Health Desk

Shots - Health News
5:19 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Big Drop In Colon Cancer Fuels Push To Get More People Screened

Many people think that colon cancer screening is no walk in the park. This giant inflatable colon on display at the University of Miami Health System campus was intended to help them think otherwise.
Suzette Laboy AP

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 2:37 pm

The number of people getting colon cancer has fallen by 30 percent over the past decade in people over 50, and much of that progress is due to screening, a study finds.

But a substantial number of people in that target age group still haven't been screened, and a consortium of organizations say they're pushing to get 80 percent of those people screened at least once by 2018.

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Shots - Health News
2:36 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Scientists Search For Toxins In Cigarette Smoke Residue

Long after the smoke is gone, carcinogenic chemicals remain.
Victoria Alexandrova iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 2:34 pm

Everybody knows smoking is hazardous. Being around someone who smokes isn't such a good idea either. "There's no safe amount of secondhand smoke," the surgeon general has said.

Now thirdhand smoke is getting scrutiny. What's thirdhand smoke? It's the residue from smoke that settles onto clothes, hair, furniture or anything else in a smoker's vicinity.

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Shots - Health News
1:39 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Even If You Don't Have Symptoms, You May Still Have The Flu

Just the sniffles? Could be the flu.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 6:33 pm

Fever, muscle aches, nausea — these are what we usually associate with having the flu.

But just because you don't exhibit these symptoms, it doesn't mean you don't have the flu, researchers say. And you could be just as contagious. In fact, their study found that roughly three-quarters of people with seasonal or pandemic flu show either no symptoms or mild ones that aren't usually linked to flu.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Attorneys General Ask Big Retailers To Pull Tobacco From Stores

CVS announced last month that it would no longer sell cigarettes and tobacco products in its stores beginning Oct. 1.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 12:53 pm

Attorneys general from 28 states are urging drugstores and large retailers to stop selling tobacco products. In letters sent to Kroger, Wal-Mart, and other store chains, the officials ask companies to follow the example of pharmacy chain CVS, which announced last month that it's going to stop selling tobacco products.

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Shots - Health News
3:18 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Doctors Use 3-D Printing To Help A Baby Breathe

Garrett shares a moment with his mother, Natalie Peterson. "He has been doing so good," she says. "He's been smiling."
Nicole Haley/University of Michigan Health System

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 10:59 am

Ever since the day Garrett Peterson was born, his parents have had to watch him suddenly just stop breathing.

"He could go from being totally fine to turning blue sometimes — not even kidding — in 30 seconds," says Garrett's mother, Natalie Peterson, 25, of Layton, Utah. "It was so fast. It was really scary."

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Shots - Health News
4:04 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Parenting In The Age Of Apps: Is That iPad Help Or Harm?

With tablet technology still relatively new, pediatricians are trying to understand how interactive media affects children.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 10:32 am

When it comes to media, parents all want to know: How much is too much for my child?

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician, professor and father of two, has spent a lot of time thinking about the effects of media on young children. Christakis tells NPR's Arun Rath that not all TV is bad.

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Shots - Health News
12:39 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

Wife And Mother: 'You'd Never Suspect My Junkie Past'

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 5:56 am

It has been seven years and two months since I woke from my coma. My eyelids were taped shut and my arms were cuffed to some unknown object. The first sense that came back was sound. I could hear the voices of doctors and nurses chatting about the weather.

I distinctly remember a doctor poking my bare feet with a scalpel. "Vegetable," I heard him say. Everything was blackness. "God, help me, what have I done?" I thought. I'm in hell, and I put myself here.

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Health
6:51 am
Sun March 16, 2014

Inside The Barely Legal World Of Designer Drugs

Originally published on Sun March 16, 2014 10:32 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Health
2:59 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

When Loved Ones Go Missing, Ambiguity Can Hold Grief Captive

Subramaniam Gurusamy holds a portrait of his son Puspanathan, who was onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, on Friday in his home in Teluk Panglima Garang, outside Kuala Lumpur.
Manan Vatsyayana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 4:33 pm

It has been more than a week since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, and despite a massive search effort, the whereabouts of the plane and the 239 people on board are unknown.

The airline has told the families and friends of those missing to "expect the worst."

But it's tough for families to grieve without knowing the answer to a crucial question: Could my loved one still be alive?

Dr. Pauline Boss works with people in this kind of situation. She's the author of Loss, Trauma and Resilience and a professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota.

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Shots - Health News
10:56 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Gay Couples Entitled To Equal Family Health Coverage, Fed Says

The family health insurance rule applies only to married couples and not to those who are in domestic partnerships or civil unions.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 10:58 am

What insurers offer to spouses in a traditional marriage, they must make available to same-sex couples, the federal government said Friday.

The change means that same-sex couples, who haven't been able to buy family health policies, will be able to do so now.

"It's a big deal," says Katie Keith, director of research at the Trimpa Group, a consulting firm that works on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. "If you identify as married, it's hard to stomach that you can't get family coverage."

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Health Care
8:52 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Under 30? The President Would Like You To Know Health Care Is Hip

The president joined host Zach Galifianakis on the Funny or Die mock talk show, Between Two Ferns this week. Obama was there to promote the Affordable Care Act.
Funny or Die

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 10:32 am

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Shots - Health News
5:03 am
Sat March 15, 2014

House Passes Payment Fix For Medicare Docs, But At What Cost?

Medicare's payments to doctors will likely be slashed April 1, unless the U.S. Senate can quickly get a derailed compromise back on track.
iStockphoto

Bipartisan support dissolved this week for compromise legislation that would have fixed a longstanding problem with the way Medicare pays physicians. Though the bill passed the House of Representatives Friday, it now contains a provision almost certain to invite veto unless a Senate version can quickly nudge the ultimate bill back toward compromise.

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The Salt
4:01 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Rethinking The Five-Second Rule: With Carpet, There's No Rush

Bacteria don't wear wristwatches. But they can take their sweet time hopping onto a potato chip.
Greg Williams/Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 4:47 pm

Many of us will happily eat a gummy bear or cookie after it falls on the floor, as long as we snatch it up quickly. Say, five seconds or less, right?

Well, science just gave us another excuse to continue this food-saving habit, especially when it comes to carpet-dusted snacks.

Biology students at the Aston University in Birmingham, U.K., measured how quickly two common bacteria hop aboard foods dropped on tiles, linoleum and carpet.

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The Salt
3:31 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Companies Tap Celebrity Power For Extreme Vegetable Makeover

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 10:31 pm

Marketing to kids may have gotten a bad rap in the past. Especially since children have been the target of so much junk food advertising.

But it's a new day.

Increasingly, companies are seeing profits pushing ultra-healthy stuff. And they're not using a finger-wagging, guilt-ridden, eat-your-veggies-because-they're-good-for-you messaging.

Birds Eye is taking a page from the playbook of other companies that have had success leveraging the power of teen pop stars: The frozen food giant is turning to Disney.

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News
3:06 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Lawmakers Seek To Lay Roadblock To Powerful Painkiller

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 5:33 pm

Sen. Joe Manchin is introducing a bill to force the Food and Drug Administration to ban potent new painkiller Zohydro, backed by a bipartisan effort to get the FDA to remove its approval of the drug.

Shots - Health News
2:26 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Can Congress Put An End To Annual Medicare Payment Ritual?

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, after House Republicans passed a measure Friday that would overhaul the system Medicare uses to pay doctors.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 7:08 pm

Congress is still searching for money to avoid a 24 percent cut in pay for doctors who treat Medicare patients.

But seniors are already paying their share of the cost in premiums, as if the pay cut — scheduled to kick in on April 1 — won't happen.

Seniors' premiums cover 25 percent of their Medicare Part B outpatient services, including doctor visits, outpatient lab tests and hospital visits, medical equipment and home health care.

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The Salt
2:22 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

See More, Eat More: The Geography Of Fast Food

The density of fast-food joints where we live, work and commute could be a problem for our waistlines.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 4:16 pm

When it comes to avoiding unhealthy food, it might be that out of sight means out of mind.

The more fast-food joints people encounter around their homes and workplaces, the likelier they are to be obese, according to a study published Thursday.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that the people who are most exposed to fast food were almost twice as likely to be obese as those who were least exposed.

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Shots - Health News
9:11 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Young Women Increasingly Turn To ADHD Drugs

Have daunting to-do lists contributed to the rise in ADHD drug prescriptions?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 6:16 am

Use of ADHD drugs continues to rise in the United States, but the group whose use is increasing the most may come as a surprise: young women.

An analysis of prescriptions filled from 2008 to 2012 through Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit management company, found that use of ADHD medications rose 35.5 percent overall. The company's database includes 15 million people with private insurance.

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TED Radio Hour
8:38 am
Fri March 14, 2014

What If Our Health Care System Kept Us Healthy?

"We all harbor one fiercely held aspiration for our health care: that it keep us healthy." —Rebecca Onie
Courtesy of TED

Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 1:53 pm

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Solving It.

About Rebecca Onie's TED Talk

Health advocate Rebecca Onie describes how our health care system can be restructured to prevent — and not just treat — illness.

About Rebecca Onie

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The Salt
6:03 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows

States are taking an out provided by Congress to avoid cutting food stamp benefits to families, many of whom already depend on food banks like the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, Calif.
Antonio Mena Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 12:41 pm

When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.

You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option — a move that could erase the promised savings.

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Shots - Health News
3:52 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Electronic Headband Prevents Migraines With Tiny Jolts

The sci-fi Cefaly headband puts an electrode firmly against the forehead to help reduce the frequency of migraines.
Cefaly

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 6:15 am

The latest treatment to prevent migraines is a headband that looks more like something you'd expect to see in Star Trek than the doctor's office.

But don't let the slick design fool you. The basic pain-stopping technology inside the Cefaly headband has been around for decades.

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Shots - Health News
3:23 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Google's Flu Tracker Suffers From Sniffles

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 10:27 am

If you want to know what's up with the flu at the moment, you have a few choices: You can get the latest information at Google Flu Trends. Or you can get the official word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is based on data that's by now a couple of weeks old.

But a report in the journal Science finds that quicker isn't necessarily better.

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Around the Nation
2:52 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

For Sandy Hook Killer's Father, Tragedy Outweighs Love For His Son

Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six teachers Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., in 2012. His father has spoken to the media for the first time since the incident.
Jason DeCrow AP

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:46 pm

We still don't know why Adam Lanza killed his mother, then 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning a gun on himself in December 2012. But we do know more about Lanza's life, what his doctors had to say about him and what his parents did to try to help him.

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Shots - Health News
1:31 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

HIV Can Spread Through Sexual Contact Between Women

Lesbian couples have a lower risk of spreading HIV to each other than do heterosexual or gay couples.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 2:17 pm

A woman in Texas likely infected her female partner with HIV through sexual contact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

The case offers the strongest evidence to date that HIV transmission between women, although rare, is possible.

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Shots - Health News
11:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Statins Might Not Cause Aching Muscles, But Diabetes Risk Is Real

Statins are widely prescribed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but we may not be getting a clear picture of side effect risks.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:22 pm

People taking cholesterol-lowering statins often report having muscle pain and other side effects. Many quit taking the pills as a result.

But the statins aren't to blame, according to an analysis that found muscle problems no more likely with statins than with a placebo pill.

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The Salt
9:47 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Advice For Eating Well On A Tight Budget, From A Mom Who's Been There

JuJu Harris is the author of The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook. A former recipient of government food assistance, she now teaches healthy eating skills to low-income families in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of Molly M. Peterson

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 4:47 pm

JuJu Harris didn't set out to write a cookbook, but then again, she didn't set out to accept public assistance to feed her son, either. Harris always wanted to work with nature.

"My dream job was, I was going to grow up and be a national park ranger," she says. It didn't quite work out that way. She drifted from job to job in Oakland, Calif., where she was born. At 32, she joined the Peace Corps, traveling to Paraguay to help local farmers improve their crops.

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NPR Story
4:05 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Wake Up And Smell The Caffeine. It's A Powerful Drug

We love our morning coffee, but what's really in that piping hot cup of java? It's a powerful drug called caffeine.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 7:31 am

Many of us can barely make it through the morning without first downing a cup of hot coffee. It's become such a big part of our daily rituals that few actually give much thought to what it is that we're putting in our bodies.

To help us break down the little-known things about caffeine, NPR's David Greene spoke with Murray Carpenter, author of Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts and Hooks Us. These are the things you probably aren't thinking about as you wait in line at your local coffee shop.

Caffeine is a drug. Treat it as such.

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Shots - Health News
6:25 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Foul Weather Begets Foul Moods Online

Weather got you down? Cheer up. Your social network feels — and is amplifying — your pain.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:23 pm

We already know that cat memes and BuzzFeed lists spread around Facebook quicker than germs in a kindergarten classroom. But can emotions go viral as well?

Perhaps, researchers say. When your Facebook friends post happy things online, you're more likely to do so too, according to a study published Wednesday. And the same applies for negative posts: If your friends are being grumpy online, you're more likely to post something negative.

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Business
3:59 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Health Care Law Helps Entrepreneurs Quit Their Day Jobs

The Affordable Care Act could encourage people to start new businesses by solving an age-old problem: job lock.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:37 am

The Affordable Care Act — which many see creating challenges for businesses — could benefit a particular group of business people: entrepreneurs.

Joshua Simonson was reluctant to give up his job at a Portland, Ore., area grocery store, New Seasons Market, which he says had provided excellent health care for him and his family. He had a pre-existing condition that has prevented him from getting insurance in the private market, but one key development helped convince him to quit and start a farm.

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Shots - Health News
3:12 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

How A Series Of Mistakes Hobbled Minnesota's Health Exchange

Becky Fink, a MNsure navigator, helps Mic-Ryan Freeman, 22, fill out a paper application for health insurance in February at Nucleus Clinic in Coon Rapids, Minn.
Jennifer Simonson/MPR News Photo courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio News and NPR-Kaiser Health News-Member Station Reporting Project. © 2014 Minnesota Public Radio

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:14 pm

Minnesota is expected to pick a new lead technology contractor for its health insurance marketplace in the coming weeks. The state has been working hard to improve its website, but in its first few months serious technical problems made it difficult if not impossible to use.

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