Health Desk

Shots - Health News
2:58 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Tuberculosis Roars Back With A Deadly Edge

Nokubhega, 12, had to move away from her family and into a hospital for treatment against drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Screenshot from PBS/YouTube

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:44 am

Two weeks ago, 12-year-old Nokubheka's mother died from drug-resistant tuberculosis.

"I love singing and dancing to the song," Nokubheka says as she marches around in a hot pink skirt and sweatshirt. "When I'm dancing, I forget that my mother passed away."

Now the young girl from Swaziland has learned she has the same disease.

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Krulwich Wonders...
2:32 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

You Yawn. She Doesn't Yawn Back. Uh-Oh

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 5:44 pm

You are at a table for two, sitting with your girlfriend or boyfriend, when, for no good reason (you can't help it, you didn't mean to do it), you yawn. It's a big, gaping, jaw-extending, embarrassing yawn and because you didn't cover your face, oh, God, she/he sees it. A second or two goes by, and then ... something doesn't happen. Your girlfriend/boyfriend doesn't yawn back.

Should you be alarmed?

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Shots - Health News
2:07 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Pollution From Home Stoves Kills Millions Of People Worldwide

Many people like these Tibetans in Qinghai, China, rely on indoor stoves for heating and cooking. That causes serious health problems.
Courtesy of One Earth Designs

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 3:35 pm

Air pollution has become the world's largest environmental risk, killing an estimated 7 million people in 2012, the World Health Organization says.

That means about 1 out of every 8 deaths in the world each year is due to air pollution. And half of those deaths are caused by household stoves, according to the WHO report published Tuesday.

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Shots - Health News
1:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Wal-Mart Recalls 'Cuddle Care' Dolls Because They Can Burn

She coughs and sometimes burns.
CPSC

You had better not cuddle up with the My Sweet Love/My Sweet Baby Cuddle Care Baby Doll from Wal-Mart.

First of all, she gets sick on cue. The battery-powered doll coughs and babbles. Her cheeks flush, too.

You can make her better with a medical kit that includes a syringe, stethoscope and thermometer. After you give her a shot and a spoonful of medicine, she's as good as new.

But it turns out that she could give you symptoms of your own.

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Health
10:25 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Why Alzheimer's Hits Women Harder

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
9:42 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Can Fear Of Cancer Keep College Kids From Binge Drinking?

They're probably not thinking about breast cancer risk right now.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 4:26 pm

Many college students associate a good time with good friends, good music and good booze. But with half of all college drinkers engaging in binge drinking, the habit remains one of the biggest health risks among young adults.

Campaigns that tackle this problem often focus on familiar risks like drunken driving, unsafe sex and even death, but researchers say that warning students about the lesser-known link between alcohol and cancer may also be a new approach for deterring binge drinking.

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Shots - Health News
9:37 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Last Chance To Ask About Health Law Before Sign-Up Deadline

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 10:23 am

This is it. The deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year is March 31. With time running out, the questions about how the health law and the exchanges work keep pouring in. Here are a few more to check out while the clock ticks down.

My son will be 19 in May. I claim him as a dependent on my taxes. If I don't provide for his medical coverage and he is unemployed and makes no income, how is he supposed to pay his penalty? Or are they going to take his penalty out of my tax return because he is a dependent on my return?

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Health Care
2:18 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Hobby Lobby Contraceptive Case Goes Before Supreme Court

Hobby Lobby President Steve Green says the company should not have to provide insurance coverage for IUDs and morning-after pills for its 13,000 employees.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 9:23 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in the latest challenge to the Obama health care overhaul.

This time the issue is whether for-profit corporations, citing religious objections, may refuse to provide some, or potentially all, contraceptive services in health plans offered to employees. It is a case that touches lots of hot-button issues.

In enacting the ACA, Congress required large employers to provide basic preventive care for employees. That turned out to include all 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Shots - Health News
4:34 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Ebola Breaks Out In West Africa For The First Time

The fatality rate in an Ebola outbreak ranges from 25 percent to 90 percent, depending on the particular strain of the virus involved.
Cynthia Goldsmith/ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 1:49 pm

Health workers are rushing to stop a "rapidly evolving Ebola outbreak" in West Africa, the World Health Organization said Monday.

So far, the deadly virus has sickened 86 people and killed 59 of them.

This is the largest Ebola outbreak seen anywhere since 2007, and it's the first one in West Africa, although the virus has been found in the region's monkeys.

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Shots - Health News
2:43 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

When Mothers Get Moving, Children Are More Active, Too

Moms of young children don't have much time to go to the gym. But getting active with the kids is a win all around.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 3:41 pm

Mothers of young children may feel like they don't have much time to exercise, but the more active the moms are, the more active the children.

The activity level of young children is directly linked to that of their mothers, researchers in the United Kingdom say.

But the problem is that mothers with young children aren't very active, says Esther van Sluijs, a behavioral epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge and the study's lead author.

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The Salt
12:37 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Apples Vs. Oranges: Google Tool Offers Ultimate Nutrition Smackdown

Oranges and apples in a row.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 4:31 pm

Leave it to the folks at Reddit to uncover the hidden treasures of the Internet. Recently, they were gabbing about Google's nutrition comparison tool, which was quietly launched at the end of 2013 and escaped us here at The Salt.

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Shots - Health News
12:28 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Kids Benefit From Counseling At The Pediatrician's Office

Behavior issues like defiance and aggression are common, and short-term counseling can help parents and kids do better.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 1:49 pm

Pediatricians often recommend some mental health counseling for children who have behavior problems like defiance and tantrums. But counseling can be hard to find. Children are much more likely to get help if the counselor is right there in the doctor's office, a study finds.

The children in the study had behavior problems, and many also had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety. They were 8 years old, on average, and two-thirds were boys.

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Children's Health
10:55 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Florida Responds To Reports Of Child Abuse And Neglect

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 2:20 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we'd like to update you on a story that aired on this program last Friday. We heard from the Miami Herald about its investigative series called "Innocence Lost." Reporters there documented nearly 500 children who had some contact with Florida's Department of Children and Families and later died of abuse or neglect. My colleague Jennifer Ludden spoke with writer Audra Burch about how so many children fell through the cracks at the agency.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVAL RECORDING)

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Your Health
4:53 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Battery-Powered Headband Helps Prevent Migraines

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 11:25 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep, good morning.

This is the last week to get insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The deadline for open enrollment is Monday, March 31st.

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Shots - Health News
2:35 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Customers Rush To Retail Store In Connecticut To Buy Obamacare

DeLisa Tolson signed up for health insurance at a retail store set up by Connecticut's exchange. She says she was so happy with the experience, she told all her friends.
Jeff Cohen/NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 11:25 am

Mike Dunn stands inside a store in downtown New Haven, looking through the big glass windows at his future customers outside. He's not selling phones or food or clothes. He's selling Obamacare.

There's one week left to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and states have gone to great lengths to enroll as many people up as possible. In Connecticut, the exchange has opened two retail storefronts where people can walk in and sign up.

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Shots - Health News
2:24 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Final Call For Questions On Health Insurance As Deadline Looms

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 1:48 pm

There's just one week left for most people to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. And as people race to meet the deadline, they still have questions about the law, and the sign-up process.

"Is there a deadline to enroll in a health plan?" asks Josephine Ilog of Manteca, Calif. "And what happens if a person misses that deadline?"

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Shots - Health News
4:28 am
Sun March 23, 2014

Doctors Say Don't Give Birth To Baby In A Tub, But Midwives Disagree

Proponents of water birth say it's easier on the mother and more peaceful for the baby.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 1:49 pm

Hospitals are increasingly giving women the option of going through labor or giving birth in a pool of warm water. Laboring in the tub is fine, the nation's obstetricians and pediatricians say, but there's not enough proof that it's safe to actually give birth in one.

The doctors' statement has raised eyebrows among nurse-midwives, who have been helping women deliver in water for decades in order to ease pain and speed delivery.

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Author Interviews
4:23 am
Sun March 23, 2014

'Parentology': Bribes, Behavior And The Science Of Raising Kids

Dalton Conley lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
Stephen P. Hudner Courtesy of Simon and Schuster

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 10:36 am

Raising kids is hard. It just is. And there's a whole industry out there trying to help parents figure out how to do it. There are all kinds of books on the very basics — sleeping, eating and talking — to those that deal with more complicated stuff, like how to teach self esteem and resiliency.

Adding to that aspirational reading list is Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask, a new book by sociologist Dalton Conley.

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The Salt
4:00 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Remember Fat-Free Mania? Take Our Survey

The 1990s were rife with low-fat packaged snacks, from potato chips to cookies.
Youtube and RetroJunk

If it was fat-free, it was good for us. That was the message we got from food marketers in the 1990s.

Just look back at some of the food ads from the era. Granola bars were healthy, as long as you removed the fat and added in some sugar. Same with yogurt: Skim off the fat, add sugar.

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Shots - Health News
5:27 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Insurance Chief Suggests Adding A New, Lower Level Of Health Plan

America's Health Insurance Plans President and CEO Karen Ignagni says she would loosen regulations on which insurance plans comply with the Affordable Care Act by adding a "lower tier" option that could entice healthier people.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:26 pm

Rather than letting people keep their old health plans that don't comply with the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the head of the group that represents the nation's health insurance companies is floating an alternative: weakening the requirements.

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Shots - Health News
4:43 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

OK To Vape In The Office? Cities, Feds And Firms Still Deciding

Some employees say e-cigarettes increase their productivity and help them steer clear of tobacco. But health regulators are looking into possible risks to e-cig users — and to co-workers.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:50 am

E-cigarettes aren't yet federally regulated as tobacco products, but many cities and some states are already moving to include the devices in their smoking bans. Such bans are raising a debate about whether e-cigarettes should be permitted to be used in smoke-free workplaces.

Gary Nolan was a two-pack-a-day cigarette smoker until he switched to e-cigs. Now Nolan, who hosts a libertarian talk show based in Columbia, Mo., freely puffs — or vapes, as it's come to be called — at work.

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Your Health
10:16 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Saturated Fat Is Back!

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 11:34 am

Americans have long been told to stay away from foods high in saturated fats. But new research suggests they might not be as bad for you as once thought.

Children's Health
10:14 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Were Hundreds Of Innocent Children Lost?

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 11:34 am

Transcript

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
9:25 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Teenage Drinkers Go For High-End Liquor And Cheap Beer, Too

A college student reaches for a beer during spring break in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 11:40 am

For underage drinkers, it's not always about the cheapest alcohol they can get their hands on. Many of them are brand conscious, researchers say, and they're not drinking the same stuff as their parents.

Young drinkers do go for sweet malt beverages that mask the taste of alcohol with fruit flavors; 17 percent said they'd had a Smirnoff malt beverage, which comes in flavors like grape and frozen strawberry lemonade.

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Latin America
4:09 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Why Cholera Persists In Haiti Despite An Abundance Of Aid

A makeshift latrine hangs over the water at the edge of Cite de Dieu, a slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 7:14 am

It's been more than three years since cholera struck Haiti. And the epidemic continues today.

The deadly bacteria have killed more than 8,500 people and infected hundreds of thousands.

Why has the outbreak been so hard to stop, even with more than $9 million in foreign aid pledged to Haiti?

Lack of sanitation, says journalist Jonathan Katz, who has been covering the cholera epidemic since it began.

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Around the Nation
3:47 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Rural Appalachia Helps Some Women Save For Retirement

Anita Wallace runs a child care service in rural Athens County, Ohio. She hadn't saved much for retirement before the Appalachian Savings Project offered to match half of her savings up to $600.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 4:22 pm

Anita Wallace has run a day care in her home in rural Athens County, Ohio, for eight years. The schedule is more family-friendly than when she logged 60 hours a week as a manager at Wal-Mart, and the pay is about $27,000 a year — not bad for the area.

Wallace adores the children, getting down on the floor to let toddlers snuggle on her shoulder. But Wallace, 40, and her husband, 47, also have three of their own kids to raise.

"They're very expensive!" she says, laughing, as her own children — two still live at home — inform her of the new track uniforms they need.

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Shots - Health News
3:47 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Never Mind Eyesight, Your Nose Knows Much More

Your schnoz deserves more respect.
epSos .de/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 7:14 am

The human eye can distinguish more than 2 million distinct colors. But scientists studying smell now say they have their vision colleagues beat: The human nose, they say, can distinguish more than a trillion different smells.

Yes, trillion with a T.

That new figure displaces a much more modest estimate. Until now, smell researchers have been saying the human nose can distinguish about 10,000 smells.

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Shots - Health News
12:00 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Screening Immigrants For TB Pays Dividends In U.S.

People who test positive for infection with bacteria that cause tuberculosis can be treated before they enter the U.S.
Janice Haney Carr CDC

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 1:39 pm

Hundreds of people with tuberculosis wishing to come to the U.S. have been stopped before they reached U.S. borders, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Physicians overseas picked up more than 1,100 cases in prospective immigrants and refugees prior to their arrival in the U.S. The cases include 14 people with multidrug-resistant TB, the CDC says.

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Shots - Health News
10:59 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk For All Women Everywhere

Researchers found that the more active a woman is, the better her odds of avoiding breast cancer.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:22 pm

This could be the simplest bit of health advice ever: Exercise reduces women's risk of breast cancer, no matter what kind of exercise they do, how old they are, how much they weigh, or when they get started.

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The Salt
9:33 am
Thu March 20, 2014

French-Fry Conspiracy: Genes Can Make Fried Foods More Fattening

Oh, these look good! But how much the fries hurt your waistline depends not only on how many you eat but also your DNA.
angela n./Flickr

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 12:11 pm

When it comes to fried foods, sometimes I feel cursed.

My husband can eat as many spicy, crispy chicken sandwiches as he wants and never gain a pound. But for me, just smelling the chicken fryer seems to expand my waistline.

Now doctors at the Harvard School of Public Health show what we've all suspected: Some people do indeed pay a higher price for indulging in French fries and Tater Tots. And we have Mom and Dad to blame for it.

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