Trump administration this week. 

The non-profit Centerstone, which offers substance abuse and mental health treatment, sponsored a workshop on getting families involved in the substance-abuse treatment process recently.

American Red Cross Issues Urgent Appeal.

Dec 4, 2019

The American Red Cross is asking for the public to be sure and donate blood.

In the fall, livestock veterinarian Dr. Bailey Lammers is often busy with vaccinating calves and helping wean them from their mothers.

A herd of auburn cattle greeted her at the barn gate during one of her house calls in northeastern Nebraska, peering from behind the dirt-caked bars. Lammers and her technician Sadie Kalin pulled equipment from tackleboxes in the back of Lammers’ truck.  

Nothing Jenn and Jason learned in parenting class prepared them for the challenges they've faced raising a child prone to violent outbursts.

The couple are parents to two siblings whom they first fostered as toddlers and later adopted. (NPR has agreed not to use the children's names or the couple's last names because of the sensitive nature of the family's story.)

Five Illinois residents have died so far this year after vaping. Two of those people have died within the last week, while public health investigators have struggled to find what’s behind the spike in illnesses.

Missouri has already approved more than 17,000 patients for its yet-to-be-launched medical marijuana program — a stark contrast to neighboring Illinois, which had fewer than 3,000 patients in the first 10 months. 

Licenses for Missouri’s dispensaries are expected to be awarded by January, and cannabis should be available for medical card holders by spring. 

At their core, Missouri and Illinois programs do the same thing: They allow doctors to certify patients to use cannabis if they have a qualifying condition. But there are significant differences in the details of each law, including who has access, how they’re getting access and how the programs can be changed in the future.

Sending a child to overnight camp can be nerve-wracking for any parent. It’s even scarier if they have a child with a chronic illness. But a camp in Illinois offers a safe option for kids who have Type 1 diabetes.

State lawmakers are considering whether to ban flavored tobacco products in Illinois. Both sides of that debate made their cases before a panel of state senators in Springfield Tuesday.


Ahead of next month’s open enrollment period for Medicaid health insurance, a new report shows more Illinois residents are insured. But that same report shows nearly three quarters of a million Illinoisans still don’t have health insurance.

The report by insurance comparison website QuoteWizard looked at uninsured rates across the country over the last decade. It found as many 1.3 million Illinoisans were uninsured in 2008, but that number dropped by nearly half in the decade since.

An anti-abortion law firm is asking the federal government to block a portion of Illinois’ reproductive health law. They say it improperly says forces people to pay for health insurance that covers abortions.


*The city of Fairview Heights in southwestern Illinois has drawn national attention for the stealthily built Planned Parenthood Clinic that will open there later this month.

The 18,000-square-foot clinic will dwarf another one that  Planned Parenthood already operates in Fairview Heights, about a dozen miles from downtown St. Louis.  That site only provides medication abortions and other medical treatments.

New Healthy Beverage Guidelines for Children

Oct 3, 2019
Ben Kerckx / Pixabay

Scientists and doctors have released new guidelines for child nutrition and healthy beverages.

 

One recommendation is that children under five should not be given plant-based milks, like oat milk or soy milk, unless ordered by a doctor. While these are fine for adults, children need the nutrition that comes with cow's milk or formula.

After months of controversy over allegations of cancer-causing emissions, medical sterilization company Sterigenics says it will not reopen an Illinois plant.

On Sunday, September 22nd, a former SIU Athletics Administrator and former Saluki Track athlete are joining forces for the 3rd annual Community Fun and Fitness Relays. 

At least one person has died in Illinois, after they used an e-cigarette product that appears to have caused fatal breathing problems. The death may be the first vaping fatality in the nation.


It’s the middle of summer but Harrisburg Middle School is a hive of activity. Between summer school classes and renovations, it’s a little chaotic for counselor Brett Rawlings, who just wrapped up his first year at the school.

Harrisburg is a town of fewer than 300 people, midway between St. Louis and Kansas City. But the school also serves the surrounding area, which is primarily farmland. As the K-8 counselor, Rawlings is responsible for some 400 students, and he deals with a range of issues.


For years, doctors have used an expensive brain scan to detect symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. 

But researchers at Washington University have found that a simple blood test could be similarly effective, according to a study published this month in the journal Neurology. A blood test to diagnose early symptoms could help make finding a cure easy or cheaper and even guide treatment for the disease in the future, the study’s authors say. 

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