health

Ancestral seal hunting happened at the edge of the Sít Tlein (Hubbard) glacier. Emily Kearney-Williams © Smithsonian Institution

Scientists and Indigenous leaders team up to conserve seals and an ancestral way of life at Yakutat

Five hundred years ago, in a mountain-rimmed ocean fjord in southeast Alaska, Tlingit hunters armed with bone-tipped harpoons eased their canoes through chunks of floating… Continue reading

 

Spruce tips emerging on May 25 beside a Juneau trail. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)

Brewing survival: How spruce tip beer helped 1790s ‘Voyage of Discovery’ navigate scurvy and survey

Health value of tips now forming on Juneau’s trees known to Natives, European explorers for centuries

 

Cigarette butts are crammed into an ashtray outside one of the Atlanta office buildings used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The photo was taken in 2009, prior to the area becoming tobacco-free. In Alaska, the state’s anti-tobacco program has helped resident quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco or electronic cigarettes. (Photo by Dr. Oscar Tarragó/Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine/U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Annual report tracks Alaskans’ tobacco-cessation progress — and tallies tobacco’s costs to the state

Alaskans trying to quit their tobacco habits made some significant progress over the past year, according to the annual report released this week by the… Continue reading

 

A skier skates on Feb. 28, 2021 to the high point of the Spencer Loop trail in the Hillside neighborhood of Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

With New Year’s resolutions on the way, Alaska health officials tout Fresh Start program

Just in time for people to declare their resolutions for 2024, the Alaska Department of Health is publicizing some success stories from a self-improvement program… Continue reading

A skier skates on Feb. 28, 2021 to the high point of the Spencer Loop trail in the Hillside neighborhood of Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Hepatitis B virus particles, in orange, are seen in this microscopic image captured in 1981. Since so many people are unaware that they are infected, state health officials recommend stepped-up screening. (Photo by Dr. Erskin Palmer/U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Experts recommend steps to reduce Alaska’s high rate of chronic hepatitis B

All adults should be screened at least once during their lifetimes, bulletin advises

Hepatitis B virus particles, in orange, are seen in this microscopic image captured in 1981. Since so many people are unaware that they are infected, state health officials recommend stepped-up screening. (Photo by Dr. Erskin Palmer/U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
An exercise station at Anchorage’s Westchester Lagoon is seen on Monday. The “Fitness Cluster” offers opportunities for strength and cardiovacular training, and signage gives fitness information and advice. Two-thirds of Alaska adults are overweight or obese, and about a fifth of them engage in no physical activity, according to an annual report released by the state Department of Health. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Report: Alaskans dogged by chronic diseases

Many residents lack healthy lifestyles or regular screenings.

An exercise station at Anchorage’s Westchester Lagoon is seen on Monday. The “Fitness Cluster” offers opportunities for strength and cardiovacular training, and signage gives fitness information and advice. Two-thirds of Alaska adults are overweight or obese, and about a fifth of them engage in no physical activity, according to an annual report released by the state Department of Health. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Nathan Rumsey is scheduled to become Bartlett Regional Hospital’s interim CEO on Aug. 21 following a unanimous vote by the board of directors Tuesday. He will replace David Keith, who resigned as CEO earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Bartlett Regional Hospital)

Hospital names interim CEO

Nathan Rumsey, BRH executive director of business development and strategy, begins role Aug. 21.

Nathan Rumsey is scheduled to become Bartlett Regional Hospital’s interim CEO on Aug. 21 following a unanimous vote by the board of directors Tuesday. He will replace David Keith, who resigned as CEO earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Bartlett Regional Hospital)
The riverfront in Kotlik, a Yup’ik community of about 600 peole, is seen in 2009. Kotlik, on the north end of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, is one of the communities in the Kusilvak Census Area. A new study published in the Lancet found that Alaska Natives in the Kusilvak Census Area have the nation’s highest rate of death from intentional self-harm or interpersonal violence. (Photo provided by the Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs)

Study: Different populations in Alaska have some of nation’s highest and lowest death rates by cause

Alaska Natives in certain rural areas of the state have the nation’s highest death rates from suicide and domestic violence and some of the highest… Continue reading

The riverfront in Kotlik, a Yup’ik community of about 600 peole, is seen in 2009. Kotlik, on the north end of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, is one of the communities in the Kusilvak Census Area. A new study published in the Lancet found that Alaska Natives in the Kusilvak Census Area have the nation’s highest rate of death from intentional self-harm or interpersonal violence. (Photo provided by the Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs)
Bartlett Regional Hospital CEO David Keith listens during a city Assembly meeting in February. On Tuesday hospital officials announced his resignation after less than a year in the position. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Bartlett Regional Hospital CEO, CFO resign after less than a year in positions

The departure of David Keith and Sam Muse comes in wake of alleged behavioral health care crisis.

Bartlett Regional Hospital CEO David Keith listens during a city Assembly meeting in February. On Tuesday hospital officials announced his resignation after less than a year in the position. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
A bike is parked outside the main entrance of Bartlett Regional Hospital on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Doctor: ‘Inhumane treatment’ of behavioral health care patients at Bartlett Regional Hospital

Staff shortage puts patients and employees at risk, some officials say; hospital CEO blames policies

A bike is parked outside the main entrance of Bartlett Regional Hospital on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
On Monday night during the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly meeting, members OK’d appropriating $8.1 million in hospital funds to Bartlett Regional Hospital for the purchase of Juneau Bone and Joint Center’s buildings and property. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

City OKs $8.1M for hospital purchase of Juneau Bone and Joint property

The finalized purchase to be negotiated in the coming months, hospital officials say.

On Monday night during the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly meeting, members OK’d appropriating $8.1 million in hospital funds to Bartlett Regional Hospital for the purchase of Juneau Bone and Joint Center’s buildings and property. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Planned Parenthood’s location in Juneau is now offering vasectomy services as of Wednesday and a procedure day will take place every two months, officials say. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Planned Parenthood now offers vasectomy services in Juneau

The procedure service will be provided on a bimonthly basis.

Planned Parenthood’s location in Juneau is now offering vasectomy services as of Wednesday and a procedure day will take place every two months, officials say. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
People walk past an American flag inside the Oculus, part of the World Trade Center transportation hub, at the start of a work day in New York, Sept. 11, 2019. American lore is full of tales of a nation built on the foundations of individualism. In reality, loneliness in America can be deadly. In May 2023, the U.S. surgeon general declared it an epidemic, saying that it takes as deadly a toll as smoking. (AP Photo / Wong Maye-E)

How the American Dream convinces people loneliness is normal

In reality, loneliness in America can be deadly.

People walk past an American flag inside the Oculus, part of the World Trade Center transportation hub, at the start of a work day in New York, Sept. 11, 2019. American lore is full of tales of a nation built on the foundations of individualism. In reality, loneliness in America can be deadly. In May 2023, the U.S. surgeon general declared it an epidemic, saying that it takes as deadly a toll as smoking. (AP Photo / Wong Maye-E)
Members of the Alaska State House vote 35-3 to pass a bill Wednesday expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers to 12 months instead of 60 days. The Senate has already passed the bill, but must concur with House changes before it is sent to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who introduced the bill. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Extended Medicaid coverage for new moms passes House

Bill providing one year of care is a proceedural step from being sent to Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Members of the Alaska State House vote 35-3 to pass a bill Wednesday expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers to 12 months instead of 60 days. The Senate has already passed the bill, but must concur with House changes before it is sent to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who introduced the bill. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A model of a DNA molecule is displayed in the New York office of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research on Oct. 18, 1962. The discovery of DNA’s “twisted ladder” structure 70 years ago opened up a world of new science — and also sparked disputes over who contributed what and who deserves credit. In an opinion piece published Tuesday, April 25, 2023, in the journal Nature, two historians are suggesting that while James Watson and Francis Crick did rely on research from Rosalind Franklin and her lab without their permission — Franklin was more a collaborator than just a victim. (AP Photo / Anthony Camerano)

Rosalind Franklin’s role in DNA discovery gets a new twist

The story dates back to the 1950s, when scientists were working out how DNA’s pieces fit together.

A model of a DNA molecule is displayed in the New York office of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research on Oct. 18, 1962. The discovery of DNA’s “twisted ladder” structure 70 years ago opened up a world of new science — and also sparked disputes over who contributed what and who deserves credit. In an opinion piece published Tuesday, April 25, 2023, in the journal Nature, two historians are suggesting that while James Watson and Francis Crick did rely on research from Rosalind Franklin and her lab without their permission — Franklin was more a collaborator than just a victim. (AP Photo / Anthony Camerano)
State Senate Majority Leader Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, left, confers with Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, and other members during Monday’s floor session about a bill allowing residents to receive Medicaid funds for providing care for elderly and disabled family members. The bill introduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy passed unanimously. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Senate OKs Medicaid funds for home care of elderly, disabled

Bill also allows state to seek extension of COVID-era funds for other residents needing daily care

State Senate Majority Leader Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, left, confers with Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, and other members during Monday’s floor session about a bill allowing residents to receive Medicaid funds for providing care for elderly and disabled family members. The bill introduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy passed unanimously. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A chart shows the number and type of Alaska residents receiving Medicaid coverage based on either 2022 Alaska Medicaid Claims data (yellow) or 2021 U.S. Census data (orange). More than 260,000 residents are currently enrolled, about 30,000 more than 2020, due to a federal provision that kept states from removing people during the COVID-19 pandemic. That provision ended April 1 and Alaska officials are scheduled review eligibility of all residents enrolled during the next 12 months. (Alaska Division of Public Assistance)

Medicaid eligibility for all enrollees under review

Coverage for more than 260,000 Alaskans to be checked during next year as COVID-19 protection ends

A chart shows the number and type of Alaska residents receiving Medicaid coverage based on either 2022 Alaska Medicaid Claims data (yellow) or 2021 U.S. Census data (orange). More than 260,000 residents are currently enrolled, about 30,000 more than 2020, due to a federal provision that kept states from removing people during the COVID-19 pandemic. That provision ended April 1 and Alaska officials are scheduled review eligibility of all residents enrolled during the next 12 months. (Alaska Division of Public Assistance)
A nurse prepares a syringe of a COVID-19 vaccine at an inoculation station in Jackson, Miss., July 19, 2022. U.S. health officials are proposing a simplified approach to COVID-19 vaccinations, which would allow most adults and children to get a once-a-year shot to protect against the mutating virus. The new system unveiled Monday, Jan. 23, 2023 would make COVID-19 inoculations more like the annual flu shot. Americans would no longer have to keep track of how many shots they’ve received or how many months it’s been since their last booster. (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis)

U.S. proposes once-a-year COVID shots for most Americans

The FDA will ask its panel of outside vaccine experts to weigh in.

A nurse prepares a syringe of a COVID-19 vaccine at an inoculation station in Jackson, Miss., July 19, 2022. U.S. health officials are proposing a simplified approach to COVID-19 vaccinations, which would allow most adults and children to get a once-a-year shot to protect against the mutating virus. The new system unveiled Monday, Jan. 23, 2023 would make COVID-19 inoculations more like the annual flu shot. Americans would no longer have to keep track of how many shots they’ve received or how many months it’s been since their last booster. (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis)
A donor gives blood at the Blood Bank of Alaska’s Juneau center. The BBA recently issued a news release asking for donations to coincide with National Blood Donor Month.(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
A donor gives blood at the Blood Bank of Alaska’s Juneau center. The BBA recently issued a news release asking for donations to coincide with National Blood Donor Month.(Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
This photo provided by Amy Watson of Portland, Ore., shows her during an iron infusion in December 2022. Watson, approaching 50, says she has “never had any kind of recovery” from COVID-19. She has had severe migraines, plus digestive, nerve and foot problems. Recently she developed severe anemia. (Amy Watson)

Long COVID: Could mono virus or fat cells be playing roles?

Scientists are still trying to figure out why some people get long COVID.

This photo provided by Amy Watson of Portland, Ore., shows her during an iron infusion in December 2022. Watson, approaching 50, says she has “never had any kind of recovery” from COVID-19. She has had severe migraines, plus digestive, nerve and foot problems. Recently she developed severe anemia. (Amy Watson)