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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.

Alan Levine / Flickr

The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports 41 cases of rabies in the state thus far in 2013. The cases include 25 skunks, nine cows, five dogs, one horse and one fox.

Health officials in Oklahoma are urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their pets from rabies by having their pets vaccinated.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.

State leaders have been looking for a way to cover thousands of uninsured Oklahomans after Gov. Mary Fallin rejected a federal expansion of Medicaid. A consultant told the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to look toward Arkansas for an answer.

Ben Ramsey / Flickr Creative Commons

Abortion providers in Oklahoma would be required to answer dozens of new questions on a state questionnaire under a bill given final approval in the House despite concerns the bill paves the way for costly litigation against the state.

The bill by State Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy) adds several questions to the Individual Abortion Form that abortion providers in Oklahoma are required to fill out and submit to the Department of Health.

Providers already are required to ask a woman dozens of questions about her age, race, marital status, previous pregnancies, and relationship problems.

Consultant Keeping Oklahoma Health Plan Under Wraps

May 8, 2013

The public will get its first glimpse of an Oklahoma plan to provide health care to uninsured residents. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is supposed to present some of the findings from the study at its Thursday meeting. The entire report, though, is not being released.

The waiting list for Oklahomans seeking state-paid care for developmental disabilities has jumped to more than 7,000, and some families have been on that list for nearly a decade.

Meredith Everitt

On Joe Sangiardi’s desk, on the first floor of the Conoco Student Leadership Center of the Oklahoma Memorial Union, there’s a pineapple-sized jar, and it’s full of condoms.

“My friends think it’s really funny I have them around here, but I joke that it is candy for college kids.” Sangiardi says.

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