Wildflower Center: Egg-cellent Adventures: Decorate hard-boiled eggs with items from nature, go on an egg hunt and learn about what lays eggs. 12 p.m. Saturday. $20. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
Austin Nature & Science Center. Celebrate Urban Birds. Celebrate birds by going on a bird-watching hike, dissecting owl pellets and more. Free. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive. austintexas.gov/ansc
Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade. sherwoodforestfaire.com
Pollyanna Theatre presents “Hurry Up and Wait.” Wendy and Harry plant a garden and have to learn patience. For ages 2-4. $6.75. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
Cirque Éloize: “Saloon.” The circus meets an old-fashioned Western. $29-$59. 7:30 p.m. Friday. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
In the first two years that hoverboards were sold in the United States, 26,854 people younger than 18 were treated in the emergency department for injuries related to the toys. That same study also looked at skateboard injuries as well and noted 121,398 kids were treated for skateboard injuries between 2015 and 2016.
Most of the injuries were for kids between ages 11 and 13.
Most of the injuries were to boys.
Only about 3 percent of the kids with hoverboard or skateboard injuries had to be admitted into the hospital.
Most of the hoverboard injuries happened at home, while the skateboard injuries happened in the street.
The most common area to injure was the wrist (19 percent) followed by the forearm (14 percent) and head (14 percent).
Most of the emergency rooms’ diagnoses were fractures (40 percent), contusions, aka bruising, (17 percent) and strains/sprains (13 percent).
What can you do if your child still loves her hoverboard or skateboard? Encourage protective gear such as helmets, wrist, elbow and knee pads.
April is that magical time when we bridge from the warmth of spring to the heat of the summer. It’s a great time to get out there and enjoy the wildflowers, a spring festival or try some science.
Here is our list of family events happening next month in and around Austin:
GirlStart Starry Nights. Look at the mini planetarium and enjoy hands-on activities. 5:30 p.m. April 5. GirlStart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane. girlstart.org
Insect Safari Hike on the Water Quality Protection Lands. Find and look up bugs in this family-friendly event. 10 a.m. April 7. Register and then get directions. austintexas.gov/water/wildland
Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old “uU.S. 20, McDade. sherwoodforestfaire.com
Monster Jam. Seriously big trucks crush other trucks. 7 p.m. April 21, 2 p.m. April 22. $20-37. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. uterwincenter.com
City Nature Challenge. Find things in nature and record and share what you find. April 27-30. Get help at these events: 3 p.m. April 27, JJ Seabrook Greenbelt; 9 a.m. April 28, Mabel Davis District Park; 3 p.m. April 28, Willowbrook Reach; and 3 p.m. April 29, Gracywoods Neighborhood Park. tpwd.texas.gov/naturechallenge
Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month it’s all about the Earth. Free. 10 a.m. to noon April 4. Register at domainnorthside.com.
Children’s Picnic.Local food vendors and farmers, plus make your own eco pot, enjoy storytelling, music and an imagination station. 105 p.m. April 8. Rosewood Park, 2300 Rosewood Ave. edibleaustin.com
Butterfly Festival.Games, crafts and live butterfly release. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 21. Free. The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens, 1101 FM2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org
Game Chica Conference. For girls ages 9 to 18. Learn how to design video games with experts from Austin technology companies. $15 includes lunch. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 28. HomeAway at the Domain, 11800 Domain Blvd. No. 300. gamechica.com.
Safe Baby Academy. Learn how to care for your baby. In Spanish, 4 p.m. April 2, People’s Clinic, 1101 Camino La Costa. 9 a.m. April 7. Seton Southwest Medical Center, 7900 FM 1826. 9 a.m. April 14, Seton Northwest Medical Center, 1113 Research Blvd. 9 a.m. April 28, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive. austintexas.gov
Car seat check. 9 a.m. April 3, Dove springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive. 9 a.m. April 6, Buda Fire Station 2, 151 FM 2001, Buda. 9 a.m. April 12, BabyEarth, 106 E. Old Settlers Blvd. Suite 100, Round Rock. 9 a.m. April 14, Covert Hutto Chevrolet, 1200 U.S. 79, Hutto. 9 a.m. April 18. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane.austintexas.gov
Fairytale Tea Party. Dress in princess attire, play games and make crafts. Free. 10 a.m. April 28. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane. austintexas.gov
Totally Cool Totally Art Teen Art Exhibition. April 13-April 26. Free. Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov
Austin Nature & Science Center. Austin’s Nature Day Nature and Art. 9 a.m. to noon April 21. Free. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive. austintexas.gov/ansc
Contemporary Austin. Teen Event: Destination Laguna. Explore the museum after hours with snacks and activities for teens. 6-9 p.m. April 13. Free for teens 13-18.Saturdays are for Families: Ships Ahoy.Enjoy a nautical-themed art-making day. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 14. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Sábados en Familia. 10 a.m. April 14. Free arts and wellness programs for the whole family, plus free lunch. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. 600 River St. austintexas.gov/esbmacc
Thinkery. Sensory Friendly Hours. Free breakfast tacos from Hat Creek Burger Company and a free screening of Trolls at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller. Free.8 a.m. April 29.Art Start: My Many Colored Days: 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays (1-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays (2-year-olds), Wednesdays, through May 9. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays, through May 11. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Baby Bloomers: Spring has Sprung. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. For birth to age 3. $5. Decoding DNA. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. April 7-8, April 21-22. $8. Seed Paper Making. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. April 14-15, April 28-29. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Toybrary Austin. Spanish class. 10:30 a.m. April 3. $5. Gardening Class. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Free with admission. Music Class with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. $10. Peppa Pig Visits. 10:30 a.m. April 5. $12. Silly Sparkles Super Silly Show. $10:30 a.m. April 12. $10. Bubblefest with Milly McSilly. 10:30 a.m. April 26. $10. Firetruck visits. 10:30 a.m. April 27. $7. Family concert and picnic. 5 p.m. April 28. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day. Learn different forms of exercise as a family, plus make art. Noon to 4 p.m. April 8. Free. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. unmlaufsculture.org
Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Free with admission. Nature Play Hour. 10 a.m. Saturdays. Free with admission to the gardens. Afternoon Explorers: Wild about Wildflowers. For ages 6-10.$15 one child and adult. 3:30 p.m. April 20. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
Williamson Museum. Hands on History.Learn about the founding of Williamson County as the county celebrates 170 years, plus make a craft of the county namesake. Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 14. Williamson Museum, 716 Austin Ave., Georgetown. williamsonmuseum.org
“Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote.”Pancho Rabbit goes through dangerous journey with little help from his guide. 11 a.m. April 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, 12:30 a.m. April 21-22, April 28-29. $8-$12. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children. scottishritetheater.org
Fifth Annual Greater Austin High School Theatre Awards. See who wins, plus some snapshots of the best shows. 7:30 p.m. April 18. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org
That’s My Face Film Series: “The Making of Claudia Rankin.” For young adults. 6:30 p.m. April 27. Free. George Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. austintexas.gov
Alamo Drafthouse. “The Sandlot” Movie Party. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of this movie. 1 p.m. April 8 Lakeline and Slaughter Lane., and 7:15 p.m. April 9-12, Slaughter Lane. “PBS Kids: Explore the Outdoors.”10:30 a.m. April 20-21, Mueller. 10:15 a.m. April 14-15, Lakeline.drafthouse.com
BookPeople events:Junot Díaz reads “Islandborn.” 6:30 p.m. April 4. Emma Berquist reads “Devils Unto Dust.” 6 p.m. April 14. Donna Janell Bowman reads “Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words. 2 p.m. April 15. Stuart Gibbs and Sarah Mlynowski reads “Waste of Space” and “Two Peas in a Pod.” 6 p.m. April 23. Charlie Rose and Dan Peeler read “Dragons of Romania: Star of Doom.” 2 p.m. April 7. 10:30 a.m. story times:Pets are the Best, April 3. Poets Who Know It, April 4. Imagination Station, April 7. We Love Libraries, April 10. Ms. Staci, April 11. Yoga, April 14. Armstrong Community Music School, April 17. Tiny Tails to You Petting Zoo, April 18. Mrs. Purple Urple, April 21. Preposterous Puppet Show, April 24. Favorite Read Aloud, April 25. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “The Giving Tree,” April 7. “Pig the Star,” April 14. “Here We Are: Notes for Livng on Planet Earth,” April 21. “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” 11 a.m. April 28.
At the library
Crafternoon. 3 p.m. Mondays, Dove Springs Recreation Center. 2 p.m. April 11, Carver Branch. 4:30 p.m. April 12, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 24, Howson Branch.
Pajama Storytime. 6 p.m. Mondays, University Hills Branch. 6 p.m. April 3, Yarborough Branch. 6 p.m. April 24, Milwood Branch. 6 p.m. April 24, Old Quarry Branch.
Book Circle. 3:30 p.m. April 3 and April 24, Twin Oaks Branch.
Tabletop Tuesday. Play games every Tuesday. 5 p.m. Tuesdays. Central Library.
Art Smart: Celebrating Asian Dragons. 10:15 a.m. April 4, Howson Branch. 4:30 p.m. April 4, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 6, University Hills Branch. 10:15 a.m. April 11, Dove Springs Recreation Center. 4:30 p.m. April 17, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 18, St. John Branch. 10:15 a.m. April 26, Pleasant Hill Branch.
Bow Wow Reading with Aussie. 3:30 p.m. April 4, North Village Branch. Bow Wow Reading with George. 3:45 p.m. April 11, Pleasant Hill Branch.
Music and Movement. 3:30 p.m. April 4 and April 11, Ruiz Branch. 11 a.m. April 5, Manchaca Road Branch. 11 a.m. April 9, Pleasant Hill Branch. 11 a.m. Thursdays, Howson Branch. 11 a.m. April 13, Old Quarry Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 25, Ruiz Branch.
Chess Club. 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.
It should be a beautiful weekend for going out and stirring up some family fun. Expect highs in the low 80s and clear skies, except Sunday, when it might rain in the morning.
Austin Regional Spelling Bee. Watch 47 students in fourth through eighth grades compete to move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. $10.1 p.m. Sunday. Zach Theatre’s Topfer Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. austinspellingbee.com
Blanton Museum of Art. Block Party. Many activities including kids art-making. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Free. Blanton Museum of Art. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. blantonmuseum.org
Dance Through India. Celebrate different dances. 2-4 p.m. Sunday. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. austintexas.gov/aarc
Rodeo Austin. Watch the pigs race, the bull riders, barrel racers and more. $5-$8 fairgrounds admission, $20-$36 rodeo seats. Through Saturday. Expo Center, 9100 Decker Lake Road.
Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade. sherwoodforestfaire.com
March for Our Lives Austin. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday. Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second St. marchforourlives.com
Teen Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt. Who says Easter egg hunts are just for kids? 6:30 p.m. Friday. Dottie Jordan Recreation Center, 2803 Loyola Lane. austintexas.gov
Safe Baby Academy. Learn how to care for your baby. 9 a.m. Friday, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive (in Spanish). 9 a.m. Saturday, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive.
Toybrary Austin. Family Concert and Picnic with Much 2 Much: 6 p.m. Saturday. Free. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org
Pollyanna Theatre presents “Hurry Up and Wait.” Wendy and Harry plant a garden and must learn patience. For ages 2-4. $6.75. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
BookPeople events: Carolyn Cohagan reads “Time Next”: 2 p.m. Saturday. Armstrong Community Music School: Tuesday. Tiny Tails Petting Zoo: Wednesday. We Love Numbers: Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “Little Blue Truck.”
“Anasi and the Golden Box of Stories.” For ages 5 and older. 2 p.m. Saturday, Old Quarry Branch.
Express Yourself Through Media and Technology. 1 p.m. Saturday, Ruiz Branch. 10:30 a.m. Saturday, St. John Branch.
Bow Wow Reading With Bonnie the Dog: 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.
Fix-It Clinic. Learn how to fix your broken stuff. Noon Saturday, Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Weapons, ammunition, military materials are not on either list. I would vote that those are hazardous materials, but it’s not clear.
In our story Tuesday night: Traci Berry, a spokeswoman for Goodwill Central Texas, said it’s not uncommon for the thrift store to receive weapons, ammunition or other odd items.
“We get all sorts of crazy donations,” she said. “People bring us everything from prosthetic legs to a human skull one year, so this isn’t out of the ordinary as far as strange donations. Unfortunately, it hurt an employee, so we’re always looking at our processes to make sure our employees are safe.”
What should you do if you have something like the artillery simulator or bullets you need to dispose of?
Parents, you might be wondering what you’re supposed to say to your children about the recent bombings in Austin. How do you keep them safe, keep them informed, yet not scare them? What is too much information? What is too little?
With all acts of violence and terror — such as shootings in public places and schools or now the bombings — “it really depends on the age of your kid,” says Julia Hoke, director of psychological services at Austin Child Guidance Center. Very young kids, who might never take a package off the front porch, might not need you to say much of anything, she says.
For older kids, give them a simplified version of what is happening. Prepare yourself for what you are going to say and check your emotions before you talk to them.
“You’re going to check your own anxiety level,” Hoke says. “Our inhibition isn’t as good when we’re feeling stressed out ourselves.”
Many kids already will know what is happening because schools are talking about it, their friends are talking about it, and they have access to social media. They are looking to their parents and teachers to reassure them. “Your goal in talking to your child is making sure they are feeling safe,” she says.
Don’t go into graphic or gory details. “Even with older kids, you don’t want to overshare,” she says.
That also might mean you limit their access to TV news and social media right now. You might not want to have the news running in the background at all times. You’re trying to avoid exposing kids (and really yourself, too) to a secondary trauma.
“Generally when stuff like this happens, it’s important to maintain your normal routine as much as possible,” Hoke says. That doesn’t mean you ignore what’s going on.
Give them updates, but remind them that adults and law enforcement are going to do everything they can to keep them safe.
You’ll want to have kids, especially those that might walk by packages left at the front door, take precautions just like you’re taking precautions recommended by police.
Tell kids to stay away from any package they see.
Ask them to tell an adult if they see a package.
Alert them if you know you will be receiving a package, and tell them not to touch that package until you are sure it’s the package you were expecting.
If they see something suspicious whether at the front door, their school or in their neighborhood, they need to avoid it and tell an adult.
If they are concerned about what’s left at your doorstep, you might want to consider a new way to enter the house, such as a backdoor or garage door for now.
If they walk or ride their bikes to school or a friend’s house, remind them to avoid anything suspicious by walking around the area and that they can always turn around to return to safety. Then they should let an adult know what they saw.
If your neighborhood or their school becomes the site of a lockdown, check yourself and make sure you’re not exuding anxiety and then tell your child what is going on.
“Sadly most kids do this drill at school,” Hoke says. You can tell them, “This is like what you do at school. It’s a really big area, and police have to make sure we are safe.”
Some kids are just more prone to anxiety or becoming fixated on what’s happening. This can be true if they’ve experienced a trauma before. Be especially careful with what you say to those children. If you’re sensing a change in their behavior and increase of anxiety or becoming fixated on the event, try to be reassuring and then seek help if those behaviors continue.
During this time, Hoke says, practice self-care, too. Remember to put on your oxygen mask first.
“Parenting is hard, and it’s really hard when all this stuff is happening,” she says. “We have to reassure them we are safe. It’s the thing you have to do.”
You also want to be authentic and genuine, she says, but you have to put up a wall and not show them the true depths of our fear and anxiety. “They are going to take the cue from us.”
Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas will be creating the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease, and it will do it with one of the world’s most well-known pediatric heart surgeons, Dr. Charles Fraser Jr. Fraser, who has spent the last 23 years building the heart surgical program at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, also will be part of the faculty at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas.
Fraser, a University of Texas undergrad alum who was born in Austin, said he is excited to return home and to the University of Texas.
“We have the opportunity to build a world-class heart program,” he said. He’s looking forward to being able to offer children and adults with congenital heart disease “the care they deserve close to home.”
Fraser will work with the cardiology team already at Dell Children’s but also might add additional doctors as he grows the program.
“I’m like a kid in a candy shop with the different programs we can develop,” he says.
Fraser does not believe the program will include heart transplants, maybe eventually, but not in the short-term, he says. Instead, it will be about a high level of care and taking on more complex cases, he says.
While his focus is pediatric, the center also will treat adults who, because of medical advancements, are now living with congenital heart defects that would have killed them in childhood. “It’s a population that didn’t exist a generation ago,” Fraser says.
This is the second announcement of this type this month. Earlier Dell Children’s announced that pediatric neurologist E. Steve Roach will lead pediatric neurology, with a focus on neurological disorders such as epilepsy, spina bifida, movement disorders, autism, stroke, headaches and brain tumors. Roach is leaving Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and The Ohio State University. He’ll help develop the new Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences at Dell Medical School.
Both moves are part of the school’s focus on a holistic approach to patient care, which will consider quality of life and the whole body, not just fixing the problem in which that doctor specializes.
Fraser has published studies on what effect heart surgeries have on a patient’s brain.
“We’ve made enormous progress fixing the heart,” he says when he compares what has been done in medicine since he left medical school in the early 1980s. Now, in what he calls “a new era in fixing the heart,” it’s about providing the best quality of life.
“Not only is Chuck one of the country’s top surgeons, he’s constantly pushing the threshold for improving the systems of care,” said Dr. Clay Johnston, dean of Dell Medical School, in a press release. “That makes him a perfect fit for the work that the medical school and our partners are doing to improve health in Austin and Central Texas.”
Could breastfeeding an infant for at least six months have an added benefit for Mom? Could it actually reduce heart disease? That’s what researchers at the University of Pittsburgh tried to figure out. They enrolled 678 women in Michigan who were pregnant between 1998 and 2004. They then followed up about 11 years later and measure the women’s blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. They also measure the diameter and thickness of the carotid artery using a test that predicts heart disease risk. The women who breastfed for six months or more had higher levels of HDL (aka the good cholesterol), lower triglycerides as well as a healthier carotid artery thickness versus the women who had never breastfed.
Why might that be?
The truth is we really don’t know, says Dr. Vivek Goswami, a cardiologist at Austin Heart and Heart Hospital of Austin. More research needs to be done and this study was a poster presentation at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session earlier this month, rather than being something that had been peer reviewed and accepted into a medical journal.
Goswami likens it to the way some researchers have found that breastfeeding leads to more intelligent children. Is it the breastfeeding? Or is it that the moms who breastfeed tend to be healthier, have better nutrition, exercise more, have more access to education, are in a different socioeconomic group than moms who don’t? That we don’t know.
What we do know is that women die of heart disease more than any other disease.
Goswami says rather than worry about this study and whether or not it’s the breastfeeding that is lowering the risk or something else, women should know the risk factors for heart disease:
Family history of heart disease.
High blood pressure.
High alcohol use.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Erectile Disfunction (clearly men only).
Abnormal carotid artery thickness.
They also should know that about 80 percent of heart disease is preventable through exercising at least 30 minutes a day with aerobic exercise, eating healthfully and avoiding the risk factors you know you can avoid such as smoking and alcohol, he says.
Goswami would like women (and men, too) to do some preventative testings much like they might do a colonoscopy or a mammogram. He recommends the Heart Saver CT, which looks at the carotid artery. Sometimes insurance pays for it, but if not, it’s about a $99 test and it gives you a score that tells you how well you are doing compared with another person in your age range. Goswami says often people think that just checking your blood pressure or cholesterol is enough of a way to predict future heart disease, but he says about 75 percent of the people who have a heart attack have had a normal cholesterol range.
Women ages 45-70; men ages 40-65 with one or more risk factor can make an appointment for one at Heart Hospital of Austin, or if you are outside those age ranges and don’t have a risk factor, you can still get one, but you need a written referral from your doctor.
Pregnancy can tell us a lot about future heart disease, though. Sometimes blood pressure or blood sugars will be elevated, which could be a foreshadowing or early warning sign that you are predisposed to have heart disease or diabetes later in life, Goswami says.
It’s also a time where there is more blood volume your heart is pumping, which could put you at risk for a blood clot or a coronary artery dissection or other heart-related problems.
Spring break won’t go on forever, but this weekend is still full of great family-friendly activities in and around Austin. It might rain on Saturday, so be prepared.
Check out our list of two dozen things to do:
Rock & Read at the Domain. Musicians include the Hoots, 1-2-3 Andres, the Que Pastas, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship. 2-5:30 p.m. Saturday. Free. Domain lawn by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dillard’s. sparetherock.com
“Hello Dolly! A Tribute to Dolly Parton.” Celebrate Dolly Parton’s music with Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, Red Yarn, Jon Langford, 1-2-3 Andres, Ms. Kat, Que Pastas, SaulPaul and more. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children. sparetherock.com
KUTX live broadcast kids’ music lineup. The KUTX live broadcast at the Four Seasons during South by Southwest will feature children’s music between the sets each morning. Laura Doherty and 1-2-3 Andres, Friday. Lucky Diaz & the Family Jam Band and Sugar Free Allstars, Saturday. $5 for a wristband for the kids-only stage. $15 for the adult stage. Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. fourseasons.com
Rodeo Austin. Watch the pigs race, the bull riders, barrel racers and more. $5-$8 fairgrounds admission, $20-$36 rodeo seats. Daily through March 24. Expo Center, 9100 Decker Lake Road.
Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Friday-Sunday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade. sherwoodforestfaire.com
Circus Chickendog’s “1001 Tricks in 1 Hour!” See the original show with rescue dogs. 1 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10:30 p.m. Saturday. $15; free for children younger than 3. The Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury Drive. chickendog.net
St. Patrick’s Day Austin. Enjoy Irish traditions and of course wear green. Noon-7 p.m. Saturday. $4 child, $12 adult. Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive. stpatricksdayaustin.com
Hill Country Science Mill. Robot Mania.Special hands-on activities. Friday. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org
Texas Museum of Science and Technology. This Cedar Park museum and planetarium will close after Sunday. Currently you can see the exhibit “Amazing Butterflies” and do the TimeWalk, journey through the Precambrian and Jurassic eras and into the Holocene period. $18-$12. 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org
Asian American Resource Center. Indian American Children’s Literature: Celebrate Indian literature with stories, crafts and games. Free. 2-4 p.m. Sunday. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. austintexas.gov/aarc
Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Light It Up. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Saturday. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Could an app help save you from colon cancer? Possibly. A researcher at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin has developed an app that can help explain to you the benefits of each type of colon cancer screening (there are many) and even help you schedule a screening.
The study followed 450 people who were overdue for a colon cancer screening. It either gave them an iPad with an app that walked them through the various screenings and preventative measures or it gave them a traditional patient education method, a short video on prevention methods, that did not include a way to schedule a screening. Both sets of patients then met with their doctors.
The patients who were given the app were twice as likely to schedule a followup screening than the ones who did not receive the app. What Pignone had learned from past work is that doctors don’t always offer all the screening options to their patients. “That limits the screening rates,” Pignone says. People ages 50 to 75 should receive a screening. If they have certain risk factors such as a family history or inflammatory bowel disease, they might need a screening even younger.
The app did have some safeguards. If a patient viewed the app and asked for a test, the doctor would then have to order it, giving the doctor the ability to make sure that method was appropriate for that patient. Stool testing, for example, isn’t for people at high risk, but by offering that option, Pignone says, it may reach some people who are refusing to do a colonoscopy.
The app walks patients through the different screening methods and how often they should be done:
Fecal immunochemical test (every year)
Stool DNA test (every 3 years)
Colonoscopy (every 10 years)
CT colonography (every 5 years)
Flexible sigmoidoscopy (every 5 years)
Double-contrast barium enema (every 5 years)
Pignone also tested when the best timing for delivering the app was. Patients responded best when they received it at their doctor’s office before their appointment. It’s like they are thinking, “I’m attending to my health today,”Pignone says.
The number of patients in the study that went on to get testing was 30 percent with the app versus 15 percent with the traditional information. “Of course, we would like that to be higher, like 75 percent,” Pignone says.
Alcohol use that is more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
Being older than 50.
A history or family history of polyps or colon cancer.
Having inflammatory bowel disease.
Certain inherited diseases such as Lynch disease.
Being African American.
Having Type 2 diabetes.
The study points to more possibilities of how doctors can educate patients about their risk factors. Gone are the days of wheeling around a TV and VCR on a cart to provide education. Pignone envisions patients being able to download apps on their phones to get information, being sent links to apps or videos to watch on their phones through the patient portals their doctors’ office uses, receiving text reminders with links to education and more.
“Doctors have to get used to and people have to get used to giving more control to patients to engage them more,” Pignone says.
He would love for patients to receive all the information and links to sign up for tests before a doctor’s visit. Then the doctor could go over the results with the patients and schedule followup tests in a meaningful way at the time of the visit, rather than visit, then take tests, then receive your results in the mail, by phone call or by the patient portal.
While the app study happened while Pignone was working in North Carolina, Pignone is continuing to do work on colon cancer now that he is in Austin. He recently received a grant through the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas to get more screening done in underserved populations of Austin. He is working with CommUnityCare to get their clients screened.
Of their 20,000 patients in the target age range, 13,000 were behind in their screenings. Those patients are now be mailed a stool test to do at home. If the test is negative, the patient gets a letter stating that. If it is positive, the patient gets a call from a bilingual care coordinator who helps schedule a followup test.
The grant is for three years.
“The hope is that we will demonstrate its effectiveness and cost effectiveness and find a way of continuing the program with local funding,” Pignone says.