Health Desk

The Salt
12:24 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Long John Silver's Throws Trans Fats Overboard

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 3:22 pm

Long John Silver's has gained some notoriety in the past for serving up what the food police dubbed the most unhealthful meal in America. (aka heart attack on a hook.)

But the fast-food chain is out to change its reputation. One step in this new direction: a quick transition from partially hydrogenated oils that contain bedeviled trans fats. Today, the chain announced it is moving to a 100 percent soybean oil that is trans-fat free.

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The Salt
2:51 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Whole Foods Bans Produce Grown With Sludge. But Who Wins?

A woman shops in the produce section at Whole Foods in New York City. The company recently announced it would prohibit produce farmed using biosolids in its stores.
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

If you've ever shopped at Whole Foods, you've probably noticed that some of the foods it sells claim all kinds of health and environmental virtues. From its lengthy list of unacceptable ingredients for food to its strict rules for how seafood is caught and meat is raised, the company sets a pretty high bar for what is permitted on its coveted shelves.

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Shots - Health News
1:23 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Preventive Medical Care Can Come With Unexpected Costs

Insurers still charge copays for some contraceptives.
Laura Garca iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 3:42 pm

Preventive health care services are supposed to be covered under the Affordable Care Act so that people don't have to pay out of pocket to get recommended screening tests. But some people are discovering that these supposedly free services can be costly.

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Parenting
11:00 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Can You Really Parent Long Distance?

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:52 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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The Salt
9:57 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Why Letting Kids Serve Themselves May Be Worth The Mess

Adults tend to overestimate how much small children can eat, a child development researcher says.
Getty Images/iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:58 pm

When it comes to feeding little kids, adults know best. But some nutritionists now argue that children could also benefit from a bit of autonomy at mealtimes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that parents let kids as young as 2 years old serve themselves at home. And in 2011, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advised that child care providers should serve meals "family-style" — present kids with a few different dishes and allow them to take what they want.

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Shots - Health News
4:15 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Diabetes, Cost Of Care Top Health Concerns For U.S. Latinos

A customer buys produce at the Euclid Market in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles in December. The market was reopened in 2013 as part of a project to promote healthy eating among the city's Hispanic population.
Courtesy of UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:57 am

Latino immigrants in the U.S. say the quality and affordability of health care is better in the U.S. than in the countries they came from, according to the latest survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. But many report having health care problems.

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Law
2:18 am
Tue January 21, 2014

A Union For Home Health Aides Brings New Questions To Supreme Court

One of the questions before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday is whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 11:40 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in an Illinois case that could drive a stake through the heart of public employee unions.

At issue are two questions: whether states may recognize a union to represent health care workers who care for disabled adults in their homes instead of in state institutions; and whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.

To understand why a growing number of states actually want to recognize unions to represent home health care workers, listen to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:

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Shots - Health News
2:16 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Mild-Mannered Stingrays Can Inflict A World Of Hurt

The round stingray is native to the eastern Pacific coast and is notorious for injuring swimmers and surfers.
laszlo-photo/Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:08 am

Want to get away? Thinking about a place with warm water and soft sand? Sounds nice. But think twice before you wade into that inviting surf. Chances are there are stingrays in the area.

Every year, these timid, shellfish-eating cousins of the shark inflict excruciating injuries on thousands of swimmers and surfers from the Bahamas to Bahrain to both coasts of the United States.

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Health Care
3:55 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Rural Regions Lobby For State Medicaid Expansion

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Hospitals in rural America are adjusting to many new requirements under the Affordable Care Act. For those in states that are not extending their Medicaid roles, that task is even more challenging. Rural lobbies are pushing states for the expansion, saying without it, their hospitals could close.

Susanna Capelouto reports.

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Health Care
3:55 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Language Remains A Barrier In Latino Health Care Enrollment

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

At the end of December, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius said that more than two million people had signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but she didn't reveal information about their ethnicity. Supporters of the law say that Latino enrollment is vital to its success. Latinos are the most uninsured racial or ethnic group in the country and the obstacles to their enrollment remain high.

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Around the Nation
4:19 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Miami Children's Hospital Sheds Light On Upfront Costs

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 7:04 am

Every hospital has a price list but it is hard for the average consumer to figure out what a hospital really charges for care. Traditionally, the price on that list is nowhere near what it actually expects you or an insurance company to pay.

Shots - Health News
2:39 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Can Probiotics Help Soothe Colicky Babies?

You tried burping. You tried bouncing. You tried swaddling. Now what?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 2:53 pm

When Melissa Shenewa and her husband imagined their first weeks with their new baby, they pictured hours of cuddling. Instead, they're enduring hours of inconsolable crying.

Their 6-week-old son, Aladdin, is a colicky baby. He cries for hours, usually in the middle of the night. They've tried everything they could think of. Nothing helps.

"Being a parent when your child is screaming in pain for hours on end and there's nothing you can do, you feel helpless," says Shenewa, 24, who lives in Houston. "You feel like you're not a good parent."

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Shots - Health News
2:37 am
Mon January 20, 2014

In Michigan, Businessmen And Politicians Agree On Medicaid

Henry Ford Hospital treats Detroit residents. About 1 in 3 residents of that city is uninsured, and the hospital CEO hopes Medicaid expansion will increase the number of people with health insurance.
Eric Whitney

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 12:45 pm

Republican Party leaders say opposition to the Affordable Care Act is their No. 1 campaign issue for the midterm election.

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Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Mon January 20, 2014

In These Gyms, Nobody Cares How You Look In Yoga Pants

Kendall Schrantz, center, stretches after a class at Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth.
Lauren Silverman for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:46 am

If you want to lift weights or use the treadmill at Downsize Fitness, you have to be at least 50 pounds overweight.

Kendall Schrantz is a fan – and a member.

The 24-year-old has struggled with her weight since she was in the second grade. The looks she got at other gyms made her uncomfortable.

But now she drives more than an hour to Downsize Fitness in Fort Worth three times a week, just to exercise.

"It's worth every single penny I paid for gas," she said. "It's worth the time I spend on the road, the miles."

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Shots - Health News
1:55 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Western Scientists Look To Chinese Medicine For Fresh Leads

Workers prepare Chinese traditional medicine for customers in Beijing.
Alexander F. Yuan AP

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 7:08 am

In the quest for new treatments, U.S. researchers are looking to traditional Chinese medicines, some of the oldest remedies in the world.

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Africa
3:20 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Flying Doctors Nigeria Began As Female Pilot's Dream

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 11:47 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Salt
12:31 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Diet Soda: Fewer Calories In The Glass May Mean More On The Plate

Ditching sugar-sweetened drinks in favor of diet ones shaves the empty calories. But it doesn't help if you make up for those calories on your plate.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 12:17 pm

If only dropping pants sizes were as easy as switching from Coke to Coke Zero.

Sure, you're cutting out empty calories when you ditch the sugar-sweetened drinks in favor of artificially sweetened ones. But there's a growing body of research that suggests this isn't really helping in the battle of the bulge.

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Health Care
11:56 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Is The Obamacare Website Not Spanish Friendly?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
11:18 am
Fri January 17, 2014

One Downside Of Home Wart Treatments: Bursting Into Flames

The chemicals in home wart-freezing treatments are flammable, the Food and Drug Administration warns.
Courtesy of FDA

Wart removal seems so simple a medical treatment that it would be hard to mess it up. Until you start a fire.

The Food and Drug Administration says that it has received reports of 14 people being burned or starting fires while using wart-freezing devices since 2009.

Cryogenic wart removers contain a mixture liquid dimethyl ether and propane, which is highly flammable and doesn't require very high temperatures to catch fire.

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TED Radio Hour
8:36 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Can Grandmothers Change The World?

James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:39 pm

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Disruptive Leadership.

About Bunker Roy's TEDTalk

Bunker Roy shares stories from a school in India that equips rural women for leadership by training them to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors.

About Bunker Roy

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Health
3:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Surgeon General Adds New Risks To Long List Of Smoking's Harms

John Hartigan, proprietor of Vapeology LA, a store selling electronic cigarettes and related items, takes a puff from an electronic cigarette in Los Angeles.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:39 pm

Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak is the latest in a long line of surgeons general who have tried to pound the final nails into the coffin of America's smoking habit.

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The Salt
2:37 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Cash Or Credit? How Kids Pay For School Lunch Matters For Health

Lunch at the West Salem School District in Wisconsin.
Michelle Kloser for NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:39 pm

American kids have a problem with obesity, according to the most recent studies. In fact, the closest thing we have to good news about childhood obesity is that kids are not gaining weight as rapidly as they were some years ago.

Researchers may have identified one surprising new factor in why kids are overeating.

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All Tech Considered
8:14 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

By Tracking Sugar In Tears, Contact Lens Offers Hope For Diabetics

While years of research remain to see if such a system is medically viable, Google's development of a tiny, flexible wireless computer embedded in a soft contact lens is a first.
Google

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:39 pm

The latest project from Google X is a smart contact lens, a tiny, flexible computer capable of monitoring glucose levels in tears. Researchers at Google are hopeful that one day this technology might be used to help diabetes patients better control their disease.

"I think the Google X device could be a huge game changer," says Dr. John Buse, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He's also chairman of the National Diabetes Education Program for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Environment
6:25 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

About 6,000 Natural Gas Leaks Found In D.C.'s Aging Pipes

A close-up schematic of leaks near the U.S. Capitol shows high leak densities east of the building, but few leaks over the National Mall, where very few natural gas pipelines exist.
Robert B. Jackson/Environmental Science and Technology

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:18 pm

The nation's capital is a pretty old city by American standards. It dates back to the late 18th century. Despite frequent face-lifts, parts of it are wearing out — for example, its underground gas pipelines. New research shows that Washington, D.C., suffers from thousands of leaks of natural gas.

"We drove 1,500 road miles in Washington, D.C., and found about 6,000 leaks," says Robert Jackson, an ecologist and environmental scientist at Duke University. "That's roughly four leaks every mile."

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The Salt
2:49 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Good News: Americans Are Eating 78 Fewer Calories Every Day

family dinners, like this one at the Brown-Spencer home in Mechanicsville, Va." href="/post/good-news-americans-are-eating-78-fewer-calories-every-day" class="noexit lightbox">
Americans are dining out less and eating at home more, new government research shows. This may mean more family dinners, like this one at the Brown-Spencer home in Mechanicsville, Va.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 5:55 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has crunched some numbers, and its conclusion is that Americans are munching less. And on more healthful stuff.

On average, working-age adults were eating about 78 fewer calories per day in 2010, compared with five years earlier, according to a report released Thursday.

So what are we eating less of? Saturated fat. Researchers documented a 6 percent decline in calories from saturated fat between 2005 and 2010.

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Shots - Health News
2:30 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

State Health Coverage Sign-Ups Paint A Complex Obamacare Picture

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, unveils a marketing campaign for the exchange in Los Angeles late last year.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:42 pm

Obamacare enrollment surged in December, and the administration's report on the numbers made headlines early this week.

But the national figures tend to obscure the differences from state to state.

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It's All Politics
12:28 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Doctors Say Reid's Request For Bowel Research Money Is No Joke

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada talks about unemployment benefits during a news conference Thursday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:47 am

In his new memoir, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates heaped scorn on many members of Congress for pushing their parochial interests with him.

But he saved a special dig for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"With two ongoing wars and all our budget and other issues, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Gates writes, describing how the Nevada Democrat urged him to have the Defense Department invest in research into irritable bowel syndrome.

It's an anecdote that drew snickers — and media attention, including here at NPR.

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Shots - Health News
10:17 am
Thu January 16, 2014

FDA Asks Doctors To Stop Prescribing High-Dose Acetaminophen

The prescription painkiller sold under the brand-name Vicodin contains hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. To reduce the risk of liver damage, the Food and Drug Administration is moving to limit the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription medicines.
Toby Talbot AP

The pain reliever acetaminophen is easy on the stomach. But at high doses, the drug can be hell on the liver.

Now the Food and Drug Administration is asking doctors to refrain from prescribing drugs that contain high doses of acetaminophen to minimize the risk of liver damage.

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in nonprescription Tylenol. But it's also inside quite a few prescription pain pills, including Vicodin and Percocet.

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Planet Money
4:11 am
Thu January 16, 2014

How Perverse Incentives Drive Up Health Care Costs

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Emergency medical technicians, EMTs, are trained to save your life and aim to get you to a hospital as quickly as possible when needed. One thing they are usually not asked to do is to find ways to save money.

NPR's Zoe Chace explores one experiment in New York City that is trying to cut emergency care costs and cut return trips to the E.R.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: I'm in an ambulance, and we're on the way to the emergency room.

PETER DERMODY: How long have you been feeling like this, Michael?

MICHAEL: Like, two days.

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Shots - Health News
2:25 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Florida Bill Would Allow Medical Marijuana For Child Seizures

Marilyn Budzynski takes care of her 20-year-old son, Michael, in Eustis, Fla., in September. Michael suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.
Tom Benitez MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:57 pm

Florida may soon become the latest state to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana. Advocates there are gathering signatures to put a medical marijuana referendum on the fall ballot.

But Florida's Legislature may act sooner to allow residents access to a particular type of marijuana. Advocates say the strain called Charlotte's Web offers hope to children with severe seizure disorders.

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