Health Desk

When I left my first mammogram appointment a few weeks ago, I felt fine.

Everything had gone smoothly, the technologist hadn't made a concerned face when she looked at the screen, and I was convinced I'd get the all-clear from my primary care doctor in a week or so.

Then came the phone calls the following day — first from my doctor's office, then from the mammography center — telling me the radiologist had seen something that didn't look quite right. I needed to come back for another mammogram and this time an ultrasound exam, too.

The 22 states that didn't expand Medicaid eligibility as part of Obamacare last year saw their costs to provide health care to the poor rise twice as fast as states that extended benefits to more low-income residents.

It's a counterintuitive twist for those states whose governors, most Republicans who opposed the Affordable Care Act, chose not to accept federal funds to extend Medicaid to more people.

Pill bottle
Charles Williams

After the state eliminated a grant that supports psychiatric care, providers worry patients may be cut off from medication and other treatment.

About half of all American adults get health insurance through their employer, and beginning in 2018, the government will impose heavy financial penalties on any employer-provided health plans it deems overly generous. The tax was designed to rein in health care inflation and raise tens of billions of dollars.

From floating old food in Jell-O molds to casseroles to cold pizza, the way we reuse and eat leftovers in America is special.

And it turns out that if you track our relationship with leftovers over time, you will understand a lot about our economy and how we live.

How Long Can Ebola Linger In The Semen Of Male Survivors?

Oct 14, 2015

Ebola can linger in the semen of male survivors. That's been known for a while now. When male patients were released in West Africa, health workers would tell them not to have unprotected sex for about three months.

But two new research papers raise the possibility that the virus can be present in semen for a much longer period and can infect a sexual partner. The papers were published today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Tens of thousands of Americans are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for problems caused by dietary supplements, federal health officials are reporting.

The complications include heart problems such as irregular or rapid heartbeat or chest pain, says Dr. Andrew Geller of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who led the study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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

If you're the parent of a young teen with intense mood swings, researchers have good news. Those emotions are probably normal and should calm down as your child moves through adolescence.

But if stormy emotional seas don't subside as teens move toward young adulthood, it may be a warning to parents of larger problems.

The number of women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, abnormal cells that sometimes become breast cancer, has soared since the 1970s. That's mostly because more women have been getting screening mammograms that can detect the tiny lesions.

The vast majority of women diagnosed with DCIS have surgery, even though there's considerable debate whether it's needed, since DCIS sometimes never becomes invasive cancer.

Why You Might Want To Be Drinking Beet Juice At The Gym

Oct 14, 2015

The iconic cartoon character Popeye became most famous for his slapstick routine of eating a can of spinach, then attaining superpowers that he often used to give his gigantic nemesis Bluto a severe pummeling.

But Bluto might be lucky that Popeye never got his hands on a glass of beet juice.

Are you a woman age 40 or older? Uninsured? Under-insured?

Mammogram Mondays are taking place this month with free screenings available.  

You must call for an appointment at one of the following locations:

For appointments from 4 – 7 p.m. at: Memorial Medical Imaging Breast Diagnostic Services at the Baylis Building, 747 N. Rutledge, Springfield, call 217-788-4042.

For appointments from 3 – 4:30 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, 200 Stahlhut Dr., Lincoln, call 217-605-5108.

Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail call for an Obamacare repeal all the time. Plans to replace it are rarer, though. Obamacare is a fantastically complicated policy, and overhauling the health care system would likewise be a complicated business, affecting not only government spending and the economy, but people's very lives on an intensely personal level.

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

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Billy Doyle Walker loved working in the sky. He used to say he could see forever, perched high up communications towers as he applied fresh paint.

Three years ago, working halfway up a 300-foot steel tower at the LBJ Ranch, the panoramic view included the rolling green hills and meadows of the Texas Hill Country. The tower was used by former President Lyndon B. Johnson to communicate with the White House.

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

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The FBI is investigating the death last year of a 32-year-old man in a Michigan jail.

In March 2014, David Stojcevski was sentenced to 30 days in the Macomb County jail.

He died there a little more than two weeks later — despite being under 24-hour video monitoring for most of that time.

That video footage captured nearly every minute of the physical and mental breakdown preceding his death.

For Dafinka Stojcevski, David's mother, the anger is still raw. She is seeking justice for her son.

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart trumpeted that it had beaten a goal it set five years ago: to open at least 275 stores in food deserts by 2016. That targeted expansion into "neighborhoods without access to fresh affordable groceries" came as part of the retailer's "healthier food initiative," lauded by — and launched with — First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011.

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

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On the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming, there's not a single trained sexual assault nurse examiner.

Northern Arapaho tribal member Millie Friday saw how devastating that lack could be when her own daughter was raped by a close relative. Friday was left with no choice but to take her daughter to a hospital off the reservation.

"We went straight to the emergency room and from the emergency room, the FBI was contacted," Friday says. "So she never even had that choice of what she wanted to do. It was just straight in."

It's a place where girls can play volleyball. They can do ballet (of course).

But soccer is a no-no.

That's the way it goes in Brazil, the country that famously loves soccer. There was once a legal ban — from 1941 to 1979 — noting that "women will not be allowed to practice sports which are considered incompatible to their feminine nature."

That law is no longer on the books. So things have changed. Brazil has a women's national team (although there's only room for a few elite players). The Brazilian player Marta is an international superstar.

Now that California has legalized aid in dying, advocacy groups are planning statewide education campaigns so doctors know what to do when patients ask for lethal medication to end their lives.

One of the first stops for doctors new to the practice is a doctor-to-doctor toll-free helpline. It's staffed by physicians from states where the practice is legal, who have experience writing prescriptions for lethal medication.

In an effort to move beyond recent controversy, Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday that it will no longer accept reimbursement for any fetal tissue it provides to medical researchers.

The organization has been the subject of negative attention in recent weeks following the release of highly edited, undercover videos recorded by an anti-abortion group alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally profits from its fetal tissue donation program.

Bipartisan Effort Revises Health Rule For Small Businesses

Oct 13, 2015

President Obama signed legislation last Wednesday that makes a significant change in the health law's small business rules, following a rare bipartisan effort to amend the Affordable Care Act.

Most people are going to have lower-back pain at some point in their lives — roughly 70 percent of us. But what do you do when that aching back strikes? The answer is, take it slow.

Getting into physical therapy right away may help, a study finds, but so will the passage of time. The key is not to jump into expensive, invasive procedures that could make things worse.

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department Health and Human Services convene an advisory committee to develop dietary guidelines based on the latest scientific and medical research. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines won't be released until later this year, but they're already generating debate.

The heart beats rhythmically, and so does a metronome.

So it makes sense that a metronome, typically used by musicians to help keep a steady beat, could help medical professionals restart a heart.

I'm a member of Generation Y, or the millennial generation. People like me were born in the '80s and early '90s. But I don't like to broadcast that fact. Millennials tend to get a bad rap.

Journalists and commentators love ragging on us. They say we're ill-prepared to deal with life's challenges. And that, as a result, we have higher rates of mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

If you've checked social media today, then you probably know already — it's the International Day of the Girl.

It's a day sanctioned by the United Nations and chaired by UNICEF. It began in 2011, and this year, with a theme of "the power of the adolescent girls," it launched a flotilla of hashtags:

#GirlHero

#GirlPossible

For six months, Eliza Kinrose worked about 10 hours a week delivering everything from cupcakes to art supplies to strangers' homes.

Shortly after quitting her steady job as a recruiter, Kinrose, 29, signed up to work for a new San Francisco-based mobile delivery service called Postmates. She made about $15 an hour for six months, which was just enough to scrape by until she launched a yoga business.

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