Health Desk

My 3-year-old drinks milk, but not very much of it, and that could be a problem for her.

We live in the Northeast, where the sun's rays are weaker. And now that the days are shorter, my kid arrives at day care a few hours after sunrise and leaves when it's dark. That all made me wonder whether she's getting enough vitamin D, and if not, what we should be doing about it.

Hearing loss can have a negative impact on work. It can lead to social isolation. It can even contribute to dementia. And one-third of Americans 65 and older have some level of hearing impairment. Typically they wait years to get tested.

But there's a scientifically validated hearing test that you can take over the telephone in the privacy of your home for just 5 bucks.

On the northern Virginia farm where Helen Downs spent her childhood, Christmas meant a freshly butchered hog and an epic family meal. When she had her own children, Helen brought this spirit of abundance to their home.

On a brisk morning in Denver recently, an ambulance pulled up in front of a downtown office tower. "I think the patient is going to make it," Dr. Irene Aguilar said as a team rolled out the gurney.

I'd just wiped out a virus known only as COdA-403a in Miami and Atlanta, boasting, "I just saved North America, okay?" But it resurfaced and caused an epidemic in Paris. The likelihood of the outbreak worsening was high, and I wasn't going to make it to France in time to prevent it.

In June of 2001 musician Peter Gabriel flew to Atlanta to make music with two apes. The jam went surprisingly well.

At each session Gabriel, a known dabbler in experimental music and a founding member of the band Genesis, would riff with a small group of musicians. The bonobos — one named Panbanisha, the other Kanzi — were trained to play in response on keyboards and showed a surprising, if rudimentary, awareness of melody and rhythm.

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

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Thursday's announcement by Kaiser Permanente that it plans to open its own medical school in Southern California in 2019 has attracted a lot of attention in the health care community.

The nonprofit, national provider of managed health care says it plans to train students in its own style of integrated diagnosis and treatment — focusing on research, the use of new technologies, and teaching doctors to work as part of a collaborative caregiving team.

If you're traveling overseas for the holidays or in the new year, there are some things you don't want to bring back with you — like mumps, which has cropped up in Scotland; measles, which is circulating in Germany; and mosquito-borne diseases that are spreading in certain Latin American countries, the Caribbean and even Hawaii, where more than 150 people have been diagnosed with dengue fever on the big island.

One day after he was arrested on fraud charges, controversial drug executive Martin Shkreli has resigned his post as the leader of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Shkreli is currently free on bail.

Turing announced the change Friday, naming Ron Tilles, its current board chairman, as the interim chief executive officer.

"We wish to thank Martin for helping us build Turing Pharmaceuticals into the dynamic research focused company it is today, and wish him the best in his future endeavors," Tilles said in a statement about the move.

Characters on television who consider or obtain abortions don't reflect the demographics of American women who choose them or their reasons for doing so, according to a recent analysis from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The city of Flint, Mich. is in a state of emergency this morning. Flint's mayor, Karen Weaver, made that declaration because of lead in the city's water supply.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Despite facing mounting evidence federal officials were overpaying some Medicare health plans by tens of millions of dollars a year, the government dialed back efforts to recover as much of the money as possible, newly released records show.

The privately run Medicare Advantage plans offer seniors an alternative to traditional Medicare and in recent years have signed up more than 17 million members, about a third of people eligible for Medicare.

In 2008, Army Reserve Capt. LeRoy Torres returned home to Robstown, Texas, after a tour in Iraq. He went back to work as a state trooper with the Texas Highway Patrol.

Torres was a longtime runner. So when a suspect took off on foot one morning, Torres sprinted after him. But something was wrong. A burning sensation in his chest hurt so bad, it almost knocked him down.

In the months after Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans in 2005, Tara Powell was one of the social workers on the scene, trying to help children cope with the disaster.

But as she and colleagues spent time in schools, it quickly became clear that the crisis interventions they were using were not working. One activity incorporated a book that kids were supposed to draw pictures in — something many of them had no interest in doing. Another was rooted in Native American spirituality, which didn't resonate with kids from inner city New Orleans.

Copyright 2015 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Department Of Veterans Affairs To Pay For Robotic Legs

Dec 17, 2015

Eligible veterans with spinal cord injuries may soon be able to walk again.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will now pay for robotic leg devices for eligible paralyzed veterans, VA officials tell The Associated Press.

Thomas Furness is known as the pioneer who stood at the inception of what we know today as virtual reality.

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Say it's Monday and it's a bad one. You overslept and definitely didn't shower, so your hair might smell and maybe you spill some coffee on your shirt while you're barreling toward the Metro, which is especially unfortunate because you're meeting with your boss at 9:30.

Just when you think your bloodstream has reached maximum cortisol saturation, a slow-moving elderly man steps between you and the train doors. Then he drops his wallet. Do you rush past him because you're too stressed to deal and there are plenty of other people around to step up — or do you help the guy out?

Academic learning is usually in the spotlight at school, but teaching elementary-age students "soft" skills like self-control and social skills might help in keeping at-risk kids out of criminal trouble in the future, a study finds.

Duke University researchers looked at a program called Fast Track, which was started in the early 1990s for children who were identified by their teachers and parents to be at high risk for developing aggressive behavioral problems.

Martin Shkreli, the drug executive who was widely criticized for sharply raising the price of a drug used by HIV patients, was arrested Thursday by federal agents on charges that he misused funds at the company he founded.

Until the morning of Sept. 25, 2014, life was treating Kris Penny well. His flooring company had just secured its first big contract.

For some survivors of the Ebola virus disease, complete recovery is slow.

Doctors reporting Wednesday on a follow-up survey of the nine survivors who were treated for the Ebola virus in the U.S. say the survivors experienced a "wide constellation" of symptoms, involving many organ systems, for months after their successful treatment for the virus.

Fighters on both sides of the civil conflict in Yemen are enjoying a seven-day respite from months of violent conflict. And that cease-fire means it's a very busy week for health workers around the country, scrambling to take advantage of this sliver of peace and bring medical aid to areas that were inaccessible due to the fighting.

On Monday, NASA started accepting applications for its new class of astronauts. Applying is simple: Just log in to USAjobs.gov, search for "astronaut," and upload your resume and references. The job description says "Frequent travel may be required."

A common nuisance of wandering the world is travelers' diarrhea. Food in many regions of the world isn't always properly handled, and that can put you in bed for several days.

She was one of the five finalists in an American Idol-style competition. But she did not have to sing. This was Integrity Idol 2015 in Liberia. The candidates all worked for the government and had a record of integrity. The public voted by phone and by the Internet.

The mayor of Flint, Michigan says her city is experiencing a "man-made disaster" after a 2014 switch to a new water source.

She says the city's usage of water from the Flint River elevated blood lead levels in children, leading to irreversible health effects.

Pages