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Four paralyzed men who underwent an experimental treatment involving electric current were able to move their limbs and regain some control of their bowel and bladder function.

The revolutionary new treatment is being hailed as “groundbreaking” by experts. They say the results of the study, which will be published today in the journal Brain, are an important first step toward an eventual cure for spinal cord injury.

Lizzie279 / Flickr Creative Commons

A new public-private initiative is working to reduce heart attacks and stroke in a five-county area in southeastern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Heartland Project combines public health personnel with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, hospitals and insurers to help patients reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke and live a longer, healthier life.

Counties participating in the initiative include Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Coal, Atoka and Latimer. The pilot project is funded through a grant from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

If you've ever tried to drink something through one of those little red coffee stirrers instead of a full-sized straw, you know what it's like to breathe with asthma.

Twenty-five million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma. And for 10 percent of them, medications like inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists aren't enough to keep them out of the hospital.

When Melissa Shenewa and her husband imagined their first weeks with their new baby, they pictured hours of cuddling. Instead, they're enduring hours of inconsolable crying.

Their 6-week-old son, Aladdin, is a colicky baby. He cries for hours, usually in the middle of the night. They've tried everything they could think of. Nothing helps.

"Being a parent when your child is screaming in pain for hours on end and there's nothing you can do, you feel helpless," says Shenewa, 24, who lives in Houston. "You feel like you're not a good parent."

NHSE / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Department of Health says influenza has claimed 12 lives and forced the hospitalization of 399 people since the ongoing flu season began.

Good ideas don't only come from experts. An innovative engineering program in Texas has been proving that college undergraduates can tackle — and solve — vexing health challenges in developing countries.

Two engineers at Rice University in Houston are tapping the potential of bright young minds to change the world.

Big Problems, Simple Solutions

Researchers say they are achieving success in curing the genetic defect that causes some children to be born without immune defenses, a rare condition made famous in the 1970s by a Texas boy who lived most of his short life in a sterile "bubble."

Scientists now report that 8 out of 9 young children given gene therapy for a type of severe combined immunodeficiency disease, called SCID-X1, are alive and living amid the everyday microbial threats that would otherwise have killed them. The oldest is just over 3 years old.

Lilviscious / Flickr.com

A state lawmaker says he wants to give Oklahoma's death row inmates a chance at redemption by donating their organs before their execution.

Democratic state Rep. Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs said Wednesday that he's developing legislation that would give a person who's been convicted of taking a life an opportunity to give someone else a chance to live a longer life.

The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you're more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells.

Scientists increasingly think that these microorganisms have a huge influence on our health. Without them, our bodies don't seem to do as well. We don't seem to be as healthy and might actually get sick more often.

What Humans Can Learn From A Simple Kiss

Oct 11, 2013

At a basic level, kissing is a biohazard. What is love then, if not the willingness to expose yourself to a host of nasty diseases lurking in your partner's mouth?

But could kissing also be a tool with a purpose?

Psychology graduate student Rafael Wlodarski, from the University of Oxford, wanted to find out. Results from his experiments supported two of the existing hypotheses about why we kiss. First, we kiss to assess potential mates. Second, we kiss the mate we've found to maintain attachment.

stethscope on insurance forms with ballpoint pen
forwardstl / Flickr Creative Commons

More than 140 navigators have been hired in Oklahoma and are prepared to help people on Tuesday with questions about the federal marketplace. That is the first day that consumers can begin shopping, comparing and buying health insurance plans online or in person with the help of trained navigators and counselors.

Tuesday morning, the marketplace website noted that heavy traffic was making the page slow to load. The Oklahoma page took several minutes but eventually advanced to a log-in screen.

A year after doctors first identified an illness that came to be known as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome researchers are reporting fresh genetic information about the virus that causes it.

The findings don't bring scientists any closer to understanding where MERS is coming from. In fact, the main news is that researchers were wrong about the source of some infections in the largest cluster of cases so far.

Wesley Fryer / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Board of Directors on Thursday approved the hiring of a consultant to assist with conducting an assessment of school-based health education in Oklahoma.

Following discussions of the need for a more youth-oriented movement, Chairwoman Casey Killblane expressed concern for the lack of health education in classrooms, saying the discussions often get tied up by “a lot of emotional garbage.”

For Many Oklahomans, The Doctor Is Not In

Sep 2, 2013
Dr. Maha Sultan, who practices in Frederick in southwest Oklahoma, is one of only three licensed doctors in Tillman County.
Frederick Press-Leader

Despite efforts to increase the number of doctors in rural areas, many Oklahoma counties are still sorely lacking physicians to provide sufficient care to their residents.

Is there a doctor shortage in your county?

Seventy-two of the state’s 77 counties, or 94 percent, are designated by the federal government as shortage areas for primary health professionals; 30 have 10 or fewer doctors of any kind. The five counties not considered shortage areas are Oklahoma, Johnston, Canadian, Rogers and Wagoner, according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

a stack of dollar bills with a stethoscope and bottle of pills
James Martin / Flickr

The cost of health benefits for state and education workers is going up in 2014.

At the recommendation of a board that oversees benefits for most public workers, Office of Management and Enterprise Services Preston Doerflinger approved the increase in premium rates on Friday.

The Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board recommended an overall increase of 3.6 percent for the self-funded HealthChoice Plan and a 2.2 percent hike in the monthly premium for the HealthChoice Medicare supplement plan.

Oklahoma Capitol Building
ana branca / Flickr

State officials are nearing the completion of the selection of health insurance providers for state workers, the first under a new process established in 2012.

“The Office of Management and Enterprise Services is finalizing the plans and rates proposals,” said John Estus, spokesman for the agency.

“We plan to share that information with various employee groups and the (Employee Benefits and Insurance) board will discuss it at their Aug. 16 meeting and makes it recommendations,” he said.

About five years ago, emergency room doctor Julie Brown met an 8-year-old girl who complained about a weeklong stomach ache. The girl was tight-lipped about what might be causing the pain, and she ended up visiting the Seattle Children's Hospital, where Brown works, twice. And then a third time.

The misery of low back pain often drives people to the doctor to seek relief. But doctors are doing a pretty miserable job of treating back pain, a study finds.

Physicians are increasingly prescribing expensive scans, narcotic painkillers and other treatments that don't help in most cases, and can make things a lot worse. Since 1 in 10 of all primary care visits are for low back pain, this is no small matter.

Test-Driving The Obamacare Software

Jun 27, 2013

All the outreach in the world won't count for much if the Obamacare ticket counter doesn't work.

Lexie Flickinger / Flickr

An annual report on the well-being of children in the United States shows improvement in Oklahoma.

The state's ranking improved from 40th to 36th among the 50 states in the Kids Count report released Monday by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The foundation ranks states based on four areas — economic well-being; education; health; and family and community issues.

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