Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:26 am
Doctors in California are puzzled by an illness that has paralyzed at least five children and may have affected about 20 others.
Sick children had symptoms similar to polio. They lost muscle function in an arm or a leg over a few days.
So far, the children haven't responded to any treatments and the paralysis has been permanent, doctors from Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, said in statement Sunday.
Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:25 pm
This week, I answer readers' questions about what doctors can ask for in advance and the nuances of switching insurance plans, both on and off the health exchanges.
Q. After signing up for a gold level plan on the health insurance marketplace, my physician, who is part of my plan, asked for $75 up front. My copayment is $25. His office also wants to keep a credit card on file. Is this legal?
For people in good health and without any special nutritional deficiencies, there isn't enough evidence to say it's a good idea — at least when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Sheila Lawless manages a small rheumatology practice in Wichita Falls, Texas, about two hours outside Dallas. She makes sure everything in the office runs smoothly — scheduling patients, collecting payments, keeping the lights on. Recently she added another duty — incorporating the trickle of patients with insurance plans purchased on the new Affordable Care Act exchanges.
A few years ago, Morning Editioninterviewed President Obama at the White House. At the time, it was a major news story, but there was another story going on behind the scenes.
Madhulika Sikka, now the executive editor of NPR News, had accompanied the team to the White House, and while NPR's Steve Inskeep was talking to the president, Sikka was waiting on a phone call from her doctor. She had been warned a few days before that the news might not be good.
Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:46 am
Eighty percent of college students say they drink, despite laws making it illegal for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol. Critics of that drinking age say that lowering it would reduce binge drinking and alcohol-related deaths.
But that might be wishful thinking, a study says. Researchers from Boston University reviewed scientific literature published since 2006 and concluded keeping the legal drinking age at 21 reduces rates of drunk driving and crashes, and reduces rates of underage drinking.
Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:15 pm
The yearly pediatrician's visit can seem like the same old thing: height, weight, shots. But the rules for well child visits are changing, and the nation's pediatricians want to make sure that parents and doctors are up to speed on the changes.
The Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., is known for many things, among them huge public housing projects, extremely high poverty and crime. Last summer, a one-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed as he sat in a stroller in the neighborhood.
But that's one side of life in Brownsville. Down the street from that murder, on weekday mornings, is another side.
The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest feature stories.
This week, Watson talks with host Arun Rath about pay-as-you-go coffee shops popping up around the world that offer a place to work "without any kind of moral shame" or pressure to spend money on coffee and snacks.
They also discuss how the rise of the bioscience sector in Cleveland is revitalizing the city's economy.
Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 6:59 pm
Call it a new twist on the old "teach a man to fish" adage. A group in Vancouver, British Columbia, is teaching inveterate alcoholics to brew their own beer and make their own wine, in an attempt to keep them from drinking unsafe liquids to get an alcoholic high.
When Kim Zaza became the volunteer coordinator for a non profit called Gift of Life Michigan only 11 percent of Michigan's population was on the organ donor registry. Her job was to increase that number.
Zasa is energetic and really likes people. So she was naturally optimistic about her ability to sell the idea of donating organs to the people of Michigan just by talking to them. "We just went out and signed up for every art fair, church event, every little podunk little thing we could possibly think of just to try to get our information out there," she says.
Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 1:38 pm
If there's a merit badge for business savvy, 13-year-old Girl Scout Danielle Lei might well deserve one.
Danielle, who set up her table of Girl Scout cookies outside The Green Cross medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco earlier this week, sold a whopping 117 boxes in a single day. She appears to have tapped into a niche market fueled by the drug's well-known propensity to stimulate appetite.
Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:02 pm
The way that prescription drugs are advertised on TV could be better, especially when it comes to communicating the risks and side effects of medicines. Now the Food and Drug Administration is calling for research into how the ads could be improved.
The problem, as Michael Wolf, a health services researcher and cognitive scientist at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine describes it, is that most ads work like this:
With a bit more than a month left for people to sign up for health insurance plans set up under the Affordable Care Act, the federal website known as HealthCare.gov finally seems to be working smoothly — in 36 states.
But what's happening in the 14 states that are running their own exchanges?
Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:42 pm
This year's flu season is hitting younger and middle-aged adults unusually hard, federal health officials say.
More than 60 percent of flu patients who ended up in the hospital this year have been between the ages of 18 and 64. The proportion of young people among the hospitalized is much higher than usual, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only about 35 percent of flu patients who were hospitalized in the previous three years fell into that age group, the CDC says.
Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 9:20 am
Full body CT scans can save lives by helping detect cancer early. But the scans use high doses of radiation to create their detailed images, which means they also increase patients' risk of developing cancer later on in life.
Children and teenagers are at greatest risk, because they tend to live long enough to develop secondary cancers. And their growing tissues may be more susceptible to radiation.
If you're looking to go out for dinner, see a movie or plunk down big bucks on a new TV, chances are you'll look online for help with the decision.
Lots of people are now checking out potential doctors that way, too. Online ratings are becoming part of how many Americans shop for a physician, according to a study in the latest issue of JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.
When private hospitals transfer patients who don't have insurance to public hospitals, it's called "patient dumping." But a study from Stanford University published Wednesday suggests a twist: Hospitals, it seems, are less likely to transfer critically injured patients to trauma centers if the patients have health insurance.
Now, health and electrical lighting. Last month, Mariana Figueiro showed me something she has developed to help seniors avoid falls in the night. Figueiro researches health applications at the Lighting Research Center at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Her project is a nightlight. But it's not just a single bulb. It's a string of yellow lights that border the darkened entrance to, say, a bathroom.
It's a doorway and around the frame of the doorway are the yellow LEDs?