Your cellphone could be making you look old by damaging your skin

Could that smartphone, that tablet, that laptop be damaging your skin? That was a question dermatologists began talking about in Europe in 2016 at the Facial Aesthetics Conference and Exhibition.

A study looked at what high energy visible light (HEV light) was doing to skin and found that it was similar to ultraviolet A rays in that it damages the skin, causing premature aging, wrinkles and fine lines. It doesn’t cause the skin cancer and sunburn associated with UVB rays, but there is some evidence that HEV could damage our skin’s DNA as well.

The light from your phone screen could be damaging your skin. Bryan Thomas/The New York Times 2015

What does all this mean to us?

“It means that you have to protect yourself every day,” says Dr. Ted Lain, an Austin dermatologist with Sanova Dermatology.

That means wearing sunscreen, whether you’re going outside or staying inside.

In this case, the SPF number isn’t what you’re going to look for in a sunscreen, Lain says. Instead, you’re looking for a tinted sunscreen with strong antioxidants like iron oxide. “It’s like an internal sunscreen for the cells,” he says. “It protects our cells at the DNA level.”

Dr. Ted Lain of Sanova Dermatology RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

You can find these sunscreens both at your grocery store or your dermatologist’s office. You should apply it daily, once a day if you’re inside and not sweating it off.

You still need a sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) for the sun’s UVB rays that causes sunburn and skin cancer. In fact, Lain says, new research reversed an old theory about how high an SPF you need. The FDA used to say that the difference between SPF 50 and SPF 100 was not noticeable. Now, researchers found it does actually make a difference whether you have SPF 50 or SPF 100. You see, in a lab, the difference wasn’t noticeable, but in real-life application of sunscreen it did matter because we never put a thick enough layer on ourselves.

You should use about an ounce (think shot glass full) of sunscreen in a thick layer that you rub in. Don’t forget areas like the ears, neck and cheeks. If you’re outside and sweating, reapply it every 80 minutes, Lain says.

Especially in Austin, where we are exposed to the sun so often, making sure we have a high enough SPF in our sunscreen is important. “Anything below SPF 30 is a waste of time,” Lain says.

If you thought you were getting enough protection in your makeup with SPF 15, you need to add in a sunscreen on top of that.

More technology is on the horizon in skin care, Lain says. Soon there will be mirrors and phone apps that will tell us how healthy our skin is and where we need more moisture or to pay attention to pore size.

Austinite creates alphabet book of all things uniquely Austin

“A is for Austin, our local home base. It’s the beautiful setting where this story takes place.”

So begins Lori Otto Samocha’s love letter to her hometown. In “W Is for Weird: An Austin Alphabet,” Otto Samocha writes of the things that make Austin unique. “I always felt, as all Austinites do, that there’s something special and unique about the city,” she says. “There’s a sense of charm, a sense of honesty.”

Her love of Austin is strong. The advertising writer has never left home. She went to Westwood High School, then to the University of Texas for undergraduate and masters degrees. After living around Austin, she moved back to the northwest Austin neighborhood where she grew up.

While she doesn’t have children, some of her friends do. She wanted the book to be a primer for the next generation of Austinites, living here or living elsewhere, but with Austin roots. “There’s a lot of Texas books out there, but Austin isn’t Texas,” she says.

In colorful puffy letters with illustrations by Lauri Johnston of what that each letter represents, the book tells what makes Austin, Austin. The first three letters were easy: A is for Austin, B is for Bats, C is for Capitol. Other ones were more tricky. She did her research, both by asking friends and by researching the history of Austin. That’s how V became for Violet Crown, the nickname that notes Austin’s purple-hued sunsets.

Sometimes she had to get creative: X became for Crossroads at SXSW. Y is for Y’all.

Lori Otto Samocha, left, and Lauri Johnston

It took her about a month to figure out what each letter was, but three years to turn the ideas into a self-published book. “We both have day jobs,” she says of herself and Johnston. “This was our passion project.”

She hopes families will use it as a guidebook to go explore the city. She also hopes schools will use it as well for the basis of a fieldtrip curriculum, maybe even develop a passport to the city to check off all the things they see that are also in the book.

She would love to do a second version of the book with all the words she couldn’t get in — especially Mount Bonnell. M for Music and B for bats were already taken.

But first, she’s reading the book on Saturday at BookPeople during story time and Johnston is leading an art activity for kids to create their own Austin letter.

“W Is for Weird: An Austin Alphabet”

By Lori Otto Samocha

$21.65, Honest Acron Press

Lori Otto Samocha reads “W Is for Weird,” 10:30 a.m. Saturday story time. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

New CDC figures for Zika-related defects in babies in the U.S.

Remember the Zika outbreak of 2016? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released some statistics about the number of babies with Zika-related birth defects that year in the 15 states that had local outbreaks, including areas of Texas.

Maria da Luz Mendes Santos holds her daughter, Heloyse, who was born with microcephaly. Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times

Here’s what it found:

  • 3 out of every 1,000 babies born in those areas had a birth defect possibly associated to Zika in their mother
  • Half of those had brain abnormalities or microcephaly
  • 20 percent had neural tube defects or other early brain abnormalities
  • 9 percent had eye abnormalities without a brain abnormality
  • 22 percent had nervous system damage including joint problems and deafness

But here’s the weird thing: Most of the babies born with Zika-related illnesses were born to mothers who didn’t test positive for Zika, either because they were not tested, were not tested at the right time or had no evidence of the disease in their bodies.

The CDC is expected the numbers to rise as data is collected on babies born in 2017.


New technology allow doctors to treat and reverse a stroke more than six hours after it happened

You might have heard that once a stroke happened, if you didn’t get to the hospital and seek treatment within six hours, the damage was done. It is true that the sooner you get to the hospital, the better, but new studies and new technology are allowing doctors to treat the stroke 16 to 24 hours after it happens.

Advanced brain imaging using a RAPID CT Perfusion scan can see where the blood flow is being blocked and how much blockage there is. If it shows that the affected area of the brain is getting some blood flow, just not enough blood, “that’s a brain you can save,” says Dr. James Waldron, a neurosurgeon and medical director for endovascular neurosurgery at St. David’s Medical Center.

Then doctors can do a mechanical thrombectomy, which means they go in through the groin and thread a stint retriever to the area of the clot and retrieve the clot. Doctors are then able to reopen the area that was closed off or limited. This lessens the damage the stroke has caused or sometimes even reverses it.

“We get some miracle patients,” Waldron says, those that couldn’t speak or couldn’t walk who then afterwards are able to walk out of the hospital. Most, though, are able to do some physical and occupational therapy to improve their condition.

RELATED: Austin Speech Labs helps people find their words after stroke

One study found that by doing the scan and then the thrombectomy, 45 percent of the patients were able to go home, instead of 17 percent. They might still have some deficit left from the stroke, but they are able to take care of themselves.

The thrombectomy isn’t for every case. Sometimes the damage is irreversible. “My goal is to keep people alive, but if they need a feeding tube, if they can’t meaningfully interact with family, they would say they wouldn’t want that.”

This new technology, though, is only good if patients recognize the signs of stroke and if the medical professionals treating them know to send them to a hospital with the imaging technology.

The sign of stroke are FAST:

Face — ask them to smile and see if one side droops

Arms– ask them to lift both arms up and see if one floats down

Speech — ask them to say a simple phrase and see if it is slurred or strange

Time — call 9-1-1 and take them to a hospital with a stroke center

While many of the people Waldron sees are older, he is seeing some younger patients. Many of them have diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, smoke or have another pre-existing condition that puts them at risk.

RELATED: Is there a link between Alzheimer’s, strokes and diet soda?

RELATED: Is there a link between pregnancy and stroke? Yes, says new study




15 things to do this weekend with the kids, Jan. 26-28

It’s going to be a seasonal weekend, with some rain possible on Friday and Saturday, but Sunday looks amazing.  Factor that in when planning what to do with the kids. Here are 15 ideas of things happening in and around Austin:

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Erwin Center in Friday.
  1. Harlem Globetrotters World Tour. Watch the Globetrotters do tricks with the basketball. 7 p.m. Friday. $19-$130. Frank Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St.
  2. Bullock MuseumPop-up Exhibit: Bullock Arcade. Play vintage video games. Friday-Sunday. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.
  3. Wildflower Center: Winter Tree Fest. Kids activities include tree climbing in a safe way. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.
  4. Mad Science Daddy and Me Time. 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. $12 a child for ages 3-5. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.
  5. Austin Film Society Sunday School. “Paper Moon.” 1 p.m. Sunday. Austin Film Society Theater, 6406 N. Interstate 35, Suite 3100.
  6. “The Adventures of Enoughie (Las Aventuras de Enoughie).” This bilingual puppet show teaches kids about kindness and is a collaboration between Zach Theatre, Teatro Vivo, Glass Half Full Theatre and the Kindness Campaign.  11 a.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. More shows through February. Sign language, visual captions and sensory-friendly show Sunday. $14-$16. Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.
  7. Hideout Theatre Presents: Improv for Kids. Join the cast in creating the story. 11 a.m. Sundays. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave.
  8. Thinkery. Art Bots. Ages 4 and older. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  9. Thinkery. Exploring Seasons. 9:45 a.m. 2-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. 3-year-olds, Fridays through Feb. 23. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  10. Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. Various times Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 25. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road.

    Baby Bloomers this week at the Thinkery will focus on  dancing. Tamir Kalifa for American-Statesman
  11. Thinkery. Baby Bloomers. Boogie on Down in January. 9 a.m. Monday and Saturday. For birth to age 3.  $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  12. Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “Fancy Nancy: Oodles of Kittens,” Saturday.
  13. Express Yourself through Media and Technology. For ages 8 and older. 1 p.m. Saturday, Ruiz Branch.
  14. Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays, Yarborough Branch.
  15. Saturday Movie Matinee: “The Emoji Movie.” 2 p.m. Saturday, University Hills Branch.

Keep kids busy this February with these Austin events

February is filled with Valentine’s Day events and Black History Month as well as fest celebrating caves, dinosaurs and the weather. Check out these family events in Austin next month:

Amber Bower makes a Valentine’s Day card with her son Shane during My Pfurry Valentine at the Pflugerville Animal Shelter. This month there are plenty of opportunities to make cards. Megumi Rooze/

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day Card Making. Make cards for children in local hospitals. 5 p.m. Feb. 7, Dittmar Recreation Center. 1009 W. Dittmar Road.

Valentine’s Day Dance. Food, drinks, music and more for ages 5-12.$1. 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St.

Valentine’s Show with Silly Sparkles. 8 a.m. to noon, Feb. 8. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Hands on History. Make Valentine’s Day Cards like the 1920s. Free. 10 a.m. Feb. 10. The Williamson Museum. 716 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown.

Valentine’s Day Party. Music with Ariel, cardmaking and cookie decorating. 10:30 a.m. Feb. 14. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Aurora Lindsey, 7 and her father, Jake Lindsey made kites at the Austin Parks and Recreation annual kite workshop for kids. Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2011


Safe Baby Academy. Learn baby safety with Austin-Travis County EMS. 9 a.m. Feb. 3, Seton Southwest Medical Center, 7900 FM 1826. 5:30 p.m. Feb. 6, St. David’s Medical Center Round Rock, 2400 Round Rock Ave. 9 a.m. Feb. 10, Seton Northwest Medical Center. 2 p.m. Feb. 11, Baylor Scott and White Medical Center, Lakeway, 200 Medical Parkway. 9 a.m. Feb. 17, Seton Williamson Medical Center. 9 a.m. Feb. 23, CommUnity Care Clinic, 1210 W. Braker Lane. 9a.m. Feb. 24, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive.

Car seat check. Have Austin-Travis County EMS check your car seat. 9 a.m. Feb. 6, Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive. 9 a.m.Feb. 12, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St. 9 a.m. Feb. 21. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane.

Kite Making Workshop. Get ready for Kite Fest. Free. 1 p.m. Feb. 10. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane.

Austin Dinosaur Day. Find activities at Zilker Botanic Garden, Texas Memorial Museum and Austin Nature & Science Center. Feb. 3. Admission rates apply.

Louis Montanez, 9, plays on a mammoth rib cage cast in bronze at the Austin Nature and Science Center. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2014


“Dark Girls.” That’s My Face Film Series for young adults. 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Alamo Drafthouse PBS Kids “Pinkalicious & Peterrific.” 10 a.m. Feb. 3-4, Mueller. 10 a.m. Feb. 10-11, Slaughter Lane. 9:30 a.m. Feb. 17-18, Lakeline.

Austin Film Society Sunday School. “Mon Oncle.” This French film is full of sight gags kids will enjoy. 1 p.m. Feb. 18. Austin Film Society Theater, 6406 N. Interstate 35, Suite 3100.

Bryce Hohertz, 7, of Dripping Springs, and his brother Cole, 5, look through spectroscopes to observe the spectrum of light at WeatherFest at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016


Faerie tea parties. Dress for the fairies and drink tea, eat mini cakes and go explore the fairy lands. 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Feb. 4 and Feb. 18. $20. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road. Register online at

Wildflower Center: Austin Cave Fest. Celebrate caves and tour two of them. Children must have an adult. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 10. Sprouts. Preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

George Washington Carver Museum. Black History Month Kids Day. Crafts, activities, stories and more. Noon Feb. 17. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Bullock MuseumH-E-B Free First Sunday: Weather Fest Free family fun around the museum with the theme. Noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 4. Living History Days. Re-enactors stroll through the museum. 10 a.m. Feb. 1. Science Thursdays. 10 a.m. Feb. 15. Homeschool Days. 10 a.m. Feb. 22. Storytime Dream Big. Hear stories of people who dreamed big. 10 a.m. Feb. 22. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day. Learn different forms of exercise as a family, plus make art. Noon-4 p.m. Feb. 11. Free. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road.

Neill-Cochran House Museum. Sunday Funday: Pop-up Books. Create pop-up books. 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 4. Free. 2310 San Gabriel St.

Imaginary Winter Party with Spunky Kids. Make your own snow and more. 10:30 a.m. Feb. 1. $10 per child. Play in Nature. 10:30 a.m. Fridays. $10. Magic & Balloons with Milly McSilly. 10:30 a.m. Feb. 6. Daddy and Me Playdate. Make Valentine’s for Mommy. 10:30 a.m. Feb. 10, Shark Saturday, 10:3fi0 a.m. Feb. 17, Go Fishing, 10:30 a.m. Feb. 24, $15. Frozen Party. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 17. $10 per child. Mad Science Daddy and Me Time. 10:30 a.m. to noon Jan. 27. $12 a child for ages 3-5. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Thinkery. Parents’ Night Out. See a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse or go out for dinner while the kids play. Ages 4 and up. $45. 5:30-10 p.m. Feb. 16. Community Night. Black Heritage. Hands-on activities and community presenters from the George Washington Carver Museum, Six Square and Mo’ Math Mo’ Money. 4-8 p.m. Feb. 28. Free. Art Start: Super Sculptors! 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays, 2-year-olds. through Feb. 21. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Exploring Seasons. 9:45 a.m. 2-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. 3-year-olds Fridays, through Feb. 23. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Early Learners: Little Builders. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds Feb. 19. $20. Baby Bloomers. All about Senses. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays, except Feb. 19. For birth to age 3. Suminagashi Fabrics Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Feb. 3-4, Feb. 17-19. $8. E-Wearables. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Feb. 10-11, Feb. 24-25. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Hill Country Science Mill. Colossal Robotic Hand Grand Opening. See the new exhibit of the 30-foot hand kids can operate. Feb. 10. Homeschool Day. Be An Engineer. Feb. 14. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Pipe Monsters. Make art inspired by the work of Carol Bove. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.Feb. 10. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St.

“Liberty! Equality! and Fireworks!” is at the LBJ Museum from Pollyanna Theatre Company.


The Wazir of Oz.” A Bollywood-style version with music by the Sacred Cowgirls. $12-$8. 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Feb. 3-25. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St.

“Liberty! Equality! and Fireworks!” A story of the Civil Rights movement. 2 p.m. Feb. 17. LBJ Library Auditorium on the University of Texas Campus, 2313 Red River St. Free.

Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 2 p.m. Feb. 3, 4, 10, 17, 18, 24, 25, and 11 a.m. Feb. 10. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road.

“The Adventures of Enoughie (Las Aventuras de Enoughie).” This bilingual puppet show teaches kids about kindness and is a collaboration between Zach Theatre, Teatro Vivo, Glass Half Full Theatre and the Kindness Campaign. 11 a.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Feb. 25. Austin Pride Family Performance Feb. 10. $14-$16. Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.

Hideout Theatre Presents: Improv for Cool Kids “Stories from Around the World.” Join the cast in creating the story. 11 a.m. Sundays. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave.

“Cirque du Soleil Crystal.” See Cirque du Soleil on ice. $44-$155. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14-17. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and 17. 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Feb. 18. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park.

Austin writer Bethany Hegedus has written “Alabama Spitfire.” Simon and Schuster


BookPeople events. W. Stone Cotter reads “Saint Philomene’s Infirmary for Magical Creatures.” 2 p.m. Feb. 3. Laura Creedle reads “The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily.” 2 p.m. Feb. 4. “Fancy” Tea Party with Robin Preiss Glasser. The author of “Fancy Nancy” books visits. 4 p.m. Feb. 8. Bethany Hegedus and Erin McGuire read “Alabama Spitfire.” 2 p.m. Feb. 17. Emily Ecton reads “The Ambrose Deception.” 6 p.m. Feb. 17. Susan Dennard reads “Sightwitch.” 7 p.m. Feb. 20. 10:30 a.m. story times: Keepin’ It Weird.” Feb. 3. Story time with Yolanda King. Feb. 6. Story time with Kat Kronenberg. Feb. 7. Story time with Ben Clanton. Feb. 10. Drag Queen story time: Be Yourself. Feb. 13. Ms. Staci. Feb. 14. Peter Rabbit. Feb. 17. Armstrong Community Music School. Feb. 20. Tiny Tails Petting Zoo. Feb. 21. Dogs vs. Cats. Feb. 24. Preposterous Puppet Show Players. Feb. 27. Cozy Bedtime. Feb. 28. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “I Am Harriet Tubman.” Feb. 3. “Click, Clack, Moo. I Love You!” Feb. 10. “Mother Bruce.” Feb. 17. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss. Feb. 24.

At the library

Music & Movement. 11 a.m. Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22 Howson Branch. 11 a.m. Feb. 2, Old Quarry Branch. 11 a.m. Feb. 12, Pleasant Hill Branch.

World Play Your Ukulele Day: Free Lesson. 1 p.m .Feb. 2, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

“Anasasi and the Golden Box of Stories.” Ages 5 and up. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 2, Yarborough Branch. 2 p.m. Feb. 3, Hampton Branch. 10:15 a.m. Feb. 6, Carver Branch. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 14, Milwood Branch. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 21, North Village Branch. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 28, University Hills Branch.

Express Yourself through Media and Technology. Ages 8 and up. 10:30 a.m. Feb. 3,10, 17, 24. St. John’s Branch.

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Feb. 3, Feb. 10, 17, 24, Yarborough Branch. Bow Wow Reading with Aussie. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 7, North Village Branch. Mornings with Moxie. 10 a.m. Feb. 10, Manchaca Road Branch. Read to George. 3:45 p.m. Feb. 14, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Saturday Family Movie. “Lego Ninjago Movie.” 1 p.m. Feb. 3, St. John Branch.

Crafternoon. 3 p.m. Feb. 5, Feb. 26, Dove Springs Recreation Center. 4:30 p.m. Feb. 8, Twin Oaks Branch. 3 p.m. Feb. 12, Dove Springs Recreation Center. 3 p.m. Feb. 27, Howson Branch.

Book Circle. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 6, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 7, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 20, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 27, Twin Oaks Branch.

Tabletop Tuesday. 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

Ukulele Club. 4:30 p.m. Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28, Manchaca Road Branch.

Minecraft Club. 4:30 p.m. Feb. 7, Howson Branch. 4 p.m. Feb. 13, Pleasant Hill Branch. 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22, Twin Oaks Branch. 4:30 p.m. Feb. 27, Little Walnut Creek Branch.

Teen Book Club. “Goodbye Days.” 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8, Spicewood Springs Branch. “Allegedly.” 3 p.m. Feb. 10, Central Library. “Daughter of Smoke and Bone.” 6:30 pm. Feb. 20, Howson Branch.

Teen Manga Book Club. 5:30 p.m. Feb. 8, Little Walnut Creek Branch.

Night Builders: Family Lego Lab. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8, Hampton Branch.

Friday Movie Matinee: “Beauty and the Beast.” 3:30 p.m. Feb. 9, Old Quarry Branch.

Black History Month Film Series: “Red Tails.” 1:30 p.m. Feb. 10, Carver Branch. “A Soldier’s Story.” 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21, Carver Branch.

Austin Ukestra. 1 p.m. Feb. 11, Recycled Reads.

NBTween Book Club. “Ghost.” 4 p.m. Feb. 14, Howson Branch. “The Truth About Twinkie Pie.” 6 p.m. Feb. 15, Spicewood Springs Branch. “Stella by Starlight.” 6 p.m. Feb. 15, Twin Oaks Branch.

Art Smart: Native American Celebration. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 20, Milwood Branch. 3:30 p.m. Feb. 21, St. John Branch. 10:15 a.m. Feb. 28, Dove Springs Recreation Center.

Mother-Daughter Book Club. “All’s Fair in Middle School.” 6 p.m. Feb. 21, Hampton Branch.

Family Craft Night. 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21, Howson Branch.

St. David’s Foundation giving $2 million to prevent death in childbirth

We’ve written about Texas having the highest maternal mortality rate in the nation.  Texas had 35.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014 compared with 23.8 for the rest of the country, excluding California and Texas, according to a report published in Obstetrics and Gynecology. DThe World Health Organization’s definition is when a woman dies while pregnant or within 42 days of her pregnancy ending.

RELATED: Austin doctor learned firsthand why giving birth can be life-threatening

Cheryl Givens-Perkins kisses her grandchild Camille Pate, 2 at their home. Cheryl Givens-Perkins’ daughter passed away two years ago giving birth to the twins, and Cheryl is now taking care her grandchildren as a single parent. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Now St. David’s Foundation is trying to help local nonprofit organizations address that. It’s awarding $2 million in grant money toward programs that work on providing maternal health benefits.

Here are the awardees, their project and the amount awarded.

Cardea: Build capacity of Women, Infants and Children and Federally Qualified Health Centers sites for opioid screening, intervention, and referral. $300,000

Hand to Hold: More effectively serve African-American NICU moms with attention to depression, breastfeeding, and peer support. $150,000

Mama Sana Vibrant Woman: Institute structured postnatal program with home visiting, support groups, social support, and yoga for moms of color. $169,405 (Fiscal Sponsor: Austin Community Foundation)

Texans Care for Children: Analyze provider readiness to implement new Texas postpartum depression screening benefit and substance abuse services. $86,000

Austin Recovery:  Produce action plan to provide postpartum care to high risk new moms in Family House residential treatment. $273,281

El Buen Samaritano: Culturally and linguistically competent outreach to increase postpartum visit adherence among Latina moms. $125,000

Lone Star Circle of Care: Employ nurse care coordinator to engage patients in mom-baby teams and work across providers to improve outcomes. $186,681

People’s Community Clinic: Improve current postpartum care model to better serve women who experienced prenatal health complications.

Texas State School of Nursing: Translational research using an SMS text messaging and group chat platform to inform, educate, and connect underserved women in Hays County with services and information. $209,633

University of Texas Steve Hicks School of Social Work: Engage Black women in community-based participatory research and strategic planning to tackle maternal mortality disparities. $300,000

Does ibuprofen cause infertility in men?

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States seems to indicate that taking ibuprofen will lower the amount of testosterone a man produces. That might be true, but then people have taken  it one step farther to say that the decrease in testosterone leads to infertility.

Dr. Lisa Hansard of Texas Fertility Center says making that assumption “is a big stretch.” What the study needed to look at to determine fertility levels is sperm count.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

What the ibuprofen did is lower the luteinizing hormone level in these men. LH sparks testosterone production, but often when one level is low, the body will compensate by raising another hormone level, Hansard says.

“It’s really reaching,” she says. “The vast majority of men who have fertility issues don’t take ibuprofen and the vast majority of men that take ibuprofen don’t have fertility issues.”

Too much testosterone can be a bad thing. Often men will come to Hansard with infertility issues thinking that if they take supplements to boost their testosterone levels, that will solve the problem. In fact, some of those supplements might be causing the problem.

Male factor infertility — that’s infertility that is related to sperm — is the most common cause of infertility in couples, making up about 20 to 25 percent of infertility problems.  Other causes can be structural issues in women, endometriosis, female hormone issues or unexplained causes.

Most studies have focused on female infertility. More needs to be done to understand male infertility, Hansard says.

When a couple comes to her, she looks at both people if the cause isn’t already known. If it is male factor infertility, then it’s about working with the sperm he does have by doing things like artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.

This isn’t the first time that ibuprofen and reproduction has been called into question. A study in rats showed that ibuprofen use in moms may have caused their male babies to not have testicles that descended. That study, though, hasn’t been replicated in humans.

“It’s really premature to try to connect those dots,” Hansard says.

What we do know about ibuprofen and fetuses is that it can cause a part of the heart to close up early, causing damage or even death.

Tylenol has recently been called into question as well during pregnancy because of a possible link between it and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.




17 things to keep the kids busy this weekend in Austin, Jan. 19-21

Need some ideas for the weekend?  We have ideas that can keep kids busy.

Know that Saturday is going to be beautiful, making it hard to believe we had a snow day earlier in the week. Sunday will be a great day for the rain boots.

The Hill Country Science Mill will offer a predictable snow day on Saturday. Hill Country Science Mill
  1. Austin Family’s Summer Camp Fair. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road.
  2. Hill Country Science Mill. Snow Day. Play in the snow and do snow science. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.
  3. “Pete the Cat.” See the book become a live action show. Noon and 2 p.m. Saturday. $9-$12. One World Theatre, 7701 Bee Cave Road.

    Enoughie from The Kindness Campaign comes to life from Glass Half Full Theatre, Teatro Vivo and Zach Theatre. Kirk Tuck
  4. “The Adventures of Enoughie (Las Aventuras de Enoughie).” This bilingual puppet show teaches kids about kindness and is a collaboration between Zach Theatre, Teatro Vivo, Glass Half Full Theatre and the Kindness Campaign. 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $14-$16. Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.
  5. The First Tee of Greater Austin Open House. Learn about different golfing programs for kids. Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. Harvey Penick Golf Course, 5501 Ed Bluestein Blvd. bitly.TFTGA_OH.
  6. Austin Nature and Science Center. Nature’s Numbers. This exhibit is all about how math is everywhere in nature. Saturday-May 6. Austin Nature and Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive.
  7.  Matt Del La Peña and Loren Long read “Love.” 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
  8. Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Feb. 10. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road.
  9. Thinkery. Petri Dish Art. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  10. Hideout Theatre Presents: Improv for Kids. Join the cast in creating the story. 11 a.m. Sundays. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave.
  11. Toybrary. Daddy and Me Playdate. 10:30 a.m. Saturday.  Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.
  12. Thinkery Exploring Seasons. 9:45 a.m. 2-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. 3-year-olds Friday. $20 per class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  13. Thinkery. Baby Bloomers. Boogie on Down in January. 9 a.m. Saturday. For birth to age 3. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

    Watch “The Lego Batman Movie” at the library on Saturday. Warner Bros. Pictures
  14. Kids Book Club with Austin Allies. 12:30 p.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
  15. Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays, Yarborough Branch.
  16. Saturday Movie Matinee: “The Lego Batman Movie.” 2 p.m. Saturday, University Hills Branch.
  17. Toybrary. Daddy and Me Playdate. 10:30 a.m. Saturday.  Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Coming to BookPeople in April: Junot Díaz with new children’s book

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz will be coming to BookPeople April 4.

Junot Diaz

The author of acclaimed books “This is How You Lose Her,”  “Drown” and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” is releasing a children’s book “Islandborn!”  ($17.99, Dial Books) The book tells the story of Lola, who is growing up in place where everyone is from somewhere else. Her teacher asks her class to write about the place that their families came from. Lola can’t remember. She leaves it to her imagination.

The event it free, but you have to get a ticket in advance to get into the signing line, and you have to purchase an “Islandborn” book at BookPeople to get it signed.

“Islandborn” reading and signing

6:30 p.m. April 4

BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.