Health Desk

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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Shots - Health News
1:41 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Strange But True: Music Doesn't Make Some People Happy

Is there anyone who can resist dancing when Pharrell Williams sings "Happy"? Yes, if you're one of the rare few with specific musical anhedonia.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:08 am

Surely listening to Pharrell Williams' Oscar nominee "Happy" makes you bounce with joy. Nirvana still makes you want to wail. And old Beatles songs make you feel like everything's going to be all right. But maybe you don't feel anything at all.

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Health Desk
11:52 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Student Food Allergies Change Classroom Policies

Credit flickr/stevendepolo

About one-third of teachers are keeping food out of their classrooms to avoid problems with students who suffer from allergies and other health issues.  

Horace Mann, a Springfield based insurance company,  conducted a nationwide survey of educators that includes questions about food policies. 

The survey shows in an average elementary school classroom with about 24 students, teachers say they have 1 to 2 students with food allergies.

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Shots - Health News
10:46 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Teens Who Try E-Cigarettes Are More Likely To Try Tobacco, Too

They're both legal. Either, both or none?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:01 pm

While electronic cigarettes may be marketed as alternatives that will keep teenagers away from tobacco, a study suggests that may not be the case.

Trying e-cigarettes increased the odds that a teenager would also try tobacco cigarettes and become regular smokers, the study found. Those who said they had ever used an e-cigarette were six times more likely to try tobacco than ones who had never tried the e-cig.

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Health Care
4:01 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Florida's Insurers Push To Sell Health Coverage To Latinos

Yolanda Madrid of Miami (left) talks with navigator Daniela Campos while signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in January.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:59 am

For all of California's troubles advertising health care to Latinos, that state has embraced the Affordable Care Act and is spending millions of dollars to get people to sign up. Florida is a different story.

Florida has a high rate of uninsured Latinos - almost 10 percent of all the country's uninsured Hispanics who are eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act live in the state.

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Shots - Health News
2:03 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Selling Health Care To California's Latinos Got Lost In Translation

Covered California

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 6:59 am

It's been decades since the advertising industry recognized the need to woo Hispanic consumers. Big companies saw the market potential and sank millions of dollars into ads. The most basic dos and don'ts of marketing to Latinos in the United States have been understood for years.

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Shots - Health News
7:42 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

A Third Of Nursing Home Patients Harmed By Their Treatment

Failures in ordinary care are causing widespread harm that's sometimes serious, inspectors say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 8:49 am

On the last day of his life, Charles Caldwell was surrounded by seven members of his family, but no one thought he was dying. He was in a Dallas-area nursing home, recuperating from surgery to insert a feeding tube. Caldwell had Parkinson's disease. He'd "lost his ability to swallow," explains Caldwell's son-in-law, Bill Putnam.

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The Salt
3:46 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Beer As A Post-Workout Recovery Drink? Not As Crazy As It Sounds

An ad for Vampt's Lean Machine "recovery ale," which will be marketed as a sports drink later this year, if funding allows. Researchers say drinking beer after working out has some advantages, but there are big caveats.
Courtesy of VAMPT

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:49 pm

There may be some good news brewing for fitness and beer enthusiasts: Somewhere in the north, a Canadian beverage company has concocted a low-alcohol, protein-packed "fit beer" that is expected to be marketed as a sports drink later this year, if funding allows.

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Shots - Health News
3:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick

Current water-filtering technology is costly, but MIT scientists are testing a simpler and cheaper method that uses wood from white pine trees.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 2:25 pm

Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.

The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.

Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.

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Shots - Health News
1:59 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Edgy Washington State Ads Urge Young People To Buy Insurance

Rian, 26, tells the rappers about the low-cost health plan she bought on the exchange in this TV ad.
waplanfinder/YouTube

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Shots - Health News
11:34 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Cities Take The Lead In Regulating Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes for sale in Vapeology LA, a store in Los Angeles, are tended by owner John Hartigan.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:59 am

Count Los Angeles as the latest big city to say no to electronic cigarettes.

The City Council there voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban use of the devices, which release vaporized nicotine, in almost all public places, including bars, workplaces and beaches.

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The Salt
7:41 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Eat Plants And Prosper: For Longevity, Go Easy On The Meat, Study Says

A new study linking animal protein-rich diets to increased mortality in middle age adds fuel to the controversy over how much protein — and from what sources — is ideal for health. One thing that seems pretty clear: It doesn't hurt to go heavy on the greens.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:49 pm

Americans who ate a diet rich in animal protein during middle age were significantly more likely to die from cancer and other causes, compared with people who reported going easy on foods such as red meat and cheese, fresh research suggests.

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Shots - Health News
5:54 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Palliative Chemo Can Make It More Likely You'll Die In The ICU

Chemotherapy is administered to a patient at Duke Cancer Center in Durham, N.C.
Gerry Broome AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 7:31 am

Cancer patients who get chemotherapy in the last months of their lives are more likely to die in the intensive care unit, rather than where they wish, a study finds.

And with more than half of all people with incurable cancer getting palliative chemotherapy in the months before they die, many people could be suffering more than needed.

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News
3:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Among Soldiers, Risk Of Suicide May Have Surprising Roots

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 5:31 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

For years, people in the military had a lower rate of suicide than their civilian counterparts. About 10 years ago that started to change and now the rate is worse for soldiers than civilians. That prompted the largest-ever study of suicide among soldiers, in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health. The study is on-going, but three initial articles have been published.

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Shots - Health News
12:00 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Health Law Provides No Guarantees Of Access To Birthing Centers

Nurse midwife Danielle Kraessig seen meeting with Yakini Branch at the PCC South Family Health Center in Berwyn, Ill., in early 2013. While the federal law requires insurers to cover maternity services, birthing centers and midwifery services aren't always included.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 5:48 pm

Insurance coverage for maternity care is required in most individual and small group plans under the federal health law, extending such coverage to plans where it used to be rare. But for women who prefer services provided by midwives and birthing centers, there are no coverage guarantees, despite the law's provisions that prohibit insurers from discriminating against licensed medical providers.

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Research News
5:08 am
Tue March 4, 2014

When It Comes To Vaccines, Science Can Run Into A Brick Wall

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 7:04 am

The public health community has been trying for years to debunk the spurious connection people have been making between vaccines and autism. Have the messages been backfiring?

Shots - Health News
2:52 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Drugmakers Slash Spending On Doctors' Sales Talks

Now that Eli Lilly & Co.'s antidepressant Cymbalta and some other blockbusters have gone generic, the company is spending less on promotional activities by doctors.
Darron Cummings AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:14 pm

Some of the nation's largest pharmaceutical companies have dramatically reduced payments to health professionals for promotional speeches amid heightened public scrutiny of such spending, a ProPublica analysis shows.

Eli Lilly & Co.'s payments to speakers dropped by 55 percent, from $47.9 million in 2011 to $21.6 million in 2012.

Pfizer's speaking payments fell 62 percent over the same period, from nearly $22 million to $8.3 million.

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Shots - Health News
2:49 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Flagging Down Taxi Drivers To Sign Up For Obamacare

Yuvania Maldonado, a counselor for President Obama's health care law, speaks with Chicago taxi driver Mohammad Chaudri at a city office where taxi drivers go to renew their license.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 7:04 am

Dan Ware has been driving a taxicab in Chicago for more than a decade, but he still doesn't have what many jobs offer: health insurance.

"I'm without health coverage," he says.

And that's not unusual, says Chicago Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair. "What we know in Chicago is that around 70 percent of taxi drivers are uninsured," Choucair says.

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Shots - Health News
4:50 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

If He's Sexually Aggressive In Bars, It's Not Because He's Drunk

We used to think they behaved badly because they were drunk. Now we know they were just behaving badly.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 1:14 pm

Young women are often the targets of aggression when they're out in bars, but the problem isn't that guys are too drunk to know better.

Instead, men are preying on women who have had too much to drink.

When researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Washington observed young people's behavior in bars, they found that the man's aggressiveness didn't match his level of intoxication. There was no relationship.

Instead, men targeted women who were intoxicated.

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Law
3:42 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Yale Law Students Raise Case For Discharged Vets

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 6:19 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In the U.S., posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD has become part of our national vocabulary. During the Vietnam War, though, it wasn't yet a medical diagnosis, nor was it accepted as an explanation for erratic behavior. Today, a number of Vietnam veterans filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the tens of thousands of Vietnam vets they say got kicked out of the military because of problems related to PTSD.

NPR's Quil Lawrence reports their suit aims to get these veterans the benefits they missed out on for decades.

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Shots - Health News
1:49 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Dunk Now, Pay Later: Elite College Players May Suffer In Middle Age

Duke's Jabari Parker weaves his way through UCLA players during a December game in New York.
Jason DeCrow AP

College athletes astound us with their power and speed, but they can pay a price years later. Division I players are more likely to be disabled, depressed and in pain in middle age, a study finds. And they may end up worse off because they fail to make the switch from high-level competition to the low-level activity of the rest of us.

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Business
2:35 am
Mon March 3, 2014

E-Cigarette Critics Worry New Ads Will Make 'Vaping' Cool For Kids

E-cigarettes was a $2 billion industry last year and it's expected to hit $5 billion this year.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 4:30 pm

Electronic cigarette makers are getting bold with their advertising, using provocative new print ads and celebrity endorsements on TV. But public health advocates say these images are luring kids to hook them on nicotine.

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Shots - Health News
2:33 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Evidence On Marijuana's Health Effects Is Hazy At Best

C. Nash smokes after possession of marijuana became legal in Washington state on Dec. 6, 2012.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 8:23 am

Colorado opened its first pot stores in January, and adults in Washington state will be able to walk into a store and buy marijuana this summer. But this legalization of recreational marijuana is taking place without much information on the possible health effects.

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Shots - Health News
2:32 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Marijuana May Hurt The Developing Teen Brain

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:42 pm

The teenager's brain has a lot of developing to do: It must transform from the brain of a child into the brain of an adult. Some researchers worry how marijuana might affect that crucial process.

"Actually, in childhood our brain is larger," says Krista Lisdahl, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. "Then, during the teenage years, our brain is getting rid of those connections that weren't really used, and it prunes back.

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Shots - Health News
11:03 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Noise Machines To Help Babies Sleep Can Raise Quite A Din

Noise machines to help infants fall asleep can be so loud that they pose a hazard, researchers say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 8:23 am

About a year ago, pediatric otolaryngologist Blake Papsin went into a patient's room at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He was surprised by the roar of a sleep machine the parents had brought to help their child conk out amid the beeps and buzzes of the hospital.

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Shots - Health News
6:33 am
Sun March 2, 2014

FDA To Increase Access To Generic Morning-After Pills

Women's health groups campaigned hard to make a generic — and often cheaper — emergency contraceptive pill more widely available.
Elise Amendola AP

The Food and Drug Administration has decided to allow generic versions of the most popular form of emergency contraceptive pills to be sold over the counter, without age restrictions, after all.

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