Health Desk

Shots - Health News
2:56 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Medical Schools Reboot For 21st Century

Dr. Raj Mangrulkar and medical student Jesse Burk-Rafel at the University of Michigan Medical School. Good communication skills, teamwork and adaptability will help doctors thrive through swift changes in medical science, Mangrulkar says.
Leisa Thompson Courtesy of University of Michigan Medical School

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 7:27 pm

Medicine has changed a lot in the past 100 years. But medical training hasn't — until now. Spurred by the need to train a different type of doctor, some top medical schools around the U.S. are tearing up the textbooks and starting from scratch.

Most medical schools still operate under a model pioneered in the early 1900s by an educator named Abraham Flexner.

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The Salt
2:55 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Is It Time For A Warning Label On Sugar-Loaded Drinks?

A mock-up of a warning label for sodas and sugary drinks proposed in California by public health advocates.
California Center for Public Health Advocacy

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:15 pm

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: We consume a lot more sugar than is good for our health. Because of this, the next generation of Americans will struggle with obesity and diabetes more than any other. The most obvious culprit is the added sugar in sodas and other sugary beverages, like sports drinks or teas.

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The Two-Way
8:52 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Sabra Hummus Announces A Recall Over Listeria Fears

Sabra has announced a voluntary recall of some products, including Classic Hummus, after a sample tested positive for Listeria.
Sabra via Facebook

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 1:35 pm

A nationwide recall has been announced for some 30,000 cases of hummus made by the Sabra company, due to possible contamination. The FDA says the recall is voluntary and no illnesses have been reported.

The recall covers several products with a "best by" date of May 11 or May 15 (see details below). The products are predominantly the "Classic" variety of the hummus, in a range of sizes.

The FDA says anyone who has bought the packages should either dispose of them or take them back to retailers for a refund.

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Health Desk
7:26 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Recall Of 30,000 Cases Of Hummus Over Listeria Concerns

Several types of Sabra Classic Hummus Recalled

About 30,000 cases of Sabra hummus sold nationwide is being recalled due to a possible Listeria contamination.
 
 Listeria is a food-borne illness that can cause high fevers and nausea in minor cases, but the infections can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems and young children, along with causing miscarriages in pregnant women.
 
     The Sabra Dipping Co. is a joint venture of PepsiCo and Strauss Group.
 
     The recalled products include:
 
     Sabra Classic Hummus in 10-ounce sizes with UPC/SKU 040822011143 / 300067
 

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All Tech Considered
6:08 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Weighing Privacy Vs. Rewards Of Letting Insurers Track Your Fitness

Patient Gary Wilhelm looks at his medical data on a smartphone that is synchronized to a new Fitbit Surge on his wrist.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 6:11 pm

Would you be willing to hand over your health information to a life insurance company, in exchange for financial rewards?

Activity trackers have become increasingly popular over the past few years, tracking everything from how many steps you walk to your location throughout the day.

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Around the Nation
4:10 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Bill To Limit Vaccine Exemptions Moves A Step Closer In California

People who oppose repealing the personal belief exemption gathered outside California's Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday.
Pauline Bartolone/Capital Public Radio

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 1:58 pm

A California bill that would allow students to opt out of mandatory school vaccinations only if they have a medical condition that justifies an exemption is one step closer to becoming law, though it still has a long way to go. The bill was introduced in the California Senate in response to a measles outbreak at Disneyland in late December that's now linked to almost 150 infections.

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Shots - Health News
2:30 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Doctors Make House Calls On Tablets Carried By Houston Firefighters

Houston firefighters learn to use a video chat program that will let them consult with an emergency medicine doctor while responding to 911 calls.
Courtesy of Houston Fire Department

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 7:58 am

It seems like every firefighter you ask can rattle off examples of 911 calls that didn't come even close to being life-threatening.

"A spider bite that's two or three weeks old," says Jeff Jacobs. "A headache, or a laceration," says Ashley Histand.

Alberto Vela remembers another call from a woman who said, "This medicine's not working; now you need to take me to the hospital so I can get a different medication."

Tyler Hooper describes those calls they shouldn't be getting as "anything from simple colds to toothaches, stubbed toes to paper cuts."

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Goats and Soda
2:28 am
Thu April 9, 2015

She's 66 And Finally Getting Electricity. Bring On The Ice Cream!

Monique Yusizanna Ouz, 66, is going to have electricity for the first time in her life.
Carrie Kahn/NPR

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 3:56 pm

In the village of Tuffet, a rocky 45-minute drive from the closest city along Haiti's southern coast, several men get down to work in Monique Yusizanna Ouz's rural home. They're wiring up her two-room, dirt floor house with a breaker box, an outlet and a light fixture.

She's 66 years old, and for the first time in her life, she's going to have electricity.

Ouz, who has five grandchildren, wants a refrigerator. She wants cold drinks — for herself but also to sell. And she wants ice cream, too.

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Shots - Health News
5:23 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Link Between Heart Disease And Height Hidden In Our Genes

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 10:53 am

Shorter people are more likely than taller folks to have clogged heart arteries, and a new study says part of the reason lies in the genes.

Doctors have known since the 1950s about the link between short stature and coronary artery disease, "but the reason behind this really hasn't been completely clear," says Nilesh Samani, a cardiologist at the University of Leicester in the U.K.

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Shots - Health News
5:12 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Sushi Science: A 3-D View Of The Body's Wasabi Receptor

The same nerve receptor that responds to the green paste on your sushi plate is activated by car exhaust, the smoke of a wildfire, tear gas and other chemical irritants.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 6:33 pm

Researchers have discovered the exact structure of the receptor that makes our sensory nerves tingle when we eat sushi garnished with wasabi. And because the "wasabi receptor" is also involved in pain perception, knowing its shape should help pharmaceutical companies develop new drugs to fight pain.

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Health Care
3:35 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

With Discounts For Healthy Behavior, John Hancock Courts Privacy Concerns

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 8:37 am

John Hancock announced a new program promising discounts for policyholders who wear a fitness tracker, exercise more and go to the doctor. The life insurance company says that if people live longer healthier lives, everybody wins. But privacy advocates worry about all the electronic monitoring.

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Goats and Soda
3:13 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

On A Scale Of 1 To 10, Brazil Gets A Zero For Disability Access

Rio has hosted competitions that include athletes with physical impairments (above: the open water swim at Copacobana beach for the Rei e Rainha do Mar). But there's never been an event on the scale of the Paralympics.
Buda Mendes Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 5:23 pm

For most disabled residents of Rio de Janeiro, every day is an Olympian struggle.

Pick almost any sidewalk, says Lilia Martins, who uses an electric wheelchair. She chooses one just outside her place of work. The location is relevant because Martins is an advocate for disabled people in Rio. Even here, we only manage to go a short way before the pavement becomes cracked and broken with huge roots popping up. There is literally no way a wheelchair can go on. It's like an obstacle course.

"Except there is no prize at the end," Martins quips.

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Shots - Health News
1:02 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

What's My Chance Of Having A Baby? A Better Predictor Of IVF Success

In the technique known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a fertility specialist uses a tiny needle to inject sperm into an egg cell.
Mauro Fermariello Science Source

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 5:19 pm

Before a couple commit time, money and emotion to the process of in vitro fertilization, they want to know one thing: What are our chances of having a baby?

Success rates vary dramatically by age. In 2013, for example, 40 percent of IVF cycles performed in women who were under the age of 35 resulted in live births, compared with 4.5 percent for women older than 42.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Wed April 8, 2015

John Hancock Hopes You'll Trade Activity Data For Insurance Discounts

You don't need to run a marathon — or wear a gorilla suit — to get a discount on John Hancock's new life insurance program. But at least one of them may help.
Rick Rycroft AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 11:44 am

Would you lead a more active lifestyle if it meant lower life insurance premiums? Insurer John Hancock and Vitality, a global wellness firm, are hoping the answer is yes. But there is a condition: They get to track your activity.

The practice is already employed in Australia, Europe, Singapore and South Africa, where Vitality is based.

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Shots - Health News
2:45 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Doctors Test Tumor Paint In People

Blaze Bioscience is commercially developing the "paint," which glows when exposed to near-infrared light.
Courtesy of Blaze Bioscience

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:52 pm

A promising technique for making brain tumors glow so they'll be easier for surgeons to remove is now being tested in cancer patients.

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Shots - Health News
4:47 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Many Obamacare Policyholders Face Tax Surprises This Year

Depending on the amount taken in subsidies, or changes in reported income and family status, some Obamacare policyholders this year will get a bigger refund than expected and others will owe more in taxes.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:54 pm

The old saying goes, "Nothing is certain except death and taxes." But the Affordable Care Act has added a new wrinkle.

For many policyholders, the ACA has introduced a good deal of uncertainty about their tax bills. That has led to surprise refunds for some and higher-than-expected tax payments for others.

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Shots - Health News
3:33 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Medical Students Jump In To Help The Uninsured

NYU medical student Sara Stream (left) examines dancer Jazlyn Caing, who visited the clinic for low-grade orthopedic and respiratory problems.
Fred Mogul/WNYC

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:54 pm

At an Institute for Family Health center near Union Square in New York City, medical student Sara Stream asks a new patient named Alicia what brings her in. The 34-year-old woman arrived last summer from Guatemala, and says she hasn't been seen by a doctor in many years.

Her list of ailments is long.

"I have trouble seeing, headaches, problems with my stomach," says Alicia, who declined to use her full name, because she is in the country illegally. "I feel depressed."

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Health Desk
12:59 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Program "Shares Wishes" With Hospice Patients

You've probably heard of programs meant to grant wishes to chronically ill children - but now some adults in Springfield who are nearing the end of their lives are getting similar treatment. Through Memorial Medical Center's "Sharing Wishes Fund", those in hospice care are eligible for getting a wish granted - something to check off their bucket list. It could be a hot air balloon ride, or something as simple as a pizza dinner with family and friends.

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Shots - Health News
11:41 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Quick Income Changes Can Threaten Coverage For Those On Medicaid

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:42 pm

When the earnings of low-income consumers change over the course of the year, a family can risk losing its health coverage if it shifts between eligibility for Medicaid and eligibility for coverage on the health insurance exchanges that were set up under the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
4:03 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Breast Milk Sold Online Contaminated With Cow's Milk

The number of women buying, selling and sharing breast milk is growing rapidly. But it can be a risky purchase, scientists say, because a mom can't tell by looking at the milk whether it's safe and nutritious for her baby.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:54 pm

Selling breast milk is big business.

Each year tens of thousands of women post ads on websites, offering their extra milk for $1 to $3 an ounce: "My rich milk makes giants!" promises one seller. "Organic and Gluten Free Breastmilk," claims another. Then there's this one: "470 oz. of breastmilk must go!!!"

But some women online aren't delivering what they're advertising.

Scientists at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed 102 samples ordered from popular websites and found about 10 percent of them were "topped off" with cow's milk.

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Shots - Health News
3:06 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Will A Transplanted Hand Feel Like His Own? Surgery Raises Questions

Kevin Lopez at home in Greenbelt, Md.
Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 6:48 pm

When Kevin Lopez opens the door to his Greenbelt, Md., apartment to greet a visitor he's never before met, he initially conceals his right hand.

"I'm self-conscious, definitely, about my right hand," he says. But eventually Lopez relaxes.

"I was born like this," he says. "As you can see, I don't have any fingers." It bothers the 20-year-old enough that he has volunteered to do something drastic: to have his right hand removed and replaced with another person's hand via surgery.

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Shots - Health News
1:13 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Tracking Your Own Health Data Too Closely Can Make You Sick

Studies show that having too many tests done too frequently is a recipe for getting sick, not staying healthy.
Medicimage Science Source

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 7:32 am

Last week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban caused quite a stir on Twitter by suggesting that people, if they could afford it, get quarterly bloodwork to establish a baseline of their own health. A big failing of medicine, he wrote, is that "we wait till we are sick to have our blood tested and compare the results to 'comparable demographics.' "

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Health Desk
7:58 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Illinoisans Asking For Medical Marijuana To Cover More Illnesses

Credit Credit flickr/eggrole

Illinois residents have petitioned the state to add more than 20 medical conditions to the medical marijuana program, including anxiety, migraines, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.  

The Associated Press obtained the petitions through a Freedom of Information Act request. Names of petitioners were blacked out to protect patients' privacy. Individuals identifying themselves as veterans of Vietnam and Iraq asked that PTSD be included, adding emotional pleas for help.  

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Shots - Health News
3:25 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Maybe You Should Skip That Annual Physical

Lorenzo Gritti for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 1:10 pm

It's a warm afternoon in Miami, and 35-year-old Emanuel Vega has come to Baptist Health Primary Care for a physical exam. Dr. Mark Caruso shakes his hand with a welcoming smile.

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Shots - Health News
3:23 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Women Having A Heart Attack Don't Get Treatment Fast Enough

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 1:37 pm

Christina Costanzo was 32 when she had her first heart attack. It all started on a Friday.

"I had chest pain. I had pain in my jaw, pain going down my left arm. I had some shortness of breath," Costanzo recalls.

But Costanzo who is a nurse practitioner in New Haven, Conn., didn't realize right away that these were symptoms of a heart attack. She figured this was just her body reacting to stress, and she didn't want to overreact.

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Shots - Health News
2:37 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Puberty Suppression Now A Choice For Teens On Medicaid In Oregon

Michaela leans on her mother, Dee, while talking to Dr. Karin Selva about puberty suppression.
Kristian Foden-Vencil Oregon Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 7:33 am

Michael was born biologically male 13 years ago on the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation.

Mom, Dee, remembers buying dresses for three nieces when Michael — who now goes by Michaela — was about 6 years old.

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Shots - Health News
8:54 am
Sun April 5, 2015

In Rural Virginia, Truckers Can Stop For Coffee And A Physical

Crystal Groah holds four-month-old son Brently while Dr. Rob Marsh examines him. He and his twin sister Savannah were premature at birth, but with care from Marsh both are doing well.
Sandy Hausman/WVTF

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 4:00 pm

Rob Marsh has a medical practice in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. He likes the freedom to open his office at night if a patient gets sick.

Marsh wants to make house calls, and he needs to pay a staff that has grown from 2 to 23. But many people in this area lack insurance.

"You've got to make budget to make payroll," he says.

The financial pressures of practicing medicine in the 21st century have led more doctors to take jobs with large hospitals and medical practices. Last year, only 17 percent of doctors were in solo practice.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Sun April 5, 2015

Drinking With 'Mad Men': Cocktail Culture And The Myth Of Don Draper

Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) raise their glasses. Many fans have been inspired to do the same, but Mad Men has a complicated relationship with alcohol.
Michael Yarish AMC

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 3:51 pm

Ah, 2007: the year in which we met the first-ever iPhone, a presidential candidate called Barack Obama ... and an inscrutable ad man named Don Draper.

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Shots - Health News
5:25 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

When It Comes To Insurance, Mental Health Parity In Name Only?

Mental health care advocates say patients face challenges in insurance coverage.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 3:02 pm

By law, many U.S. insurance providers that offer mental health care are required to cover it just as they would cancer or diabetes care. But advocates say achieving this mental health parity can be a challenge.

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U.S.
4:30 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

Rethinking How To Care For California's Most Troubled Children

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 5:25 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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