A new study by researchers at the University of South Dakota finds both men and women admit to texting while driving, but it’s harder to convince men that the practice is unsafe. The study “Gender differences in psychosocial predictors of texting while driving” was published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, an estimated 2.4 million children and adults in the United States sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. The association sets aside every March as Brain Injury Awareness Month.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Health and dental insurance premiums for Sioux Falls employees are the same now as they were 10 years ago. The details are cumbersome, but officials cite three main reasons they have managed to avoid increases. Leaders say the situation is unusual and it probably won’t last long-term.

The health plan for the City of Sioux Falls has about $14 million in claims every year. Compensation and benefits manager says, despite that price tag, employees haven’t paid higher costs for coverage for a decade.

Courtesy of Frontline

Vaccines have changed the world by largely eradicating a series of diseases, but some parents in the U.S. are choosing not to vaccinate their children -  this despite pressure from medical and public health officials and warnings of the return of preventable diseases once thought to be eliminated.

Measles, mumps and whooping cough have been making a comeback. Late last year there was an outbreak of measles at Disneyland. South Dakota reported its first case of measles since 1997 in December. That outbreak centered around Mitchell and totaled more than a dozen cases.

The deadline for open enrollment for private health insurance through the insurance exchange was last month, but there’s a special enrollment period that will still allow some individuals and families to get coverage. It runs through the end of April and is for those who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to a penalty when they file their taxes in South Dakota and other states that use the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

State health experts say that more than one third of South Dakota’s children are overweight or obese. That’s according to the most recent sampling from schools across the state. The numbers aren’t much worse than the previous year but they also aren’t any better.

How can research help South Dakota’s tribal communities? That’s the question being addressed this week during a symposium in Eagle Butte. “Researching, Restoring and Rebuilding Our Oyate for a Longer Life” is the theme of the symposium. The event features presentations from researchers from Cheyenne River and beyond. It takes place on Wednesday, March 18 at Oglala Lakota College-Cheyenne River College Center.

Credit Centers for Disease Control

In 1918, an influenza pandemic circled the globe, killing an estimated 50 million people. Since December of 2013, nearly ten thousand people have died in the Ebola outbreak, mostly in West Africa.

On Sunday, March 15 at the Journey Museum in Rapid City, Dr. James Keegan leads a 2 pm Learning Forum discussion on “Ebola vs Bigger Health Threats.” Dr. Keegan is a private practice, board-certified Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine physician based in Rapid City. He did Regional Health’s Ebola training.

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the U.S., but it’s also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Nine out of 10 colorectal cancers could be prevented or successfully treated with regular colon cancer screenings.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Studies show that people who are screened have a 90 percent reduced risk of developing colon cancer. Yet nationwide only about 50 percent of people who are eligible take advantage of regular screenings.

google images

  An effort to add more newborn screening tests is moving through the legislature.  A House Committee approved Senate Bill 60 that adds inherited and genetic disorders to the list of diseases tested on infants.

Cyanide Detection

Jan 23, 2015

Cyanide poisoning can kill within 30-minutes.  Having a quick, easy means of detecting exposure can save lives.  Brain Logue, associate professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at South Dakota State University, and his team have developed a sensor that will detect cyanide poisoning in less than a minute through a National Institutes of Health/Department of Defense grant.  The current clinical standard is a 24-hour lab-based test.  The new technology would be used by emergency rooms and first responders.  A post-doctoral student on the project, Randy Jackson explained that multiple prototypes

Measles in Mitchell--First SD Outbreak in 18 Years

Jan 12, 2015
Kealey Bultena

A newly reported case of measles has popped up in Mitchell.   This brings the total number of measles cases in the state to 13.   All of the people infected so far are in the same extended family group, but not all of them live in the state.

It’s the first measles outbreak in South Dakota in 18 years.  The State Epidemiologist Dr. Lon Kightlinger says those who are properly vaccinated are immune to the disease.
“It’s showing time and time again, and again in this outbreak--all the people associated with this outbreak had not been vaccinated, says Kightlinger”

Courtesy Library of Congress / Public Domain

Psychological trauma and chronic stress can be overwhelming to deal with. But Rapid City’s Youth and Family Services group is joining with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine to provide a free Self-Care Workshop. The goal is to teach people how to move beyond the negative and find the positive in the moment.   

The pioneering approach combines psychological self-care, mind-body techniques, and group support to relieve symptoms of profound psychological trauma and significant stress.

Self-Care Workshop Offers Relief For Trauma

Dec 18, 2014
Courtesy The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

Dealing with psychological trauma and chronic stress can be overwhelming, especially in this fast-paced world. But there are ways to move beyond the negative and find the positive in the moment.

Rapid City’s Youth and Family Services group is joining with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine to provide a free Self-Care Workshop. Their pioneering approach combines psychological self-care, mind-body techniques, and group support to relieve symptoms of profound psychological trauma and significant stress.

Michael Lawler, Ph.D., Dean of the USD School of Health Sciences discusses the role of interprofessional education in Health Sciences.  The concept called "interprofessionalism" simulates and teach activities that mimic reality.  It helps students understand the role of other healthcare professionals as it relates to their own field.  

The season of sore throats, the flu, and coughs is upon us, and doctors say the search to feel well again can actually hurt your health. Using antibiotics too often or when they can’t help…leads to superbugs that resist treatment, and health care professionals are working to curb antibiotic overuse.

When a sore throat or sinus infection strikes, some people rush to the doctor hoping to get antibiotics to wipe the sickness away. But many winter ailments are viral – some statistics show up to 90 percent – and most medicines are not effective remedies.

Nearly 7 percent of South Dakotans are affected by diabetes. Nationwide, diabetes affects one in ten people. For Native Americans that number is one in four. If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month with next Friday, November 14 as World Diabetes Day. The evening before, both the Crazy Horse Memorial and the Falls of the Big Sioux River will glow blue to help raise awareness of diabetes.

Avera Health

According to the American Cancer Society, over 24 thousand adults in the U.S. will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma this year. Over 11 thousand will die from the disease. There’s no cure for multiple myeloma, but the cancer can be managed in many patients for years.

On Saturday, November 1st, the Avera Cancer Institute in Sioux Falls hosts “Living with Multiple Myeloma." The education program features discussions about treatment and care of multiple myeloma.

Avera Health

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Dr. Brian Leyland-Jones is among those working to eradicate breast cancer. He’s a native of England and an internationally-known cancer researcher. He leads a team at Avera Health in Sioux Falls working to decode human genetics for individualized breast cancer treatments. Dr. Leyland-Jones joined Dakota Midday and discussed the latest developments in genomic breast cancer research.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated two million people in the United States are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria each year. Of them, at least 23 thousand die.

Sanford Health

A national study published this summer suggests that three-dimensional mammograms are better at detecting invasive tumors and can avoid false alarms which lead women to get extra breast cancer scans that turn out normal.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was led by Sarah Friedewald, M.D., of Advocate Lutheran Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, and co-authored by Thomas Cink, M.D., a breast radiologist for Sanford Health in Sioux Falls.  It compared mammograms from over 450,000 women at 13 hospitals, including 30,000 at Sanford. Dr.

Back Talk

Oct 6, 2014

Back and neck pain can be so debilitating that it makes simple acts like getting in and out of bed or driving a car very difficult. An estimated four out of five Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. While most find these episodes will resolve within six weeks with rest, medication and exercise, others face acute and chronic back pain.

Preventing Suicide

Sep 11, 2014
Dakota Wesleyan University

This is National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of all deaths in the United States and the ninth leading cause in South Dakota. Dakota Wesleyan University psychology professor Anne Kelly is conducting research on suicide with the aim of improving prevention efforts and its contributing causes.

Genepool Productions

Diseases that were largely eradicated in the U.S. a generation ago are returning - in part because some parents aren’t letting their children get vaccinated. Tonight’s PBS NOVA program, “Vaccines - Calling the Shots,” examines the science of immunization and the risks of opting out.

Alzheimer's Association

Over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease and as many as 16 million could have the disease by 2050.  According to the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. It’s the fifth-leading cause of death in South Dakota, which also has the second highest Alzheimer’s death rate in the country.

John Moore/Getty Images

Officials say that some of the people who fled an Ebola quarantine center in a slum in Monrovia, Liberia when it was attacked over the weekend are again under observation at a hospital. The attack is an example of the struggles health workers face in their efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The latest national ranking on meeting the needs of older people who require long-term care puts South Dakota right in the middle. The AARP Scorecard shows the state is 24th overall in long-term care. But the average rating doesn’t necessarily reflect success or failure in multiple categories.

Despite its overall rating of 24th in the country, South Dakota ranks 5th in the nation in a dimension of care labeled Quality of Care and Quality of Life. Erik Nelson with AARP South Dakota says people in the state take pride in their commitment to long term care.

Non-Profit Provides Vet Services For Rez Dogs

May 19, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

 A non-profit organization on the Pine Ridge Reservation was founded with two primary goals in mind: care for the animals on the home lands of the Oglala Lakota, especially dogs…and reduce the population of “man’s best friend” that wander through the reservation’s villages.

Today we visit with a group of women who are doing their best to achieve both those goals – one “sunka” dog at a time.

iHike Program Allows Virtual Badlands Treks

Mar 21, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

Badlands National Park has announced the introduction of its virtual Web Ranger iHike. The computer program challenges people of all ages to get outdoors, get active, and get moving by matching actual distances walked or hiked with equivalent virtual distances on Badlands Park trails.

I spent some time at the Badlands learning about the program and going for a short hike with a park ranger. Then I tried it on my own in the Southern Hills – with some canine support.

Mitochondria Disease Lecture In Sioux Falls

Mar 13, 2014

Mitochondria disease or dysfunction is an energy production problem. Almost all cells in the body have mitochondria, which are tiny "power plants" that produce a body's essential energy. Mitochondrial disease means the power plants in cells don't function properly. When that happens, some functions in the body don't work normally. Scientifically, it is actually a category or group of diseases. That's why mitochondrial disease takes many different forms and no two people may look alike. Dr.