Health Desk

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.)

Read more
Parenting
11:35 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Maryville Case: A Parent's Worst Nightmare

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
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.

Read more
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 — that politics has played a role as well.

Read more
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

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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 — 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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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?

Read more
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 — 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 — which means that it's going to get fixed," Obama told a crowd at an outdoor address at the White House.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:05 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Should Severe Premenstrual Symptoms Be A Mental Disorder?

Women's moods can change based on the phases of their menstrual cycle. But does that mean they have a psychiatric disorder?
Katherine Streeter for NPR

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

The way Ronna Simmons of Philadelphia describes it, every two weeks a timer goes off.

Simmons, 24, will have been doing just fine, working, taking care of her daughter. And then suddenly everything changes. Normally cheerful, Simmons says she begins to hate herself.

"I tell everybody, 'I'm not myself right now,' " she says. " 'I'll call you back when I'm Ronna again.'"

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Enrollments For Health Care Exchanges Trickle In, Slowly

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

The Obama administration's hopes ran high that millions would flock to enroll for health insurance on state and federal exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.

Those exchanges went online Oct. 1. The administration projected that half a million individuals or families would enroll within 30 days, according to The Associated Press.

But three weeks in, the data suggest the actual number of enrollments is lagging far behind that number.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:19 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

World's Eyes On Washington's New Recreational Pot Rules

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 7:02 pm

Washington State has finalized rules for recreational marijuana sales, joining Colorado in beginning to create a legal framework for the pot industry. Randy Simmons, deputy director of the Washington Liquor Control Board, says other states and even other countries are watching Washington's developing system very closely.

The Sunday Conversation
10:03 am
Sun October 20, 2013

Comedian Faces His Addictions To Food And Alcohol

Comedian Jamie Kilstein
Mary d'Aloisio

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 6:24 am

In a single week, comedian Jamie Kilstein realized he was both an alcoholic and a food addict.

He has alcoholism in his family, and didn't start drinking till he was legally allowed to. But then, he became a stand-up comic — a job that often pays in drinks.

"I was like, well, I gotta get paid somehow," he tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "I earned this."

While alcoholism is a term most people understand, addiction to food can be a bit murkier. "After my first week of not drinking, I felt really proud of myself," Kilstein says, "but I still felt like there was more."

Read more
Health
6:47 am
Sun October 20, 2013

With Addiction, Breaking A Habit Means Resisting A Reflex

Addiction can come in a lot of forms, but the characteristics are the same.
aurumarcus Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 10:27 am

The pull of addiction can come from many directions: from food to alcohol to the Internet. So what connects those dependencies?

"Addiction is a memory, it's a reflex. It's training your brain in something which is harmful to yourself," says Dr. Charles P. O'Brien, co-founder of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania.

Read more
Health
6:40 am
Sat October 19, 2013

When The Cost Of Health Insurance Outweighs The Risk

Part-time bartender Jacob Kreider, 33, tells host Scott Simon that he's chosen not to take the medical plan for which he qualifies under the Affordable Care Act. He says he'd rather use the money to pursue his career goals.

Health
6:40 am
Sat October 19, 2013

For 'Young Invincibles,' Insurance Isn't Just A Health Issue

For the Affordable Care Act to work, young, healthy people have to sign up for the new insurance exchanges. But these so-call Young Invincibles have a number of reasons for forgoing coverage. Host Scott Simon talks with Lisa Dubay of the Urban Institute about these 18- to 35-year-olds.

Shots - Health News
4:03 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Why Scientists Are Trying Viruses To Beat Back Bacteria

Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that causes severe diarrhea, can be difficult to treat with antibiotics.
Stefan Hyman University of Leicester

Not all viruses are bad for us. Some of them might even help up us fight off bacterial infections someday.

Naturally occurring viruses called bacteriophages attack specific types of bacteria. So researchers at the University of Leicester decided to try and take advantage of phages' bacteria-destroying powers to treat infections with Clostridium difficile, a germ that that can cause severe diarrhea and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Read more
NPR Story
12:48 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Promising New Treatment for the Deadly Ebola Virus

Transcript

JOHN DANKOSKY, HOST:

Now, for many of us, we first heard about the Ebola virus from the movie "Outbreak," Dustin Hoffman trying to contain an outbreak of an Ebola-like virus in a small California town. Well, in the 18 years since that movie came out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented 18 known outbreaks of Ebola, with the most recent happening last fall in the Congo.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:01 am
Fri October 18, 2013

To Prevent HIV Infection, Couples Try Testing Together

David Lozano (left) and Kevin Kreinbring stand in front of a painting created by Lozano. The couple says they get tested for HIV together every six months.
Courtesy of David Lozano

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 11:56 am

Getting tested for HIV in the U.S. is almost always private, sometimes even secretive. Ditto for disclosing the results.

But some say the approach is outmoded at a time when many at risk for HIV — gay men — are in committed relationships.

Research shows as many as two-thirds of new HIV infections among gay men these days are within committed couples. That's very different from the days when promiscuity fueled the epidemic.

Read more
Shots - Health News
9:46 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Painkiller Overdose Deaths Strike New York City's Middle Class

What's in your neighbor's medicine cabinets may influence overdose risk in the community.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 11:12 am

Drug overdoses are usually thought to afflict mainly the poor and troubled. But it looks like OxyContin and other opioid painkillers are changing the picture.

People in stable, middle-class neighborhoods are also dying from opioid overdoses, a study in New York City finds.

Opioids have become among the most popular drugs of abuse in the past decade, with deaths from overdoses of oxycodone, hydrocodone and codeine eclipsing those from heroin and cocaine combined.

Read more
TED Radio Hour
8:38 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Is 'Patient Capitalism' The Answer To Poverty?

Robert Leslie TED

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 1:35 pm

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Haves And Have-Nots.

About Jacqueline Novogratz's TEDTalk

Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of Acumen Fund, shares stories of how "patient capitalism" can bring sustainable jobs, goods, services and dignity to the world's poor.

About Jacqueline Novogratz

Read more
Politics
3:03 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Obamacare Fight Leads Sen. Roberts To Turn Against Old Friend Sebelius

Kathleen Sebelius stands with Sen. Pat Roberts (right), R-Kan., and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole in 2009.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 12:28 pm

This month's government shutdown grew out of Republicans' insistence on a budget that defunded the Affordable Care Act.

That didn't happen, but Republicans still detest the law — and now there's a movement underway to oust Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Read more
The Salt
4:27 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Moms Petition Mars To Remove Artificial Dyes From M&M's

briser50 Flickr

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 10:25 am

If you tear open a packet of M&M's, what's the first thing you notice?

The colors: bright blue, vibrant orange, bold yellow. Kids love this visual stimulation.

But the sponsors of a new petition on Change.org — which is urging M&M-maker Mars to replace the artificial colorings used to create these distinctive hues — say these dyes can make some kids hyperactive.

"In this petition, I'm asking Mars to change to natural colorings," mom Renee Shutters told me by phone. "It's very doable."

Read more
Health Care
4:03 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Health Exchange Websites Show Improvements, But Still Spotty

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 4:54 pm

With the government shutdown over, attention is turning back to the rollout of the federal health law, which has federal and state officials working to fix software glitches on the health exchanges.

Pages