health

Compassion and Cannabis

Apr 30, 2015

A bill that would set up rules and the system for dispensing medical marijuana advanced out of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday. Although law enforcement opposition has derailed similar bills in previous sessions, the difference with Fred Mills’ SB 143 was the support of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association.

“The move that our sheriffs made was to be compassionate; was to do things to provide relief,” Sheriffs’ Association director Mike Renatza testified, “And to hopefully not harm anyone.”

Renatza said each sheriff examined his own conscience, and asked themselves, “What would you do? What would you do for your son? What would you do for your daughter?”

A new 66-page comic book imagined by two medical librarians at LSU Health Shreveport will help kindergarteners and first graders better understand obesity.

Talicia Tarver’s “The Amazing Captain Fit” is a story about a boy who wants to be a superhero but lacks healthy eating habits. The comic book, published today, will be distributed through the Department of Pediatrics’ Reach Out and Read program. Tarver wanted to embed the message in something that kids and parents would both enjoy.

Eve Abrams

The YMCA of Greater New Orleans is taking steps to reduce the burden of diabetes by offering a Diabetes Prevention Program, so that people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes don’t.

When you think YMCA, what comes to mind?

Volleyball, helping kids, swimming, gymnastics, the gym, the song.

UNMEER / Flickr

This week, the Food and Drug Administration gave its stamp of approval to a new rapid test to detect the Ebola virus. The test is based on technology originally discovered at Tulane University.

The MRI machine in Dr. Owen Carmichael's lab blares as it scans a subject's brain.  Carmichael, Director of Biomedical Imaging at Pennington Research Center, studies those scans trying to understand how the brain ages.

Carmichael explains that "what you'll see on the MRI scan is the amount of brain tissue.  And all of that brain tissue is part of that electrical circuitry that makes it possible for you to think."  As we age, our brains tend to shrink.  And as that tissue goes away, the harder it becomes to think.

He describes the young brain as a grape that's just been pulled from the vine, while "the elderly brain looks more like a raisin, in that it's deflated and smaller in size.  And the person with Alzheimer's, that 'looking like a grape' goes even further, it's extremely shriveled up."

dullhunk / Flickr

A new triple degree program launches in the fall at LSU, for students who want to fast-track undergraduate education, medical school and PhD study. 

LSU is partnering with the Health Sciences Center in New Orleans to launch the program. It’s called “Fast Path” because students would receive three degrees  - a bachelor of science, an MD, and a PhD — in one-to-three years less than the traditional path.

A federal appeals court in New Orleans heard arguments on Wednesday about the constitutionality of a Texas abortion law.

The arguments were before a three-judge panel of the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, concerning Texas House Bill 2 — a broad package of abortion legislation passed in Texas in 2013. The new rules require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans is hearing two Texas cases that are drawing local and national attention. One later Wednesday involves restrictions on abortion clinics, and another set for a hearing Friday involving same-sex marriage.

To keep a better eye on head injuries in the past, the LSU football team has had concussion detectors installed in players’ helmets. This season, LSU became the first team in the NCAA to try high-tech mouth guards to measure hits.


Poppy Tooker

Evan McCommon has been converting his family's timber ranch into a biodiverse farm. The changes have been slow, but his resolve steady as the 1,100 acres change from a dense forest to an open savannah. 

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