Health Desk

Health Care
11:32 am
Sat April 5, 2014

With Enrollee Goal Met, Obamacare Still Faces Political Trial

President Obama arrives in the Rose Garden on Tuesday to trumpet 7.1 million signups under the Affordable Care Act.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 12:03 pm

President Obama and his supporters had a rare opportunity to celebrate this week.

A last-minute surge in people signing up for health insurance sent the total government enrollment figures over the seven-million mark.

That number seemed out of reach just a few months ago, when a crash-prone website threatened to undermine the president's signature health care law.

Republicans are still bent on repealing the law, but now millions more Americans have a stake in Obamacare's survival.

Read more
The Salt
7:18 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Newbie Urban Gardeners Don't Realize How Much Soil Is Contaminated

Graze the Roof is a community-produced garden that grows vegetables on the rooftop of a church in San Francisco.
Sergio Ruiz/Flickr

Originally published on

The majority of Americans now live in cities, which means we have very little to do anymore with the production of our food.

But there's a reversal of that trend afoot, as more city people decide that they want to cultivate crops and raise some livestock. After all, there are few things more satisfying that biting than a bunch of tender, red radishes you grew yourself, or a fresh egg from the backyard.

Read more
Mental Health
3:45 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

From Former Army Psychiatrist, Answers On Mental Health Treatment

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:18 pm

The recent shooting at the Fort Hood Army base has raised questions about how the military deals with mental health issues. Melissa Block talks with Doctor Steve Xenakis, a retired Retired Brigadier General in the Army and a psychiatrist, about the stresses of military life and how mental illness is treated in the military.

Shots - Health News
12:14 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Could A 'Barbie' Get Real? What A Healthy Fashion Doll Looks Like

Look familiar? Artist Nickolay Lamm designed a doll to look like the average 19-year-old walking โ€” or running โ€” on the street.
Courtesy of Lammily

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 2:35 pm

For decades, the Barbie doll has been slammed by parents for promoting an unhealthy female body image. Playing with a Barbie doll for just a few minutes may cause girls to limit their career ambitions, psychologists reported last month.

So why do we keep offering girls bone-thin dolls like Barbie and the popular Monster High crew, asks artist Nickolay Lamm?

Read more
Politics
11:20 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Enrollment Numbers Put Obamacare Battle To Rest?

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 11:31 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Now it's time for our political chat. This week there's a lot to talk about. The Supreme Court struck down some campaign contribution limits. The White House beat it's a goal of 7 million Americans signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan debuted his own budget proposal, something that could be a blueprint for a White House run in 2016. So joining us to help us unpack those political headlights is Corey Dade.

Read more
Shots - Health News
6:14 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Shooting Unfairly Links Violence With Mental Illness โ€” Again

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley speaks to reporters April 2 regarding the second shooting in five years on the Fort Hood Army post in Texas.
Drew Anthony Smith Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 8:05 am

With the Army's disclosure that Army Spc. Ivan Lopez was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder before he went on a shooting rampage Wednesday, there were once again questions about whether the Army could have prevented the violence at Fort Hood.

Read more
Rethinking Retirement: The Changing Work Landscape
5:27 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

One More Speed Bump For Your Retirement Fund: Basic Human Impulse

We hate losing twice as much as we love winning, behavioral researchers say. And that gets us into trouble with financial decisions.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:34 pm

Saving for retirement is a challenge facing most Americans. Research shows the challenge is made harder by our basic human impulses. We know we should be saving. But we don't. We consistently make bad financial decisions.

One thing that leads us astray is what behavioral economists call "loss aversion." In other words, we hate losing. And that gets in the way of us winning โ€” if winning is making smart financial decisions.

How A Smashed Car Is Like A Smashed Nest Egg

Read more
Mental Health
3:43 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

New Shooting Revives Old Questions About Mental Health In Military

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:34 pm

The mass shooting at Fort Hood, the second at the same Army base in just five years, is renewing questions about the state of mental health treatment on U.S. military bases.

Shots - Health News
3:29 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Growing Evidence That A Party Drug Can Help Severe Depression

Clubgoers prize Special K's hallucinogenic experience, but scientists like it better as a depression treatment.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:41 pm

Teens call it "Special K," a club drug that produces hallucinatory, out-of-body effects. But evidence is mounting that it's also a fast-acting treatment for patients with severe depression.

The latest study shows that ketamine, an FDA-approved anesthetic, can act in a matter of days for some people who don't respond to traditional antidepressants. Those drugs don't work for 40 percent of patients.

Read more
The Salt
2:46 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Time To Relax The Sodium Guidelines? Some Docs Say Not So Fast

Consuming anywhere from about 2,600 milligrams up to almost 5,000 milligrams of sodium per day is associated with more favorable health outcomes, according to a study.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:50 pm

We've all heard the advice to go easy on the salt shaker. Or, perhaps, more importantly, to cut back on eating packaged, processed foods that often contain a lot of salt.

And why? There's a lot of evidence linking excessive sodium intake to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease.

The dietary guidelines recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:59 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

A Pill For Grass Allergies May Replace Shots For Some

Could this be the end of grass and gesundheit?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 2:47 pm

Later this spring, allergy sufferers will have access to a new form of help: a pill that can replace allergy shots. But the pill works only for grass allergies, and it's not clear how much it's going to cost.

The Food and Drug Administration just approved Oralair, the first sublingual allergy immunotherapy tablet for use in the United States. That's how regulators describe a pill that you stick under your tongue to tamp down your immune system.

Read more
Health
10:52 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Cancer Disparity Among Black Women Unresolved

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:37 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now we turn to one of those uncomfortable questions that many people, particularly in health, have asked themselves and know all too well.

Read more
Shots - Health News
10:40 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Good Day Sunshine: Could Morning Light Help Keep Us Lean?

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 2:46 pm

Exposure to morning light, whether it's pure sunlight or bright indoor lighting, is associated with leaner body weights, researchers say.

The findings fit with a growing body of evidence that suggests keeping our internal body clocks synchronized with the natural light-dark cycle is beneficial to our health and our waistlines.

Read more
Shots - Health News
7:43 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Nearly Half Of Californians Who Used Exchange May Drop Coverage

Last-minute applicants for health insurance jam the Bay Area Rescue Mission in Richmond, Calif., on Monday.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 1:06 pm

An analysis of the people who signed up for health insurance on California's exchange found that they are likely to drop the coverage for a pretty good reason: They found insurance elsewhere.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:36 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Why Anthropologists Join An Ebola Outbreak Team

Health specialists work in an isolation ward for patients in Guรฉkedou, southern Guinea.
Seyllou AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 1:07 pm

When disease strikes in the developing world, like the current Ebola outbreak in Guinea, doctors, nurses and epidemiologists from international organizations fly in to help.

So do anthropologists.

Understanding local customs โ€” and fears โ€” can go a long way in getting communities to cooperate with international health care workers, says Barry Hewlett, a medical anthropologist at Washington State University.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:14 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Run When You're 25 For A Sharper Brain When You're 45

Leading an active lifestyle in your 20s will benefit your brain down the road.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 2:47 pm

If you're in your 20s, you might work out because it's fun, or because it makes you look better. But here's another reason to hit the gym or go for a jog โ€” exercising now may help preserve your memory and cognition later in life.

Researchers figured this out by following 2,700 men and women for 25 years as part of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:24 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Map Of The Developing Human Brain Shows Where Problems Begin

Images of the developing fetal brain show connections among brain regions.
Allen Institute for Brain Science; Bruce Fischl, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 1:31 pm

A high-resolution map of the human brain in utero is providing hints about the origins of brain disorders including schizophrenia and autism.

The map shows where genes are turned on and off throughout the entire brain at about the midpoint of pregnancy, a time when critical structures are taking shape, researchers reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:40 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Is It Time To Reconsider Breast Self-Exams?

Twitter user @AshleighEarley participates in the The Sun's Check'em Tuesday campaign.
Twitter.com

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:56 am

Perhaps your mother told you. Or your doctor. Maybe you learned it in gym class.

For me it was all three: "Once a month, do a breast self-exam," they all said. "Use your fingertips in a circular motion to feel for lumps." (My mom, a nurse, even brought home a fake breast that I could practice on.)

So I was stunned when a physician in Glasgow, Scotland, criticized a campaign aimed at getting women to do their own breast checkups.

Read more
12:08 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Debate Over Opting Out Of Health Insurance For Religious Reasons

Lead in text: 
Here & Now recently spoke with U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois about a bill he sponsored called The Equitable Access to Care and Health Act (EACH).
recently spoke with U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois about a bill he sponsored called The Equitable Access to Care and Health Act (EACH). The bill would allow individuals to opt out of mandatory health insurance by writing "sincerely held religious beliefs" on their tax return, along with a sworn statement explaining their objection.
The Salt
12:08 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

The Old And Mysterious Practice Of Eating Dirt, Revealed

Dr. William Rawlings holds a piece of kaolin from his hometown of Sandersville, Ga.
Courtesy of Adam Forrester

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 8:51 am

There's an old saying in the South: "A child's gotta eat their share of dirt."

Mamie Lee Hillman's family took this literally, but they weren't after just any old dirt.

"I remember my mom and my aunties eating that white dirt like it was nothing," says Hillman, who grew up in Greene County, Ga., and used to go with her family to dig for their own dirt to snack on. "It was an acceptable thing that people did."

Read more
Shots - Health News
10:23 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Ethicists Tell NASA How To Weigh Hazards Of Space Travel

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide makes a space walk outside the International Space Station in 2012.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:55 am

NASA is hoping to soon venture out farther into space than ever before. But these long journeys mean astronauts could face greater risks to their physical and mental health than the space agency currently allows.

Now, an independent group of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has weighed in on how NASA should make decisions about the kinds of risks that are acceptable for missions that venture outside low Earth orbit or extend beyond 30 days.

Read more
Health Care
4:24 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Debate Over Repealing Health Care Law Is Over, Obama Says

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 12:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

There were many predictions in recent months that not enough people would sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Turns out those predictions were wrong. And President Obama went to the Rose Garden yesterday to make sure everyone knew it.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Seven point one million Americans have now signed up for...

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: ...private insurance plans through these marketplaces.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:54 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Small Health Insurance Co-Ops Seeing Early Success

Karl Sutton leaves his mobile greenhouse in Montana. He sells spinach as part of a farmers co-op, and likes that nonprofit business model for his health insurance, too.
Eric Whitney for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 12:04 pm

Many of us know the names of some of the big U.S. health insurance companies โ€” like Blue Cross, Aetna and Wellpoint. But what about CoOportunity Health, or Health Republic Insurance of New York? These are among 23 new companies started under the Affordable Care Act. They're all nonprofit, member-owned insurance cooperatives that were begun, in part, to create more competition and drive prices down.

Read more
Shots - Health News
6:05 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Why Is Guinea's Ebola Outbreak So Unusual?

A nurse of the 'Doctors without Borders' medical aid organisation examines a patient in the in-take area at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. The viral haemorrhagic fever epidemic raging in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms รขย€ย” the deadliest and most feared of which is Ebola.
Seyllou AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:56 am

Doctors Without Borders has called the current outbreak of the Ebola virus in Guinea "unprecedented" โ€” not because of the number of victims (so far at least 78 have died) but because the disease has traveled to various parts of the country.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:42 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Review Finds Mammography's Benefits Overplayed, Harms Dismissed

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 6:04 pm

Talk to women here in the office, and it quickly becomes clear that we're confused about what to do about mammograms. And no wonder.

Read more
Health Care
3:01 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Beyond The Fog Of Spin And Doubt: What Has ACA Achieved?

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 6:58 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel in Washington, where President Obama cheered the Affordable Care Act today.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

Read more
The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Obama: The Affordable Care Act Is Working, 'Helping People... Coast To Coast'

The HealthCare.gov website has been a source of delays and confusion for those trying to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.
Jon Elswick AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 4:00 pm

This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET. with Obama's comments.

President Obama emerged from the White House on Tuesday to rousing applause. He announced that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the federal exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

"This law is doing what it's supposed to do," Obama said at the Rose Garden. "It's working. It's helping people from coast to coast."

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:20 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Fraud Found In Study Claiming Fast, Easy Stem Cells

Ryoji Noyori, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist and president of Japan's prestigious RIKEN research institute, bows at a news conference in Tokyo Tuesday to apologize for the scientific misconduct of a RIKEN colleague.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 7:04 am

What is it with stem cell research? Despite solid science from many corners, the scandals never seem to stop. In this case, after a lofty international announcement in January, it only took about two months for the other shoe to drop.

A scientific committee in Japan said Tuesday that the lead author of a recent "breakthrough study" fabricated data and is guilty of scientific misconduct.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:50 am
Tue April 1, 2014

People Who Are Still Uninsured May Turn To Community Clinics

Dr. Cheryl Focht checks a patient's eyes at Mary's Center, a federally funded health clinic in Washington, D.C.
Heather Rousseau NPR

If you're uninsured, you may have run out of time. Monday was the official deadline to sign up for health insurance on the marketplaces or face a penalty, unless you were already in line for enrollment.

Still, people who missed the cutoff have options to get the health care services they need, though they may not be simple or assured.

Read more
Shots - Health News
10:50 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Becoming More Popular Doesn't Protect Teens From Bullying

Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan, left) found out the hard way that moving up into the A-list clique doesn't protect you in the movie Mean Girls.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 7:01 am

Movies like Mean Girls have told us that the popular crowd rules, and the nerds and nonconformists get picked on.

But even the top rungs of high school social ladder aren't immune to bullying, researchers say. Becoming more popular can actually increase a teen's risk of getting bullied rather than making them immune to attack.

Read more

Pages