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Chrissa McFarlane, CEO of the Atlanta healthcare tech startup Patientory, shows off how the website works.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

If you're a recent transplant to Atlanta with medical records from another state, you may have had to deal with filling out lengthy medical history forms at the doctor's office.

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One Atlanta health care technology startup, Patientory, wants to make it easier for patients to access and share their electronic medical records using technology known as blockchain, which is behind the digital currency Bitcoin.

Atlanta skyline in smog. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atlanta_cityscape_032008.jpg
Cwolfsheep / wikimedia.org

Metro Atlanta and Georgia continue to show improvements in air quality, a new report says.

The American Lung Association’s 2017 “State of the Air” report shows Georgia has improved on the three most common forms of hazardous air pollution.

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Steven Senne / Associated Press

March for Science organizers in Atlanta are preparing for thousands of people to turn out this Saturday in a movement that’s coalesced since President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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The main march is in Washington, D.C., but like the Women’s March in January, satellite events are happening all over the country. Here, people are gathering in Candler Park to hear speakers, to march, and to express their support for what they say should be a non-partisan issue: science.

Courtesy of Tybee Island Police Department

The sea level is already rising on American coasts. In Georgia, the sea level has gone up more than nine inches in the last 75 years. Globally, it could go up another one to four feet in the next 75 years.

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Some places and people will be able to adapt to rising tides. But a lot of people in the United States will have to move, and many could end up in Atlanta, according to a new study.

Katja Ridderbusch

It's a normal day for Harry Wood, a hairdresser at Van Michael Salon in Buckhead, as he casually discusses his client's styling routine.

Nothing was normal for Susan Webster 13 years ago, when she sat in the same salon chair and told Wood, her longtime hairdresser and friend, the sad news. She had just been diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and was about to lose her hair. The two immediately went together to pick out a wig.

A few weeks later, as she stood in front of her bathroom mirror one morning, Webster held a clump of hair in her hands.

Georgia's Space Industry Gets Ready To Blast Off

Apr 14, 2017
Atlanta Business Chronicle

The space industry in Georgia is about to take off.

This week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle reports an Arizona-based aerospace company will test launch a sub-orbital rocket as soon as this summer from a 400-acre site on the Georgia coast that could become the Peach State’s first commercial spaceport.

WABE File

Every day, 91 Americans die from opioid overdoses.

That adds up to more than 33,000 people in 2015, or four times as many such overdose deaths as in 1999.

When federal officials finish counting the deaths for more recent years, the number will be even higher.

Martha Irvine / Associated Press

A widely shared story that U.S. health officials are recommending a delay in breast-feeding to improve vaccine effectiveness is false.

 

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The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency named in the false reports, encourages breast-feeding . The CDC says breast milk is best for all infants except in rare cases such as when a mother has active, untreated tuberculosis.

 

Steven Senne / Associated Press

In 2015, about five of every 1,000 registered nurses in the United States missed work due to injury, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Back injuries in particular are the scourge of the nursing profession.

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Molly Samuel / WABE

A controversial plan to bring tens of thousands of tons of coal ash to a landfill in South Georgia is off the table.

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Georgia Health News

Debra Wood went to an emergency room four years ago because her abdomen was swollen and acutely painful. That led to a 12-day stay in the hospital.

While she was there, she also learned that she had diabetes.

Wood had no health insurance at the time, and after being discharged she was bombarded with hospital and doctor bills totaling nearly $40,000. She struggled to pay them and finally filed for bankruptcy.

Georgia Health News

While the Affordable Care Act has brought down the number of uninsured adults in the United States, huge gaps persist in how much access to care people really have.

Currently, about 14 percent of Georgians are uninsured. Many of these people have problems—such as mental health issues—that need highly specific care. They often turn to charitable organizations for help.

Brenna Beech / WABE

The final day of the Georgia General Assembly brought last-minute approval of some health care bills Thursday -- along with disappointment over pieces of legislation that didn’t pass.

The failures included the high-profile effort to halt “surprise’’ medical bills, and a proposal to require Georgia schools and day care centers to test their drinking fountains and sinks for lead contamination in the water.

David Goldman / associated press file

Georgia Power is reviewing how much it will cost to finish building two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. It's also looking at what it would cost not to complete the project, or to go in a different direction, like converting to natural gas.

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That's after the main contractor, Westinghouse, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, thanks to cost overruns at Vogtle and at another nuclear project in South Carolina.

Pixabay Images

Georgia’s suburbs continue to dominate the rankings of the state’s healthiest counties.

Forsyth County, northeast of Atlanta, is the healthiest in Georgia for the fifth straight year, according to the 2017 County Health Rankings. The list was released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press file

News broke in Canada this week that the nation’s leading Liberal party plans to legalize marijuana throughout that country by the summer of next year.

Peter Dejong / Associated Press

In this "Medical Minute," senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about the growing research backing the use of psychedelics in psychiatry.

Drop out and tune in to this mind-altering segment.

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Solar Panels as seen from Decatur Ave.
Alison Guillory / WABE

Metro Atlanta officials say they’ll continue work on climate change initiatives, regardless of what the federal government does.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at dismantling the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era climate change law.

“Now more than ever I think it's important that cities are leaders on climate change and climate action,” said City of Atlanta Chief Resilience Officer Stephanie Stuckey.

Pixabay

Troy Tribble, 41, turned to “dry needling’’ to ease his back pain and spasms.

He’s had several sessions. Each time his physical therapist works on a different area.

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For Tribble, of Suwanee, it has made a world of difference.

Ali Guillory / WABE

A new initiative by the Atlanta Audubon Society is trying to save birds by asking people to turn off their lights at night.

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Hundreds of millions – maybe even a billion -- birds die each year when they get confused by lights and crash into buildings, according to the Audubon Society.

David Goldman / Associated Press

This week, the fortunes of rural hospitals in Georgia took a turn for the better.

Voters in Monroe and Jefferson counties Tuesday approved tax increases to help preserve their rural hospitals, which are in financial danger.

A proposed tax credit upgrade for donors to rural hospitals, an idea that had appeared dead in this year’s Georgia General Assembly session, is alive again less than two weeks before the legislators are expected to adjourn.

Georgia's Health System Score Just Went Up

Mar 22, 2017
Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Georgia’s ranking on a health system scorecard has improved from 46th in the nation to 41st.

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The Commonwealth Fund’s 2017 scorecard ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia on the most recent data available in five areas: health care access, quality, avoidable hospital use and costs, health outcomes, and health care equity.

AP File

Georgia lawmakers have reached a compromise on a bill that would require doctors to log into a pill-tracking database before prescribing painkillers and other high-risk drugs. The goal is to curtail the overprescribing of opioids.

But critics say loopholes written into the proposal would create a false sense of accomplishment while leaving patients exposed to harm. Physician groups counter that the exceptions are necessary to reduce the burden on already strained doctors.

WABE File

The House Insurance Committee on Monday passed revamped legislation to reduce “surprise billing,’’ in which patients using hospitals in their insurance network may still get unexpected bills from doctors who are not in the network.

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Don Heupel / AP

A state Senate health committee Thursday approved a bill to offer optional testing of Georgia newborns for Krabbe disease, a rare genetic disorder.

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The form of Krabbe that strikes newborns is caused by a change, or mutation, in the gene that carries the blueprints for an enzyme called galactosylceramidase, which is crucial to wrapping protective insulation called myelin around nerves. Without it, the brain and nerves deteriorate.

North Georgia drought, Georgia drought, Atlanta drought
Alison Guillory / WABE

Federal government forecasters issued spring weather conditions Thursday, and the news for North Georgia, which remains under a severe drought, is mixed. 

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the risk of river flooding in this region is expected to be low this spring.

Mobile Apps Aimed At Helping Fill Sex Education Gaps

Mar 15, 2017
Paul Sakuma / AP File

It’s a rite of passage. Crowded onto the bleachers in the Clarke Central High School gym, ninth-grade students sit down for the start of a two-week health class. It’s their only such class in four years of high school.

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That’s where Katy Mayfield found herself as a 14-year-old freshman.

Molly Samuel / WABE

In many Georgia counties, the drought is clearing up. The state recently relaxed water use restrictions in dozens of counties. But not in metro Atlanta, most of which remains in a "Level 2" drought response. In places that rely on Lake Lanier for water – that includes most of the metro area – the drought drags on.  

Northbound traffic on I75-I85 headed Downtown
Alison Guillory / WABE

Georgia Tech researchers have found it's not just car emissions sending people to emergency rooms in Atlanta, but all that dust coming off brakepads and tires.

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Last year, researchers suspended monitors near I-75 in Atlanta to measure air pollution including the acidity in the air.

E.J. Keller / Wikimedia

Neuroscientist Gregory Berns has a closet full of brains in his lab at Emory University.

There are brains from a few species of dolphins. There are coyote brains and a Tasmanian devil brain, which Berns said is sort of the jewel of the collection -- it's the only one in North America, as far as he knows.

He pulls one in a plastic container down off the shelf. 

“This is the brain of a German shepherd who I knew, who was owned by a friend of mine.” He said it's a little sad working with that brain, since he knew the animal.

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