Health Desk

Goats and Soda
4:24 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

No Ebola, S'il Vous Plait, We're French: The Ivory Coast Mindset

Mumadou Traore says the Ivory Coast's French bureaucracy is a "blessing" when it comes to Ebola.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 1:44 pm

There are all kinds of theories why Ebola hasn't arrived in Ivory Coast, despite the fact that it shares a long and very porous border with two Ebola-afflicted countries, Liberia and Guinea.

Some Ivoirians credit a beefed-up border patrol. The citizens in this country thank God. But Mumadou Traore, who works as a field coordinator for CARE International, has a third theory. He credits the legendarily infuriating Ivorian bureacracy.

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Health
3:30 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Ebola Nurse Fights Second Quarantine In Maine

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 5:16 pm

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

Shots - Health News
3:06 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Campuses Play Host To Tanning Beds, Despite Skin Cancer Risk

This may seems like a great campus amenity, until you get melanoma.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 11:44 am

The frigid winters left everyone hungry for sun at the college I attended in Chicago. I still remember a friend longing for a tanning studio, preferably just down the hill from the student center. And as it turns out, in a surprising number of college campuses now, that's just the case.

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Shots - Health News
2:42 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Scientists Implicate More Than 100 Genes In Causing Autism

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 5:51 pm

The hunt to find genes that cause autism has been a long slog, one hampered by a lack of technology and families willing to be tested.

But the effort is starting to pay off. On Tuesday, researchers at more than 50 laboratories said they had identified more than 100 genes that are mutated in children with autism, dozens more than were known before.

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Goats and Soda
11:42 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Why The Ebola Evacuees Survived And What We Learned From Them

NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, 33, contracted Ebola in Liberia, arrived in Nebraska for care on Oct. 6 and was released from the hospital Oct. 22.
Taylor Wilson Courtesy of Nebraska Medicine

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 2:03 pm

This is a week for reflecting on lessons learned from those who've survived Ebola.

Morning Edition aired a report on the experience of medical personnel at Emory Hospital, which has cared for four Ebola patients: three evacuees from West Africa (including Dr. Kent Brantly) and one of the Texas nurses.

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The Two-Way
10:19 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Maine To Enforce Quarantine For Nurse Who Worked In West Africa

A photo taken Sunday of Kaci Hickox in an isolation tent at University Hospital in Newark, N.J. Hickox, who was later discharged and allowed to return to her home in Maine, says she has no intention of abiding by a "voluntary" quarantine there.
Steven Hyman AP

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 12:08 pm

Maine's Gov. Paul LePage says he will seek to legally force a nurse to undergo a 21-day quarantine after her return from West Africa, where she volunteered to treat Ebola patients.

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Goats and Soda
8:56 am
Wed October 29, 2014

The Misadventures Of My Anti-Ebola Suitcase

Anders Kelto's suitcase took its chlorine wipes on a detour to Paris.
Anders Kelto NPR

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 10:20 am

Over the past five years, I've traveled around Africa quite a bit. I've been trained in how to escape from a minefield and what to do if I'm taken hostage. I've been followed by police officers in Zimbabwe, threatened with arrest in Ethiopia, had my phone stolen in South Africa, and been shaken down for cash by a cop in military fatigues (swinging an AK-47 by his hip) in Kenya. I've also been on more scary cab rides than I care to remember. In short, I feel well-prepared to report from just about anywhere on the continent.

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Shots - Health News
8:10 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Patients Do Better After Surgery If They Do 'Prehab' First

Getting stronger before surgery has been shown to help cancer patients do better long term.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 5:51 pm

People are often told to follow a rehabilitation program following surgery to speed recovery. But starting weeks before going under the knife might help them regain function even faster.

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Shots - Health News
4:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Emory Hospital Shares Lessons Learned On Ebola Care

Ebola patient Amber Vinson arrived by ambulance at Emory University Hospital on Oct. 15. Now healthy, Vinson was discharged from the hospital Tuesday.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 10:56 pm

Atlanta's Emory University Hospital got the first call at the end of July. An American doctor who'd been treating Ebola patients in Liberia was now terribly sick with the virus himself. In just 72 hours, Dr. Kent Brantly would be coming through Emory's doors.

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Health
4:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Pentagon's Ebola Monitoring Policy For Soldiers Under Review

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 7:12 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Goats and Soda
4:23 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

No Hand-Washing, Spotty Temperature-Taking At Liberia's Airport

NPR producer Rolando Arrieta approaches the Ebola screening station at the airport in Monrovia, Liberia.
Michaeleen Doucleff NPR

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 10:28 am

Ebola screening for passengers flying out of Monrovia's airport on Monday night wasn't functioning like a well-oiled machine. Parts of it were chaotic and slightly concerning.

After 10 days of reporting in Liberia, we arrived at the airport to take two of the same flights that Thomas Eric Duncan took last month: Monrovia to Brussels and then on to Dulles in Virginia. There were three of us: me, another reporter and a producer.

Before we went inside the terminal, a woman from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention greeted us outside.

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History
3:57 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Jonas Salk's Polio Vaccine Trials Would Be Hard To Repeat Today

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 5:30 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
3:40 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Home Health Workers Struggle For Better Pay And Health Insurance

Home health care workers Jasmine Almodovar (far right) and Artheta Peters (center) take part in a Cleveland rally for higher pay on Sept. 4.
Sarah Jane Tribble WCPN, Ideastream

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 3:09 pm

Holly Dawson believes her job is a calling.

She is one of about 2 million home care workers in the country. The jobs come with long hours and low pay.

Each workday, Dawson drives through the Cleveland suburbs to help people take their medicines, bathe and do the dishes. She also takes time to lend a sympathetic ear.

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Shots - Health News
3:21 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Blood Test For Ebola Doesn't Catch Infection Early

Magnified 25,000 times, this digitally colorized scanning electron micrograph shows Ebola virus particles (green) budding from an infected cell (blue).
CDC/NIAD

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 7:48 am

In an ideal world, health care workers returning from West Africa would get a quick blood test to prove they aren't carrying the Ebola virus. A test like that would likely put to rest some of the anxiety surrounding these doctors, nurses and scientists.

Unfortunately, even the best blood test in the world can't do that.

The test uses a technology called PCR, for polymerase chain reaction. It can detect extraordinarily small traces of genetic material from the Ebola virus.

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The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Obama: Ebola Policies Should Support Health Care Workers On Front Lines

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 4:14 pm

U.S. polices on Ebola should be driven by science and should avoid discouraging American health care workers from going overseas to help curb Ebola outbreaks, President Obama said on Tuesday.

"We don't want to discourage our health care workers from going to the front lines," Obama said. When workers come back from West Africa, they should be thanked for their "incredible dedication."

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Goats and Soda
1:03 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

American Volunteers In Liberia Are Anti-Quarantine

An Ebola health alert is displayed at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus.
Bryan Thomas Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 4:03 pm

At the Ebola treatment center in Foya, Liberia, there's one thought on every American volunteer's mind: 21 days of isolation.

The threat of quarantines for health care workers coming back from West Africa cropped up in nearly every conversation I had on Saturday with doctors and nurses at the clinic run by Doctors Without Borders.

Everyone was worried, especially a nurse from New York City. Some states, like New York, New Jersey and Illinois, are already requiring 21-day quarantines, possibly in hospitals, for all medical staff coming home. Others might follow.

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Goats and Soda
11:51 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Happy Birthday To Google Doodle Honoree Dr. Jonas Salk!

Jonas Salk was born on October 28, 1914 in New York City. Google is celebrating the birth of the man who developed a polio vaccine with a special Google doodle.

During the fervor of the current Ebola outbreak, it seems like a good moment to tip our hats to one of the heroes of an earlier epidemic. Salk developed a vaccine for polio in 1953. At a time polio was sweeping across the United States crippling children and terrifying parents.

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Shots - Health News
10:27 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Insurers May Cover Costly Hepatitis C Drugs Only For The Very Ill

Gilead's once-a-day pill for hepatitis C is the latest expensive and effective treatment that insurers say is a business challenge.
Courtesy of Business Wire

In the past year, hepatitis C drugs that promise higher cure rates and fewer side effects have given fresh hope to millions who are living with the chronic liver disease.

But many patients whose livers haven't been significantly scarred by the virus face a vexing reality: They're not sick enough to qualify for the drugs that could prevent them from getting sicker.

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Australia Blocks New Visas From West Africa Over Ebola Outbreak

Australia is no longer processing new visa applications from the three worst-hit countries in Africa's Ebola outbreak. Here, a jetliner prepares to land at Sydney's international airport.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 11:57 am

Australia's immigration agency has ceased processing new visa applications from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, over concerns about the possible spread of the deadly Ebola virus. The country has also shut down an aid program in West Africa, Australia's immigration chief says. The move is drawing criticism.

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Shots - Health News
9:12 am
Tue October 28, 2014

With Obamacare, More Millennials Are Going To The Doctor, Sort Of

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 7:45 am

I write about health and health care, but even I'm not immune to the "young and invincible" mentality. My annual dental checkup is more than six months overdue.

A provision of the Affordable Care Act that took effect in 2010 aimed to make it easier for young adults to access preventive care by allowing them to stay on their parents' insurance until they turn 26. As of 2011, some 3 million young adults gained coverage through this provision.

So does this mean more young people are getting their annual checkups and cholesterol screenings?

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The Two-Way
7:49 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Nurse Amber Vinson Discharged After Testing 'Ebola-Free'

Amber Vinson, a Dallas nurse who was being treated for Ebola, will be discharged Tuesday.
AP

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 1:05 pm

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

Amber Vinson, one of two nurses who contracted Ebola while treating a Liberian man earlier this month, is being discharged from Emory University in Atlanta after she tested free of the virus.

"I am so grateful to be well," Vinson said at an afternoon news conference where her discharge was announced.

"First and foremost, I want to thank God," she said, also acknowledging the role of her medical team in her recovery. "It's been God's love that has ... given me the strength to fight."

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Health
5:16 am
Tue October 28, 2014

The Case Against Mandatory Ebola Quarantines For Health Workers

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 12:17 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Goats and Soda
3:39 am
Tue October 28, 2014

An Ebola Strategy Brings Good News To One Liberian Town

The nursing staff get a break at the Ebola care center run by Doctors Without Borders in Foya, Liberia. The center has helped stop the spread of the virus.
Michealeen Doucleff NPR

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 2:49 pm

In one corner of Liberia, a community has come together to change the course of the deadly epidemic. New cases have been brought to a standstill. This success shows that it's going to take more than extra beds at a ward to stop Ebola.

When Doctors Without Borders arrived in the northern district of Foya in early August, Ebola was out of control. Foya was the first area in Liberia to report cases, and the community has been hit hard.

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The Salt
4:45 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Soda-Makers Try To Take Fizz Out Of Bay Area Tax Campaigns

Proponents of the taxes say that if the measures pass, the money would be directed, in San Francisco, toward childhood nutrition and recreation and, in Berkeley, into the city's general fund.
Joel Saget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 9:35 am

Again and again in the U.S., anti-soda crusaders looking to fight obesity have been stymied wherever they've tried to impose new laws on soda sales.

In New York, ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to limit soda size was tossed out by the state's highest court. Proposed taxes in the Northern California cities of El Monte and Richmond were voted down. And the Washington, D.C., City Council failed to pass an excise tax on soda.

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Goats and Soda
4:40 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Medical Journal To Governors: You're Wrong About Ebola Quarantine

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (right) and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo both insist on mandatory quarantine for healthcare workers who've had contact with Ebola patients. Christie wants them held in a medical facility; Cuomo says a home quarantine with outside monitoring would do.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 11:13 am

The usually staid New England Journal of Medicine is blasting the decision of some states to quarantine returning Ebola healthcare workers.

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The Two-Way
4:29 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

CDC Chief Announces New Shift In Ebola Protocols

Members of a cleaning crew clear the New York apartment of Dr. Craig Spencer, who has been diagnosed with Ebola, on Friday.
Eduardo Munoz Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 5:06 pm

In the latest tweak to America's plan to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leader Dr. Tom Frieden announced changes to the U.S. response to Ebola and the guidance federal agencies are giving to state and local governments.

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Health
3:55 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

A History Of Quarantine, From The Black Death To Typhoid Mary

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 5:25 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Health
3:55 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

New Jersey Case Raises Questions About Legality Of Ebola Quarantines

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 5:25 pm

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

Global Health
3:55 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Different Ebola Quarantine Policies Send A Confusing Message

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 5:25 pm

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

Shots - Health News
3:55 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

New York's Disease Detectives Hit The Street In Search Of Ebola

A woman on the L train in New York City last week covers her face, fearful because a doctor with Ebola rode the train days earlier. Epidemiologists say people on the subway were not at risk.
Stephen Nessen WNYC

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 5:25 pm

A little-seen force has fanned out across New York City intent on stopping the spread of Ebola virus – disease detectives go looking for contacts who might be infected.

"They're just really good at finding people," says Denis Nash. He worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York City Health Department, tracing the spread of HIV and West Nile virus. He says these trained applied epidemiologists are experts at finding almost anybody, with only a vague description.

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