Health Desk

Goats and Soda
6:41 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

The Hidden Costs Of Fighting Polio In Pakistan

During nationwide polio campaigns, hundreds of thousands of health workers go door to door, giving children two drops of the polio vaccine.
Anadolu Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 10:06 pm

Pakistan is currently at the center of the global effort to eradicate polio. Although the country has reported only about a hundred cases this year, that's more cases than in all other nations combined.

Eliminating the paralyzing disease is a major logistical operation in Pakistan. More than 200,000 vaccinators fan out across the country, several times a year, to inoculate millions of children. The government also deploys tens of thousands of armed security forces to guard the workers.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Court Rejects Law Threatening Mississippi's Last Abortion Clinic

Anti-abortion protester Mary McLaurin calls out to a patient at the Jackson Women's Health Organization in 2013.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 4:51 pm

A federal appeals court has rejected a Mississippi law that would have forced the state's only abortion clinic to close.

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday turned aside arguments that women seeking to have an abortion could have the procedure done in a neighboring state.

Closing the clinic in Jackson would place an "undue burden" on women, the court found.

Read more
The Salt
4:07 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Want To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint? Choose Mackerel Over Shrimp

A fisherman pulls a basket filled with anchovies aboard a fishing boat off of Peru's northern port of Chimbote, in 2012. Peru is the world's top fishmeal exporter, producing about a third of worldwide supply.
Enrique Castro-Mendivil Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 4:13 pm

Small fatty fish like mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies are high in omega-3s, vitamin D and low on the food chain.

Read more
Goats and Soda
3:56 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

American Doctor Sick With Ebola Now Fighting For His Life

Medical workers treat Ebola patients at the Eternal Love Winning Africa hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Three workers at the hospital, including Dr. Kent Brantly (left), have tested positive for Ebola.
Courtesy of Samaritan's Purse

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 6:31 pm

A doctor trained in Fort Worth, Texas, is now a victim of the Ebola outbreak he was battling.

Kent Brantly, 33, had been caring for Ebola patients in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, for several months when he noticed he had symptoms of the deadly virus last Wednesday.

He immediately put himself into an isolation ward.

"He is still conversing and is in isolation. But he is seriously ill with a very grave prognosis," says Dr. David McRay, of John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, who spoke to Brantly by phone on Monday.

Read more
Global Health
3:09 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

In Treating Ebola, Doctors Have Only Containment, Not Yet A Cure

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 6:31 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
National Security
2:32 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Welcome To The Nuclear Command Bunker

Lt. Raj Bansal and Capt. Joseph Shannon (right) approach Foxtrot-01, a remote nuclear missile base in Nebraska.
Geoffrey Brumfiel NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 6:31 pm

The stretch of Interstate 80 between Cheyenne, Wyo., and Lincoln, Neb., is straight and flat. High plains stretch out on either side.

But scattered along this unremarkable road, the Air Force keeps some of its most powerful weapons — Minuteman III nuclear missiles.

Read more
Goats and Soda
1:19 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Fist Bumps Pass Along Fewer Germs Than Handshakes

Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 4:15 pm

A few weeks ago, we took a look at nonverbal greetings around the world. In Japan, they bow. Ethiopian men touch shoulders. And some in the Democratic Republic of the Congo do a type of head knock.

But the American fist bump stood apart from the rest.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:06 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Report Says Big Changes Are Needed In How Doctors Are Trained

Proposed changes in medical training would shift money away from big teaching hospitals to clinics.
Erikona/iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 2:38 pm

The way American doctors are trained needs to be overhauled, an expert panel recommended Tuesday, saying the current $15 billion system is failing to produce the medical workforce the nation needs.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Getting Hospice Care Shouldn't Have To Mean Giving Up

Patients who get the comforts of palliative care as well as disease treatment live longer, studies show, than those who only get treatment for the disease.
Annette Birkenfeld iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 1:31 pm

It's a painful dilemma for seriously ill Medicare patients: To receive the extra support, counseling and care provided by the program's hospice benefit, they have to agree to stop receiving curative treatment for their disease.

Read more
Goats and Soda
8:55 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Time To 'Girl Up': Teens Fight For The Right To School, Soccer

Watch out, Congress: Girl Up activists came to the nation's capital in June to lobby for issues affecting girls in the developing world. From left, Alexandrea Leone (Ewing, N.J.), Grace Peters (Flemington, N.J.), Aklesiya Dejene (Chicago), Isabella Gonzalez and Erika Hiple (Stockton, N.J.)
Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 5:20 pm

They are seven girls in their teens and early 20s, awake at the ungodly (for them) hour of 8:30 a.m. With sleepy smiles, the young women slip into a windowless conference room in a Washington, D.C., hotel to talk to a reporter, who's curious to find out: What's it like to be a global girl activist?

And they're the experts. They're supporters of the U.N. Foundation group called Girl Up, which has the manifesto of "uniting girls to change the world."

Read more
Shots - Health News
6:47 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Athletes Should Fear The Heat More Than The Heart Attack

Some marathons are warning runners when conditions increase the risk of heatstroke.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 1:59 pm

When a runner's heart stops during a marathon, it gets a lot of press — even though it's actually a pretty rare event. A more common killer among runners, and a condition that needs more prevention efforts, is heatstroke, according to a study by Israeli researchers.

Read more
Health
6:35 am
Tue July 29, 2014

A Compromise Deal On Overhauling The VA, But Will It Pass?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Read more
Politics
4:05 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

After 5 Weeks Of Haggling, Congress Inks Bipartisan VA Bill

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 6:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Goats and Soda
3:07 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Taliban In Pakistan Derail World Polio Eradication

A health worker gives a child the polio vaccine in Bannu, Pakistan, June 25. More than a quarter-million children in Taliban-controlled areas are likely to miss their immunizations.
A. Majeed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 9:40 am

Last January Salma Jaffar was shot while she was going door to door in Karachi, giving children drops of the polio vaccine.

"Even when they took out the pistol, I couldn't understand why he was taking out the gun," Jaffar says of the two men who pulled up on a motorcycle and started shooting at the vaccination team.

"But when he opened fire, that is when I thought it was the end of the life," she says. "My first thought was that I won't be able to see my children again."

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:43 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Medicare's Costs Stabilize, But Its Problems Are Far From Fixed

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 7:12 pm

Medicare's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which finances about half of the health program for seniors and the disabled, won't run out of money until 2030, the program's trustees said Monday. That's four years later than projected last year, and 13 years later than projected the year before the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Read more
The Salt
1:27 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Fast-Food Scandal Revives China's Food Safety Anxieties

A U.S. company that supplies meat to some fast-food chains in China has pulled all of its products, some of which were chicken nuggets sold in Hong Kong, made by a Chinese subsidiary.
Kin Cheung AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 6:39 pm

A U.S. company that supplies meat to some of the world's largest fast-food chains in China has pulled all its products made by a Chinese subsidiary, after reports that it was selling expired products.

The food safety scandal that erupted in China in the last week has also spread overseas, affecting chain restaurants in Japan and Hong Kong, and prompted calls for tighter food safety regulation in China.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:41 am
Mon July 28, 2014

With Men's Y Chromosome, Size Really May Not Matter

The human Y chromosome (left) holds the code for "maleness"; that's the X on the right.
Andrew Syred/Science Source

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 12:05 pm

Basic biology has it that girls are girls because they have two X chromosomes — the things inside cells that carry our genes. Boys are boys because they have one X and one Y. Recently, though, there's been a lot of debate in scientific circles about the fate of that Y chromosome — the genetic basis of maleness.

Read more
Goats and Soda
8:20 am
Mon July 28, 2014

How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor And Slavery

A child grabs sleep after a long day of labor in a struggling West African fishery.
Courtesy of Jessica Pociask, WANT Expeditions

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 4:45 pm

When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.

But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley say there's also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work, and more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Why We Think Ignorance Is Bliss, Even When It Hurts Our Health

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 12:52 pm

Medical tests are rarely a pleasant experience, especially if you're worried that something could be seriously wrong. That's true even though we know that regular screenings and tests often help doctors catch issues early.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

New York Debates Whether Housing Counts As Health Care

Lissette Encarnacion in her apartment at The Brook, a supportive housing complex in the New York City borough of the Bronx.
Natalie Fertig WNYC

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 12:52 pm

Standing outside her sixth-floor apartment in the Bronx, Lissette Encarnacion says she sometimes forgets the place belongs to her.

"I'm thinking I'm at somebody else's [house]," she says. "I'm ringing my own doorbell."

Encarnacion used to have a career in banking, and lived in a real home with her son and husband. Then one night everything changed, she says, when her husband came home drunk and angry, and threw her off a balcony.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 6:37 pm

We know that happiness and social connection can have positive benefits on health. Now research suggests that having a sense of purpose or direction in life may also be beneficial.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:45 am
Sun July 27, 2014

Birth Of 100-Millionth Person In Philippines Greeted With Joy, Concern

Filipino Clemente Sentino Jr (L), 45 and Dailin Cabigayan (R), 27 holds their 6 lbs newborn baby girl marking the "100 million population of the Philippines."
Ritchie B. Tongo EPA/Landov

The Philippines on Sunday welcomed its 100-millionth citizen — a baby girl named Chonalyn who was born at a hospital in the capital, Manila.

Juan Antonio Perez III, executive director of the Commission on Population, announced the official milestone after the birth at Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, which has one of the busiest maternity wards in the world. The 6-pound Chonalyn arrived shortly after midnight Manila time.

Read more
Goats and Soda
4:13 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

Volunteer Recap: A Summer With Her Mind On The Toilet

An Ethiopian woman and her child stand next to an Arborloo latrine.
Courtesy of Dionna Fry

Originally published on Sun July 27, 2014 6:45 am

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:05 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Well Does A Drug Work? Look Beyond The Fine Print

Traditional warning labels on medicine boxes tend to be long on confusing language, critics say, but short on helpful numbers.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 9:47 am

Anybody who has ever seen a drug advertisement or talked over the pros and cons of a medicine with a doctor can be forgiven for being confused.

Sorting out the risks and benefits of taking a medicine can be complicated even for professionals.

Read more
The Salt
3:44 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Key Chain Blood-Alcohol Testing May Make Quantified Drinking Easy

The BACTrack Vio keychain breathalyzer and app on the iPhone at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. A public health researcher says tools like this could help people make better decisions about alcohol use.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:36 pm

While testing whether a dash of yeast could keep you from getting drunk, we discovered that it's pretty entertaining — and revealing — to track your blood alcohol while drinking.

Using a device to test blood-alcohol levels, we watched the alcohol in our bodies soar as we drank two beers on empty stomachs. And we noticed there's a place on the curve — about 0.04 or 0.05 BAC — when the buzz is the sweetest.

Read more
Mental Health
3:15 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Pa. Hospital Sees Gun Fight Between Psychiatrist And Patient

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Global Health
3:15 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Leading Ebola Doctor Stricken With The Disease Himself

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:40 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Planet Money
10:00 am
Fri July 25, 2014

When Do Chefs And Doctors Buy Generic?

Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 11:41 am

Pharmacists and doctors are more likely than the general public to buy generic medicine, as we reported last year. And chefs are more likely than the general public to buy generic food.

The economists who figured this stuff out recently published a new update (PDF) to their research, which caught our eye.

Read more
Goats and Soda
4:51 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

UNICEF Report On Female Genital Mutilation Holds Hope And Woe

For 15 years, Amran Mahamood made a living circumcising young girls in Hargeysa, Somalia. Four years ago, she gave it up after a religious leader convinced her that Islamic law did not require it.
Nichole Sobecki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 9:00 am

Women and girls are less likely to undergo female genital mutilation, or FGM, than 30 years ago. That's the encouraging news from a UNICEF report on the controversial practice, presented this week at London's first Girl Summit.

The rate has dropped in many of the 29 countries across Africa and the Middle East where FGM is practiced. In Kenya, for example, nearly half the girls age 15 to 19 were circumcised in 1980; in 2010 the rate was just under 20 percent.

Read more
The Salt
4:30 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

Food companies spend a lot of time and resources coming up with the perfect plastic packaging to keep their products fresh.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 2:51 pm

Like it or not, plastic packaging has become an ingrained part of the food system.

While it's clearly wasteful to buy salad, sandwiches and chips encased in plastic and then promptly throw that plastic away, we take for granted how it keeps so much of what we eat fresh and portable.

And behind many of those packages that allow us to eat on the go or savor perishable cookies or fish imported from the other side of the globe is a whole lot of science and innovation.

Read more

Pages