Health Desk

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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?

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Business
4:18 am
Thu February 6, 2014

CVS Caremark Drops Tobacco, Wants To Be Your Health Provider

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:59 am

Smokers are shrugging off the announcement that CVS will stop selling tobacco products. The company announced the move on Wednesday as part of a strategy to promote healthy choices. But more than half of cigarettes are sold at gas stations, so the company's decision is unlikely to have much of an impact on access to tobacco.

Economy
3:23 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Reining In Health Care Costs Key To Trimming Deficit

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 12:47 pm

The Congressional Budget Office earlier this week said this year's deficit is likely to be about one-third the size it was in 2009, when the Great Recession bottomed out. A recovering economy is the main reason for the deficit's improvement, but moderating health care costs have also contributed.

Harvard economist and health policy specialist David Cutler says getting the federal government's finances under control is all about health care.

Read more
Shots - Health News
7:01 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Seeing Less Helps The Brain Hear More

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:23 pm

A few days in the dark can improve an animal's hearing, scientists report this week in the journal Neuron. This temporary loss of visual input seems to trigger favorable changes in areas of the brain that process auditory information, they say.

Read more
Health Care
3:44 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Obamacare Opponents Open New Front For Debate In 'Risk Corridors'

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:23 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Here's another way congressional Democrats are using the Budget Office report in support of the Affordable Care Act. They're defending an obscure provision in the law that serves to backstop insurance companies participating in the health plan exchanges. And in a flip of party stereotypes, this has Democrats standing up for the insurance companies and Republicans clashing with big business.

NPR's David Welna explains.

Read more
Politics
3:44 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

One Day After CBO Report, It's Time To Start Your Spin Cycle

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:23 pm

On Tuesday, economists with the Congressional Budget Office announced findings that indicated the new health care law may result in hundreds of thousands leaving the workforce. The findings spurred new debate on the merits of the law and its economic impact. NPR's Scott Horsley has more on the reactions to the report.

Business
3:44 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

For CVS CEO, Tobacco Decision Reflects Health Care Priorities

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:23 pm

CVS CEO and President Larry Merlo joins Audie Cornish to discuss his company's big decision to eventually discontinue its sales of tobacco products. The decision didn't simply make headlines on Wednesday; it could also signal a shift in plans for the pharmacy giant's future.

Business
3:44 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Drug Store Plans To Rid Its Shelves Of Tobacco Products

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:23 pm

The pharmacy giant CVS plans to eliminate cigarettes and other tobacco products from its stores by October. The company says it made the decision because the drug store business is changing and that selling cigarettes is no longer consistent with its mission. Medical experts and the White House hailed the move. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

Shots - Health News
1:07 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

An Artificial Arm Gives One Man The Chance To Feel Again

Dennis Aabo Sorensen tests a prosthetic arm with sensory feedback in a laboratory in Rome in March 2013.
Patrizia Tocci/Lifehand 2

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:43 pm

Ten years ago Dennis Sorensen was setting off fireworks to celebrate New Year's Eve with his family in Denmark when something terrible happened.

"Unfortunately one of the rockets we had this evening was not good and when we light it then it just blew up and, yeah, my hand was, was not that good anymore," says Sorensen.

Read more
The Salt
12:51 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Ladies: Good Bacteria In Yogurt May Be Good For Waistlines, Too

A probiotic commonly found in yogurt seems to help women lose more weight and fat, a recent study finds. But you still have to eat healthy to see an effect.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 12:49 pm

Ladies, if that Super Bowl Sunday pitch from '90s heartthrob John Stamos didn't leave you craving more yogurt, here's some science that might do the trick: There's tantalizing new research suggesting that some friendly bacteria commonly found in yogurts may help women shed more weight while on a diet and keep it off.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:20 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Our Brains Rewrite Our Memories, Putting Present In The Past

The brain edits memories of the past, updating them with new information. Scientists say this may help us function better in the present. But don't throw those photos away.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:04 am

Think about your fifth-birthday party. Maybe your mom carried the cake. What did her face look like? If you have a hard time imagining the way she looked then rather than how she looks now, you're not alone.

The brain edits memories relentlessly, updating the past with new information. Scientists say that this isn't a question of having a bad memory. Instead, they think the brain updates memories to make them more relevant and useful now — even if they're not a true representation of the past.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:13 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

By Dropping Cigarettes, CVS Gives Its Reputation A Boost

A CVS pharmacy in Orlando, Fla., is one of more than 7,600 stores where the company will stop selling tobacco products by October.
John Raoux AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:24 pm

When drugstore chain CVS said Wednesday that it would stop selling tobacco products by October, the company also told investors that the move would probably cost it $2 billion a year in lost sales.

CVS says it has figured out unspecified ways to help make up for the profits from cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Read more
Children's Health
12:03 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Poverty Behind Detroit's High Child Mortality Rate?

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 12:46 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
The Two-Way
6:46 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

Read more
Business
6:44 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS Caremark To Clear Shelves Of Tobacco Products

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 10:57 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rene Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Read more
Politics
6:04 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Republicans Use Latest CBO Report To Rail Against Obamacare

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 1:31 pm

The new Congressional Budget Office report gives ammunition to Republicans and puts Democrats on the defensive. It said the Affordable Care Act would reduce the number of full-time workers by more than 2 million by the year 2024. But as usual, the truth is more complicated than the headlines and press releases suggest.

Health
4:14 am
Wed February 5, 2014

You May Be Eating More Sugar Than You Realize And That's Bad

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 6:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Sugar, we all know from early childhood that it's not the best thing to eat, although most of us love it. But a new study hits home why researchers have found that too much of a sweet tooth can be really bad for our hearts. Still, limiting sugar is sometimes easier said than done, because it's added to so many foods we eat. And some of us, even without realizing it, eat an entire day's worth of sugar before we ever leave the house in the morning.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:48 am
Wed February 5, 2014

A Denver Family Of Doctors Has Seen Medicine Transformed

Michael Sawyer, the latest doctor in his family, holds a portrait of his grandfather Dr. Ken Sawyer, while his father Robert, a surgeon, looks on.
Barry Gutierrez for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:06 am

What it means to be a doctor in America is changing.

The Affordable Care Act is one reason. But the federal health overhaul is just the latest factor among many that have affected the practice of medicine.

Just ask Drs. Robert and Michael Sawyer, a father and son in a family that has worked at Denver Health since the 1930s.

Read more
Shots - Health News
6:20 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Cancer Cases Rising At An Alarming Rate Worldwide

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in the West, while lung and liver cancers are the top problems in Asia.
Courtesy of the World Health Organization

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 7:20 am

As countries modernize around the world, they're increasingly being hit with one of the curses of wealth: cancer.

There are about 14 million new cancer cases globally each year, the World Health Organization reported Monday. And the trend is only getting worse.

The global burden of cancer will grow by 70 percent over the next two decades, the WHO predicts, with an estimated 22 million new cases and 13 million deaths each year by 2032.

Read more
It's All Politics
6:19 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

More Access To Health Care Means Millions Can Quit Or Cut Hours

Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman at a White House press briefing Tuesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 7:59 am

What might have been a routine update on the state of the federal budget Tuesday instead became the newest front in the ongoing political war over President Obama's signature health care law.

At issue: a revised estimate about how many people would voluntarily leave the workforce because they can get health care without necessarily holding down a job.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:12 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Spike In Heroin Use Can Be Traced To Prescription Pads

Experts say today's heroin problem can be traced back to the aggressive prescribing of opioid drugs like OxyContin about 15 years ago.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:02 pm

The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has brought attention to a grim reality of drug abuse in America — most notably with the increasing use of heroin.

Hoffman was found dead in his apartment on Sunday, and New York police are investigating his death as a possible drug overdose. Hoffman struggled with drug addiction throughout his career.

Read more
Health Care
5:12 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Is Obamacare A Job Killer? New Estimates Suggest It Might Be

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:00 pm

A new front has opened in the political battle over the Affordable Care Act, with Tuesday's release of the Congressional Budget Office's annual budget and economic outlook. The economists updated an earlier estimate about how many workers would leave the workforce because they no longer needed a job to have health care coverage — revising upward from 800,000 people to over 2 million people. Republicans pounced on the higher number, and President Obama now finds himself playing defense.

Health
5:12 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

A Report From The Front Lines Of Heroin Addiction Treatment

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 7:00 pm

The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent heroin overdose has thrown a spotlight on the rise of heroin use in recent years. Melissa talks to John Venza, vice president at Outreach — a substance abuse treatment agency in New York and Long Island — about heroin addiction and the challenges to staying clean.

The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

The View From Down There: FDA Approves Pill Cam For Colon Exams

Outfitted with two color cameras that run on batteries, the PillCam Colon capsule is being billed as a less invasive and less expensive option to a colonoscopy.
Given Imaging

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:43 am

Patients who undergo colon screenings might breathe a little easier now that U.S. regulators have approved a pill containing two cameras. The PillCam Colon is minimally invasive and runs on batteries, its maker says. And as you might imagine, it's disposable.

Read more

Pages