Health Desk

Shots - Health News
2:16 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Therapists Explore Dropping Solo Practices To Join Groups

The goals of therapy remain the same, but the business side is undergoing big changes.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 10:26 am

In the corporate world of American health care, psychologists and other mental health therapists are still mostly mom-and-pop shops. They build their own solo practices, not unlike Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip gang who hung her own shingle: "Psychiatric Help, 5 [Cents] โ€” The Doctor Is In."

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Parallels
2:09 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Following Bloomberg's Lead, Mexico Aims To Fight Fat

A street vendor fries food for lunch customers in Mexico City on July 10. Mexico has now surpassed the United States in levels of adult obesity, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre AP

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 10:10 am

Nearly a third of all Mexicans are obese, putting Mexico at the top of the list of overweight nations โ€” ahead of the United States.

In the battle against the bulge, lawmakers are taking aim at consumer's pocketbooks. They're proposing a series of new taxes on high calorie food and sodas. Health advocates say the higher prices will get Mexicans to change bad habits, but the beverage industry and small businesses are fighting back.

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All Tech Considered
4:39 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

It's Easy To Blame The Canadians For HealthCare.gov Problems

Heavy Internet traffic and system problems plagued the launch of the new HealthCare.gov insurance exchange site.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 5:43 pm

President Obama is putting former CEO Jeff Zients in charge of the "tech surge" โ€” the administration's emergency effort to fix the Web portal at the heart of the federal government's new health care market. But what about the contractors that built the system? What's their responsibility?

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Shots - Health News
4:21 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

A Toddler Remains HIV-Free, Raising Hope For Babies Worldwide

HIV-positive babies rest in an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. Treatment right after birth may make it possible for HIV-positive newborns to fight off the virus.
Brent Stirton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 5:31 pm

A 3-year-old girl born in Mississippi with HIV acquired from her mother during pregnancy remains free of detectable virus at least 18 months after she stopped taking antiviral pills.

New results on this child, published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, appear to green-light a study in the advanced planning stages in which researchers around the world will try to replicate her successful treatment in other infected newborns.

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It's All Politics
3:59 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

White House Turns To 'Rock Star' Manager For Obamacare Fix

Jeffrey Zients was tapped to help fix problems with the Obama administration's heath care website.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 5:58 pm

Jeffrey Zients isn't exactly a household name. But if he can cure what ails the Affordable Care Act website, he'll be one of the best-known figures in the Obama administration.

Zients (rhymes with Heinz) is the professional manager President Obama turned to in order to solve the by-now-infamous problems with the federal government's health care exchange website.

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Shots - Health News
3:05 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Why Postponing Insurance Mandate Is No Easy Fix For Obamacare

Patrick Lamanske, of Champaign, Ill., works with Amanda Ziemnisky (right), of the Champaign Urbana Public Health District, to try to sign up his wife, Ping, for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 1.
David Mercer AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 6:57 pm

The Obama administration has entered full damage-control mode over the balky website intended to enroll people in new health plans under the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
11:47 am
Wed October 23, 2013

FDA Asks Dog Owners For Help With Illnesses Linked To Jerky

Jerky treats for dogs and cats have been linked to pet illnesses and deaths. But it's still unclear what is causing the problems.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:11 am

The Food and Drug Administration has a mystery on its hands.

Thousands of dogs and at least 10 cats have become sick after eating various forms of jerky for pets over the past few years. Some 580 animals have died, the agency says. But it's not sure why.

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The Salt
9:31 am
Wed October 23, 2013

When Edible Plants Turn Their Defenses On Us

Rhubarb: delicious with strawberry pie, but steer clear of the leaves.
Rae Ellen Bichell NPR

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:39 am

Fruits and vegetables are unquestionably essential to a healthful diet.

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Shots - Health News
2:13 am
Wed October 23, 2013

States' Refusal To Expand Medicaid May Leave Millions Uninsured

Protesters fill the Miami office of state Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. on Sept. 20 to protest his stance against expansion of health coverage in Florida.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:12 am

President Obama on Tuesday appointed one of his top management gurus, Jeffrey Zeints, to head the team working to fix what ails HealthCare.gov, the troubled website that's supposed to allow residents of 36 states to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

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Shots - Health News
2:12 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Haitian Cholera Strain Spreads To Mexico

A nurse treats a cholera patient at the Juan Pablo Pina Hospital in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, in August. Health officials say that the strain of cholera circulating in the countryโ€” the same one that first appeared in Haiti three years ago โ€” has also caused outbreaks in Cuba and now Mexico.
Erika Santelices AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:21 pm

A South Asian strain of cholera that was introduced into Haiti three years ago this month has now spread to this continent's mainland.

Mexico is the fourth Western Hemisphere country to experience the cholera outbreak. It's a disease that's very hard to stamp out once it gets into an area with poor water and sanitation.

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Shots - Health News
3:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Doctors Enlist Therapists To Deliver Better, Cheaper Care

Tyler Engel with his parents, Dave and Jennifer. His doctor and therapist worked with the family to help Tyler recover from a concussion.
Kristian Foden-Vencil OPB

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:21 am

The state of Oregon is trying some experiments to bring different kinds of medical professionals under the same roof. Patients can see different kinds of doctors in one visit, and the hope is it will provide better patient care, eventually at less cost to the state.

This can make sense in a primary-care setting, where doctors often have to deal with stomachaches and migraines that stem from mental rather than physical problems.

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Shots - Health News
3:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Online Insurance Brokers Stymied Selling Obamacare Policies

Independent online insurance brokers, like eHealth, haven't yet been able to sell subsidized health insurance policies.
eHealthInsurance.com

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 6:18 pm

Consumers aren't the only ones frustrated by problems with the online health insurance exchanges being run by the feds.

Private companies that sell health insurance on the Internet are also in a bind. Websites like eHealthInsurance.com that were planning to start selling new, subsidized health care policies on Oct. 1 still can't offer them to customers.

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Science
2:58 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Antibiotics Can't Keep Up With 'Nightmare' Superbugs

On Tuesday night, PBS' Frontline will investigate how decades of antibiotic overuse has led to the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs.
Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:15 pm

We're used to relying on antibiotics to cure bacterial infections. But there are now strains of bacteria that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotics, and are causing deadly infections. According to the CDC, "more than 2 million people in the United States every year get infected with a resistant bacteria, and about 23,000 people die from it," journalist David Hoffman tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Shots - Health News
2:30 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

How Health Law Affects Fertility Treatment, Health Savings Accounts

More questions. More answers.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:22 am

The health insurance marketplaces are finally open, though technical problems have hindered sign-ups.

With the deadlines for having health insurance looming, people want details about the available plans and access to health savings accounts. Some also want to know about penalties if they don't buy insurance. Here are some recent questions and answers.

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Shots - Health News
2:19 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Want Your Daughter To Be A Science Whiz? Soccer Might Help

Very few girls get the recommended 60 minutes of exercise daily. But physical activity could help with school, a study says.
evoo73 Flickr

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:22 am

Girls who were more physically active at age 11 did better at school as teenagers, a study finds. And the most active girls really aced science.

It's become pretty much a given that children do better academically when they get regular exercise, even though schools continue to cut or even eliminate recess time. But there's surprisingly little hard evidence to back that up.

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The Salt
11:37 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Meatless Monday Movement Gets More Veggies On The Menu

One of the meatless dishes prepared at Benson Brewery in Omaha, Neb., for Meatless Monday is zucchini ribbon salad with a dressing made from roasted garlic and tahini, and garnished with green onions and toasted pine nuts.
Courtesy of Vegan Omaha

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 2:31 pm

America's relationship with meat is an indulgent one. At 270 pounds of meat per person per year, Americans consume more than almost anyone else in the world. (Mostly, we have our livestock producers' successes to thank for making meat cheap and abundant for us.)

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Parenting
11:35 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Maryville Case: A Parent's Worst Nightmare

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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StoryCorps
2:24 am
Tue October 22, 2013

For A Father With Alzheimer's, Life 'Came Down To Love'

Priya Morganstern (left) and Bhavani Jaroff visited a StoryCorps booth with their father, Ken Morganstern, in 2006. He passed away a year later.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:19 am

Five years after Ken Morganstern was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, he sat down with his daughters Priya Morganstern and Bhavani Jaroff to talk about some of the memories he had left.

At 81, he couldn't see and he needed some prompting from time to time, but family stayed strong in his memory.

He remembered that his dad was an easygoing guy, nicknamed "Happy Harry." "I had a lot of his characteristics, I think," he said.

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Shots - Health News
2:14 am
Tue October 22, 2013

How Politics Set The Stage For The Obamacare Website Meltdown

It all seemed so easy then. Back in June, the Supreme Court declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional. Waiting for that decision may have cost the administration precious time.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:23 am

Since the Affordable Care Act's health care exchanges launched to a long series of error messages Oct. 1, most of the "what went wrong" fingers have been pointing at software developers.

But some say there's more to it than that โ€” that politics has played a role as well.

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The Two-Way
5:46 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

It's Back To The Future For E-Cigarette Ads, At Least For Now

The FDA is expected to determine whether e-cigarettes should be regulated like tobacco products later this month.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 2:23 pm

  • Listen To Melissa Block's Coverage Of The E-cigarette Industry

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Shots - Health News
5:21 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

How Long Do They Really Have To Fix That Obamacare Website?

The mood wasn't sunny at the White House Rose Garden on Monday, as President Obama addressed the errors plaguing the computer system for health insurance enrollment.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 7:06 pm

They've got a few weeks.

But if federal officials can't get the new online insurance marketplace running smoothly by mid-November, the problems plaguing the three-week-old website could become a far bigger threat to the success of the health law, hampering enrollment and fueling opponents' calls to delay implementation, analysts say.

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It's All Politics
5:03 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

5 Questions Kathleen Sebelius Must Answer

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is likely to have a very long day when she testifies before Congress about the Affordable Care Act website problems.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 6:12 pm

The hottest hot seat in Washington is the one occupied by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose office confirmed Monday she'll testify about the Internet disaster that is HealthCare.gov, the Affordable Care Act website.

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Shots - Health News
4:29 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Scientists Grow New Hair In A Lab, But Don't Rush To Buy A Comb

Maybe someday Jerry won't be laughing at George's follicularly challenged scalp. But despite scientific advances there's still no cure for baldness.
NBC NBC via Getty Images

With a tiny clump of cells from a man's scalp, scientists have grown new human hair in the laboratory.

But don't get too excited. A magic cure for baldness isn't around the corner. The experimental approach is quite limited and years from reaching the clinic โ€” for many reasons.

The scientists have grown the hair only on a tiny patch of human skin grafted onto the back of a mouse. And as wispy locks go, the strands are pretty pathetic. Some hairs were white, and some didn't even make their way out of the skin.

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All Tech Considered
3:56 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

The HealthCare.gov 'Tech Surge' Is Racing Against The Clock

HealthCare.gov has been plagued with problems since the health insurance exchange site opened Oct. 1.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:10 am

A "tech surge" is underway to help clean up the code of the error-plagued HealthCare.gov site.

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Your Health
3:56 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

E-Cigarettes: A Nearly $2bn Industry, A Regulatory Wild West

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:37 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. We begin this hour trying to understand the soaring popularity of electronic cigarettes. Anecdotally, you'll hear ex-smokers say e-cigarettes are a godsend that helped them quit tobacco.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I found these and I was like, wow, that'll get me there. I'll be OK.

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Shots - Health News
12:53 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Breast Milk Bought Online Has High Levels Of Bacteria

A lab technician at the Mothers' Milk Bank Northeast in Newton Upper Falls, Mass., prepares donated breast milk for pasteurization in August 2012. The process kills harmful bacteria.
Elise Amendola Associated Press

Online breast milk marketplaces can be a godsend for a mother who might not be producing enough for her baby but still wants her child to get the the health benefits of breast milk. But milk sold on one popular website had more bacterial contamination than that from a milk bank, a study finds.

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U.S.
11:41 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Obama Says He's 'Frustrated' About Health Care Site Issues

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 2:37 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an acknowledgement of trouble by President Obama.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: OK, the president is speaking right now to reporters and others in the White House Rose Garden. Our White House correspondent Scott Horsley has been listening in. He's in our studios. Hi, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK, the president's talking about Obamacare. What's he saying?

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The Two-Way
11:34 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Obama: Health Care Site Is Troubled; Affordable Care Act Is Not

"There's no sugarcoating it: The website has been too slow," President Obama said at the White House on Monday. Obama said the health care system's online problems are being addressed.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 2:05 pm

The website that's meant to allow Americans to shop and sign up for new medical plans under the Affordable Care Act isn't working as well as it should, President Obama says. But he promised that the problems will be fixed โ€” and he said the Affordable Care Act is bringing many benefits that aren't tied to those problems.

"Nobody is madder than me that the website isn't working as it should โ€” which means that it's going to get fixed," Obama told a crowd at an outdoor address at the White House.

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Shots - Health News
8:27 am
Mon October 21, 2013

First Polio Cases Since 1999 Suspected In Syria

Syrian opposition fighters sit on the front line in the city of Deir Ezzor on Oct. 13. Ongoing violence has ravaged the city since March 2011.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:10 am

The World Health Organization is investigating a cluster of possible polio cases in an eastern province of Syria.

If the cases are confirmed, they'd be the first ones in the war-torn nation in more than a decade. The country eliminated polio in 1999.

Syria used to have one of the highest polio vaccination rates in the region. If the virus has returned, it would be a high-profile example of the ramifications of the collapse of Syria's once-vaunted public health system.

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Politics
4:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Obama To Address Health Care Website Problems

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 2:37 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's look at the politics of the Obamacare rollout with NPR's national political correspondent, Mara Liasson. She's on the line.

Hi, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK. So the standoff is over for the moment. The government is reopened. The battle over the debt ceiling is behind us. And now the focus is on this actual law.

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