Physical Health

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The state Department of Public Health has reported that two people have died from the flu. These are the first flu-related deaths reported in the state this year.

Matthew Alvarez / Iowa Public Radio

Barbara Ehrenreich is best known for exposing what it's like to try to get by when you are earning minimum wage in America in her best selling book "Nickled and Dimed."

In her newest book, she turns her unflinching gaze on health care, the fitness industry, the human drive for immortality,  and she describes how people relentlessly worry about what is, in the end, inevitable.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

The Iowa Department of Public Health is asking for the public’s help in identifying cases of respiratory illnesses possibly linked to vaping after four reported cases of severe respiratory illness in young adults.

ep_jhu/Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

More Iowans who get their insurance through their employer are on high deductible plans, accoring to a recent report by the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC).

Rick Brewer / IPR

Julie Knight met Julie Freese in a candy store in downtown Iowa City in the early 1980s. Knight had been battling Type 1 diabetes since she was ten years old and says she felt like one of the misfit toys from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." After moving into a house together on Ash Street the two Julies, of course, became even closer. But their relationship only grew stronger after parting ways in Iowa City.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

Desire Christensen’s small office at the University of Iowa is filled with toys.

"Some of my favorite ones are my dinosaurs," said Christensen. "I was always a huge dinosaur nerd as a kid so I love these."

Megan Klindt and Donald Hendricks died when an engine fire spread throughout this bus in rural western Iowa.
Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office

After reviewing the case of a school bus fire in western Iowa, a federal safety board is calling for changes to fire safety standards that date back to 1971. The National Transportation Safety Board said buses are overdue for an upgrade to protect students from fires, but also said school districts should follow stricter rules to ensure drivers are healthy enough to take action when there is an emergency.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

This month about 420,000 Iowans on Medicaid are preparing to transition to a new managed care organization when UnitedHealthcare leaves the state on June 30. This includes nearly 40,000 special Medicaid patients that require long term-services and supports and their families. Though they make up just 6 percent of Medicaid recipients, they require a much higher level of specialized care than the general population, and this upcoming transition has left many of these people feeling anxious.

Kinga Cichewicz / Unsplash

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is emerging as a solution to aid persistent insomnia in place of medication. 

University of Iowa Neurology Professor Mark Dyken and Psychiatrist Rachel Immen join River to River explain the impacts of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI).  

"I like to compare CBTI to physical therapy - you're working on a specific problem with exercises that help you improve the function of yourself," Immen says. "CBTI is very similar in that you're going to be working on exercises to improve your brain function and your sleep ability."

John DC Anderson / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode

This program originally aired on August 31, 2017.

In under three years, Mike Glenn went from needing glasses to complete vision loss. In this Talk of Iowa segment, host Charity Nebbe talks with guests about conditions that can lead to adult vision loss or severe impairment. Glenn lost his vision to diabetic retinopathy. Nebbe also talks with Archie Rodin who has gradually been losing his sight to macular degeneration.

Silvester Franz / Flickr

For centuries, yoga has served as a healing and therapeutic practice that has helped many who have encountered trauma in their life.

"When trauma happens, there is this lack of power, this lack of choice over what is happening," says Julie Jack, founder and editor of The Exhale Project, a grant funded program that offers free yoga classes to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking and other related traumas.

Katie Peikes/IPR

Native American activists say they see a void in northwest Iowa as their people try to heal from alcoholism, drug abuse and traumatic experiences. They built a sweat lodge over the weekend in Sioux City that they hope will inspire people to seek out the healing they need.

The Death Midwife

May 23, 2018
Photo of workshop by Donna Belk and Sandy Booth

In recent years, there has been expansion of palliative care, which is medical care that focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of serious illness.  There also has been increased availability of hospice care, which is designed to give support and comfort to people in the final phase of a terminal illness. There’s a new movement in end of life care called death midwifery.

RelaxingMusic / Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

White House physician Ronny Jackson’s nomination for Secretary of Veterans Affairs has exposed the widespread use of alertness drugs and sleeping pills among Washington officials and white house staff. During this hour of River to River, guest host Charity Nebbe talks with Dr. Eric Dyken, of the sleep disorders program at the University of Iowa about sleeping pills, wakefulness drugs and other new sleep research. 

stu_spivack / Flickr

The human brain has substantially different dietary needs than other organs, and new research suggests that diet may play a large role in the development of dementia, obesity, and even ability to sleep.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with neuroscientist and nutritionist Lisa Mosconi, whose new book, Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power, explains how diet affects brain power and health.

Mosconi says that if she had to pick one food that’s best for brain health, she would say caviar.

New Year, New Tools for Health Assessment

Jan 8, 2018
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode [cropped]
gyro2 —

There are a lot of different tools designed to monitor fitness. From the low tech-scale and body mass index (BMI) calculations, to the high tech dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) body scan, which is designed to measure body fat and more.

In this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe explores an aspect of physical health that many people examine this time of year. With new goals for fitness or weight loss, she talks about fitness assessments new and old.

Get Better Sleep

Oct 24, 2017
Andrew Roberts / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

A seven-year-old Kentucky boy recently slept for eleven days straight. This hour, hear about the medical mystery that has doctors baffled. On this River to River program, host Ben Kieffer talk with sleep expert and neurologist Dr. Eric Dyken of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics about the boy's dangerous slumber. 

Dyken says there is limited information about this case, and he does not have the medical records that would allow him to know more.  But he compares this with a case he did see in Iowa which was a case of viral encephalopathy.

Melanie Levi / Flickr

Stories of extraordinary weight loss make gripping television, but the kind of fast and furious weight loss viewers love to see doesn’t tend to last.

“The body was equipped to defend against weight loss, and that makes maintenance of weight loss during dieting an exercise extremely difficult," says Dr. Allyn Mark of the University of Iowa. "This is true not only with the contestants in the biggest loser…but it’s also true of individuals who diet to lose modest amounts of weight.”

Penn State / Flickr

Sepsis strikes more than a million Americans every year. Between 28 and 50 percent of those patients will die.

"People are getting all kinds of procedures that are altering their immune system and their ability to handle these infections, and so what we see is that infections are actually going up and we're getting significant number of deaths," says Dr. Patrick Schlievert, professor and chair in the Department of Microbiology at the UI Carver College of Medicine. "The funding and the understanding that goes with that has not kept up with it."

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Research shows that living in a walkable community is good for your health, good for your kids, and good for the local economy, but it can be a struggle for cities to develop infrastructure towards better walkability.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe hosts a discussion on what it means for a community to be walkable, the impact it can have, the barriers to walkability, as well as the pros and cons of skywalk systems.

Guests on today’s program include:

Carl Wycoff

As outdoor playtime has dwindled for many kids in the United States our understanding of the importance of that time has grown.

"Kids are 71 percent less involved in outdoor activities now than they were ten years ago," says Dr. Stuart Brown, founding director of the National Institute for Play. "To me it's a public health issue. The benefits of play need to be understood both for personal health, brain development, and social competency. We don't somehow see play as being connected to that and yet it is."

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Gym class used to be as simple as learning the rules to a sport, practicing that sport, playing a scrimmage, and moving on. Now, the bar is set a bit higher. Charity Campbell is a physical education teacher at Norwalk Middle School. She says physical education has shifted to instilling habits that go beyond the classroom.

"As we're making that shift with our health crisis today, we're making sure our students are active the entire class. We're giving them a variety of activities to try and do, but not perfect the skills."

Flickr / ceiling

The benefits of exercise are well documented, but it can difficult to make time to hit the gym. But when developing a good workout schedule, is it more important to focus on forming habits on how you exercise, or habits that make you decide to exercise?

According to ISU health psychologist L. Alison Phillips, it's the latter. She says strong patterns that prompt you to initiate exercise are key to frequent workouts. 

It’s been about three months since Daniel Finney wrote his first column in the Des Moines Register about his efforts to lose more than 300 pounds. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with Daniel Finney about his weight loss journey.

"The little things are a tremendous life improvement," says Finney, referring to walking to the mailbox and household chores. "You go from dreading simple basic daily tasks to not really thinking about them, and you become really grateful of the fact that you are on this journey to recover."

wader / Flickr

When you stand in front of the mirror and look at your image can you see yourself as you really are?

Organizers of the Branstad administration’s fourth annual 1-K walk say they expect as many as half a million people to participate. 

Sasha Wolff / Wikimedia Commons

36 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, but understanding why exactly these types of headaches happen has been elusive. Until recently, scientists thought migraines were a vascular issue, caused by irregular blood flow to the brain, but Dr. Lynn Rankin of Unity Point Health in Des Moines says we’ve come to a new understanding in the last few years. Migraines are most likely a brain disorder that has to do with pain circuitry. 

Courtesy RADiUS-TWC

Just who’s to blame for the childhood obesity epidemic? Over the years, the finger has been pointed at parents, video games and vending machines, to name a few.

To the makers of the new activist documentary, “Fed Up,” the bottom line of blame lies with a simple substance poured into our diets every day: sugar. And the pushers of what this film calls a drug and “the new tobacco” are the food industry and our own government.

“What if our whole approach to this epidemic has been dead wrong?” the film’s narrator, TV journalist Katie Couric, says in the film’s open.

The Aging Challenge

Mar 25, 2014
Iowa State University Extension LIFE; used with permission / http://www.extension.iastate.edu/life

People are living longer, but are they living better, more healthy, more active lives?  Colin Milner is CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, and is visiting Iowa to talk about opportunities for governments, organizations, and individuals to take advantage to the changes that are ahead for people and communities.  Also on the program is Iowa State University Assistant Professor Sarah Francis, who also oversees ISU Extension's program Living Well Through Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise.

daniellehelm

Approximately 11 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder.  These diseases are hard to understand, difficult to treat and often deadly. 

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