The fight over abortion in Texas is being played out in federal court, where abortion rights activists are challenging a new state law.
The measure bans abortions at 20 weeks, adds building requirements for clinics and places more rules on doctors who perform abortions. Some clinics have shut down, saying they can't comply with the law set to go into effect Oct. 29.
Across the country, newly formed task forces made up of local, state and federal law enforcement officers are starting to view what was once seen as run-of-the-mill prostitution as possible instances of sex trafficking.
With support and funding from the FBI and the Justice Department, agencies are starting to work together to identify and rescue sex trafficking victims and arrest their pimps.
The new approach is being hailed by victims of trafficking and their advocates as a much-needed paradigm shift — and, the FBI says, is reaping results.
Americans seem to have a love affair with snacking.
As a society, we eat twice as many snacks as we did a generation ago. Women, on average, nosh on upwards of 400 snack calories per day, according to federal survey data. And men consume almost 600 calories a day in between meals.
So, if nibbling is our new pastime, researchers have a suggestion for one satiating snack that seems to help control our appetites: almonds.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 5:50 pm
The Food and Drug Administration Thursday announced that it wants the federal government to impose tough new restrictions on some of the most widely used prescription painkillers.
The FDA said it planned to recommend that Vicodin and other prescription painkillers containing the powerful opioid hydrocodone be reclassified from a "Schedule III" drug to a "Schedule II" drug, which would impose new restrictions on how they are prescribed and used.
One of the major issues that's emerged since the failed rollout of HealthCare.gov is that there was no lead contractor on the project. (CGI Federal was the biggest contractor — awarded the most expensive contract — but says it did not have oversight over the other parts of the system.) Instead, the quarterbacking was left to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a subagency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 4:57 pm
A new study has found that people who snack on almonds really do eat less throughout the day. It's the combination of fiber, protein and the fact that we don't absorb all the calories we eat since we don't chew them very well. Another reason? They don't have carbs, which stimulate our appetites.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
On Capitol Hill, it was a day of tough questions and finger-pointing. Lawmakers got their first chance to grill government contractors over the botched rollout of the new government health insurance website. It was the first in a series of hearings. And as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle directed their anger at the contractors and at each other.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 5:53 pm
What life-threatening illness can you get from repotting plants, attending a rodeo or going spelunking? If you didn't guess histoplasmosis, you're not alone.
This week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, chronicle of all things infectious, reports on the surprising appearance of histoplasmosis, a lung infection caused by a fungus, in four people in Montana.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 12:33 pm
As snafus with the federal health insurance website have multiplied, some states are making halting progress getting people signed up for coverage. But the picture isn't pretty.
Mississippi and Alaska are depending on the federal government for their sites, and they haven't managed to sign up many people. California and Oregon built their own exchanges, but even those sites are having problems. Here is a roundup from NPR member stations in those four states.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's no secret that it's getting harder to move on up in this country, to achieve upward mobility that is. Last week, we asked whether the ability of Americans to literally move to different parts of the country is playing a role in this. We heard from so many listeners about this that we decided to dig into the story a bit more, and we'll have that in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 9:41 am
Five years ago, a landmark report excoriated the animal agriculture industry's practices and laid out a road map for how it could do better. But in the years since, the problems are just as bad — and maybe even worse.
That's the conclusion of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. This week, the center scolded the industry again with a review of how it has fared in the years since the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production released its original report.
In the corporate world of American health care, psychologists and other mental health therapists are still mostly mom-and-pop shops. They build their own solo practices, not unlike Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip gang who hung her own shingle: "Psychiatric Help, 5 [Cents] — The Doctor Is In."
A street vendor fries food for lunch customers in Mexico City on July 10. Mexico has now surpassed the United States in levels of adult obesity, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Nearly a third of all Mexicans are obese, putting Mexico at the top of the list of overweight nations — ahead of the United States.
In the battle against the bulge, lawmakers are taking aim at consumer's pocketbooks. They're proposing a series of new taxes on high calorie food and sodas. Health advocates say the higher prices will get Mexicans to change bad habits, but the beverage industry and small businesses are fighting back.
President Obama is putting former CEO Jeff Zients in charge of the "tech surge" — the administration's emergency effort to fix the Web portal at the heart of the federal government's new health care market. But what about the contractors that built the system? What's their responsibility?
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 5:31 pm
A 3-year-old girl born in Mississippi with HIV acquired from her mother during pregnancy remains free of detectable virus at least 18 months after she stopped taking antiviral pills.
New results on this child, published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, appear to green-light a study in the advanced planning stages in which researchers around the world will try to replicate her successful treatment in other infected newborns.
Patrick Lamanske, of Champaign, Ill., works with Amanda Ziemnisky (right), of the Champaign Urbana Public Health District, to try to sign up his wife, Ping, for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 1.
President Obama on Tuesday appointed one of his top management gurus, Jeffrey Zeints, to head the team working to fix what ails HealthCare.gov, the troubled website that's supposed to allow residents of 36 states to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
A nurse treats a cholera patient at the Juan Pablo Pina Hospital in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, in August. Health officials say that the strain of cholera circulating in the country— the same one that first appeared in Haiti three years ago — has also caused outbreaks in Cuba and now Mexico.
The state of Oregon is trying some experiments to bring different kinds of medical professionals under the same roof. Patients can see different kinds of doctors in one visit, and the hope is it will provide better patient care, eventually at less cost to the state.
This can make sense in a primary-care setting, where doctors often have to deal with stomachaches and migraines that stem from mental rather than physical problems.
Consumers aren't the only ones frustrated by problems with the online health insurance exchanges being run by the feds.
Private companies that sell health insurance on the Internet are also in a bind. Websites like eHealthInsurance.com that were planning to start selling new, subsidized health care policies on Oct. 1 still can't offer them to customers.
We're used to relying on antibiotics to cure bacterial infections. But there are now strains of bacteria that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotics, and are causing deadly infections. According to the CDC, "more than 2 million people in the United States every year get infected with a resistant bacteria, and about 23,000 people die from it," journalist David Hoffman tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:22 am
The health insurance marketplaces are finally open, though technical problems have hindered sign-ups.
With the deadlines for having health insurance looming, people want details about the available plans and access to health savings accounts. Some also want to know about penalties if they don't buy insurance. Here are some recent questions and answers.
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:22 am
Girls who were more physically active at age 11 did better at school as teenagers, a study finds. And the most active girls really aced science.
It's become pretty much a given that children do better academically when they get regular exercise, even though schools continue to cut or even eliminate recess time. But there's surprisingly little hard evidence to back that up.
One of the meatless dishes prepared at Benson Brewery in Omaha, Neb., for Meatless Monday is zucchini ribbon salad with a dressing made from roasted garlic and tahini, and garnished with green onions and toasted pine nuts.
Credit Courtesy of Vegan Omaha
Chef Matthew Taylor in the kitchen of Benson Brewery, in Omaha, Neb., which promotes a meatless option every Monday. Left, a meatless entree, seitan piccata, at the brewery, ready to be served.
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 2:31 pm
America's relationship with meat is an indulgent one. At 270 pounds of meat per person per year, Americans consume more than almost anyone else in the world. (Mostly, we have our livestock producers' successes to thank for making meat cheap and abundant for us.)