As Clinics Close Across Texas, Anti-Abortion Centers Thrive

Texas’ controversial abortion law requiring physicians at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals has led to the closure of clinics statewide. But centers on the other side of the argument are booming, according to Al Jazeera America. Many staffers at these centers wear white coats and offer sonograms, but have no medical training. Crisis-pregnancy centers don’t have to comply with state or federal safety standards, and Texas’ health department does not inspect the clinics. Only California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York have rigorous regulatory requirements for medical clinics, AJA reports. In other states, a crisis-pregnancy center needs… Full Story

Can’t Pay For Healthcare? Try Volunteering Instead.

As healthcare costs continue to climb, one Michigan county has created a program that allows its residents to pay for dental work not with cash or insurance, but with volunteer hours. Since 2007, more than 4,000 adults have received care under the Calhoun County Dentists’ Partnership—a privately financed program that requires patients to perform some volunteer work to qualify for the free dental services. “I would rather pay with cash, but if this is the only way I can do it [that’s] fine because I am helping someone else and it all works out,” volunteer Kelly Price told USA Today.… Full Story

Put Down the Crossword Puzzle, Pick Up Your Sneakers. It’s Time to Exercise Your Brain the Right Way.

Physical exercise can ease depression, slow memory loss, and prevent Parkinson-like symptoms, researchers said this week at the Society for Neuroscience conference, according to NPR. The research suggests that people may be making a mistake if they’re relying on brain-training games for mental wellness, instead of physical exercise. “We definitely have more evidence for exercise,” Teresa Liu-Ambrose of the University of British Columbia told conference-goers. In a study of rats, those that ran on a treadmill for at least four months scored higher on memory tests as they got older. The running rats also had more blood vessels and white matter in their… Full Story

Retail Health Clinic Boom Continues, But Still Just a Sliver of Overall Market

The percent of American families using retail clinics more than doubled between 2007 and 2010, a new study found, but overall use of the clinics remains moderately low. In 2010, an estimated 4.1 million American families reported using retail clinics in the previous 12 months, compared to 1.7 million families in 2007. When asked by researchers why they chose retail clinics over other setting, most clinic users cited convenience factors: longer hours, walk-in visits, and convenient locations. For uninsured and low-income families, lower costs and lack of a usual source of care were their top reasons. “Looking forward, with insurance expansions… Full Story

That Olive Oil May Not Be As Good For You As You Think

Olive oil: Better than butter, right? Well, that’s still true, but recent research and reports show that you better use that oil quickly. And that what you’re using might not even be extra-virgin. Olive oil is good for two reasons: It’s mostly unsaturated fat, and extra-virgin oil, which is the highest-grade and least-processed form of olive oil, contains a range of beneficial plant compounds. But it turns out much of the olive oil in the United States isn’t extra-virgin, despite the packaging. “The fact is, it’s quite often just very low-grade oil that doesn’t give you the taste of the… Full Story

Dallas Cowboys Losses Don’t Just Hurt Fans, They’re Bad For Their Health

Another Cowboys season has started, and it might be wise to keep your house free of junk food after a loss. A new study found that NFL fans eat more food and fattier food the day after their team’s loss, while backers of winning teams eat lighter, more moderate meals, NPR reports. After a defeat, the researchers found that saturated fat consumption went up by 16 percent, while after a victory it decreased by 9 percent. “After a victory, people eat better,” Pierre Chandon, a professor of marketing at France’s Insead business school told NPR. “After a defeat, people eat… Full Story

Preterm Birth Rate Falls for Sixth Straight Year

The U.S. preterm birth rate fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2012 to 11.54 percent of all births, the lowest it has been in 15 years, and a 10 percent decline since the 2006 peak of 12.8 percent, according to a National Center for Health Statics report released last week. Additionally, the birth rate for teenagers continued to fall, reaching 29.4 births per 1,000 teenagers, down 6 percent from 2011. The rate in 2012 was a historic low, and since 2007 the rate has dropped almost one-third. “This sustained improvement over these past six consecutive years shows that when infant health becomes a… Full Story

Cooper Institute Expands Global Reach

Dallas’ Cooper Institute has long been revered internationally. You have to look no further than the fact that jogging in Brazil is known as “Cooper” to prove that statement. Now the 43-year-old Dallas health landmark is expanding its reach even further. On Monday, the institute signed an agreement with Hungary to bring its fitness assessment tool, Fitnessgram, to the European nation, a move supported financially by the country and the European Union. “I think you’re about to change the world in Hungary, and I don’t think that’s a small thing,” said Cooper Institute CEO Blaine Nelson during an announcement ceremony, in… Full Story

Tobacco Use, Junk Food Intake Drop at School Districts Nationwide

U.S. school districts are seeing continued improvements in measures related to nutritional policies, physical education and tobacco policies, according to a study released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings are part of the 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study, a national survey assessing school health policies and practices at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. “Schools play a critical role in the health and well-being of our youth,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “Good news for students and parents—more students have access to healthy food, better physical fitness activities… Full Story