Health Desk

Shots - Health News
1:04 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Reinventing The Condom With Easy-On Tabs And Beef Tendon

One experimental condom has tabs on either side so it's easier to put on in the dark.
Courtesy of California Family Health Council

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:42 am

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On Disabilities
11:49 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Autistic Kids At Risk Of Wandering: How To Keep Them Safe

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
9:42 am
Thu November 21, 2013

A Son's Death Reveals Chasms In Emergency Mental Health Care

A hearse leaves the Deeds family home in Millboro, Va., on Tuesday, after 24-year-old Austin "Gus" Deeds died in an apparent suicide.
Don Petersen AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 12:49 pm

Parents who have a child struggling with serious mental illness live in fear that the worst will happen.

The apparent suicide of a young man in Virginia after he allegedly attacked his father, a state senator, shows how difficult it can be for families to get help in the midst of a mental health crisis.

The recession brought deep cuts in states' spending on mental health. The reductions made it harder for people to get help before they're in crisis, mental health advocates say, and even harder to find a hospital bed in an emergency.

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The Salt
9:15 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Remember 'French Fries Cause Cancer'? Here's The Acrylamide Update

French fries: There are probably other reasons besides acrylamide to avoid these tasty snacks.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:02 pm

Back in 2002, french fry lovers around the world received a nasty bit of news: Those crunchy, fried strips of potato contained a known carcinogen. Now, all these years later, a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration has consumers once again puzzling over whether to fear the chemical acrylamide.

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Business
5:37 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Obama, State Insurance Commissioners Talk Policy Extensions

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:55 am

President Obama met with state insurance commissioners to discuss changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Some commissioners are in a difficult spot because their states passed laws that prohibit policies that don't comply with the law. Now, the president says companies can keep offering non-compliant policies for another year if they want to.

NPR Story
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Medicare Project May Provide Better Care Less Expensively

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:55 am

Fort Dodge, Iowa, is not exactly what you'd think of as a hotbed of health care innovation. But the small town in the western part of the state is part of a Medicare pilot project that economists say could be a pathway to the holy grail of health care: providing better care at a lower cost.

Shots - Health News
4:53 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Medicaid Enrollment Is Brisk Despite HealthCare.gov Troubles

Low-income adults formerly had few options for free health care. Leah Sessor had her blood pressure taken on April 14, 2012, during a free clinic at a racetrack in Bristol, Tenn.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 10:16 pm

Buried in the paltry enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act that were released last week was something that came as a surprise to many — the success states are having signing people up for the Medicaid program, which provides health care to low-income people.

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All Tech Considered
4:53 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Video Game Creators Are Using Apps To Teach Empathy

A screenshot of the iPad game If, which aims to teach kids how to navigate interpersonal challenges and failures.
NPR

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:06 am

Much of the modern education reform movement has centered around the drive for data. Standardized tests now gauge whether children are at grade level seemingly every few months. Kids are observed, measured and sorted almost constantly.

In Silicon Valley, a $20 billion industry does much the same thing — but for a different purpose.

Video game design has become a data-driven industry where games evolve depending on how they are played.

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The Salt
4:17 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Moms-To-Be Are Eating Fish, But Choosing Low-Mercury Options

Based on new research, the EPA concludes that women of childbearing age are making more informed choices and opting for low-mercury seafood choices such as shrimp, canned light tuna and salmon.
JackF iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 7:07 pm

It's been a conundrum for pregnant women: Forgo fish out of fears of mercury? Or eat it up to get the benefits of all the vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish and shellfish?

Increasingly, it seems women of childbearing age are opting for a smarter option: They're eating fish, but avoiding the species that are high in mercury.

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Shots - Health News
11:19 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Kids Are Less Fit Today Than You Were Back Then

There's a reason she's out there all alone. Children worldwide are spending less time on sports and active play and more time with TVs and video games.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:44 am

Children around the world are less aerobically fit than their parents were as kids, a decline that researchers say could be setting them up for serious health problems once they're grown up.

Children today take 90 seconds longer to run a mile than kids did 30 years ago, according to data from 28 countries. Children's aerobic fitness has declined by 5 percent since 1975.

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Politics
11:09 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Obamacare Crashes President's Polls, Does It Matter?

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 12:34 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's been nearly 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas. Many people still remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. We asked Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights icon, for his memories of the day. And we'll also look at the bigger picture of John F. Kennedy's role in The Civil Rights Movement. That's coming up.

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Health Desk
7:03 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Illinois Regulators Looking For Health Scams

(AP) Illinois regulators are on guard for con artists trying to profit from the nation's new health care law, and they've already shut down one suspicious operation and a lookalike website.  

The state Department of Insurance reported on its fraud prevention efforts Tuesday to a governor's task force on the law's rollout in Illinois.

Legitimate trained counselors are helping people sign up for health insurance. They must pass a background check to be certified to do the work.  

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Politics
3:44 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Obama Concedes Botched Insurance Website Rollout Cost Time

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 6:34 am

The Obama administration is asking for people who've been turned off by the government's problem-plagued insurance website to come back. Officials say the website is working better now, though it's still far from fixed.

Around the Nation
3:40 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

New York City Raises Smoking Age From 18 To 21

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 4:54 pm

New York City raised the smoking age, officially, from 18 to 21 Tuesday, making it the first large U.S. city to do so.

Health Care
3:40 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Mixed Messages On Cancelled Health Plans Leave Consumers Confused

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 4:54 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This week, millions of Americans in the private insurance market are scratching their heads, trying to figure out where they stand. Last week, President Obama reversed course and said insurance companies could continue to sell policies that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act for another year.

NPR's John Ydstie talked to several people whose policies were cancelled, but now could be re-instated.

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Parenting
11:17 am
Tue November 19, 2013

China Eases One Child Policy, What's Next?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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All Tech Considered
11:12 am
Tue November 19, 2013

This Slide Shows Why HealthCare.gov Wouldn't Work At Launch

A slide from McKinsey & Co.'s outside review of HealthCare.gov, in the spring.
House Energy and Commerce Committee

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:07 am

This is a story of contrast between two popular methods of software development. One is called "waterfall," the other, "agile."

Waterfall development favors listing a huge set of requirements for a system up front, letting developers go away for months (if not longer) and expecting a huge software product in the end.

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Shots - Health News
9:21 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Spiritual Healers Keep Watch For Plague In Uganda

Yoset, a spiritual healer near Arua, Uganda, works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to detect the plague in his village.
Courtesy of Mary Hayden

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:28 am

When medical anthropologist Mary Hayden visits her colleague Yofet, he tells her, "Mary, you don't need to call before you arrive because I already know you're coming."

Yoset, you see, is a traditional healer in northern Uganda. "The spirit comes over him and tells him how to treat people," Hayden tells Shots.

But recently, Yoset's practice has expanded beyond the ethereal. He and about 40 other healers and herbalists are helping to track down the plague in Uganda for scientists here in the U.S.

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Shots - Health News
1:56 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Wisconsin Chooses Its Own Path To Overhaul Medicaid

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March.
Pete Marovich Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 11:28 am

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is one of 25 Republican governors who are rejecting the health law's expansion of Medicaid. But Wisconsin's own Medicaid program, known as BadgerCare, is more generous than that of many states, and now Walker wants to transfer many people out of BadgerCare and into the insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

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The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Princeton To Distribute Meningitis B Vaccine

Princeton University's Nassau Hall. The New Jersey university has seen seven cases of bacterial meningitis since March.
Daniel Hulshizer AP

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 5:06 pm

Princeton University has decided to distribute a vaccine for meningitis B that has not been approved for use in the United States.

As we've reported, the New Jersey university has seen seven cases of bacterial meningitis since March.

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Your Health
4:05 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Critics Warn Latest Cholesterol Guidelines Invite Overtreatment

Alan Crawford iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 3:15 pm

The launch of new treatment guidelines isn't a good time for confusion and controversy.

But that's precisely what's happening to a set of sweeping new guidelines aimed at slashing the U.S. rate of heart attacks and strokes — the first reboot of such advice in seven years.

If such guidelines are going to work, Dr. Steven Nissen points out, they have to convince.

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Shots - Health News
3:12 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Using Birth Control Pills May Increase Women's Glaucoma Risk

Estrogen affects cells in the eye's retina, which may help explain a possible link between glaucoma and estrogen levels.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 10:37 am

Taking birth control pills may increase a woman's risk of eye disease later in life, a study finds, because they may reduce protective levels of estrogen.

Doctors have long known that cells in the eye have estrogen receptors. But in the past few years they've started looking into whether the changes in a woman's estrogen levels as she goes through life could affect her risk of glaucoma.

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The Salt
10:57 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Coffee Maker Cooking: Brew Up Your Next Dinner

Parallel processing: Couscous cooks in the coffee maker's carafe while broccoli and cauliflower steam in the basket.
Morgan Walker/ NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:36 pm

A few months ago, we introduced you to the wild world of dishwasher cooking. Poach salmon while cleaning dirty plates? No problem.

But some of you expressed concerns about having your sockeye sit so close to soapy water and the high energy cost of running a dishwasher.

Well, we've stumbled upon another wacky cooking method that may overcome these issues: using your coffee maker.

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Shots - Health News
2:07 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Gut Bacteria Might Guide The Workings Of Our Minds

Illustration by Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:58 am

Could the microbes that inhabit our guts help explain that old idea of "gut feelings?" There's growing evidence that gut bacteria really might influence our minds.

"I'm always by profession a skeptic," says Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. "But I do believe that our gut microbes affect what goes on in our brains."

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Technology
5:10 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Laboring In The Shadows To Keep The Web Free Of Child Porn

On Thursday, authorities in Canada announced the bust of an enormous international child pornography operation. It was the end of a three-year investigation into a website that trafficked in illicit videos of young boys. More than 300 people have been arrested in connection with the videos, 76 of them in the United States.

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Shots - Health News
2:29 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Why A Patient's Story Matters More Than A Computer Checklist

Illustration by Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 8:22 am

As I walk to the door of my patient's house on a dirt road outside Tuscaloosa, Ala., I step gingerly. Mrs. Edgars says that she killed a rattlesnake in her flower bed last year.

She is at the door, expecting my visit. Mr. Edgars sits on the couch, unable to recall that I am his doctor, or even that I am a doctor. But he is happy to see me nonetheless.

We chat a moment, then we move on to Mr. Edgars' arthritis. Early on in his dementia he wandered the woods. His wife was afraid he would get lost and die, although the family agreed that this was how he would want it.

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The Salt
10:29 am
Sun November 17, 2013

See How Food Stamp Cuts Are Hitting Across The U.S.

Screen grab of a map that shows hard numbers about who's getting hit by food stamp cuts.
Stateline

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 3:20 pm

When you think of Oregon and food, you probably think organic chicken, kale chips and other signs of a strong local food movement. What probably doesn't come to mind? Food stamps.

And yet, 21 percent of Oregon's population – that's one out of every five residents – relies on food stamps to get by. And like many people across the country, these Oregon families who have come to rely on federal food assistance program for meals are learning to make do with less as of this month.

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Around the Nation
7:04 am
Sun November 17, 2013

Bike Evangelist Wants To Put More Riders In The Low Seat

Andrew Duncan Carson makes recumbent bikes out of recycled parts in his garage. He says he'll never ride an upright bike again.
Jon Kalish NPR

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 11:24 am

After several knee operations, 66-year-old Marilyn Cowser of Greenfield, Wis., found herself no longer able to Rollerblade or ride her bike.

She was advised to try a recumbent bike, but when Cowser went to her local bike shop, she found they were selling for upwards of $1,500. Cowser wasn't willing to spend that kind of money, so she went to see a guy about a half-hour away who builds recumbents in his garage.

"When I got there, he had them all out," she says. "And I got on this one and took off. I mean, I just went."

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World
4:43 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

UN: Nearly 2 Million Displaced By Typhoon

More than a week after Typhoon Haiyan decimated parts of the Philippines, many residents there are still awaiting help to secure food and shelter. The official death toll has climbed to more than 3,600. And the United Nations now estimates that the storm left nearly 2 million people homeless.

Health Care
4:29 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

States Cool On Obamacare 'You Can Keep It' Fix

President Obama tried to stanch mounting criticism of his health care law this week by announcing that state regulators can let insurance companies renew policies for 2014 that don't meet minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act. But the change isn't sitting well with some state insurance regulators, and several say they won't go along with Obama's idea.

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