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Texas Medicine Issues First Endorsements for 2020 - 12/11/2019

Gearing up for the 2020 primary elections, the political action arm of the Texas Medical Association endorsed one candidate seeking an open seat in the Texas Senate and three running for open Texas House seats.


Section 7: Invest in Public Health and Behavioral Health - 12/04/2019

The phrase “public health” elicits numerous images: first responders at a natural disaster, disease detectives peering through microscopes, posters, videos and flyers urging parents to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases, anti-smoking campaigns. Public health is all of this and more. It’s state and local government agencies, and individual physicians, working to detect, respond to, and prevent what’s bad for the health of Texans.


Screening Families of North Texans to Identify Persons with an Increased Risk for Cancer Due to Lynch Syndrome - 12/04/2019

In 2016, the UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Cancer Genetics Program was awarded a grant (PP160103) by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to increase awareness of hereditary cancer syndromes, particularly Lynch syndrome (LS), and implement a population-based genetic screening program to identify those at high genetic risk for cancer.


Talk to Patients About: How Vaccines Work - 12/04/2019

Ignorance is a well-known cause of vaccine hesitancy. Physicians can step into that void to teach patients about what vaccines are and why they’re important. That includes information about the risks and benefits of vaccines, how quickly illnesses spread, and the symptoms and complications of natural infection.


Addressing Autism: Giving Physicians Tools - 12/04/2019

Autism spectrum disorder is a fast-growing, serious developmental disability in the U.S., affecting an estimated one out of 59 children nationally, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is about four times more common in boys than girls. In recognition of its growing importance, TMA’s House of Delegates in 2019 approved a resolution encouraging physicians to expand and promote resources for families of people with autism.


Q&A: Food Allergies in Children a Public Health Problem - 12/04/2019

Ask Austin allergist Allen Lieberman, MD, which public health issue hasn’t received the attention it deserves, and his answer shouldn’t be a surprise. “Eight percent of kids have a food allergy,” Dr. Lieberman, who founded Austin Family Allergy and Asthma in 2016, told Texas Medicine. “It’s literally a food-allergy epidemic right now.”


Medicine Pushes State Lawmakers For Stronger Policies to Curb Teen Vaping - 12/03/2019

With the recent rise in severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping and e-cigarettes, state lawmakers on Tuesday took steps to curb use of those products, particularly among children and teenagers.


Vitamin E Acetate “A Strong Culprit” in Vaping-Related Lung Injuries - 12/03/2019

Vitamin E acetate, a sticky substance used in skin lotions and vitamin supplements, could be to blame for severe lung injuries linked to vaping that have sickened more than 200 people in Texas and thousands more across the U.S., health officials said Friday.


Two Texas E. Coli Cases Associated With Romaine Lettuce Identified - 12/03/2019

Health officials have confirmed two E. coli cases in Texas associated with tainted romaine lettuce produced in California. Officials with the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had few details about the Texas cases.


Help Texas Improve Health Outcomes for New Mothers and Infants - 12/03/2019

As a physician, you’ve seen first-hand some of the health challenges new mothers and their infants face, not only during pregnancy but in the days and months after birth. But if you’re interested in learning more about those challenges, and best practices for preventing and caring for them, plan to attend the 2020 Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies Summit in late February.


How Do Vaccines Prevent Us from Getting Sick? - 12/02/2019

Vaccines work to prevent people from catching infectious diseases. Here’s how: They introduce a dead or weakened version of the virus or bacteria to train our natural defenses to kick in. If our body faces a real threat from the live germ later, the immune system is armed to block it from harming us.


House Will Study Behavioral Health, Early Childhood Intervention, and More - 12/02/2019

Among a number of health care-related topics, the Texas House of Representatives during the interim “off” year in 2020 will study the state’s behavioral health system, child trafficking prevention, and the effect of technology and “big data” on insurance. House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) released the chamber’s interim charges last week.


Science: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism; Physicians Fight to Reassure, Immunize - 11/19/2019

Physicians repeat it over and over: Vaccines like the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine do not cause autism; they are safe and effective. Yet the decades-old false claim that vaccines do cause autism has convinced millions of parents not to give their children potentially lifesaving shots and could lead more to opt out, according to Texas physicians.


Above-Average Flu Activity Throughout Texas; One Pediatric Death Reported - 11/18/2019

Confirmed and possible cases of flu and flu-like illnesses have risen significantly across Texas in recent weeks, state health officials said, with one death reported – a 5-year-old who lived in the Rio Grande Valley.


Leveraging LARCs: Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives Part of Texas’ Solution to Unwanted Pregnancies, Maternal Deaths - 11/16/2019

Today LARCs are one of the safest and most-effective types of reversible birth control, but their reputation took a huge hit in the 1970s thanks to the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device (IUD). Memories persist of news reports about the shield’s many defects. This mistrust of LARCs — along with other obstacles to their wider use — hamper progress toward a wider goal for Texas medicine: improving maternal health and reducing maternal deaths across the state.


Webinar to Explore Creating a Healthy Long-Term Care System - 11/15/2019

If you’re interested in the current landscape of the long-term care delivery system, its funding mechanisms, and the state and federal legislation that model this system, tune into a webinar scheduled for Monday, Nov. 18.


Is Your School a Vaccine-Exemption Hot Spot? - 11/13/2019

Students have returned to public schools across the state, and most parents have ensured that their children have all the necessary immunizations. But an ever-growing number have not.


Updated White Paper Has Latest Information on Telemedicine in Texas - 11/12/2019

Updated this year, the Texas Medical Association's white paper, Texas Laws and Regulations Relating to Telemedicine, describes the new Texas legal and regulatory requirements that apply to a physician providing telemedicine medical services.


TMA Foundation Grants Support Better Health Across Texas - 11/07/2019

Residents of eight Texas counties will benefit from nearly $22,500 in Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) grant funding to help them live better, healthier lives. TMAF recently awarded funds to four county medical societies and three county chapters of the TMA Alliance (a volunteer, community service and advocacy organization comprising physicians, spouses, and partners).


Senate Committees Will Examine Uninsured Rate During Interim Year - 11/06/2019

Texas’ nation-leading uninsured rate will be under the state senate’s microscope in 2020 as part of the interim charges Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has assigned to senate committees. The list of interim charges, released last week, directs the Senate Business & Commerce Committee to “[s]tudy and report on ways to … decrease the uninsured rate in Texas” as part of its examination of the cost of health care.


Texas Voters Approve Renewed Funding for Cancer Research - 11/06/2019

Texas' ongoing battle against cancer just got new life. Voters statewide overwhelmingly approved Proposition 6 on Tuesday to continue funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the state's cancer-fighting agency.


Prop. 6 Passage Will Save Lives - 11/06/2019

Statement by David C. Fleeger, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association, in reaction to the passage of Proposition 6.  “Thanks to Texans who checked ‘yes’ in support of Proposition 6 in today’s election, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) can build on its legacy of saving countless Texans’ lives, while saving and making Texas millions of dollars every year...."


Vote Tuesday to Keep Texas A Leader in Cancer Research - 11/04/2019

The Texas Medical Association is encouraging you to vote for a proposition that would extend Texas’ place as a leader in the fight against cancer. “Please vote AGAINST cancer and FOR saving Texans’ lives. Physicians of TMA urge everyone to VOTE FOR Proposition 6 on Tuesday's ballot to continue to fund the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT),” TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD, said.


Talk to Patients About: The Autism Myth - 11/04/2019

It’s hard to find a medical myth that’s been more thoroughly debunked than the notion that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism. But this mountain of evidence doesn’t stop anti-vaccine advocates from recycling this myth, which dates back to 1998.


Keeping Outbreaks at Bay: El Paso's High Vaccination Rate Pays Off - 11/01/2019

"El Paso’s 2019 Measles Outbreak Hits 5,000 Cases.” That headline was never written and – thanks in part to dedicated work by El Paso physicians and health care workers – never will be.