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Health News Florida
Healthy State tells the stories you need to know to stay well, with a special focus on Florida.We'll bring you the latest fitness trends, new research on preventing and treating disease, and information about how health policy impacts your pocketbook.We report on health using all the tools at our disposal -- video, audio, photos and text -- to bring these stories to life.Healthy State is a project of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and is heard on public radio stations throughout Florida. It also is available online at wusfnews.org.

Congress Funds Red Tide Human Health Research

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Jessica Meszaros
/
WUSF Public Media

Congress recently approved $6.25 million to study how red tide algae blooms affect people's health. Multiple facilities in Sarasota will work together on the research.

Right now, physicians and scientists only know that red tide causes people to cough and makes their eyes water, but Mote Marine Laboratory, the Roskamp Institute and Sarasota Memorial Hospital are teaming up to learn more. 

"For example, for my asthma patients, or my elderly patients with emphysema, COPD-- how are they affected by red tide?" asked Kirk Voelker, a lung doctor and clinical researcher at Sarasota Memorial.

"I know that I get a lot more people who come into my office during an outbreak of red tide with respiratory complaints."

The project is still being designed, but the plan is to test the blood of people who live or work on the coast and inland, both during red tide outbreaks and when the coast is clear.

They're looking for short term and possible long term effects of exposure. 

"It's something that needs to be looked at because community physicians have theories that red tide may lead to some illnesses and that question needs to be answered," said Voelker. 

Click here if you're interested in participating in the study.