Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:56 am
A few years ago, physicist Brian Skinnerasked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it's something everybody asks. When I can't wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thing — and what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Even mysterious.
Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:24 pm
If the icy blast of polar air that's descended upon much of the U.S. over the last couple of days has you reaching for the cookie jar for comfort — and ready to give up on those New Year's resolutions — then seriously? It's time to toughen up. Just think: At least you're not in the Antarctic.
Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:00 pm
Here I sit shivering, wishing I were a dog or cat to get through this cold snap.
A built-in fur coat, no commute and maybe some quality time by the fireplace. What could go wrong?
Quite a few things, it turns out.
The friendly animal lovers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine's Ryan Hospital report seeing a few wintery problems for pets in the ER over the last few days. Some you might not have expected.
Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville could soon be affiliated with Memorial Health System, which already oversees hospitals in Springfield, Taylorville and Lincoln. The Passavant Board has agreed to partner with Memorial, pending regulatory approval.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
I'm David Greene.
We have been hearing for, well, what feels like forever about skyrocketing health care costs. It's at the center of debates in Washington and state capitals. And many people feel the impact on their wallets and pocketbooks. But here's this reality: Spending on health care, while still going up, appears to be rising more slowly. 2012 was the fourth straight year of modest growth.
The company that made a defective artificial hip has agreed to pay more than $2 billion to thousands of patients who had to have those implants replaced. But some patients are questioning whether the settlement is enough. Consumer advocates say the deal with Johnson & Johnson does nothing to prevent faulty medical implants from getting on the market in the future.
Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.
The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.
Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:07 pm
What will a gallon of milk set you back? How about a new car? You probably have a rough idea.
But what about a new knee or a hip replacement? Chances are you have no clue. And you aren't alone. The surgeons who implant the devices probably don't know either, a survey finds.
Medicare spends about $20 billion each year on implanted medical devices. Nearly half of the total goes to orthopedic procedures. As the population ages and more Americans get joint replacements, the spending on implants is likely to keep rising.
Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:38 am
Frostbite isn't usually a major worry here in Washington, D.C., but with wind chills below zero forecast for half of the Lower 48 by Tuesday morning, millions of people from the Plains to the East Coast will have to start thinking like Arctic explorers while waiting for a school bus or heading to work.
Noses, fingers, toes and ears face the biggest risk. Those body parts have less blood flowing through them and a lot less mass than the body's core. They're also more likely to be exposed to the elements. Obviously, bundling up those tender parts is key.
New Year's Day marked the halfway point to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act for coverage this year.
And after a dismal start, things seem to be going a lot better on the HealthCare.gov website. Federal officials say more than 1 million people enrolled in coverage by the Christmas Eve deadline for coverage that began January 1.
Good ideas don't only come from experts. An innovative engineering program in Texas has been proving that college undergraduates can tackle — and solve — vexing health challenges in developing countries.
Two engineers at Rice University in Houston are tapping the potential of bright young minds to change the world.
Saturday is World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident when he was a toddler. Undeterred, he became a brilliant student but was frustrated that he couldn't read or write.
In school, he learned about a system of dots used by soldiers to communicate at night. Braille adapted that system into something that would transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. It's been years since a new for-profit health insurance company launched in the U.S. The industry's dominated by large established firms. But some young tech entrepreneurs in New York believe they can take on the big guys, offering plans on the New York Exchange. NPR's Dan Bobkoff has their story.
The leftover prescription drugs you have around your house are at the center of a battle between small government and big pharmaceutical companies.
The immediate aim is to have the pharmaceutical companies take care of disposing of extra drugs. But Alameda County in northern California wants to make manufacturers think about the life cycles of their products — from their creation to what happens when they're no longer needed.
After the the school lunch program was overhauled in 2012 to curb childhood obesity, lots of kids began complaining that lunches were too skimpy.
Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods — such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken — due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time.
In some districts, program participation dropped as more kids decided to brown-bag it and bring their own food to school.
Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 3:20 pm
The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court not to extend a temporary injunction given to a group of Colorado nuns who want to be exempt from some rules in the new health care law. The rules relate to the requirement that most employers provide health insurance that includes coverage of birth control costs.
Thousands of Americans rang in 2014 with new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. But will doctors and hospitals start feeling the crunch? Host Michel Martin speaks with Washington Post health reporter Sarah Kliff.