Health Desk

Shots - Health News
1:13 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Tracking Your Own Health Data Too Closely Can Make You Sick

Studies show that having too many tests done too frequently is a recipe for getting sick, not staying healthy.
Medicimage Science Source

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 7:32 am

Last week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban caused quite a stir on Twitter by suggesting that people, if they could afford it, get quarterly bloodwork to establish a baseline of their own health. A big failing of medicine, he wrote, is that "we wait till we are sick to have our blood tested and compare the results to 'comparable demographics.' "

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Health Desk
7:58 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Illinoisans Asking For Medical Marijuana To Cover More Illnesses

Credit Credit flickr/eggrole

Illinois residents have petitioned the state to add more than 20 medical conditions to the medical marijuana program, including anxiety, migraines, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.  

The Associated Press obtained the petitions through a Freedom of Information Act request. Names of petitioners were blacked out to protect patients' privacy. Individuals identifying themselves as veterans of Vietnam and Iraq asked that PTSD be included, adding emotional pleas for help.  

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Shots - Health News
3:25 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Maybe You Should Skip That Annual Physical

Lorenzo Gritti for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 1:10 pm

It's a warm afternoon in Miami, and 35-year-old Emanuel Vega has come to Baptist Health Primary Care for a physical exam. Dr. Mark Caruso shakes his hand with a welcoming smile.

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Shots - Health News
3:23 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Women Having A Heart Attack Don't Get Treatment Fast Enough

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 1:37 pm

Christina Costanzo was 32 when she had her first heart attack. It all started on a Friday.

"I had chest pain. I had pain in my jaw, pain going down my left arm. I had some shortness of breath," Costanzo recalls.

But Costanzo who is a nurse practitioner in New Haven, Conn., didn't realize right away that these were symptoms of a heart attack. She figured this was just her body reacting to stress, and she didn't want to overreact.

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Shots - Health News
2:37 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Puberty Suppression Now A Choice For Teens On Medicaid In Oregon

Michaela leans on her mother, Dee, while talking to Dr. Karin Selva about puberty suppression.
Kristian Foden-Vencil Oregon Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 7:33 am

Michael was born biologically male 13 years ago on the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation.

Mom, Dee, remembers buying dresses for three nieces when Michael — who now goes by Michaela — was about 6 years old.

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Shots - Health News
8:54 am
Sun April 5, 2015

In Rural Virginia, Truckers Can Stop For Coffee And A Physical

Crystal Groah holds four-month-old son Brently while Dr. Rob Marsh examines him. He and his twin sister Savannah were premature at birth, but with care from Marsh both are doing well.
Sandy Hausman/WVTF

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 4:00 pm

Rob Marsh has a medical practice in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. He likes the freedom to open his office at night if a patient gets sick.

Marsh wants to make house calls, and he needs to pay a staff that has grown from 2 to 23. But many people in this area lack insurance.

"You've got to make budget to make payroll," he says.

The financial pressures of practicing medicine in the 21st century have led more doctors to take jobs with large hospitals and medical practices. Last year, only 17 percent of doctors were in solo practice.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Sun April 5, 2015

Drinking With 'Mad Men': Cocktail Culture And The Myth Of Don Draper

Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) raise their glasses. Many fans have been inspired to do the same, but Mad Men has a complicated relationship with alcohol.
Michael Yarish AMC

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 3:51 pm

Ah, 2007: the year in which we met the first-ever iPhone, a presidential candidate called Barack Obama ... and an inscrutable ad man named Don Draper.

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Shots - Health News
5:25 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

When It Comes To Insurance, Mental Health Parity In Name Only?

Mental health care advocates say patients face challenges in insurance coverage.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 3:02 pm

By law, many U.S. insurance providers that offer mental health care are required to cover it just as they would cancer or diabetes care. But advocates say achieving this mental health parity can be a challenge.

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Health
4:30 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

Improving Mental Health Via Social Network

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 5:25 pm

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

U.S.
4:30 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

Rethinking How To Care For California's Most Troubled Children

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 5:25 pm

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

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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Medical Treatments
7:01 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Reporter Covered Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things In Wartime

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 9:30 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Goats and Soda
4:42 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

How Advances In Battlefield Medicine Can Save Civilians' Lives

Medics surround a wounded U.S. soldier as he arrives at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan.
Chris Hondros Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 5:03 pm

About 10 years ago, Dr. Swaminatha Mahadevan was conducting research at a Nepalese hospital, when he witnessed something that would never have happened back home in California.

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Shots - Health News
4:09 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

California Faith Groups Divided Over Right-To-Die Bill

The Rev. Vernon Holmes leads a Lutheran congregation near Sacramento, Calif., that supports the state's right-to-die bill. He describes his faith as promoting quality of life.
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 5:54 pm

Clergy, more than a lot of people, come face to face with death regularly.

The Rev. Vernon Holmes, for example, leads a Lutheran congregation near Sacramento; the average age of members is 79.

His faith promotes quality of life, Holmes says. And that same faith leads him to challenge the status quo and injustice. His congregation belongs to an advocacy group called California Church Impact, which supports California's bill that would allow the terminally ill to end their own lives with medical assistance.

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Shots - Health News
1:52 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Men And Women Use Different Scales To Weigh Moral Dilemmas

Todd Davidson Getty Images/Illustration Works

You find a time machine and travel to 1920. A young Austrian artist and war veteran named Adolf Hitler is staying in the hotel room next to yours. The doors aren't locked, so you could easily stroll next door and smother him. World War II would never happen.

But Hitler hasn't done anything wrong yet. Is it acceptable to kill him to prevent World War II?

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Goats and Soda
12:19 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

What China Can Teach The World About Successful Health Care

A community worker teaches fishermen about staying healthy.
World Health Organization/U.S. National Library of Medicine

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 4:02 pm

Over the past six decades, China has been experimenting with radically different forms of health care systems.

As the country struggles to figure out the best way to get health care to 1.3 billion people, the rest of the world can learn from its past successes and failures, researchers wrote Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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Shots - Health News
9:55 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Will Smart Clothing Amp Up Your Workout?

Athos workout wear includes sensors that measure muscle activity.
Tim Mantoani Courtesy of Athos

When Eric Blue goes to the gym, he sports a wafer-thin shirt that tracks his every move.

Blue's shirt contains tiny sensors woven into the fabric. They monitor his heart rate, the calories he burns and other metrics, like breathing rate. A companion app on his smartphone informs him about the intensity of his workouts.

Blue, a Los Angeles entrepreneur, says regular use of the shirt has pushed him to "up his game" during exercise.

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Goats and Soda
5:17 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

If You Know Where The Missing $6 Million Is, Please Tell Sierra Leone

The health workers of Sierra Leone — like Dr. Komba Songu M'Briwah (on the phone) — were dedicated to fighting Ebola. But they had a huge handicap. A government report reveals that some of the money allocated went to pay "ghost workers."
David Gilkey NPR

Sierra Leone poured a lot of money into the battle against Ebola.

The government earmarked $18 million of treasury funds and public donations to combat the disease, which has claimed around 3,800 lives there.

That's an admirable commitment. But there's just one problem. A third of that money appears to have disappeared.

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Goats and Soda
4:10 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Drug-Resistant Food Poisoning Lands In The U.S.

Shigella is a huge problem around the world. The bacteria infect about 100 million people each year and kill about 600,000.
CDC/Science Source

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 11:36 am

This time last year, a painful new virus was knocking on our doorstep. Travelers were bringing chikungunya to the U.S. And eventually, the mosquito-borne virus set up shop in Florida.

Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says another nasty pathogen is hitching a ride to the U.S. with travelers: multidrug-resistant Shigella.

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The Salt
3:00 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Sodium Sleuths: Do Southerners Eat More Salt Than The Rest Of Us?

The salty suspects: Some 70 percent of the cheeses, soups, cold cuts and pizzas we buy at the grocery store exceed the Food and Drug Administration's "healthy" labeling standards for salt. Since we eat so much bread, it is — perhaps surprisingly — the top contributor of sodium to our diets.
iStockphoto; Deborah Austin/Flickr; Beckman's Bakery/Flickr; iStockphoto; The Pizza Review/Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 4:02 pm

It's not the salt shakers on our tables that explain why Americans consume way too much sodium. It's the processed foods we buy in grocery stores.

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Shots - Health News
12:10 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Will Your Child Become Nearsighted? One Simple Way To Find Out

You really should go out and play. But I can't blame the TV for your nearsightedness.
FPG Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 4:13 pm

This is for everyone whose parents said, "Sitting too close to the TV is going to ruin your eyes." In other words, pretty much all of us.

Sitting too close to the TV doesn't predict nearsightedness, according to a study that tracked the vision of thousands of children over 20 years. Nor does doing a lot of close work.

Instead, as early as age 6 a child's refractive error — the measurements used for an eyeglass prescription — best predicts the risk.

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Goats and Soda
11:06 am
Thu April 2, 2015

The Kids Brainwashed By Boko Haram Were Silent For Good Reason

No one knows how many children have been affected by the spread of Boko Haram across Nigeria and neighboring countries. This photo shows the school uniforms of the girls kidnapped from a school a year ago.
Glenna Gordon Glenna Gordon for NPR

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 7:52 am

It's a story that spread around the world last month: The Cameroonian army had rescued scores of children from Boko Haram. Morning Edition was among the news outlets that covered the story of youngsters said to be so traumatized, they'd forgotten their names.

This was the account of Christopher Fomunyoh, an expert on democracy in Africa and native Cameroonian who had traveled to the center where the children were being held.

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Shots - Health News
8:52 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Searching Online May Make You Think You're Smarter Than You Are

Stuart Kinlough Getty Images/Ikon Images

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 4:13 pm

Using the Internet is an easy way to feel omniscient. Enter a search term and the answers appear before your eyes.

But at any moment you're also just a few taps away from becoming an insufferable know-it-all. Searching for answers online gives people an inflated sense of their own knowledge, according to a study. It makes people think they know more than they actually do.

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The Salt
3:57 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Navajos Fight Their Food Desert With Junk Food And Soda Taxes

A price comparison of Spam and fresh fruit in a grocery store in Navajo Nation. According to the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance, the vast majority of the inventory at reservation stores would be considered "junk food" under the new tax law.
Courtesy of Denisa Livingston

More than 30 cities and states across the country have attempted to tax soda. Nearly all have failed.

Now, a community of about 250,000 people has found a way to tax not just sugary beverages, but also junk food. At the same time, it's making fresh produce more affordable in one of the hardest regions in the U.S. to buy it.

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Shots - Health News
3:39 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Trading Walkathons For Ice Buckets, Charities Try To Hold On To Donors

A big crowd turned out for the March of Dimes walkathon in Gainesville, Fla., in early March. But overall, the March of Dimes' March for Babies raised $3.5 million less in 2014 than it did the year before.
Elizabeth Hamilton Gainesville Sun/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 10:43 am

Springtime means outdoor charity events, and there are plenty to choose from.

You can walk, run, bike, swim or even roll around in the mud to raise money for a cause. But some of the bigger, more established events aren't doing as well as they used to, and charities are trying to adjust.

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Health
3:39 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Germanwings Crash Highlights Workplace Approaches To Mental Health

When it comes to an employee's mental health status, what does an employer need to know, or have a right to know?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 1:12 pm

The horrifying crash last week of the Germanwings flight operated by Lufthansa has put a spotlight on what the airline knew — and what it should, or could have done — about its pilot's mental health.

Lufthansa could face unlimited liability, after the pilot allegedly brought the plane down deliberately. Here in the U.S., employment experts say monitoring employees' mental health status raises a thicket of complicated issues.

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Health
3:39 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Arizona Requires Doctors To Say Abortion Pill Is Reversible

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 7:10 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Arizona will now require doctors to tell women who use the so-called abortion pill that the procedure can be reversed. We asked NPR health correspondent Rob Stein whether that's true. Here's his report.

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Politics
3:39 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Margaret Hamburg Ends Six-Year Run As FDA Commissioner

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 7:00 pm

Margaret Hamburg ended her run this week as one of the longest serving Food and Drug Administration commissioners in recent decades. NPR's Robert Siegel speaks with her about her accomplishments and challenges while in office.

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Goats and Soda
2:41 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

A Virus In Your Mouth Helps Fight The Flu

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 5:07 pm

Hidden inside all of us are likely thousands of viruses — maybe more. They just hang out, harmlessly. We don't even know they're there.

But every once in a while, one of these viral inhabitants might help us out.

Young people infected with a type of herpes virus have a better immune response to the flu vaccine than those not infected, scientists at Stanford University report Wednesday. In mice, the virus directly stops influenza itself.

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Shots - Health News
2:11 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Diagnosing A Sinus Infection Can Be A DIY Project

This is what the inflammation of sinus infection looks like in a false-color X-ray. It hurts even more in real life.
CNRI Science Source

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 4:50 pm

Sinus infections are miserable, and it's hard not to want to run to the doctor for relief. Rethink that, the nation's ear, nose and throat doctors say.

Most people who get sinusitis feel better in a week, the doctors say, and many of those infections are caused by viruses. Getting an antibiotic isn't going to help.

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Shots - Health News
9:09 am
Wed April 1, 2015

To Avoid Surprise Insurance Bills, Tell Exchange Plan When You Move

If you thought more experience with the heath insurance marketplaces would cut down on confusion about them, you'd be wrong. The questions about how they work keep pouring in. Here are answers to some of the latest queries.

I purchased health insurance in Ohio through the marketplace in April. I then moved to Missouri and applied for marketplace coverage there that began in October. I had assumed that the Ohio marketplace would cancel my coverage there, but that didn't happen. What should I do?

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