Health Desk

Shots - Health News
2:31 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Measles Outbreak In Ohio Leads Amish To Reconsider Vaccines

Amish show up at a makeshift clinic to get vaccinated against the measles. There's been an outbreak of measles among the Amish in central Ohio.
Sarah Jane Tribble Sarah Jane Tribble

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:53 am

The Amish countryside in central Ohio looks as it has for a hundred years. There are picturesque pastures with cows and sheep, and big red barns dot the landscape.

But something changed here, when, on an April afternoon, an Amish woman walked to a communal call box. She picked up the phone to call the Knox County Health Department. She told a county worker she and a family next door had the measles.

That call spurred nurse Jacqueline Fletcher into action.

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Shots - Health News
6:03 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

As Heart Attacks Rise In China, So Does Attention To Quality Of Care

Patients who had suffered heart attacks rest while being observed in the emergency room of a heart hospital in Beijing in 2011.
Alexander F. Yuan AP

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 3:28 pm

Over the past several years, I've had the opportunity to be involved in a remarkable project in China. With the publication of a paper in The Lancet today that details the nation's performance in the care of patients with severe heart attacks, a pivot to include quality in addition to access to care in their health care reform has begun.

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Shots - Health News
4:02 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Pharmaceutical Companies Accuse Hospitals Of Misusing Discounts

David Chance recuperates at Oregon Health and Science University.
Kristian Foden-Vencil Oregon Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:07 pm

In 1992, the federal government told drugmakers they had to give steep discounts to hospitals that treat a large percentage of poor patients.

The law got bipartisan support and it was a boon for hospitals and the federal government. In the decades that followed, the discount program has grown by leaps and bounds.

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The Salt
3:47 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Simple Tricks Can Tame The Taste Of Broccoli And Its Cousins

The Romanesco broccoli in the upper left corner is part of the brassica family, just like these colorful cauliflower varieties.
Sang An/Courtesy of Ten Speed Press

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 6:30 pm

It can be a bitter pill to swallow when science proves your mother was right. And that seems to be happening again and again when it comes to brassica. Even if you're not familiar with the term, you've undoubtedly swallowed the concept. Brassica is the genus of cruciferous vegetables, covering everything from broccoli to kale to cabbage. And the more we put them under the microscope, the more we find that they really are good for you.

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Shots - Health News
3:17 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Parents Get Some Help In Teaching Their Teens To Drive

No, your other right! Most parents would probably welcome some help when it comes to teaching teenage drivers.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 3:28 pm

Parents often take the lead in teaching their teenage children to drive, even though their own memories of starting out behind the wheel may be hazy at best.

And since car crashes are the top cause of teen deaths in the United States. claiming more than 2,700 teen lives in 2010 and sending another 282,000 to the emergency room, it's a task that parents really need to get right.

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Health
3:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Are Life Spans Getting Longer? It Depends On How Wealthy You Are

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:07 pm

While life expectancies are getting longer for those who are well off, life spans for poor women are actually getting shorter. The stories of two women, from two very different places, illustrate the reasons for the gap.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Technology
3:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

3-D Printing Lends Doctors A Hand, Building Tailor-Made Body Parts

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:07 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

That's the sound of another 3-D technology, that's increasingly being used in medicine, 3-D printing. Doctors are now using 3-D printers to make replacement body parts, among other things. The printer we're hearing is at the Food and Drug Administration offices, outside Washington D.C. This is an area they are starting to regulate. So NPR's Rob Stein went and got a little tour of the FDA lab.

ROB STEIN, BYLINE: Is that white, plastic thing, below the nozzle there - is that what's being made?

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All Tech Considered
3:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Using A 3-D Version Of Rodin's Hands To Understand Anatomy

Rodin's Left Hand of Eustache de St. Pierre, during the scanning process (from left); computer image created from the scan; inner anatomy; and exterior scan and inner anatomy combined for an augmented reality view of the sculpture.
Photo by Matthew Hasel, render by Sarah Hegmann, Division of Clinical Anatomy, Stanford School of Medicine

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:07 pm

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Shots - Health News
3:04 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

After The Fall, A Young Man Chronicles His Life With Multiple Sclerosis

Jason DaSilva was on a family vacation in 2006 when he fell and couldn't get up. His multiple sclerosis symptoms have progressed to the point that he can't walk.
Factory Release

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 3:29 pm

At age 25, Jason DaSilva had everything — he was smart, talented, good-looking and traveling the world as a documentary filmmaker. Then he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

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The Salt
12:38 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

School Nutrition Fight Widens As School Board Members Join In

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 2:18 pm

The political food fight over rolling back school nutrition standards is at an impasse for the moment. But advocates on both sides aren't backing off, and there are new players in the game.

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Opinion
8:27 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Meanstruation: HelloFlo's Mother-Daughter War Is Funny, And Sad

The new commercial from HelloFlo, which markets menstruation care packages for tweens, features a girl whose mother throws her a "first moon party."
HelloFlo/YouTube

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 9:20 am

HelloFlo's new ad for "period starter kits" is getting a lot of hype, and deservedly so, as it is a refreshing break from any other ad campaign about the agony surrounding the curse of Eve.

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Shots - Health News
2:29 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Hospitals To Pay Big Fines For Infections, Avoidable Injuries

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:32 am

Medicare is preparing to penalize about 750 hospitals that have the highest rates of infections and patient injuries. The sanctions, estimated to total $330 million over a year, will kick in at a time when most infections and accidents in hospitals are on the decline, but still too common.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 am
Mon June 23, 2014

How A Woman's Plan To Kill Herself Helped Her Family Grieve

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 4:06 pm

This story is in no way an endorsement of suicide. It's a description of one woman's choice and what came of it.

Five years ago, after doctors told her that she had Alzheimer's disease that would eventually steal her ability to read, write and recognize people, Sandy Bem decided to kill herself.

Sandy was 65 years old, an unsentimental woman and strong willed. For her, a life without books and the ability to recognize the people she loved wasn't a life she wanted.

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Movie Interviews
4:09 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Saving Lives And Surviving Paperwork Inside The LA County ER

Dave Pomeranz, Ryan McGarry and William Mallon are some of the real-life ER doctors depicted in Code Black.
Long Shot Release 2014

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 5:25 pm

LA County Hospital sees some of the worst possible medical cases. Patients suffering from gunshots, car wrecks and other severe injuries frequently pass through the doors of the Level I trauma center.

At the same time, since it's a public hospital, LA County ER doctors also often see patients who don't have life-threatening emergencies, but who otherwise lack access to health care.

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Shots - Health News
10:36 am
Sun June 22, 2014

Shortage Of Saline Solution Has Hospitals On Edge

Reid Kennedy, materials manager at San Francisco General Hospital, stands next to racks of saline solution. He has had to carefully manage the hospital's supply of saline during this shortage.
Mark Andrew Boyer KQED

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 8:09 am

Hospitals across the country are struggling with a shortage of one of their essential medical supplies.

Manufacturers are rationing saline solution — essentially pharmaceutical-grade saltwater. The stuff is used all around hospitals to clean wounds, mix medications or treat dehydration. Now drug companies say they won't be able to catch up with demand until next year.

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Code Switch
10:18 am
Sun June 22, 2014

Shape-Up And Checkup: LA Barbers To Start Testing Blood Pressure

Ben Russell iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun June 29, 2014 2:14 pm

Barbershops are a traditional gathering place for African-American men — a place to talk politics, sports and gossip. Now, some doctors in Los Angeles are hoping to make the barbershop a place for combating high blood pressure among black men.

Death rates from hypertension are three times higher in African-American men than in white men of the same age, says Dr. Ronald Victor, the director of Cedars-Sinai Center for Hypertension in Los Angeles.

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Health Care
7:01 am
Sun June 22, 2014

In LA, Barbers Cut Hair And Check Blood Pressure

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 11:19 am

A Los Angeles doctor is training barbers to check their customers for high blood pressure. He's targeting the social hubs for black men because of the health risks associated with hypertension.

Shots - Health News
4:00 am
Sun June 22, 2014

Americans Weigh Addiction Risk When Taking Painkillers

Generic hydrocodone plus acetaminophen pills seen in a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt., in 2013.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 6:55 am

Prescriptions for narcotic painkillers have surged in recent years. Fatal overdoses and abuse of the drugs have risen, too. Doctors and patients are grappling with how to balance the need for pain relief with the potential for trouble.

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The Salt
9:48 am
Sat June 21, 2014

Science Of Stink: Blame Sulfur Compounds For Your Garlic Breath

It makes our mouth water, but it makes our breath stink.
Flickr

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Garlic is delicious. But if you consume enough of it, its stench can repel not only vampires but any person within a 5-foot radius.

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Health
7:00 am
Sat June 21, 2014

Man's Best Friend To The End: Resting In Peace Beside Your Pet

A pet burial site in Mountain View Cemetery in Vinton, Va. Virginia joins a growing number of states where cemeteries are allowed to create special pet-human burial sections.
Beverly Amsler for NPR

Originally published on Sat June 21, 2014 10:52 am

Peanut, Bootsie, Choppie, Sassy Mae. They're a collection of names engraved into the flat stones marking the graves of dogs and cats at Mountain View Cemetery, a resting place in Vinton, Va., run by Don Wilson.

"We see people coming to visit and pay their respects and remember their pets in this section just as we do in the rest of the cemetery," Wilson says.

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The Two-Way
5:55 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

CDC Says More Workers Potentially Exposed To Live Anthrax

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 6:29 pm

U.S. authorities increased to 86 people the number of CDC workers potentially exposed to live anthrax at three laboratories in Atlanta, with at least 52 of them taking antibiotics as a precaution.

The number who may have been infected is an increase from the 75 workers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged on Thursday.

The Associated Press says:

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The Impact of War
3:50 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

To Treat PTSD, Veterans Have A Vast Array Of Ineffective Solutions

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 6:08 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A new study raises questions about the effectiveness of mental health care for veterans. Researchers found that neither the VA nor the Pentagon tracks the success of treatment for PTSD. The Pentagon sponsored this study, which was conducted by the Institute of Medicine. The results follow the scandal over waiting times at VA hospitals and they add a new layer to concerns about veterans' health care. Here's NPR's Quil Lawrence.

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Shots - Health News
2:13 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

West Africa Is 'Overwhelmed' By Ebola

A UNICEF field worker talks to villagers in Liberia's Foya District about how to prevent Ebola disease.
Ahmed Jallanzo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:40 am

People are hiding from health care workers. New cases are turning up in unexpected places. At funerals, family members don't always follow the advice not to touch the body of the deceased, which may still harbor the deadly virus.

These are a few of the signs that, in the words of public health specialist Armand Sprecher of Doctors Without Borders, the Ebola outbreak that began in West Africa in February is "not under control yet."

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Shots - Health News
11:39 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Former Foster Care Youth Get Help Paying For Health Care

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 6:59 am

When Joseph Hill turned 21, he went from being homeless to being homeless and uninsured.

Hill grew up in foster care. He entered the system when he was 3 months old, and lived in 10 different foster homes in San Diego. At 19, he aged out of foster care and faced an abrupt transition into adulthood.

At first he received health insurance under Medi-Cal, California's version of Medicaid. But those benefits disappeared when he turned 21.

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Sports
11:00 am
Fri June 20, 2014

A Dangerous 'Ritual': Chewing Tobacco In Baseball

Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn's death has revived conversations about the use of smokeless tobacco in the sport. Tobacco and baseball researcher Ted Eaves discusses why so many players use it.

Shots - Health News
8:14 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Sanctions Common Against Doctors With Odd Medicare Billing

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 9:37 am

Over the past couple of months, media organizations including ProPublica have been busy dissecting data released by Medicare on payments made to health professionals in 2012.

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StoryCorps
2:39 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Inheriting A Rare Skin Condition, And The Ability To Laugh About It

On a visit to StoryCorps, Cheri Lindsay, 25, and Phillip Lindsay, 52, discussed a rare skin condition they share, and how they both have coped.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:03 am

People with vitiligo gradually lose pigment in their skin, often in patches that appear randomly and grow over time.

But that wasn't the case for Cheri Lindsay. The white pigment on her skin spread rapidly across her body and around her eyes, "like a mask," over the past four years, she says.

She imagines that she's dealt with it better than most, in part because of the example set by her father.

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The Two-Way
6:51 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

CDC Says Dozens Of Workers Could Have Been Exposed To Anthrax

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:14 pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says that as many as 75 of its workers may have been accidentally exposed to live anthrax bacteria this month because of a safety problem at one of its labs.

Member station WABE's Michell Eloy reports from Atlanta that the CDC says the possible exposure "occurred after researchers at a high-security lab failed to follow the correct procedure to deactivate the bacteria."

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Shots - Health News
2:19 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

To Defeat A Deadly Toxin, Disrupt Its Landing Gear

A high-resolution image of the molecular carrier that moves the botulinum toxin from the intestine into the bloodstream. The carrier (silver) creates gaps in the gut lining by grabbing the rope-like molecules (red ribbons) that tether one intestinal cell to the next.
Rongsheng Jin, UC Irvine, and Min Dong, Harvard Medical School

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 6:59 am

Botulinum toxin may be the most poisonous substance on the planet. A mere speck of the stuff can kill a person.

But just what makes the toxin so potent?

Part of the answer lies in the molecules that carry the toxin through the body. These carriers, which are produced along with the toxin by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium, protect the toxin as it travels through the hostile environment of the gastroinstetinal tract, and help it bust through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.

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Shots - Health News
12:33 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Want Your Kids To Ace School? Good Motor Skills May Help

The cross country team may do more for your child's grades than the math tutor.
Robert Brown iStockphoto

There's no lack of evidence that children are getting fatter and weaker. And children who are obese or out of shape tend to do worse in school. But scientists are just starting to figure out just what it is in that mix that makes the difference with academics.

It looks like just being strong isn't the secret. Children and teens who did well on a hand-grip test and on a standing long jump did less well in school than peers who tested well on cardiovascular fitness and motor ability, according to a study of about 2,000 people in Spain. And motor ability mattered the most.

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