KERA Breakthroughs

The leading edge of health, science, and technology

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  • Breakthroughs Home

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Telemedicine Expands, Though Financial Prospects Still Uncertain

Say you're a Midwestern farmer in a hospital bed, recovering from surgery or a major illness. It's time for the nurse's check-in, but there's no knock on the door. At Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, a camera attached to the wall over the foot of the bed whirls around, as a video monitor next to the camera lights up to show a smiling face with a headset on. Read More

A photo of Renee Baker after facial feminization surgery.

Caitlyn Jenner Puts Facial Feminization Surgery In The Spotlight

When Caitlyn Jenner shared her story of transition from male to female she put the transgender community in the spotlight. She also focused attention on a specific surgery, known as facial feminization.

Have you ever thought about what makes a face feminine? I’m not talking lipstick here, but something deeper.

According to one of the surgeons who pioneered facial feminization surgery, what makes a face feminine isn’t easy to define.

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Breast Cancer Gene Test Helps Predict Who Can Skip Chemo

For the past 10 years, doctors have used a genetic test to decide which patients may be able to skip chemotherapy after surgery for breast cancer. Now a study confirms that this test, called Oncotype DX, works well for a small group of patients. But a longer, follow-up study is needed to draw conclusions for a fuller range of patients with riskier tumors. Read More


Surviving Ebola – Lessons Learned One Year Later

It might seem like Ebola has vanished from the U.S., but a year later, the effects of the virus are just taking shape.

In 2014, Americans watched from afar as Ebola raged through West Africa, killing thousands and threatening millions. Until Sept. 30, when a Liberian man named Thomas Eric Duncan tested positive in a Dallas emergency room. Two nurses were infected before he died. Fear traveled faster, and far wider, than the virus. Explore what happened in Dallas – and the lessons hospitals and governments learned.

Surviving Ebola, a KERA News special, airs Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

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Meet the Team


Lauren Silverman

Lauren Silverman


Lauren Silverman came to KERA this spring to cover health, science and technology after three years with NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered in Washington D.C. Lauren produced national stories on everything from the politics of climate change to the future of online education, including a piece on neighborhood farms in Compton, Calif., that won a National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award. She’s written and recorded stories in English and Spanish for a variety of news outlets, including American Public Media’s Marketplace and NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Latino USA.

Sam Baker

Sam Baker

Senior Editor/Morning Edition Host

Sam Baker worked in commercial television for six years before moving to public broadcasting. The Beaumont native was News Director and Morning Edition host at KWGS-FM in Tulsa, Okla., for three years before joining KERA in 1991. He hosts and produces the station’s Vital Signs series, edits radio commentaries and has produced KERA versions of the NPR series This I Believe and StoryCorps. He also was the longtime host of KERA-TV’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He won a 2008 regional Emmy for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and also has earned honors from the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and the Public Radio News Directors.

Dallas stock photography provided by Justin Terveen

General stock photography provided by Shutterstock


“Breakthroughs” is a KERA News project devoted to the latest innovations in health, science and technology — with a North Texas accent. We’ll focus on medical breakthroughs rooted in hospitals, clinics and labs throughout North Texas. We’ll explore the science labs and tech centers that anchor the region. And we’ll have some fun. You’ll find stories on everything from doctors using proton beams to treat cancer to patients using iPhone apps to monitor eye disease to a boat made of recycled water bottles that crossed the Pacific and landed for good in downtown Dallas. You have a key role in this blog: Share your stories, suggestions and questions – tweet #KERAbreakthroughs.


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