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BJ Austin

BJ Austin has more than 25 years of broadcast journalism experience, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.

At KERA, BJ was runner-up for Texas Health Journalist of the Year in the 2013 Anson Jones, M.D., Awards from the Texas Medical Association. She earned a 2009 Texas Associated Press Broadcasters honorable mention for best specialty/beat reporting and a 2010 honorable mention for best general-assignment story for "Zoo Poo." She has also shared several awards, including a a 2010 TAPB first-place trophy for KERA’s radio series "Living with the Trinity: Thirsty"; a 2009TAPB second-place honor for best continuing coverage for "Family Values: What Voters Want"; and a 2010 regional Edward R.MurrowAward from the Radio Television Digital News Association for "The Economy Project."

  • Wednesday was the 20th anniversary of the abduction of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Arlington. Her murder in 1996 led to the Amber Alert – a system of m...
  • Former President George W. Bush welcomed 20 immigrants from 12 countries as U.S. citizens this morning, hailing the historic contributions of newcomers and
  • An iconic Texas lawman in a white hat was honored at Dallas Police headquarters Tuesday. Former Dallas police detective James Leavelle was recognized 50
  • The head of the Senate Education Committee says 100,000 Texas families are on waiting lists for charter schools, and it's time to expand the number of
  • As we prepare to pop the cork on champagne to welcome the New Year, Bryan Wasson, an internal medicine specialist at Baylor Medical Center in Irving, breaks down the effect of alcohol on the body. 1) That festive cocktail is really a toxin "Well, alcohol, if you look from a strictly medical standpoint, it’s considered a toxin," Wasson says. "Now, there are some data that show that alcohol could have some beneficial effects, especially with the flavonoids and antioxidant components insofar as cardiovascular health is concerned." But Wasson says alcohol can negatively affect the brain, liver, bone marrow and immune system. 2) Alcohol is ninja-quick "Alcohol, for the most part, when you first ingest alcohol about 20 percent of it can be absorbed directly from the stomach," Wasson notes. "In fact, it goes directly through the walls and it’ll go and in fact will hit the brain in less than one or two minutes." Eating before celebrating with a couple of cocktails helps slow things down. 3) Women really do feel the effects more rapidly "There’s an enzyme system that us physicians are familiar with called alcohol dehydrogenase," Wasson explains. "In English, it helps detoxify the effects of alcohol, but it can only work at about half-an-ounce of alcohol an hour. So, if you’re drinking more than a half-an-ounce of alcohol per hour, you will soon feel the toxic effects of alcohol, which is the slowed speech, not so good coordination, etc. Also, in women, when it comes to this particular enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, they have less of it than men do. And that’s one of the things that they see as potentially a reason why women tend to get inebriated sooner than what males do." 4) Take a drink, lose impulse control "Impulse control is damaged by the effect of alcohol. We know it affects that area of the limbic system in the brain. Also it affects the frontal cortex at some time," the doctor says. "Now, that happens to people in general once they have had a little too much alcohol. " Wasson says you may think you're okay, but you're not. Have a designated driver. 5) The ultimate hangover cure: time "Once it’s now detoxified at this very slow rate, then the body begins to recover," he says. "You can drink fluids, for example, to help eliminate it. Eat nice and healthy the next day. Drink plenty of fluids, stay well hydrated. You may need a little Aleve, maybe a little Tylenol to help that headache, okay? And then hopefully get on after a day or two with your routine." Hangover Remedies From The Non-Medical Experts: Bartenders Josh Jordan, City Tavern: the "hair of the dog" -- a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey and a cold beer. Enver Osmani, the Original Italian Cafe: bread, ricotta cheese and spinach. Hector Sandoval, Union Park Gastro Bar: 1/2 Mexican Beer, 1/2 Bloody Mary mix; add olive, lemon and lime juice plus a dash of salt and pepper. (consider 1/2 shot of vodka, too) Brian Boone, Adolphus Hotel Rodeo Bar: bitters and soda (settles the stomach) The search for a hangover cure is ancient and varied; some are even a little wacky. And if you're hitting the bubbly, NPR's The Salt blog breaks down the science of champagne.
  • Texas Senate leaders today announced efforts to assist public school children who want to attend private schools.
  • Mental health care has become a topic of discussion after last week’s school shootings. Two North Texans working in the field are calling for a new attitude and more money. Sherry Cusumano, president of the Dallas chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness wants to see mental health treated with the same seriousness as heart disease or diabetes. “With the economy being the focus of most of our discussions and concerns recently, everybody looks at the cost of things and it stops there," Cusumano said. "And in some ways, we’ve gotten penny wise and pound foolish. The cost is greater down the road. Especially when it ends in an outburst that takes lives, says Cusumano. She says in this and other mass shootings, there were warning signs along the way that were not heeded. She says people need a place to go to get help. “We need to have clearly demarcated places where people can go with situations where they’re very concerned that someone’s getting out of control and get that evaluated,” Cusumano suggested. She says that would take state or federal money. And, Texas is 50 th among states in mental health funding. Dr. Judith Hunter directs Metrocare, which provides public mental healthcare in Dallas County. She welcomes a national discussion. She says the last one was led by Tipper Gore about 20 years ago. “One of my hopes is that tragedies such as this do spark conversation and debate and perhaps legislation to expand care to the people who need it," she says. "One of my fears is further criminalization of people with mental illness.” She says prisons are the largest mental health facilities in the U.S. Hunter does not want to see fear lead us to enforcement against the mentally ill instead of treatment for them.