Health and Medicine

Damian Gadal / California Health Care

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has again rejected expanding the list of diseases that can be treated with marijuana in Illinois. The Department of Public Health announced the decision, spurning eight recommendations from an expert advisory board.

The panel had recommended post-traumatic stress disorder, which affects many military veterans. Also recommended and rejected were autism, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis and four pain syndromes.

U.S. Dept of Agriculture / Flickr via Creative Commons

A man who traveled to South America has developed the third case of Zika virus in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health previously reported two pregnant women tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus after traveling in Honduras and Haiti. The department announced the third Illinois case on its website Thursday. Most people exposed to the virus suffer only mild symptoms, but the risk is far greater for pregnant women because of a possible link to a birth defect.

The McLean County Health Department says the mumps virus has returned to the Bloomington Normal area. Spokeswoman Lisa Slater says there are so far four cases reported ranging in age from six to 37. There are no obvious links among the cases. Slater says to be labeled an outbreak, there must be three related cases.

Some months ago, most major schools in the Bloomington Normal community had outbreaks with dozens of cases reported overall. Since then the cluster subsided. But, the virus is quite contagious and Slater says more could be reported.

McLean County Health Department

Bloomington-Normal is ranked 80th in the U.S. by Nielsen as one of the best places in the country to open a restaurant, in part because of disposable income and our proclivity to dine out. According to Nielsen, Bloomington is also ranked 9th in sales per restaurant, with establishments raking in nearly 1.2 million dollars on average. The nearly 400 restaurants in Bloomington-Normal, in addition to those in other McLean County communities are inspected twice or more per year by the McLean County Health Department and now those inspections are online.

Shardayyy / Wikimedia Commons

Sugar can cause numerous health problems. Earlier this month, the government  cut the recommended daily amount about by half. Community Cancer Center dietitian Mary Kay Holloway joined Mike McCurdy during Sound Ideas to talk about the health ramifications of too much sugar and how to reduce sugar. In this interview except  Holloway says there is lot of food to think twice about before consuming.

Dept on Aging Gets New Director

Jan 20, 2016
Jonathon Banks / Red Cross of Great Britain

The incoming director of the Illinois Department on Aging says her immediate goal will be to help older residents of the state live at home as long as possible. Jean Bohnhoff has been striving to do just that as director of the committee on aging for Effingham city and county in southern Illinois. Bohnhoff is from the rural village of Dieterich, just southeast of Effingham. She begins her new position in Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration February first, and calls it the ``opportunity of a lifetime.''

Two Illinois Women Have Zika Virus

Jan 19, 2016

Two pregnant women from Illinois have tested positive for the Zika virus after traveling in Honduras and Haiti. The Illinois Department of Public Health says doctors are monitoring the women's health and their pregnancies. The virus is spread through mosquito bites and there's no risk of person-to-person spread. Outbreaks have been reported in parts of the Caribbean and Latin America. In Brazil, there's evidence linking the infection to a serious birth defect in which the brain and head are smaller than normal.

Sound Ideas Preview: 1/19/16

Jan 19, 2016

Pain Meds Under Review

Jan 19, 2016
Holger Ellgaard / Flickr

The pain control pendulum is swinging the other way, according to an internationally know expert on pain.

Opioid Dependence Is Killing Americans

Jan 19, 2016
Eric Newman / Flickr

The U.S. is currently in the grips of a heroin epidemic and your doctor may be to blame. Heroin is made from the opium poppy, and opioid drugs make life bearable for those having dental work, surgery, or suffering from chronic pain.  However, the drugs are addictive and can send users looking for cheaper alternatives like heroin. New prescription guidelines being developed in part by a Bloomington doctor are being put on hold while a political, medical, and ethical battle rages.  WGLT's Jim Browne reports.

With January comes resolutions to lose weight, new diets, and lots of advice. Earlier this month, the U.S. government issued its own advice. Limit sugar intake.  The guidelines, updated every 5 years, are based on evolving nutrition science and serve as the government's official advice on what to eat. WGLT's Mike McCurdy talks with Community Cancer Center dietitian Mary Kay Holloway about the effects of sugar and how to reduce intake.

The Not-So-Sweet Truth about Sugar

Jan 18, 2016

Eureka Hospital Bucks Trend, Expands

Jan 13, 2016

While hospital in many small communities are closing, or cutting back on services, the Advocate Eureka hospital is opening a 28,000 square foot addition. Administrator Ana Labile says it'll house 11 new private patient rooms, and new operating rooms. She says they've had good outcomes with their current O.R.'s but are looking forward to the new ones.

Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal has received a four million dollar surprise. That's the amount an 83 year old man had left for the hospital when he died last April. Kenneth W. Smith was a longtime resident of Normal, though he had never given to Bromenn before.

Sander van der Wel / Flickr via Creative Commons

It’s a commonly believed myth that the suicide rate increases during the holiday season. But last week, McLean County experienced an unusual uptick: three men took their lives in a 24 hour period. And then 48 hours later, there was one more suicide. Kathy Davis is the McLean County Coroner and is working with social service providers to prevent suicides and has joined the Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance. She tells WGLT's Mike McCurdy she's worried by the recent increase.

McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis is drawing attention to suicides in the community. Davis says 20 people have taken their lives so far this year, with a recent cluster of four. She also says particularly for the young, suicide tends to be an impulsive act that happens within ten minutes of the idea occurring to someone. Davis says this raises the importance of family and friends paying attention and reacting with empathy and compassion.

A jury has returned a record setting malpractice verdict in Ford County. The $950,000 award more than doubled the previous high mark set in 2007. The Clifford Law Offices says a 73-year old Gibson City man had two visits to the emergency room and primary physician's clinic complaining of chest pain. No one made cardiac tests or referred him to a heart specialist. Dean Buhs was then admitted to the hospital, discharged three days later without tests, returned with the same complaints the next day, and then died.

Damian Gadal

Illinois residents who want to add specific diseases to the state's medical marijuana pilot program have another chance to submit suggestions during January.  The Illinois Department of Public Health will accept petitions starting Jan. 1 and continuing through the month.  The program allows people to suggest new diseases for the program twice annually, in January and July. An advisory board reviews suggestions and makes recommendations. 

Michael Havens / Creative Commons

Less than a week remains for Illinois consumers to buy private health insurance for coverage starting January 1 on the marketplace created by President Barack Obama's health care law. Tuesday December 8th is an important enrollment deadline. Consumers who want their coverage to start at the first of the year need to choose a health plan by that date. Earlier this week, US Senator Dick Durbin joined other officials in urging uninsured Illinois residents to enroll and others who buy marketplace coverage to re-enroll. Enrollment runs through the end of January.

Chipotle E Coli Colonizes Illinois

Dec 4, 2015

An outbreak of E. coli linked to Chipotle restaurants has spread to Illinois and two other states. The list of those sickened is seven people longer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a total of 52 cases have now been reported in nine states. Chipotle today announced it was tightening its food safety standard. Of the 52 people infected, the CDC says 47 reported eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in the week before the illness started. The agency has not yet determined the ingredient responsible.

Atari, Gracinha & Marco / Flickr via Creative Commons

A recent report from the World Health Organization correlates processed meats with an increased cancer risk and places the meat in the same category as cigarettes and alcohol. The WHO also categorized red meat as a probable carcinogen. There are reasons other than reducing cancer risk to cut back on meat and a variety ways to reduce red and processed meat.

More Illinois Residents Light Up

Dec 2, 2015

The number of Illinois patients getting state approval to use medical marijuana jumped a bit higher during November, the first month of legal sales of the drug. The Illinois Department of Public Health says 3,600 patients have now been approved for the pilot program, including 22 children. That's 300 more than one month ago, a sizeable increase compared to previous months. The first licensed dispensaries started selling marijuana on Nov. 9, sparking new interest among potential patients. The health department says about 29,300 people have started the patient registration process.

Pano38 / Creative Commons

After two incidents last week in which potentially deadly accumulations of carbon monoxide built up in homes, the Normal Fire Department wants to make sure everyone invests in a device built to detect the deadly odorless gas. Matt Swaney of the Normal Fire Department says both situations were close calls.

James Yolkowski / Wikipedia

Within a four county region that includes McLean, Livingston, Ford and DeWitt counties, Life Centers for Independent Living helps thousands of people with disabilities obtain work and live on their own. LIFE CIL, as it's often called, recently signed an agreement with Connect Transit to help screen riders with disabilities to help determine the best transportation option. On Thursday (11/19), LIFE CIL celebrates 30 years of community service. The celebration coincides with the 25th anniversary of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. GLT's Judy Valente takes a look back -- and forward -- with LIFE CIL's executive director Gail Kear.

Police Eye Medical Marijuana Impaired Driving

Nov 16, 2015
Goodnightlondon / Creative Commons

Medical Marijuana's been available for patients with certain diseases and ailments for one week in Illinois.

Matt Turner / Flickr

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is backing off of his much maligned cuts to state-subsidized child care for working parents. It's not expected to be enough to ward off the legislature Tuesday. IPR's Amanda Vinicky reports.

Judge Rules Against Amanda Ware

Nov 6, 2015

An Illinois judge says a mother convicted in connection with 2003 the deaths of her three children remains an abusive and neglectful parent. Friday's ruling against Amanda Hamm comes in her legal fight for her new family. Hamm was convicted of child endangerment for watching her then-boyfriend carry out a plot to drown her three children in Clinton Lake. Maurice LaGrone Junior was convicted of first-degree murder.

Pike County Apple Cider Sickens Dozens

Nov 6, 2015
Public Domain / Creative Commons

Health officials in two western Illinois counties are investigating an illness affecting people who drank apple cider during a recent fall festival. The health departments of Pike and Adams county say more than 60 people who attended the Pike County Color Drive have similar gastrointestinal symptoms. Several have been hospitalized. Officials say the suspect apple cider could be tainted with E. coli bacteria or a microscopic parasite called cryptosporidium. The Illinois Department of Public Health is assisting with the investigation. The fall festival was held Oct.

Medical Marijuana Shipments Begin

Nov 6, 2015

Medical marijuana growers in Illinois have been notified by state officials that they can start shipping their products to dispensaries today for sale to patients early next week. Department of Agriculture instructions say marijuana can be transported only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Vehicles carrying it must be staffed by at least two cultivation center employees. Growers must enter product ID numbers into a digital statewide tracking system. A Florida-based company called BioTrack THC has the Illinois contract for tracking medical marijuana from seed to sale.

Interfaith Worker Justice / WGLT News

Wage theft is the deliberate withholding or underpayment of wages by employers. On November 18, workers across the country will hold a series of events to focus attention on the problem. Interfaith Worker Justice is a Chicago-based organization that helps workers across the country who have been treated unfairly.