Health Desk

If the advice to eat more fiber seems easy to ignore, you're not alone. Most Americans don't get the 25 to 38 grams a day that's recommended, depending on age and gender.

But if you're skimping on fiber, the health stakes are high, especially if you're a teenage girl.

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics concludes that eating lots of fiber-rich foods during high school years may significantly reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.

About 40 years ago, when she was 24, Consuelo Hermosillo had an emergency caesarean section at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. In the new documentary No Más Bebés, she recalls asking her doctor what type of birth control she should use going forward.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As many know, parenting isn't an easy job. It can be hugely frustrating and even lonely trying to figure out what's best for your kid. Should you be a taskmaster or a best friend? Is there a middle ground? The pressures of full-time work and round-the-clock activities can make that question even more challenging to tackle.

There is a joke circulating in San Salvador these days: "Instead of using a condom, use a mosquito net! That should at least keep the mosquitoes from biting your privates."

The joke is a dig at the unusual suggestion made by the governments of El Salvador and various other Latin American countries. Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador (as well as Jamaica) have advised that women hold off on getting pregnant. El Salvador went as far as to urge women to hold back on having children until 2018.

Was Andy Warhol a collector of beautiful and mundane things, or was he a full-blown hoarder? Did Abraham Lincoln suffer from melancholia, or was he clinically depressed? Did Albert Einstein have autism? These are the questions journalist Claudia Kalb seeks to answer in her new book, Andy Warhol Was A Hoarder: Inside The Minds Of History's Great Personalities.

Kalb tells NPR's Rachel Martin how she went about diagnosing the historic figures she talks about in her book.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The World Health Organization has described the advance of the Zika virus as "explosive." It was first detected in Brazil in 2015 and has spread to at least 22 countries since. The mosquito-borne virus has been associated with severe birth defects in babies born to infected mothers.

There's football season, hunting season, and the holiday season. Overlapping all of these is something decidedly less fun and sexy: open enrollment season for health insurance.

"We've been busy this past month," says Iris Galvez, a health insurance navigator with the Houston social services agency Change Happens!

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There are different ways to reach voters. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders delivers fiery speeches that fill concert halls and arenas. But generally speaking, people don't leave Hillary Clinton events ready to start a political revolution. Big speeches and soaring rhetoric really aren't her thing.

Instead, the former secretary of state is trying to win voters over by being a wonk who delivers page after page of policy white papers. As Clinton makes her closing argument in Iowa, "in my plan" has to be the most oft repeated phrase in her stump speech.

When it comes to fighting addiction, they say you have to hit bottom. For Rutland, Vt., a town of 17,000 devastated by heroin, the bottom came in September 2012.

A popular high school senior was struck and killed by a driver who was high. Local resident Joe Kraus says the tragedy galvanized the community.

"People who perhaps never would have gotten involved in a meaningful way decided it was time to get involved," he says.

Don't get bitten by mosquitoes.

That's the advice offered to the public in virtually every article on the rapidly spreading, mosquito-borne Zika virus.

There's no arguing with the advice. Zika, once considered a relatively mild flu-like illness, has now been linked to a surge in severe birth defects in Brazil and possibly to cases of paralysis.

But anyone who is a mosquito magnet must be asking: Can humans really keep the bloodsucking bugs at bay?

Before the Zika virus outbreak, which appears to be associated with serious birth defects in babies in Brazil, there was rubella, also known as German measles, which terrified the pregnant women of my mother's generation.

Editor's note at 10:51 a.m. ET, Feb. 1: The original version of this post lacked a perspective from the food industry. That post also may have given the impression that NPR has a position on whether food ads should or should not be banned. A new version appears below and the original version follows.

Why is it that we haven't seen ads for cigarettes on television since the Nixon administration?

Schizophrenia might be linked to a gene that tells the immune system to destroy too many connections in the brain, according to the results from a massive gene-focused research effort.

The T.b. gambiense parasite is truly a menace. It causes African sleeping sickness — a disease that attacks the nervous system and brain, disrupting sleep, causing rapid mood swings and confusion, essentially driving people mad before it kills them.

Researchers have been studying the parasite for years, looking for leads to help them develop a vaccine or drugs that would wipe it out.

The National Football League released a new injury report Friday that said the number of concussions diagnosed in 2015 had increased by 32 percent from the previous year.

The NFL said 271 concussions were diagnosed in 2015, up from 206 in 2014. The league reported 229 concussions in 2013; it said there were 261 in 2012.

When Elizabeth Estes's dog, Ollie, started coughing last year, she didn't think he was seriously ill at first. But then the 3-year-old Jack Russell-chihuahua mix got much worse.

"All of a sudden, he couldn't breathe and he was coughing. It was so brutal," says Estes, who lives in Chicago. "The dog couldn't breathe. I mean, could not breathe — just kept coughing and coughing and coughing and gasping for air."

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The spread of the Zika virus is raising concerns about the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which are only 189 days away.

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that the International Olympic Committee is sending an advisory about the mosquito-borne virus to competitors. Here's more from Lourdes:

The Doctor's Computer Will Email You Now

Jan 29, 2016

A health care startup made a wild pitch to Cara Waller, CEO of the Newport Orthopedic Institute. The company said it could get patients more engaged with their care by automating physician empathy.

It "almost made me nauseous," she said. How can you automate something as deeply personal as empathy?

But Waller needed help. Her physicians in Orange County, Calif., perform as many as 500 surgeries a year, managing large numbers of patients at various stages of treatment and recovery. The doctors needed a better way to communicate with patients and track their progress.

How Can We Prepare For A Graceful Death?

Jan 29, 2016

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Death

About BJ Miller's TED Talk

At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? BJ Miller is a palliative care physician who thinks about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients.

About BJ Miller

Is Honesty The Best Policy When Someone Is Dying?

Jan 29, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Rethinking Death

About Matthew O'Reilly's TED Talk

As an emergency medical technician, Matthew O'Reilly was used to telling a white lie when patients asked if they were dying. O'Reilly describes what happened on one emergency call, when he decided to tell the truth.

About Matthew O'Reilly

Matthew O'Reilly is a veteran emergency medical technician on Long Island, N.Y.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Dr. João Ricardo de Almeida is part of a team in Brazil that's investigating the cases of microcephaly — brain damage in infants born to mothers who contracted Zika virus during their pregnancy. He's examined dozens of brain scans, and he says that the scans are "very scary to look at."

"You see very profound abnormalities," says the neuro-radiologist. "Usually it's striking."

And they're notably different than scans of other babies born with the birth defect.

For the past five years, the Texas Legislature has done everything in its power to defund Planned Parenthood. But it's not so easy to target that organization without hurting family planning clinics around the state generally.

Of the 82 clinics that have closed, only a third were Planned Parenthood.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Federal health officials have this message for people who want health insurance: Don't wait.

There are just four days left to sign up for an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act, and officials from the Department of Health and Human Services are stressing that they won't extend the enrollment period this year beyond Jan. 31.

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