Health Desk

Goats and Soda
12:55 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Ebola In Remote Liberia, Through The Eyes Of A Local Health Worker

Lorenzo Dorr works at the grassroots level to help deliver health services in far-flung areas of Liberia.
Courtesy of Last Mile Health

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 12:10 pm

Even as encouraging reports come out of Liberia that Ebola cases appear to be leveling off or declining, it's not the full story. In recent weeks, there was a major outbreak of Ebola in scattered villages of Rivercess County, in the remote, southeastern part of the country where Lorenzo Dorr, a Liberian health worker with decades of experience, is helping to improve local health systems.

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Goats and Soda
11:19 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Hello Flowers, Bye-Bye Stray Dogs: Nepal Preps For South Asian Summit

The sidewalk repairs are permanent. The big photos offer a temporary touch of beauty during the summit.
Donatella Lorch for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 3:54 pm

Katmandu is giving itself a face-lift.

Tomorrow is the opening of the 18th summit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Seven regional heads of state, whose countries are home to large numbers of the world's poorest and hungriest people, are arriving in the city for two days of talks to explore greater trade and political cooperation within the region. And the cash-strapped government of Nepal wants its capital to look its best.

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Shots - Health News
11:01 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Merck Partners With NewLink To Speed Up Work On Ebola Vaccine

A 26-year-old man receives an injection in September of an experimental Ebola vaccine being tested by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and GlaxoSmithKline.
NIAID

It's now Goliath versus Goliath in the quest for an Ebola vaccine.

Until now, the two leading candidates for a vaccine to protect against the Ebola virus were being led by global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline on the one hand, and a tiny company in Ames, Iowa, that was virtually unknown, on the other.

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Shots - Health News
4:16 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Upfront Costs Of Going Digital Overwhelm Some Doctors

Dr. Oliver Korshin says he's just a few years from retirement and can't afford the flurry of technology upgrades the federal government expects him to make.
Annie Feidt Alaska Public Media

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 4:07 pm

Dr. Oliver Korshin practices ophthalmology three days a week in the same small office in east Anchorage, Alaska, he's had for three decades. Many of his patients have aged into their Medicare years right along with him.

For his tiny practice, which employs just one part-time nurse, putting all his patients' medical records in an online database just doesn't make sense, Korshin says. It would cost too much to install and maintain — especially considering that he expects to retire in just a few years.

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Shots - Health News
4:16 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Africa Inspires A Health Care Experiment In New York

Norma Melendez, a community health worker with City Health Works, walks along Second Avenue on her way to meet a client. City Health Works is an organization that is attempting to bring an African model of health care delivery to the United States.
Bryan Thomas for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 4:09 pm

There's a project in the neighborhood of Harlem in New York that has a through-the-looking-glass quality. An organization called City Health Works is trying to bring an African model of health care delivery to the United States. Usually it works the other way around.

If City Health Works' approach is successful, it could help change the way chronic diseases are managed in poverty-stricken communities, where people suffer disproportionately from HIV/AIDS, obesity and diabetes.

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Global Health
5:25 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Ebola Gatekeeper: 'When The Tears Stop, You Continue The Work'

Wencke Petersen, a Doctors Without Borders health worker, talks to a man through a chain link gate in September, when she was doing patient assessment at the front gate of an Ebola treatment unit. "There were days we couldn't take any patients at all," she tells NPR.
Michel du Cille The Washington Post

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 1:53 pm

Wencke Petersen came to Liberia in late August to do what she normally does for Doctors Without Borders in hotspots all over the world — manage supplies.

But the supplies she was meant to organize hadn't arrived yet. So she was asked to help with another job: standing at the main gate of the walled-in compound, turning people away when the unit was full.

For five weeks, she gave people the bad news.

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Global Health
4:11 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Ebola: Then And Now

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 5:23 pm

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

Health
4:11 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Countering The 8-Hour Sleep Schedule

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 4:37 pm

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

Transcript

TESS VIGELAND, HOST:

It's the weekend, so maybe you are lucky enough to get eight straight hours of sleep last night - or not. And if not, you may feel like a slumber failure, because we are all supposed to get that solid eight or nine. And we assume that's what our bodies need and crave.

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Goats and Soda
6:03 am
Sun November 23, 2014

Anesthesia Miracle: No Power, No Oxygen Tanks, No Problem

A nurse anesthetist practices using the Universal Anesthesia Machine on an uncomplaining patient.
John Sampson/JHMI

Waking up during a surgery would be a nightmare, yet that's a regular problem for patients in low-income countries. Sketchy power grids mean the lights often go out, and with them, the anesthesia machine. In other cases, there are too few oxygen tanks for a surgery, so it's canceled.

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Shots - Health News
4:52 am
Sun November 23, 2014

What Microbes Lurked In The Last Public Restroom You Used?

Even cleaning a bathroom daily didn't much affect the make-up of the community of microbes living there, scientists say.
Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 1:56 pm

The invisible world of the bathroom isn't pretty — unless you're a microbe. After scanning the microbial zoo of four public restrooms recently, a team of researchers found a diverse swarm of characters that persisted for months despite regular cleaning of the facilities.

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Goats and Soda
4:33 am
Sat November 22, 2014

You Might Be Surprised When You Take Your Temperature

Temperatures are taken two ways at Casablanca's airport: with an infrared body scanner (left) and a handheld thermometer (right).
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

What's your temperature?

That's the question of the hour. The Ebola virus has made taking your temperature part of everyday conversation. People in West Africa are doing it. People returning from the region are doing it. And so are the overly paranoid in the United States.

For anyone who's been exposed to the virus, a body temperatures of 100.4 or higher has been deemed the point of concern. The goal, of course, is that magic number: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Except 98.6 degrees isn't so magical after all. In fact, that might not be your normal temperature.

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Goats and Soda
8:26 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Plague Outbreak In Madagascar Spreads To Its Capital

Rats are a common sight along the streets of Antananarivo, where trash can go weeks, even months, without being collected.
Mike Rajaonarison Xinhua /Landov

An outbreak of the plague has sickened at least 119 people and killed 40 in Madagascar, the World Health Organization reports Friday.

The outbreak started back in August in a rural village, WHO said. Then it spread to seven of Madagascar's 22 regions. Two cases have occurred in the country's capital of Antananarivo.

"There is now a risk of a rapid spread of the disease due to the city's high population density and the weakness of the health care system," the WHO writes.

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Goats and Soda
3:49 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

An Ebola Clinic Figures Out A Way To Start Beating The Odds

Dr. Komba Songu M'Briwah, left, talks on the phone while staff members disinfect offices at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center in Freetown.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 7:22 pm

One reason the Ebola virus is so terrifying is that it's so lethal. Researchers estimate that the strain circulating in West Africa is killing upward of 70 percent of those it infects. Even among those getting care, as many as 64 percent are dying.

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Health Care
3:33 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Georgia's 'Coverage Gap' Leaves Many Uninsured

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 5:36 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
2:14 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

To Stay Energy Efficient As You Age, Keep On Running

People use energy less efficiently as they age. Running seems to help prevent that slowdown.
iStockphoto

Walking is a simple thing that becomes really, really important as we age. Being able to get around on our feet for extended periods of time not only makes everyday life easier, it's linked to fewer hospitalizations and greater longevity. As we get older, though, the body takes about 15 to 20 percent more energy to cover the same terrain.

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Goats and Soda
11:31 am
Fri November 21, 2014

The Viagra Of The Himalayas Brings In Big Bucks And Big Problems

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 5:49 pm

People live for — and die because of — the "Viagra of the Himalayas."

That's the nickname for one of the weirdest fungi around.

It starts with the larva of the ghost moth — a caterpillar that lives underground. A fungus invades the larva, kills it and consumes the body. Just the outer skeleton remains.

Eventually, a small brown stalk erupts from the dead caterpillar's head. In the spring, the pinkie-size stalk pokes an inch or two from the earth. That's when people across the Tibetan Plateau head to the high-alpine meadows to harvest the crazy-looking creature.

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Shots - Health News
11:06 am
Fri November 21, 2014

In The Hospital, There's No Such Thing As A Lesbian Knee

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 7:12 am

When my partner Cheryl was dying from respiratory complications related to treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, she was in so much physical distress she couldn't bear to be touched.

The only contact she could stand — one of the few ways I could share my love with her — was for me to rub her feet. As I stood at the foot of her hospital bed doing just that, a scrub-clad figure we had never seen before poked her head in the door, curled her lip and demanded: "What is your relationship?"

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Shots - Health News
9:16 am
Fri November 21, 2014

The 2 Things That Rarely Happen After A Medical Mistake

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 6:50 am

Patients who suffer injuries, infections or mistakes during medical care rarely get an acknowledgment or apology, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report.

Their study was based on responses of 236 patients who completed ProPublica's Patient Harm Questionnaire during the one-year period ending in May 2013 and who agreed to share their data.

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TED Radio Hour
8:21 am
Fri November 21, 2014

How Can We Find More Time To Be Still?

"In an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still." -Pico Iyer
Ryan Lash TED

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 10:50 am

Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode Quiet

About Pico Iyer's TED Talk

Pico Iyer says sitting still and reflecting is hard work. But we bring so much more to our experiences, and relationships when we make time to think.

About Pico Iyer

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TED Radio Hour
8:21 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Why Do We Undervalue Introverts?

"What I'm saying is that culturally we need a much better balance. We need more of a yin and yang between [introverts and extroverts]." - Susan Cain
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Quiet.

About Susan Cain's TED Talk

In a culture where being social and outgoing are celebrated, it can be difficult to be an introvert. Susan Cain argues introverts bring extraordinary talents to the world, and should be celebrated.

About Susan Cain

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Africa
4:08 am
Fri November 21, 2014

In Liberia, A New Focus On Tracking Down Rural Ebola Cases

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 5:06 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
3:19 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Blind From Birth, But Able To Use Sound To 'See' Faces

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:04 pm

A brain area that recognizes faces remains functional even in people who have been blind since birth, researchers say. The finding, presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting this week, suggests that facial recognition is so important that evolution has hardwired it into the human brain.

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The Salt
5:30 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Moderate Drinker Or Alcoholic? Many Americans Fall In Between

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 8:49 am

A lot of us make the assumption that there are two kinds of drinkers: moderate drinkers who have a glass of wine with dinner, and on the other end of the spectrum, alcoholics.

But this is not an accurate picture, according to researchers.

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Goats and Soda
4:30 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

The Whole World Is Fat! And That Ends Up Costing $2 Trillion A Year

This Chinese teenager weighs 353 pounds. At a "slimming center" in China's central Hubei province, he's exercising and undergoing acupuncture to lose weight.
Color China AP

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 4:37 pm

Obesity used to be an issue primarily in well-off countries. It was one of those things flippantly dismissed as a "first-world problem." Now people are packing on the pounds all over the planet. In some fast-growing cities in China, for example, half the people are now overweight.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
4:17 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Debate: Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?

Bioethicist Peter Singer argues that, under certain circumstances, people should have the right to die at a time of their choosing.
Samuel La Hoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Since Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill in 1997, more than 700 people have taken their lives with prescribed medication — including Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with an incurable brain tumor, who ended her life earlier this month.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

White House Acknowledges Over-Counting Obamacare Signups

The White House acknowledged today that it overreported the number of signups under the Affordable Care Act by nearly 400,000 people.

Some people with separate medical and dental plans were counted twice, leading the administration to state erroneously that more than 7 million had enrolled in coverage under ACA, instead of the correct figure of about 6.7 million.

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Shots - Health News
2:51 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

What Diabetes Costs You, Even If You Don't Have The Disease

The costs of diabetes aren't all as obvious as an insulin pump.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 1:04 pm

Diabetes is an expensive disease to treat, costing the United States $244 billion in 2012, according to an analysis of the disease's economic burden.

When the loss of productivity due to illness and disability is added in, the bill comes to $322 billion, or $1,000 a year for each American, including those without diabetes. That's 48 percent higher than the same benchmark in 2007; not a healthy trend.

The increase is being driven by a growing and aging population, the report finds, as well as more common risk factors like obesity, and higher medical costs.

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The Two-Way
2:29 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Keep Your Head Up: 'Text Neck' Takes A Toll On The Spine

Courtesy of Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:12 pm

"Text neck," the posture formed by leaning over a cellphone while reading and texting, is a big problem, according to the author of a newly published study in the National Library of Medicine.

Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, says the bad posture can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on the upper spine — sometimes for several hours a day, depending on how often people look at their devices.

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Health Desk
2:12 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

New Efforts To Track Antibiotic Resistance

Credit Courtesy of SIU School of Medicine

This week is "Get Smart about Antibiotics Week." It's meant to address the fact that a large amount of antibiotics are used inappropriately, which can lead to what are known as "super bugs".

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Goats and Soda
1:54 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Indian Shopkeepers Greet Wal-Mart's Expansion Plans With Protests

Protesters gather outside Wal-Mart's offices in Gurgaon, India. Their demand: Wal-Mart should build its stores far from markets where they work.
Rhitu Chatterjee for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:39 pm

A few hundred hawkers and street vendors gathered Wednesday on the side of a dusty, busy road in the northern Indian city of Gurgaon, a few miles from the capital, New Delhi. Some wore black headbands with "No Wal-Mart" signs. Others carried banners that said "Stop uprooting hawkers and vendors."

The crowd of protesters walked down the road to the Indian headquarters of Wal-Mart, located in one of many modern, multistoried buildings. They stood outside, chanting "Wal-Mart, down, down!" "Wal-Mart, come to your senses!"

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