Health Desk

Shots - Health News
2:33 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

In Illinois Deal, The Onion Will Promote Health Insurance (Really)

Would you buy health insurance from this man?
Get Covered Illinois

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:58 am

In a story that you'd think was ripped straight from the headlines of America's foremost made-up-news website, The Onion said it's coming up with ads to promote health insurance for young people in Illinois.

But it's true.

Get Covered Illinois, the state's health insurance exchange, has hired Onion Labs, The Onion's in-house ad team, to develop banner ads, a video and other online material to persuade people to sign up for insurance coverage.

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Parenting
10:57 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Children And Anorexia: Noticing The Warning Signs

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 12:38 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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U.S.
10:57 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Coping With The Cold Is About Survival For The Homeless

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 12:38 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
10:15 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Despite Federal Rules, Some States Deny Family Policies For Same-Sex Couples

Even after marriage, some same-sex couple can't get family health insurance policies.
Diana Lundin iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 4:11 pm

Carl Bechdel and Dan Miller started looking for a family plan on the Pennsylvania health insurance marketplace last fall.

After submitting their application for a bronze-level plan to Highmark Blue Shield in early December, the couple became concerned when the end of the month approached and they hadn't heard from the insurer.

Bechdel called customer service and finally learned the reason: The company doesn't offer family coverage to same-sex couples.

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The Salt
7:34 am
Tue February 11, 2014

How Caffeinated Are Our Kids? Coffee Consumption Jumps

According to the pediatrics study, about three-fourths of children in the U.S. consume caffeine on a given day.
iStockphoto

Energy drinks tend to get a bad rap. The Food and Drug Administration has investigated reports of deaths and sicknesses linked to them. Hospitals have reported increased ER visits.

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Health Care
3:57 am
Tue February 11, 2014

U.S. Delays Obamacare Deadline For Some Businesses

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 12:28 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Obama Administration is delaying the part of the Affordable Care Act that affects businesses and the insurance they offer - again. As NPR's Julie Rovner reports, this time, the administration is calling its changes to the new law a phase-in.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: OK, first off, the very smallest employers, those with fewer than 50 workers? They never had to do anything, and still don't.

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The Two-Way
5:47 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

U.S. Resets Obamacare Deadline For Some Businesses To 2016

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:50 pm

The Obama administration says businesses employing 50-99 people now have until Jan. 1, 2016, to provide health insurance, rolling back part of the requirement known as the employer mandate. Under the Affordable Care Act, larger companies must offer the coverage in 2015.

NPR's Julie Rovner filed this update for our Newscast desk:

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Health Care
4:26 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Health Law's Employer Mandate Hits Another Speed Bump

Still waiting for job-linked health insurance? Check the size of your company.
Vasilyev iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 2:55 pm

The Obama administration is, again, delaying implementation of a part of the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide health insurance to their workers (or, potentially, face penalties). But this time it's not the entire "employer mandate" that's being delayed (as it was in 2013) — just part of it.

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Shots - Health News
3:16 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Young And In Love? Thank Mom And Dad, At Least A Little

You learned it all from your folks, right?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 4:11 pm

If you're happily in love, Mom and Dad may have helped.

Teenagers' relationships with their parents have a small but measurable impact on their romantic relationships up to 15 years later, according to researchers at the University of Alberta.

People who had a tumultuous relationship with Mom and Dad in their teens were more likely to face heartache down the road. And those who felt close to their parents during adolescence tended to feel more emotionally and physically satisfied in their adult romantic relationships.

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The Salt
2:39 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

The Neuroscience Of Munchies: Why The Scent Of A Burger Gives Us A High

Research in mice offers new clues as to why Harold and Kumar were so motivated to get to White Castle.
Todd Plitt/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 5:56 pm

From cinnamon buns in the morning to a burger after a long run, food never smells as good as when you're superhungry.

Now scientists have uncovered a clue as to why that might be — and it lies in the munchies and marijuana.

Receptors in the brains of mice that light up when the animals are high are also activated when the critters are fasting, French scientists reported Sunday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

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Shots - Health News
11:49 am
Mon February 10, 2014

'Lung In A Box' Keeps Organs Breathing Before Transplants

The Organ Care System keeps lungs warm, breathing and nourished while outside the body.
MediCommConsultants

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:57 am

When doctors rush a lung to a hospital for a transplant, the precious cargo arrives in the operating room in a container that seems more appropriate for Bud Light — a cooler filled with ice.

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Behind Closed Doors
11:05 am
Mon February 10, 2014

The Truth About Miscarriage: Being In 'Gestational Limbo'

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 1:06 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we go behind closed doors. That's the part of the program where we talk about issues that people usually keep private. And today, we are focusing on miscarriage. And if you've ever gone through it or know someone who has, then you know it's devastating and surprisingly common. The National Institutes of Health report that 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.

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Health
11:05 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Fifty Years After Major Report, Surgeons General Work To End Smoking

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:41 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Salt
2:26 am
Mon February 10, 2014

It Takes More Than A Produce Aisle To Refresh A Food Desert

Euclid Market, a corner store in East Los Angeles, recently got a makeover to promote healthier eating. It not only sells more fruits and vegetables, but also offers cooking classes and nutrition education.
Courtesy of Margaret Molloy/UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 5:56 pm

In inner cities and poor rural areas across the country, public health advocates have been working hard to turn around food deserts — neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce, and greasy fast food abounds. In many cases, they're converting dingy, cramped corner markets into lighter, brighter venues that offer fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Shots - Health News
2:25 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Family Planning Squeezed In California By Health Law

A new electronic system will attempt to cut costs at the Planned Parenthood in Concord.
Courtesy of Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 8:56 am

An unexpected quirk in the Affordable Care Act has left birth control clinics struggling to balance their budgets in California.

Clinics that have long enjoyed state support to run as nonprofits are having to rethink how to stay in business.

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Shots - Health News
2:22 am
Mon February 10, 2014

New Heat Treatment Has Changed Lives For Some With Severe Asthma

Virginia Rady, 28, holds her old nebulizer at her home in Dallas. Rady was diagnosed with chronic persistent asthma at age 2. She underwent a series of three outpatient surgeries between December 2012 and February 2013 for a procedure known as bronchial thermoplasty. She says the procedure has changed her life, allowing her to remove her nebulizer from her bedside.
Brandon Thibodeaux for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:58 am

If you've ever tried to drink something through one of those little red coffee stirrers instead of a full-sized straw, you know what it's like to breathe with asthma.

Twenty-five million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma. And for 10 percent of them, medications like inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists aren't enough to keep them out of the hospital.

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Shots - Health News
8:46 am
Sun February 9, 2014

Birth Control And Blood Clots: Women Still Weighing The Risks

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 3:28 pm

The drug company Merck, maker of the NuvaRing contraceptive, says it will pay out $100 million to settle thousands of liability lawsuits from women who say they were harmed by using the product.

These women say that the birth control method put them at greater risk of life-threatening blood clots, and that they were not adequately warned of that risk.

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Digital Life
4:42 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Dr. Wikipedia: The 'Double-Edged Sword' Of Crowdsourced Medicine

giulia.forsythe Flickr

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 12:17 pm

Wikipedia has become a go-to source for definitions, celebrity facts, and now, medical information. A study by the IMS Health Institute published in January names Wikipedia as the "single leading source" of health care information for both patients and health care professionals.

Unfortunately, some of that information is wrong.

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Shots - Health News
4:57 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Stomach Bug Closes Landmark New York Resort

Mohonk Mountain House, a resort 90 miles north of New York City, is closed while crews sanitize the facilities after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness.
Jim Smith AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 8:42 am

Norovirus isn't just a problem for cruise ships.

The Mohonk Mountain House, a historic resort on the edge of Catskills in New York, closed Friday afternoon so that cleaning crews from a company that specializes in disaster responses can scour the place after an outbreak of intestinal illness. The cleanup is expected to take a week.

Hundreds of people, both guests and staff, were reportedly sickened in the last week or so.

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Shots - Health News
3:13 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

After A Stroke, Women's Lives Are Worse Than Men's

Women say that after a stroke they're less mobile and more depressed than men.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 10:22 am

It's been a big week for distressing and important news about women and stroke.

Thursday saw the first-ever guidelines for prevention of stroke in women. They pointed out that women are more likely than men to have strokes. Young women are vulnerable because of pregnancy and birth control pills.

And when women do have strokes, they fare less well than men — even a year later, according to a study published Friday in the journal Neurology.

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Barbershop
11:07 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Is George Zimmerman On A Road To Perdition?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop, where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer Jimi Izrael, with us from Cleveland, Arsalan Iftikhar, senior editor of The Islamic Monthly, with us from Chicago. Here in Washington D.C., contributing editor for The Root, Corey Dade. Also here in D.C., TELL ME MORE editor Ammad Omar. Take it away, Jimi.

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Shots - Health News
9:52 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Maker Of $1,000 Hepatitis C Pill Looks To Cut Its Cost Overseas

A girl with hepatitis C holds a medical report while being treated at a hospital in Hefei, China, in 2011. China has one of the greatest burdens of hepatitis C, but it's still not clear whether a deal for lower prices for a new drug from Gilead Sciences will apply there.
Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 10:25 am

An effective new medicine is developed as a cure for a major disease. The drug company prices the medicine at tens of thousands of dollars for a course of treatment. How can the disease-curing medicine be made accessible to patients who need it, most of whom live in low- and middle-income countries?

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Shots - Health News
4:07 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Start Early To Cut Women's Stroke Risk

Exercise helps lower stroke risk, but birth control pills and pregnancy can be problematic for younger women.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 4:16 pm

Women are at greater risk for strokes than men, and for the first time women and their doctors have evidence-based guidelines on how to reduce that risk.

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Around the Nation
3:59 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Maryland Drug Officials Worry Over A Deadly Mixture

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Tomorrow in Maryland, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration will sit down with other law enforcement groups to talk through some big questions. Tainted heroin has recently killed at least 50 people across several states, and they want to find out where it's coming from. The heroin is laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. While the DEA races to find the drug's source, NPR's Allison Keyes reports community groups are scrambling to warn addicts of the danger.

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Shots - Health News
3:58 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Obamacare Thrives In San Francisco's Chinatown

One hospital is offering health insurance plans on the California's exchange specifically for the Chinese community.
Sarah Varney/NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:55 pm

San Francisco's Chinatown is a city within a city.

Built by immigrants in the latter half of the 19th century, Chinatown was a refuge from the era's vicious prejudice. But the crowded blocks of Chinatown were also a kind of prison.

Chinese residents feared leaving the area after dark, and they were barred from local schools and the city's hospitals — even during an outbreak of bubonic plague in San Francisco. It was painfully clear that when it came to medical care, they had to provide for themselves.

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The Salt
3:56 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Food Industry Groups Say They'll Label GMOs, On Their Terms

A woman shops at a supermarket in New York City.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:51 pm

Remember those ballot initiatives in California and Washington that aimed to get food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients?

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Shots - Health News
1:59 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Most Smokers Don't Buy Their Cigarettes At CVS

M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 4:31 pm

When CVS said it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products at its 7,600 pharmacies by October, President Obama hailed the company for setting a "powerful example."

The announcement Wednesday made us wonder — how many people actually buy their cigarettes from drugstores, anyway?

For answers, we turned to a 2012 survey of the retail tobacco market in the U.S. conducted by research firm Euromonitor International.

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The Salt
11:51 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Subway Phasing Out Bread Additive After Blogger Flags Health Concerns

Sandwich chain Subway has announced plans to drop the additive azodicarbonamide from its fresh-baked breads. Above, Subway founder Fred DeLuca poses carrying bread for sandwiches.
Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:19 pm

Food industry, beware of the power of the online petition.

Just a few days after food blogger Vani Hari, known as Food Babe, created a buzz with an online petition raising questions about the safety of a food additive commonly used in commercial baking, sandwich giant Subway has announced plans to phase it out of its fresh-baked breads.

The additive, azodicarbonamide, is used by the commercial baking industry to bleach flour and condition dough.

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Shots - Health News
9:29 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Less Sleep, More Time Online Raise Risk For Teen Depression

Teenagers' sleep patterns may be a clue to their risk of depression.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 1:26 pm

The teenage years are a tumultuous time, with about 11 percent developing depression by age 18. Lack of sleep may increase teenagers' risk of depression, two studies say.

Teenagers who don't get enough sleep are four times as likely to develop major depressive disorder as their peers who sleep more, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. They tracked the habits of more than 4,000 adolescents over a year.

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The Salt
8:31 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Oh, So That's What Goes Into A McDonald's Chicken McNugget

McDonald's new video answers that age-old question: What are McNuggets actually made of?
McDonald's Canada/YouTube

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 4:40 pm

A fried, battered coating can hide a multitude of sins. (Everything tastes yummy when deep-fried, amiright?) So it's not surprising, really, that allegations of "mystery meat" have dogged McDonald's famous chicken McNuggets on and off for years.

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