Health Desk

Shots - Health News
4:54 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

A Cholera Vaccine Halts New Cases In A Guinea Epidemic

A woman in Guinea takes her first dose of the two-stage vaccine Shanchol during the country's 2012 epidemic.
David Di Lorenzo/Courtesy of MSF

There's new evidence that an oral cholera vaccine might help stop an epidemic in its tracks.

That's the encouraging message from a study that tested a two-dose vaccine during a 2012 outbreak in Guinea. The virus was 86 percent effective in preventing immediate infection of a scourge that afflicts up to five million people a year and kills around 120,000.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:06 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Thriving Towns In East Africa Are Good News For A Parasitic Worm

Fishermen drag a net in Lake Malawi in 2012. About the size of New Jersey, the lake is home to hundreds of fish species and is considered one of the most biologically diverse lakes in the world.
Ding Haitao Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

People trying to grow food and support their families on the shores of Lake Malawi are not only causing serious environmental problems, they're also causing a surge in a debilitating disease.

Thriving towns along the lake are changing the ecosystem in ways that are allowing a parasitic worm to flourish, researchers reported last week in the journal Trends in Parasitology.

Read more
Health Care
3:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Study Questions Need For Employer Health Care Requirement

The employer mandate requires that businesses with 50 or more employees provide health insurance to their workers. A new study by the Urban Institute says the mandate should be eliminated.
Mutlu Kurtbas iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

When the Affordable Care Act was unveiled, business groups railed against the provision that requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance for their full-time workers.

The Obama administration responded by pushing back the deadline for the coverage, so it hasn't yet taken effect. Now support for this so-called employer mandate is eroding in some surprising quarters.

Read more
News
3:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Report Finds Systemic Problems With VA Wait Lists

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A systemic problem nationwide - that's how the Inspector General for Veterans Affairs has described the problem of falsified wait times at VA medical centers. At one facility in Phoenix, veterans waited on average 115 days for an appointment.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:08 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Today's Heroin Addict Is Young, White And Suburban

A heroin user in St. Johnsbury, Vt., prepares to shoot up.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:50 pm

Heroin was once the scourge of the urban poor, but today the typical user is a young, white suburbanite, a study finds. And the path to addiction usually starts with prescription painkillers.

A survey of 9,000 patients at treatment centers around the country found that 90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young β€” their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:50 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Report Finds Evidence Of Secret Wait Lists At VA Hospital

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Phoenix, where the VA's inspector general says numerous problems with scheduling practices were uncovered.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:12 pm

The inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs has affirmed that some 1,700 patients at the Phoenix VA hospital were put on unofficial wait lists and subjected to treatment delays of up to 115 days.

In an interim report released Wednesday, the inspector general's office reported it had "substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively impacted the quality of care" at Phoenix HCS.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:13 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

American Teens Are Becoming Even Wimpier Than Before

Pickup basketball may be losing out to computer games.
johnrf2/iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:50 pm

If you think that teenagers are becoming weaklings, you're right.

Less than half of youths ages 12 to 15 are even close to being aerobically fit, according to data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That's down from 52 percent of youths in 1999 to 2000, the last time this survey was conducted. It measures "adequate" levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, which children need not only for sports but for good health.

And that was true regardless of a child's race and family income.

Read more
The Salt
9:41 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Could Diet Soda Really Be Better Than Water For Weight Loss?

Better than water for losing weight? A study funded by the beverage industry says yes.
Bradley Gordon/Flickr

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 7:43 am

Answering the question of whether diet soda helps or hinders dieters' efforts to lose weight has been the focus of much research. And buzz.

Unfortunately, the answer is still murky.

Read more
Shots - Health News
9:20 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Can Employers Dump Workers On Health Exchanges? Yes, For A Price

retrorocket/iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:50 pm

Can the Affordable Care Act expand Americans' health insurance choices without sabotaging employer coverage? The Obama administration is still working to get the balance right.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Wed May 28, 2014

How To Shop For Long-Term Care Insurance

The first lesson of long-term care insurance: Shopping before health problems set in improves your chances of being accepted while tempering lifetime premium payments.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:57 am

One of the toughest money decisions Americans face as they age is whether to buy long-term care insurance. Many people don't realize that Medicare usually doesn't cover long-term care, yet lengthy assisted-living or nursing home stays can decimate even the best-laid retirement plan.

Long-term care insurance is a complex product that requires a long-term commitment if you're buying it. So how can you tell if this insurance is right for you?

Read more
The Two-Way
4:29 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

California Lawmakers Vote To Require Condom Use In Porn Films

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation displayed condoms during a 2013 news conference promoting a California bill to require condom use by adult film performers.
Bret Hartman AP

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 6:05 pm

The California Assembly passed a bill on Tuesday that would require condom use in pornographic films shot in the state.

It was Democratic state Rep. Isadore Hall's third attempt to pass such legislation. Los Angeles County voters approved a condom mandate for adult film performers in 2012, but a similar state requirement died last year.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:17 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

High School Coach Sports A Running Streak Even Forrest Gump Would Envy

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 6:58 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: And I'm Melissa Block. Every day for the last 45 years - that's 16,438 days straight - Jon Sutherland has laced up his running shoes or, sometimes, gone barefoot and run at least one mile, but often much more. Today, the 63-year-old Sutherland broke the record for the longest running streak in the U.S. He ran three miles in Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park in Los Angeles.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVAL RECORDING)

Read more
The Salt
2:58 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Paleo For Dogs? Vets Say Trendy Diet Could Make Humans Sick

Kari Neumeyer feeds her dogs, Leo and Mia, a raw food diet supplemented by kibble, which she says is more natural than commercial dog food.
Rob Eis/Courtesy of Kari Neumeyer

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 7:23 am

Yesterday we told you about the people who are skipping the pet food aisle to whip up batches of homemade goodness for Fido in their own kitchens.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:36 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

When Older People Walk Now, They Stay Independent Later

Walking: so simple, yet difficult for many people as they age.
Justin Horrocks iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 10:19 am

Millions of older people have trouble walking a quarter of a mile, which puts them at high risk of losing their mobility, being hospitalized or dying.

But it's hard to get people who are already sedentary to become more active and stay that way.

Read more
Shots - Health News
9:50 am
Tue May 27, 2014

States Consider Using Medicaid To Pay College Health Plan Premiums

Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., says having Medicaid pay for some students' coverage through the school health plan will give those students better options.
Alex/Flickr

Some students headed to college this fall will get top-drawer health coverage at little or no cost.

How? Medicaid, it turns out, will pay the premium for the student health plan.

Proponents say students who are eligible for Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income people, get access to a wider network of doctors and hospitals by getting coverage through the college health plans. These broad networks can be an important consideration for students who travel for internships, international study or who return to homes far from school during the summer.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:27 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Frustrated By The Affordable Care Act, One Family Opts Out

Nick and Rachel Robinson welcome their son Cash, who was born in a midwife's birthing pool.
Jessica Hooten Courtesy of Nick Robinson

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 2:21 pm

The Robinson family of Dallas started out pretty excited about their new insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.

Nick Robinson had turned to Obamacare after he lost his job last summer. He had been working as a youth pastor, and the job included benefits that covered him, his two young daughters, and his wife, Rachel, a wedding photographer.

Nick says he wasn't too nervous at first, because everyone was healthy. Then, he recalls, they found out Rachel was pregnant.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:26 am
Tue May 27, 2014

How Health Insurance Exchanges Are Like Flea Markets

This flea market in Colorado Springs and the Obamacare exchanges are versions of the same thing β€” marketplaces where sellers display wares and shoppers browse and buy.
www.csfleamarket.com

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 6:57 am

Billions of dollars went into creating state marektplaces, and we know about 8 million people signed up. But it's actually still to early to declare success or failure. So, what can we say about what the public is getting for its money.

First, if you want to visualize what these marketplaces are, what the $4 billion-plus in federal grants to states paid for, think: flea market.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:08 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Military Plans To Test Brain Implants To Fight Mental Disorders

In epilepsy, the normal behavior of brain neurons is disturbed. The drug valproic acid appears to help the brain replenish a key chemical, preventing seizures.
David Mack/Science Source

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 12:35 pm

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is launching a $70 million program to help military personnel with psychiatric disorders using electronic devices implanted in the brain.

The goal of the five-year program is to develop new ways of treating problems including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which are common among service members who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Read more
Business
12:36 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Pfizer Drops $119 Billion Bid For AstraZeneca

William Vazquez AP

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 6:57 am

It would have been the biggest deal the pharmaceutical industry has seen in more than a decade. But for now, it's off the table.

Pfizer has withdrawn its offer to buy British drug company AstraZeneca for about $119 billion.

American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which makes Lipitor and Viagra, has been circling its smaller rival AstraZeneca for months.

AstraZeneca, which makes Nexium and Crestor, has rejected every offer saying Pfizer undervalues the company, and that it wants to remain independent.

Read more
Global Health
9:06 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

A Simple, Elegant Invention That Draws Water From Air

The WarkaWater gathers water from fog and condensation. Named after an Ethiopian fig tree, it consists of a 30-foot bamboo frame and a nylon net. It was invented by an Italian firm and three of them are shown here in an Ethiopian village.
Courtesy of Architecture and Vision

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 9:49 am

When Italian designer Arturo Vittori and Swiss architect Andreas Vogler first visited Ethiopia in 2012, they were shocked to see women and children forced to walk miles for water.

Only 34 percent of Ethiopians have access to a reliable water supply. Some travel up to six hours a day to fetch some or, worse, resorts to using stagnant ponds contaminated by human waste, resulting in the spread of disease.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:08 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

The Blind Woman Who Sees Rain, But Not Her Daughter's Smile

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 7:37 am

Imagine a world that is completely black. You can't see a thing β€” unless something happens to move. You can see the rain falling from the sky, the steam coming from your coffee cup, a car passing by on the street.

Read more
The Salt
8:45 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Why Some Pet Owners Ditch Chow To Cook For Fido From Scratch

Despite a dizzying array of dog food choices, some owners avoid the cans and bags and making their own from scratch.
Christopher Flickr

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 7:50 am

We're not only obsessed with what we eat. We're now obsessed with what our pets eat. They make us healthier and happier, so who can blame us for wanting the best?

While the pet food industry has started adding salmon, vegetables and other ingredients humans favor to its products, the store-bought stuff just doesn't make the cut anymore for some owners. They're skipping the pet food aisle altogether in favor of cooking up big batches of Fido's meals.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:44 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Anxious Parents Can Learn How To Reduce Anxiety In Their Kids

Noah Cummings, 13, starts the morning with his mom, Heather Cummings, at home in Epsom, N.H.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 1:35 pm

Children are increasingly anxious, stressed out and overly worried. Part of that has to do with increased pressures to excel in school, sports and extracurricular activities. But part of it has a lot to do with parents.

Like other mental and physical health problems, anxiety can be inherited. And some children are more vulnerable because of the way their anxious parents "parent."

Read more
Krulwich Wonders...
6:03 am
Sun May 25, 2014

A Young Woman Falls In Love With Everything

Xiangjun Shi Vimeo

You start with difference, with mystery. Some things spiral, some become spheres, some branch, some don't. We know that inert atoms quicken, become bees, goats, clouds, then dissolve back into randomness. We look at these things, all these very, very different things, and we wonder, are they really different, or is every thing we see one thing, expressed differently? Does the universe have rules? How many? Could there be a single generating principle, a oneness?

Read more
Education
2:12 pm
Sat May 24, 2014

After Months Of Homelessness, A Teen Leaves The Woods Behind

Desiree Wieczorek sits in a bedroom she now shares with her sister. The best part of living in a house after being homeless for five months, she says, is the warm showers.
Sarah Harris North Country Public Radio

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 9:53 pm

You may think of homelessness as a distinctly urban issue, with people sleeping in shelters or on the streets. But homelessness happens in rural communities too, and it happens to children.

For Desiree Wieczorek, a 10th-grader in northern New York, homelessness was all too real last year. For five months, she and her family lived in the woods near Parishville, N.Y.

Recently, I trekked into the woods with Desiree and her father, Kenny, to the area where they had lived. It's remote, with tall trees and a raging river.

Read more
Mental Health
6:49 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Students Struggle With Depression β€” And With Telling The Story

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 1:09 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Read more
Health
6:49 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Pot Vape Pens, The Crack Cocaine Of Marijuana

Originally published on Sat May 24, 2014 1:09 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Vape pens look just like e-cigarettes, but they're for vaporizing marijuana. They're smoke-free and very popular among marijuana users. But it can be hard to know just how strong a dose they're getting. Reporter Miles Bryan explains.

Read more
The Salt
5:38 am
Sat May 24, 2014

If Local Farms Aren't Local Enough, Buy From The Rooftop

At the Mini-Farmery in North Carolina, greens grow on the walls and customers can pick their own produce.
Amy Edwards New Image Studio

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 2:07 pm

Local produce just tastes better, right? That perception is part of what's driving the rush of new farming ventures to supply cities with food grown nearby.

Some urban farmers are even experimenting with growing food a few blocks away from or even inside the grocery store. Call it ΓΌber-local food.

Most of these new ventures are lead by idealistic entrepreneurs who want to part of the new food system. It's not yet clear whether they'll fit in for the long haul.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:26 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Guideline Is No Guarantee Insurers Will Pay For Pill To Prevent HIV

Dr. Lisa Sterman held a Truvada pill at her office in San Francisco in 2012. She prescribed Truvada to patients at high risk for HIV infection even before the Food and Drug Administration approved the medicine explicitly for that purpose.
Jeff Chiu AP

Now that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a daily pill for people at substantial risk of becoming infected with the virus that causes AIDS, how likely is it that someone's health insurance will pay for it?

First off, the CDC recommendation isn't binding. Insurers aren't required to cover the drug for prevention at this time.

Read more
The Salt
12:20 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Sushi's Secret: Why We Get Hooked On Raw Fish

A feast for the eyes and the mouth. Tuna swim long distances, but their muscles are still soft and tender.
Kyodo /Landov

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 8:59 am

Raw fish is sizzling hot right now.

Read more

Pages