Latest stories

Smaller school districts adapting best to new lunch regulations

Cooks hustled around the kitchen at Cheney High School on Wednesday preparing a vegetarian lunch feast: fresh salad dressings, hot potato wedges, baked macaroni and cheese, roasted cauliflower and lentil soup. The food service workers from five small regional school districts had gathered at Cook for America’s weeklong Culinary Boot Camp where participants learn techniques to make healthy, from-scratch food at or below the same price as processed food. “We call them lunch teachers because we want to reinforce that’s what they are there to do,” said Kate Adamick, Cook for America co-founder. Read more

Washington state agency sets rules for pot edibles

Marijuana stores in Washington won’t be allowed to sell lollipops, gummy bears or other candies infused with the drug, but will be able to sell properly labeled brownies and cookies, a state agency decided Wednesday. The Liquor Control Board approved rules for marijuana-infused food products, also known as edibles, designed to restrict items that may appeal strongly to children. Read more

Shawn Vestal: Spokane veterans’ hospital struggles with specialty care

Doctor shortages in the optometry services have been the primary reason for longer-than-usual wait lists at Spokane’s Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center this summer, and none of the waits has involved urgent care, a top hospital official said Tuesday. The hospital is acting quickly to move veterans off that list, aided in part by the hiring of an optometrist and in part by a new initiative that allows more patients to be seen by community providers if they can’t be scheduled quickly at the VA, said Nancy Benton, associate director of patient care. Read more

Study finds positive exercise experience matters

It’s a common rookie mistake, but plenty of diet-and-exercise veterans make it, too: With an act of will, you muster yourself to the gym or the track, and you gut your way through an arduous workout. When you sit down to dinner or go to the break room later that day, you say to yourself, “By God, I’ve earned this (sugary soda, yummy snack, second helping, dessert, second glass of wine). I worked hard today!” A week or so later, you’re standing on the scale wondering what happened. Read more

Ask Dr. K: Health risk not based on cholesterol alone

DEAR DOCTOR K: I am 71 years old. My LDL cholesterol is 160, but my HDL is 122. Does my high HDL cancel out concerns about my high LDL cholesterol? DEAR READER: I can’t give you a definite answer for a simple reason: There are very few people like you. Therefore, there are few studies of people like you. Here’s what we know. Read more

Study finds increase in antibiotic use

Antibiotic use has surged by 36 percent worldwide in a decade, much of it unwarranted, according to a new study. The rise, particularly in countries with a burgeoning middle class, heightens concerns that overuse of antibiotics is leaving more of the world’s population vulnerable to drug-resistant bacteria, according to the authors of the analysis, published online Thursday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. Read more

WSU Spokane expands cancer, sleep research

Two new researchers in Spokane could help explain how cancer cells grow. Following Washington State University’s approval of a new College of Medical Sciences on the Spokane campus in May, WSU has hired five faculty members to bolster its cancer and sleep research cores. Read more

UW offering parents advice on babies’ brain growth

SEATTLE – Scientists have learned a lot about the preschool brain over the past decade. But unless they read medical journals, most parents and others who care for their young children have yet to hear about those discoveries. Researchers at the University of Washington and a group of nonprofit partners are trying to change that by making outreach and education a bigger part of their work. Read more

Parkour helps seniors cope with arthritis

LONDON – On a recent morning in London, Lara Thomson practiced spinning on benches, swinging from metal bars and balancing off raised ledges – all elements of a daredevil discipline known as “parkour.” What was unusual about the scene is that Thomson is 79 and all of her classmates are over 60. Read more

Sexually transmitted disease cases skyrocketing in Spokane, North Idaho

Sexually transmitted diseases continue to spread across Spokane and North Idaho at dangerous levels despite warnings of rampant growth. Spokane health officials announced Thursday gonorrhea is in outbreak status after identified cases grew more than 50 percent compared to the average number of cases over the last six quarters. Cases in North Idaho’s five most-northern counties jumped 300 percent in 2013 and are on pace to have even more cases this year. Read more

Girl thought cured of HIV shown to have active virus

An infant who was seemingly cured of HIV following aggressive drug therapy just hours after her birth was recently discovered to be infected with the virus that causes AIDS after all, doctors announced Thursday. The so-called Mississippi Baby, now nearly 4 years old, had raised hopes of a potential cure for babies infected with HIV when it was first described at an AIDS conference last year. The girl’s case also provided the foundation for an upcoming clinical trial. Read more

Health insurance enrollees under Obama reforms ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ satisfied

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s health care law has reduced the number of uninsured adults by between 8 million and 11 million in its first year, according to three new studies, and the vast majority of enrollees report satisfaction with their new health plans. The studies, conducted separately by the Commonwealth Fund, the Urban Institute and the Gallup organization, used different methods to estimate the impact the Affordable Care Act has had. Read more

In brief: Algae prompts caution about Fernan Lake water

A health advisory was issued Tuesday for Fernan Lake because of the presence of blue-green algae. People should avoid swimming in or drinking water from the lake where the algae is visible, according to the advisory from the Panhandle Health District and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. Read more

Attorney General: eFoodHandler certificates worthless

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington attorney general’s office says food handler certificates issued through the eFoodhandlers website are not valid in the state. Read more

House Call: Home remedies help treat back pain

If you have back pain, you are not alone. It is one of the most common reasons that people visit their doctor. Most acute back pain is caused by an injury – lifting something that is too heavy, a mishap while participating in a sporting event or just stepping off of a curb the wrong way. Read more

Summer Games gives adults a chance to play like children

Before explaining the rules of noodle tag last week on a grassy play field at upper Manito Park, fitness trainer Nicole Kuhn led a group of women through stretches and a principle behind Summer Games, her recess-for-grownups series: Players of noodle tag, or island ball or trash can kickball or any other playground game in their future, should play at their own pace. Can’t run another step? Slow down. Some parts of the field too aggressive? Hang out in another part. Read more

Ask Dr. K: Tablets no substitute for playing with kids

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have an 18-month-old who loves to play on my iPad. I think it’s fine; my wife doesn’t. What are your thoughts? DEAR READER: The only thing I can say for sure is that I’d rather have your toddler play with your iPad than with mine. Read more

Study finds girls more likely to tear ACL

Watch your knees, girls. A new study in Pediatrics, the journal for the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that anterior cruciate ligament injuries are on the rise, and girls are more likely to get this injury than their male friends. Read more

Health bulletin board

New listings “ADD, ADHD, Autism, Learning Disabilities: Are They Affecting Your Family?” – A free lecture presented by Pilgrim’s Market about toxicity and stress and their impact on the developing brain and nervous system. Thursday, 7-8:30 p.m., Pilgrim’s Market, 1316 N. Fourth St., Coeur d’Alene. Make reservations at (208) 676-9730. Read more

The Rock Doc: Scientists taking a healthier look at processed food

Most of us don’t spend a lot of our time cooking from scratch. What’s known as processed foods – everything from snacks to boxed dinners – makes up a great deal of what most Americans eat. Indeed, the majority of what most of us eat is processed to some degree. Some highly processed foods are not so healthy, especially the ones made with refined flours and ingredients. Surveys in the U.S. and Great Britain show that most people consume less than one serving per day of whole-grain cereals. That’s a shame because research has shown that three servings of whole grains a day are better for us. Read more