Health Desk

Politics
3:06 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

To Sell Health Care To Young People, Obama Steps 'Between Two Ferns'

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Long-time fans of the comedy website, "Funny or Die," know this already. But for the rest of you, this is the theme song of "Between Two Ferns." The Web series mimics a low-budget, cable-access interview program.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's the brainchild of actor and comedian Zach Galifinakis. He plays an unprepared host who fumbles through awkward conversations with celebrities. But the guest of his latest episode, released today, was a little different.

Read more
Health Care
3:06 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

March Marks A Crucible For Obamacare As Deadline Nears

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 5:51 pm

Facing a deadline, the Obama administration is desperate to boost enrollment in health care exchanges. Still millions from their goal, they're stepping up outreach and forgetting politics — for now.

Humans
3:06 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Genetic Sequencing May Not Be Ready To Become Routine

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:17 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Questions Remain About Whether Doctors Can Curb Children's Drug Use

The exam might also include questions about alcohol and drugs.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 1:20 pm

What can doctors do to help kids stay away from drugs?

There's not much evidence to say one way or the other, it turns out.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which issues guidelines on what doctors should and shouldn't do, said there aren't enough reliable studies around to come up with any solid advice. So the task force gave the interventions an "I" for insufficient evidence. The kids might call it an incomplete.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:50 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Tiny In-Nose Filters Aim To Keep Allergies At Bay

The glasses aren't going to help with your allergies. But some inventors think that a tiny dust-blocking device might.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 7:23 am

For the millions of people with allergies, spring can mean months of antihistamines, nasal steroids and avoiding nature.

So we were intrigued when we came across the concept of nasal filters – tiny devices that claim to block pollen and other allergens from ever entering nasal passages.

Read more
Health Desk
11:57 am
Tue March 11, 2014

State Panel Approves Memorial-Passavant Affiliation

Passavant Area Hospital
Credit Passavant Hospital

The affiliation of two area health care organizations is a step closer to becoming a reality.  Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville plans to join Memorial Health System, which oversees three other hospitals including Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

Tuesday, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board unanimously approved the change.   
Ed Curtis, Memorial's CEO, says the affiliation is on target to take effect April first.  Afterward, he says patients won't notice an immediate difference in how they access health care:

Read more
NPR Story
11:12 am
Tue March 11, 2014

On Identity, Depression And Listening: Andrew Solomon Answers Your Questions

Writer Andrew Solomon speaking at TEDMED.
Courtesy of TEDMED

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 10:28 am

Writer Andrew Solomon delves deep into topics most wouldn't touch. His book Far From The Tree is a thoughtful look into parents raising children who are different from themselves: children with Down's syndrome, autism, or a complete loss of hearing and others. His TED Talk based on the book has been seen almost two million times.

Read more
Shots - Health News
10:04 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Deadline Nears To Buy Or Switch Obamacare Coverage

Janelle Arevalo, an insurance agent with Sunshine Life and Health Advisors, makes a house call in Miami to sign up Sandra Berrios (left) for an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

People who got off to a rough start with Obamacare or haven't picked a plan still have options. But they better hop to it. The open enrollment period ends March 31.

Those who were unable to sign up for a marketplace plan because of the glitches with federal or state websites can receive coverage retroactive to the date they originally applied. There are also retroactive premium tax credits and subsidies, the federal government said in late February.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:34 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

As Health Law Takes Hold, Rate Of Uninsured Falls

A survey taken in early 2014 finds that the uninsured rate has declined. But differences by age remain.
Gallup

Since the Affordable Care Act kicked in fully, the percentage of Americans without health coverage has fallen to its lowest point in five years.

In the last quarter of 2013, just before the federal health law took full effect, 17.1 percent of Americans reported they lacked health insurance, according to a Gallup survey.

When the survey was taken (between Jan. 2 and Feb. 28), the rate had dropped to 1.2 percentage points to 15.9 percent.

Read more
Children's Health
3:02 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Casinos, Sites Of Excess, Might Actually Help Families Slim Down

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 6:59 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When you think about casinos, you probably think about excess: smoke-filled rooms, too much alcohol, and endless buffets filled with piles of high-fat and high sugar foods.

But as NPR's Patti Neighmond reports, a new study suggests casinos may actually have a health benefit for children who live in nearby communities.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:48 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Memories Can Go Astray When We Step Outside Our Bodies

The illusion of an out-of-body experience made it harder for people to remember what happened.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 1:19 pm

Our bodies may help us remember our lives, fixing experiences in place. By using virtual reality, scientists can make people feel like they're outside their own bodies. And when they do, the brain struggles to remember what happened.

Read more
Health Desk
1:38 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

State Health Panel Wants To See Expansion Of Health Jobs

LaMar Hasbrouck, IDPH Director
Credit WUIS

A state panel has released nearly two dozen recommendations to deal with the increase in patients expected under the Affordable Care Act.  However, some of those ideas will be hard to get approved.

Read more
Children's Health
11:15 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Why Kids Leave The E.R. With Concussions

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 12:23 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Brain injuries like concussions have got a lot of attention in professional sports lately. But there's also a new focus on concussion in children, especially those who play sports at a young age. A new study suggests that emergency rooms could be doing much more to find and treat concussions in children. It's published online in the journal Pediatrics Today.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:57 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Of Cigs And Selfies: Teens Imitate Risky Behavior Shared Online

High school students whose friends posted photos of drinking and smoking were about 20 percent more likely to become drinkers or smokers themselves.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:59 am

Teenagers put a lot of stock in what their peers are doing, and parents are forever trying to push back against that influence. But with the advent of social media, hanging out with the wrong crowd can include not just classmates, but teenagers thousands of miles away on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:04 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

Alzheimer's Blood Test Raises Ethical Questions

Scientists have long sought a way to detect Alzheimer's before symptoms appear.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:59 am

An experimental blood test can identify people in their 70s who are likely to develop Alzheimer's disease within two or three years. The test is accurate more than 90 percent of the time, scientists reported Sunday in Nature Medicine.

Read more
Health
7:19 am
Sun March 9, 2014

A Senator's Long And Patient Recovery From Stroke

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 11:00 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Two years ago last January, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk was getting ready for another busy working day, filled with appointments, when he felt a strange sensation.

SENATOR MARK KIRK: I was in my house in Illinois, in the bathroom. A little temporary dizziness indicated that I had a problem that ought to be looked at by a doctor.

MARTIN: He called his assistant, cancelled his appointments and drove himself to the hospital. It was a stroke.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:28 am
Sat March 8, 2014

When Facts Are Scarce, ER Doctor Turns Detective To Decide On Care

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:55 am

It's just past midnight on a freezing Saturday night in Washington, D.C.

In the last hour, five ambulances have arrived at the emergency room where I work. A sixth pulls up.

The paramedics wheel out a stretcher carrying a man, 73, strapped to a hard board, a precaution in case his spine is fractured. There's blood around his neck brace and a strong smell of urine.

"We found him by his bed," a paramedic tells me. The patient told the paramedics he slipped. "Reports back pain and some cuts and bruises," one of them adds.

Read more
Health Care
6:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Affordable Care Act Isn't Perfect, But It's A 'Pretty Good Structure'

Courtesy of Public Affairs

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 11:20 am

For the Affordable Care Act to be considered a success years down the road, Ezekiel Emanuel believes that all Americans must have access to health coverage, and it must be better quality and lower cost. "And I think it's well within our grasp," he says.

Read more
Shots - Health News
6:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Reaching The Young And Uninsured On A Texas Campus

Nobody plans to wind up in the emergency room, but costly accidents happen — even to healthy young people.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:55 am

At lunchtime on the North Harris campus of Houston's Lone Star Community College, students stream through the lobby of the student services center, plugged into their headphones or rushing to class.

Many walk right past a small information table about the Affordable Care Act.

Read more
The Edge
4:28 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Military Training Gives U.S. Paralympic Biathletes An Edge

Andy Soule, a U.S. Army veteran, lost both his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan in 2005. Four years ago, he won America's first medal — Olympic or Paralympic — in the biathlon event.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:39 pm

Biathlon may be the toughest endurance sport in the Olympics. After grueling circuits of Nordic skiing, athletes have to calm their breathing, steady their tired legs and shoot tiny targets with a rifle.

Andy Soule does it all with only his arms.

"It's a steep learning curve, learning to sit-ski," says Soule, a member of the U.S. Paralympic team. He's strapped into a seat attached to two fixed cross-country skis. He speeds along the course by hauling himself with ski poles.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:05 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Seeking Solutions For Sexual Aggression Against Women In Bars

What is it about bars that brings out bad behavior?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 1:20 pm

Our post on sexual harassment in bars sure struck a nerve.

Earlier this week we covered a study from the University of Toronto that found that men who were sexually aggressive in bars weren't necessarily drunk, and that their actions usually weren't the result of miscommunication.

Read more
Shots - Health News
10:44 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Actuaries In Denver Will Get First Peek At Obamacare's Full Cost

Health insurers are banding together to share information about how much new customers are costing health plans. A group of actuaries in Denver will be the first to see the figures, which could be used in calculating future rates.
iStockphoto

Now that medical insurers must accept all applicants no matter how sick, what will these new customers cost health plans? And how will their coverage costs affect insurance prices for 2015 and beyond?

Few questions about the Affordable Care Act are more important. How it all plays out will affect consumer pocketbooks, insurance company profits and perhaps the political fortunes of those backing the health law.

A few Denver actuaries, bound to confidentiality, will be the first to glimpse the answers.

Read more
TED Radio Hour
8:16 am
Fri March 7, 2014

How Can We All Listen Better?

Julian Treasure speaking at TED.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Extrasensory.

About Julian Treasure's TEDTalk

Sound expert Julian Treasure says we are losing our listening in a louder world. He shares ways to re-tune our ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around us.

About Julian Treasure

Read more
TED Radio Hour
8:16 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Can A Prosthetic Limb Feel?

Todd Kuiken speaking at TED.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Extrasensory.

About Todd Kuiken's TEDTalk

Physiatrist and engineer Todd Kuiken is building a prosthetic arm that connects with the human nervous system — improving motion, control and even feeling.

About Todd Kuiken

Read more
TED Radio Hour
8:16 am
Fri March 7, 2014

How Do You Construct A Voice?

Rupal Patel speaking at TED Women.
Marla Aufmuth TED

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Extrasensory.

About Rupal Patel's TEDTalk

Speech scientist Rupal Patel creates customized synthetic voices that enable people who can't speak to communicate in a unique voice that embodies their personality.

About Rupal Patel

Read more
The Edge
2:15 am
Fri March 7, 2014

From War In The Desert To 'Murder Ball On Ice'

Former Marine Josh Sweeney lost both of his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan in 2009. He's competing with the U.S. Men's Sled Hockey team at the Paralympics in Sochi.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 11:18 am

It might not exactly be doctor's orders, but it made perfect sense to Josh Sweeney.

"If you hit somebody, you feel a lot better," he says, making his way off the ice from a grueling practice with the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team — a sport also known as "murder ball on ice."

Read more
Shots - Health News
6:57 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Second Baby Cleared Of HIV. Rare Event, Or Hope For Others?

While not conclusive, the two cases are "quite promising," says Anthony Fauci, a longtime AIDS researcher who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 7:01 am

In only the second documented case of its kind, an infant born with the AIDS virus may have been cured of the infection, thanks to an intensive drug treatment begun just hours after her birth. The baby girl — now 9 months old — from Long Beach, Calif., is still on that regimen of antiretroviral drugs. But researchers who described her case at an AIDS meeting in Boston this week say advanced testing suggests that she is HIV-negative.

Read more
The Salt
5:38 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Almost 500 Foods Contain The 'Yoga Mat' Compound. Should We Care?

Going, going, gone. You won't find azodicarbonamide in Nature's Own products. And Subway is phasing it out, too. But lots of manufacturers are still using the additive.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 11:55 am

That compound found in commercially baked bread — yep, the one that's in yoga mats, too — is in the news again.

A report from the Environmental Working Group finds that the compound, azodicarbonamide, is found in close to 500 food products, from Pillsbury Dinner Rolls to Little Debbie products to Wonder Bread.

Read more
Health Care
3:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Obama Pitches Health Care Law To Latinos In Bid To Boost Enrollment

President Obama talks with television hosts Jose Diaz-Balart, center, and Enrique Acevedo, left, about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for Latinos.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:50 pm

Getting Latinos to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is seen as critical to the law's success. The Latino population is disproportionately uninsured and relatively young, but enrollment hasn't been going well. This, in part, explains President Obama's appearance Thursday at a town-hall-style event hosted by the nation's two largest Spanish-language television networks, Univision and Telemundo. The tough questions he got only scratch the surface.

Read more
News
3:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Texas Abortion Restrictions Shutter Two More Clinics

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The last two abortion clinics in Texas' Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border are closing today. New restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature last year require that doctors at abortion clinics obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Well, many hospitals have been reluctant to grant those privileges, and as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, today's closures have women's health advocates concerned.

Read more

Pages