In a single week, comedian Jamie Kilstein realized he was both an alcoholic and a food addict.
He has alcoholism in his family, and didn't start drinking till he was legally allowed to. But then, he became a stand-up comic — a job that often pays in drinks.
"I was like, well, I gotta get paid somehow," he tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "I earned this."
While alcoholism is a term most people understand, addiction to food can be a bit murkier. "After my first week of not drinking, I felt really proud of myself," Kilstein says, "but I still felt like there was more."
The pull of addiction can come from many directions: from food to alcohol to the Internet. So what connects those dependencies?
"Addiction is a memory, it's a reflex. It's training your brain in something which is harmful to yourself," says Dr. Charles P. O'Brien, co-founder of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania.
Part-time bartender Jacob Kreider, 33, tells host Scott Simon that he's chosen not to take the medical plan for which he qualifies under the Affordable Care Act. He says he'd rather use the money to pursue his career goals.
For the Affordable Care Act to work, young, healthy people have to sign up for the new insurance exchanges. But these so-call Young Invincibles have a number of reasons for forgoing coverage. Host Scott Simon talks with Lisa Dubay of the Urban Institute about these 18- to 35-year-olds.
Not all viruses are bad for us. Some of them might even help up us fight off bacterial infections someday.
Naturally occurring viruses called bacteriophages attack specific types of bacteria. So researchers at the University of Leicester decided to try and take advantage of phages' bacteria-destroying powers to treat infections with Clostridium difficile, a germ that that can cause severe diarrhea and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
Now, for many of us, we first heard about the Ebola virus from the movie "Outbreak," Dustin Hoffman trying to contain an outbreak of an Ebola-like virus in a small California town. Well, in the 18 years since that movie came out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented 18 known outbreaks of Ebola, with the most recent happening last fall in the Congo.
If you tear open a packet of M&M's, what's the first thing you notice?
The colors: bright blue, vibrant orange, bold yellow. Kids love this visual stimulation.
But the sponsors of a new petition on Change.org — which is urging M&M-maker Mars to replace the artificial colorings used to create these distinctive hues — say these dyes can make some kids hyperactive.
"In this petition, I'm asking Mars to change to natural colorings," mom Renee Shutters told me by phone. "It's very doable."
Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 4:03 pm
Dengue fever is in Houston. And it turns out the mosquito-borne illness isn't exactly a stranger there.
Dengue has been roaming around the city since 2003, according to a study published Wednesday. "There was dengue circulating, and we had no idea that it was here because we just weren't looking," says the study's lead author Dr. Kristy Murray of the Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital.
A bad fall in the hospital can turn a short visit into a long stay.
Such falls featured in congressional discussions about patient safety, and in a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety about medical errors. Falls are one part of a multistate clash between nurses and hospitals over how to improve the safety of hospitalized patients.
Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 3:48 pm
The stereotype of caring for a family member is that it's so stressful it harms the caregiver's health. But that's not necessarily so.
Studies are conflicted, finding that caregiving can harm or help the caregiver. Here's one on the plus side. A study finds that people who care for a family member live longer than similar people who aren't caregiving.
New York City Council speaker and then-mayoral candidate Christine Quinn speaks at a fast-food workers' protest outside a McDonald's in New York in August. A nationwide movement is calling for raising the minimum hourly wage for fast-food workers to $15.
Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 3:48 pm
If you hit the drive-through, chances are that the cashier who rings you up or the cook who prepared your food relies on public assistance to make ends meet.
A new analysis finds that 52 percent of fast-food workers are enrolled in, or have their families enrolled in, one or more public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Irene Adams cooks supper for husband, Luke, and 2-year-old son, Cole, at their home in Fayetteville, Ark. She used to serve lots of green beans, but switched to edamame after tasting it at a local restaurant.
"[Cole] used to split his green beans and take out the little seeds inside," Adams says. "So I told Luke we should try edamame, because it's bigger seeds and has more flavor, so that's why we decided to try it and he loves it."
Among the bargaining chips in the budget crisis on Capitol Hill, there's the small but persistent issue of taxing medical device manufacturers.
The 2.3 percent sales tax covers everything from MRI machines to replacement hips and maybe even surgical gloves. The tax was imposed to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. It didn't attract much attention at first — at least, not outside the world of medical device manufacturers.
But they have waged a persistent campaign to undo the tax, and right now is the closest they have come to succeeding.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 3:20 pm
A life-threatening pandemic occurs. You're a doctor in the ER and can save a 9-year-old or a 63-year-old doctor. Whom do you choose? How do you choose?
Questions like that can crop up in real life and also on the silver screen. So how good a job do filmmakers do at portraying these moral dilemmas? Some do fairly well, but there's also room for improvement.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 3:08 pm
The open enrollment for Medicare programs that began Tuesday will run into December. While the Medicare website doesn't have the problems found in the new federal health system's sites, the government shutdown means that information "may not be up to date," the site warns its users.
A New York school has taken soccer balls, footballs — and maybe even the fun — out of recess. Officials say hard balls are a safety concern, but critics say they're being too cautious. Tell Me More's parenting roundtable weighs in.
New homes are back in a big way — literally. This summer, a typical new house in Phoenix was more than 20 percent larger than a resale home as builders across the country added more space to accommodate post-recession lifestyles.
Take Jacque Ruggles' family, for example. Four women from three generations live under one roof.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. It's time now for All Tech Considered.
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BLOCK: Forget technology for the moment, good old pen and paper is the way many Americans are now signing up for the new health insurance exchanges. That's because of problems that continue to plague the healthcare.gov website that was supposed to be a one-stop shop for health coverage.
Nowhere is the temptation to use technology to monitor a child greater than when that child is learning to drive.
Auto accidents are still the leading cause of death among teens in the U.S. And while fatalities are dropping, giving a teen the keys to a car is still one of the most terrifying things most parents ever do.