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Oil in Mexico, Premature Baby Nutrition, and Medical Tourism: Houston Matters for Thursday, August 28, 2014

Earlier this month, Mexico’s Congress approved an overhaul of the country’s energy industry that, for the first time in 75 years, makes room for private corporations to participate in oil drilling. It’s part of an effort by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to boost his nation’s economy. For oil and gas companies, which remain a […]

Earlier this month, Mexico’s Congress approved an overhaul of the country’s energy industry that, for the first time in 75 years, makes room for private corporations to participate in oil drilling.

It’s part of an effort by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to boost his nation’s economy. For oil and gas companies, which remain a dominant economic driver here in Greater Houston, the move represents an opportunity to expand their efforts to previously untapped lands. Amid the natural gas boom of the last decade, Mexico represents a potentially valuable new frontier, and even limited opportunities for private companies to share profits with the Mexican government from the extraction of oil and gas throughout the country is an exciting development for the industry.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we learn more about the rules under which oil and gas companies in Houston may work in Mexico, and we’ll consider just how much of an impact this development could have on Greater Houston, as we talk with Dr. Tony Payan, Director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Also this hour: According to the CDC, nearly one out of every eight infants born in the U.S. every year is born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). While many such babies, upon receiving proper care at birth, turn out fine, some sadly do not. Preterm-related causes of death together accounted for 35 percent of all infant deaths back in 2009, more than any other single cause. Researchers at Texas Children’s Hospital are hoping to improve the outlook for premature babies by creating better nutrition regimens for them. Houston Matters’ Maggie Martin will talk with Dr. Amy Hair, a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine.

Then: We discuss how Houston is a hub for what’s known as “medical tourism” – people traveling here to Houston specifically to seek medical care. We talk with David Vequist, Founder and Director of the Center for Medical Tourism Research in San Antonio.

And: As Houston’s Baby Boomers continue to age and transition into retirement, they face a question every generation faces: where to live when the challenges of growing old make independent living unmanageable. Some turn to family, some to retirement communities, some to long-term care, and some defiantly stick it out alone. But another option could increasingly take hold in Greater Houston and in communities across the country. Think The Golden Girls. As Beth Baker writes in her book With A Little Help From Our Friends – Creating Community As We Grow Older, much like that celebrated 80s sitcom demonstrated, we’re seeing more examples of small groups of individuals coming together to “take charge of their destiny,” through co-housing, cooperatives, and the like. We talk with Baker about her book and about its implications for Houston.

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