Health Desk

Imagine you're on a tropical island in the Caribbean. There are coconut trees, rocky cliffs, blue-green waters. But now, imagine there are hundreds of monkeys on this island. And, these monkeys have a disease that could kill you, if you're not careful. What you're picturing is a real-life island off the coast of Puerto Rico.

The island of Cayo Santiago hosts the oldest research center in the world for wild primates. Scientists from all over the world come to the island to study questions of primate behavior, cognition and ecology.

Drs. Mitchell Lunn and Juno Obedin-Maliver, both clinical fellows at the University of California, San Francisco, have spent the past decade studying the health problems of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

Their biggest challenge is the lack of population health data about LGBTQ people. The researchers hope that an iPhone app can change that.

The new app, called PRIDE, will ask LQBTQ participants about their health history and concerns. Their answers will inform a longer-term study, which kicks off in January 2016.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Missouri Food Pantries Help Clients Grow Their Own Produce

Jun 26, 2015

In the U.S., 1 in 6 people struggles with hunger. Food pantries across the country pass out food to help these people put meals on the table. But what if they could help teach the pantry visitors how to grow their own food, too?

Grow Well Missouri, a program that travels to food pantries around central Missouri, is one of several food-aid groups trying to do just that, passing out seeds and starter plants to low-income locals.

5 Challenges Still Facing Obamacare

Jun 26, 2015

In its first five years, the Affordable Care Act has survived technical meltdowns, a presidential election, two Supreme Court challenges — including one resolved Thursday — and dozens of repeal efforts in Congress. But its long-term future still isn't ensured.

Here are five of the biggest hurdles that remain.

Medicaid Expansion

Save Wildlife, Save Yourself?

Jun 26, 2015

Everyone knows that keeping our forests and grasslands full of wolves, bald eagles and honeybees is good for the environment.

But could protecting animals and preserving ecosystems also help people not catch Lyme disease or West Nile virus?

Earlier this month, scientists at the University of South Florida reported evidence that higher biodiversity in environments, such as forests in the northeastern U.S. and the Amazon basin in South America, may lower people's chances of getting animal-borne diseases.

In the past, if Sara Solovitch tripped up while playing the piano she would get flustered and stop. Especially in front of an audience.

"I felt like I had to correct everything and each note had to be perfect," the Santa Cruz, Calif.-based author and pianist. But now, she can breeze through a few bum notes while playing Claude Debussy's lyrical piano piece Reflections on the Water as if no one were listening.

"One of the things I've really worked on has been continuing to play," Solovitch says.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 KQED Public Media. To see more, visit http://www.kqed.org.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Nigeria is on the verge of being polio-free. And that would mean that for the first time ever there's no ongoing polio transmission on the African continent.

There were plenty of tasty tidbits packed into the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report that came out back in February.

As we reported, the panel of nutrition experts that wrote the report said it was OK to eat an egg a day. The scientific evidence now shows it won't raise the amount of LDL cholesterol – the bad kind of cholesterol — in your blood or raise the risk of heart disease.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Obamacare has survived another near-death experience in the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled today that the federal government can continue to offer subsidized health insurance to people in all 50 states.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The controversial bill that would require almost all children entering day care or school in California to be vaccinated crossed another key hurdle Thursday, as the state Assembly approved it by a vote of 46-30.

The bill, SB 277, now returns to the state Senate, where lawmakers will be asked to concur with amendments made in the Assembly.

The California Assembly has joined the state Senate in voting to approve a controversial bill requiring all children attending school to be vaccinated against measles and other common, preventable illnesses — effectively eliminating so-called "personal belief exemptions" that allowed parents to opt out.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, KFF State Health

 Following today's ruling  from the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois residents who bought health insurance under the affordable care act will get to keep tax credits that cut the cost of their plans. 


Once a smoker always a smoker, right? Not quite.

As the number of smokers drops, the remaining smokers actually smoke less and are more likely to quit, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Tobacco Control.

The Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Obama administration means 6.4 million people won't lose subsidies that helped them afford health insurance.

But the historic ruling in King v. Burwell may be far from the last word on health overhaul.

Bills to advance or cripple the law in statehouses didn't come to a halt in the months that lawmakers awaited the Supreme Court decision. They may well smolder for months or years.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET

President Obama, commenting on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling today to uphold a key provision of his signature health care law, said after numerous challenges, the Affordable Care Act has been "woven into the fabric of America" and "is here to stay."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies

Jun 25, 2015

The Affordable Care Act survived its second Supreme Court test in three years, raising odds for its survival but by no means ending the legal and political assaults on it five years after it became law.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

For the past 20 years, doctors have recommended that dialysis patients have a simple operation to make it safer and easier to connect to a machine that cleans their blood.

This post was updated at 12:15 p.m. ET to reflect the Supreme Court's ruling.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state-based subsidies under the Affordable Care Act are legal. A different decision could have affected the health care of millions of Americans. In King v. Burwell, the court chose to allow the exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare, to many) to continue operating as-is. It could have ended the subsidies in most states allowing many lower-income Americans to afford the insurance offered through those sites.

At the hands of the Texas Legislature, the last four years have been long for supporters of abortion rights.

The next blow lands on July 1, when a new law will go into effect in Texas and drastically reduce access to abortion services — likely leaving just nine clinics that perform abortions open in the entire state.

The controversial law, passed in 2013, requires clinics to meet tougher building standards and doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

What are the makings of a great salad? You need fresh greens, of course, and then a layer of colorful vegetables like tomatoes and carrots.

That's a good start. But to help the body absorb more of the nutrients packed into this medley, you may want to add something else: a cooked egg.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Pages