Health Desk

The Salt
1:19 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Students Win Seed Money To Make Flour From Insects

MBA students from McGill University in Montreal are building a company to mass produce grasshoppers, seen here at a market in Oaxaca, Mexico.
William Neuheisel Flickr

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 3:55 pm

Mohammed Ashour has a big order to fill: By March 2014, he has to deliver 10 tons of grasshoppers to customers in Mexico.

He and four other MBA students at McGill University in Montreal have a plan to farm insects in poor countries and turn them into flour that can be used in everything from bread to corn tortillas. And on Monday, former President Bill Clinton handed them $1 million to make it happen.

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Barbershop
10:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Forget Shutdown, How About Kimmel & Kanye Showdown?

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 11:26 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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Politics
10:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

A Trip Down Government Shutdown Lane

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 11:26 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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Books
10:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

The Competing Interests Behind Smokey Bear And The Crying Indian

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 11:26 am

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Shots - Health News
10:34 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Lessons About Insurance In The Obamacare Data Dump

Chicago insurance broker Sean Whaley told The Associated Press earlier this month that his self-employed clients were frustrated that didn't have the information to plan ahead for their families' health care costs in 2014.
M. Spencer Green AP

This week the Department of Health and Human Services released a ton of information about how insurance sold in 36 states under the Affordable Care Act will work.

Most of it came in the form of data showing the number of carriers and their premium prices in hundreds of regions.

Until now we've seen information on subsidized policies to be sold through online marketplaces released in trickles by states that are creating their own online portals.

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Shots - Health News
2:05 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Houston Gears Up For Obamacare, Despite GOP Opposition

Enroll America outreach worker Rosy Mota (right) talks about the federal health care law with a CVS customer.
Carrie Feibel

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 7:26 am

Two high-profile Texans are fighting the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Rick Perry has loudly dismissed the law, and fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor this week to rail against it at length — 21 hours and 19 minutes to be exact.

On the other side of the issue, you have Rosy Mota and her clipboard, standing at the door of a CVS pharmacy in one of Houston's Latino neighborhoods, stopping shoppers.

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Shots - Health News
5:33 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

A Penicillin Shortage Hinders Treatment For Rheumatic Fever

Streptococcus pyogenes shouldn't be taken lightly. Left untreated, an infection with germ can trigger an autoimmune disease that damages the heart.
NIAID/Flickr.com

We often take antibiotics for granted. If you catch strep throat, a round of penicillin can clear it up in a few days.

But because of a curious drug shortage, in many parts of the world it's now easier to get HIV drugs than an old-fashioned form of penicillin that prevents heart damage from rheumatic fever.

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The Salt
5:20 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Doctors Say Changes In Wheat Do Not Explain Rise Of Celiac Disease

About 40 years ago wheat breeders introduced new varieties of wheat that helped farmers increase their grain yields. But scientists say those varieties aren't linked to the rise in celiac disease.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 11:09 am

Wheat has been getting a bad rap lately.

Many folks are experimenting with the gluten-free diet, and a best-selling book called Wheat Belly has helped drive a lot of the interest.

"Wheat is the most destructive thing you could put on your plate, no question," says William Davis, a cardiologist in Milwaukee, Wis., who authored the book.

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The Salt
5:10 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

McDonald's Says Bye-Bye To Sugary Sodas In Happy Meals

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 7:29 pm

Fast-food giant McDonald's has made a commitment to stop marketing sodas as a beverage option in kids' Happy Meals.

Instead, the chain has committed to market and promote only milk, water and juice with the children's meals.

Now, if parents order a Coke or Sprite with their child's Happy Meal, they won't be turned down. But sodas will no longer be marketed or promoted visually in any of McDonald's advertisements or in-store visuals.

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Shots - Health News
3:22 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

'How Much Will Obamacare Cost Me?' Try Our Calculator

No envelope backs required for this health care calculation.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 2:13 pm

On Tuesday, if all goes according to plan, the federal health law's marketplaces for individual health insurance are scheduled to open for business.

Nearly all Americans will be required to have health insurance starting Jan. 1, 2014, or else they'll be liable for a tax penalty.

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Health
2:34 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Big Pharma And Meth Cooks Agree: Keep Cold Meds Over The Counter

Key methamphetamine ingredient pseudoephedrine is most easily found in cold and allergy medicines.
Ann Heisenfelt AP

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 4:11 pm

Millions of Americans have seen the fictional world of meth use and production in AMC's Breaking Bad, but journalist Jonah Engle has spent a lot of time in the real world of meth.

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The Salt
2:02 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Are Chefs On Competitive Diets Good Public Health Messengers?

Chef Mike Isabella, who owns three restaurants in Washington, D.C., came up with the Fit for Hope weight loss challenge for his peers in the restaurant industry.
Donald Bowers Getty Images Entertainment

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 2:23 pm

Let's face it: In the popular imagination, the stereotypical chef has a large gut protruding from under his white double-breasted coat. And that stereotype is often accurate — by some estimates, 70 percent of chefs in the U.S. are overweight. Weight gain seems to be par for the course when you're spending your day tasting food and your late nights unwinding after a stressful dinner service.

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The Salt
12:24 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Why Can't Fish Oil Supplements Keep Our Brains Sharp?

If you eat fish, rather than take a fish-oil supplement, is there more likely to be a benefit? There's more than a suggestion that this is indeed the case.
Verena J Matthew iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 1:22 pm

Lots of people think of fish as brain food. And there's good reason.

Many kinds of fish — think salmon, sardines, tuna — contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a class of polyunsaturated fat, which have been shown to fight inflammation and improve the function of our neurons.

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Shots - Health News
11:39 am
Thu September 26, 2013

For A Price, Volunteers Endure Scientists' Flu Spritzes

How much would a scientist have to pay you to get sick with the flu?
F.T. Werner iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 2:01 pm

What would it take to persuade you to allow government researchers to squirt millions of live flu viruses up your nose?

A recently concluded project at the National Institutes of Health found, among other things, that $3,400 each was enough to attract plenty of volunteers.

"I am happy I could contribute in some way," says Kelli Beyer, 24, one of 46 healthy people who volunteered for the project. To get the money, the research subjects had to commit to several days of testing, then nine days in a hospital isolation ward once the virus was administered in a nasal spray.

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Health Care
11:17 am
Thu September 26, 2013

MacArthur Fellow Crunches Data To Streamline Health Care

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 12:17 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're talking this week with some of the fellows who've won a coveted MacArthur grant this week. Those are the so-called genius grants that recognize exceptional creativity in a number of fields including the arts and public policy. Yesterday, we spoke with Angela Duckworth. She was recognized for her research on how grit and self-control contribute to educational success.

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Shots - Health News
2:44 am
Thu September 26, 2013

A Medicaid Expansion In Pennsylvania May Take Time

Susan Mull is a substitute teacher in Lancaster County, Pa. She's lived with HIV for 21 years, the past 13 without health insurance. She says an expansion of Medicaid in Pennsylvania would be "life-changing."
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 7:26 am

In Pennsylvania, more than a half-million people who don't have insurance are waiting to hear whether the state will take advantage of a Medicaid expansion that's part of the Affordable Care Act.

The federal law would allow people earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines to sign up for Medicaid. But a Supreme Court ruling that largely upheld the law gave states the choice whether to expand their Medicaid programs.

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Shots - Health News
12:28 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Say What? French Horn Players Run Risk Of Hearing Loss

Stand back, or wear earplugs.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 1:52 pm

Loud music can lead to hearing loss. But it's not just rock musicians and their fans who are at risk.

In classical orchestras, horn players are particularly vulnerable to hearing damage from the tunes they and their colleagues play.

Some studies have found that horn players are blasted with some of the loudest sounds in the orchestra. The levels are so high that many countries' occupational health regulations would limit exposure like that to a half-hour a day, some studies have found.

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Education
11:52 am
Wed September 25, 2013

MacArthur 'Genius' On Grit, Self Control And Success

Host Michel Martin speaks with psychologist Angela Duckworth, who was named a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow today. Duckworth's research shows how grit and self-control can predict future life success.

Shots - Health News
11:03 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Repeated Bone Scans Shed Little Light On Fracture Risk

A broken hip like the one at left is a big health worry for older women.
iStockphoto.com

Many women have heard that they should be concerned about bone health as they age because there's a risk for crippling fractures.

But repeated bone scans that are supposed to help assess the risk do a crummy job of predicting who's actually going to break a bone.

That's the gist of a study of 802 women and men who are part of the ongoing Framingham Heart Study. They were screened for osteoporosis in 1987 and again in 1999. Most were in their 70s.

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Health Desk
9:49 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Healthcare Marketplace To Be Called 'Get Covered Illinois'

Illinois officials have decided on a brand name for the new health insurance marketplace set to open Tuesday.

Gov. Pat Quinn's administration unveiled the name Wednesday: It's  "Get Covered Illinois.'' The brand tagline is "The Official Health Marketplace.''

Deputy Gov. Cristal Thomas says the administration wanted a name that was "very clear about what this product has to offer.''

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Politics
3:35 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Senate More Than Likely To Keep Obamacare Intact

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:25 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Let's catch up on the Senate's fight over Obamacare. A handful of Republican senators say they support a plan to deny funding to the Affordable Care Act. They want to attach that to a larger measure designed to keep the rest of the government running and avoid a partial shutdown at the end of the month.

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Politics
3:35 am
Wed September 25, 2013

House GOP Group Forces Boehner To Choose Sides

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:25 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And Senator Cruz spoke against Obamacare all night in the Senate, but can't actually prevent a Senate vote. The Senate is considered likely to approve a bill that funds the government - including the Affordable Care Act.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

But that does not end the story, because the House passed a bill that defunds Obamacare. It would be up to Democrats to find some agreement with House Speaker John Boehner that avoids a government shutdown.

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Health Care
2:36 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Commander In Chief, Explainer In Chief Tout Health Care Law

President Obama joins former President Clinton to talk about the health care law, during the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting Tuesday in New York.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 10:18 am

President Obama's health care law has so far survived challenges in Congress and the courts. But its biggest test could begin next week. That's when the online marketplaces offering health care coverage to the uninsured are set to start signing people up. The question is, will they come?

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Shots - Health News
11:03 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Administration Touts Lower-Than-Expected Obamacare Premiums

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state agency running the state's new health exchange, announced the plans and prices that will be offered by private insurers on May 23.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 10:42 am

Premiums in the health insurance exchanges set to open next week will be lower than anticipated, the Obama administration announced Wednesday.

According to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, "premiums nationwide will ... be around 16 percent lower than originally expected," and 95 percent of uninsured people live in a state with average premiums that are lower than expected.

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Shots - Health News
4:17 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Would A Federal Shutdown Delay Health Care Exchanges?

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz leaves the weekly Senate Republican Policy Committee luncheon Tuesday, shortly before beginning a filibuster against Obamacare.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 7:27 am

Well, it's almost Oct. 1, the day of a threatened government shutdown and the day state health insurance exchanges are scheduled to begin operations.

Those are the online marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act where people can compare health plans and sign up for coverage.

Would closing down the government delay the opening of the health exchanges?

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Health Desk
3:51 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

ACA Insurance Plans May Be Cheaper, But At What Cost?

Credit flickr

  Although the grand opening of the Affordable Care Act is only a week away, Illinois is still waiting on the federal government to approve the insurance plans that will be available through it.  Even so, the governor today announced it will cost less to get coverage than originally expected.

Illinois submitted 165 different insurance plans to the federal government. Until the feds sign off on them, it's impossible for someone looking to buy insurance from the Obamacare "marketplace" to know how much they should plan to spend.

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Shots - Health News
1:47 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Lose Weight Before Trying Other Sleep Apnea Treatments

CPAP masks have become much more comfortable than in years past, doctors say. But most of the time, they're probably not the first thing to try for sleep apnea.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 3:06 pm

So your snoring is driving your partner crazy. Does that mean you're destined for one of those awkward-looking sleep apnea masks?

Not so fast, doctors say. Many snorers don't have sleep apnea, which causes a person to frequently stop breathing for brief periods during sleep. It's a big cause of chronic sleepiness and has been linked to a variety of health problems. Sleep apnea can also make a sufferer miserable.

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Around the Nation
10:48 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Can Mass Shootings Really Be Stopped?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Health Care
10:48 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Questions Rise As Health Care Exchange Draws Near

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 3:25 pm

Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act health exchanges is set to begin Oct. 1. But many eligible Americans still have questions.

Tell Me More reached out to listeners via Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to help answer their questions about the law. Host Michel Martin spoke with Mary Agnes Carey, a senior correspondent at Kaiser Health News — a news service not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

On searching for other affordable care options

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Shots - Health News
10:28 am
Tue September 24, 2013

How Will Exchanges Change Options For Kids' Health Coverage?

I've got some more health care questions for you.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 2:53 pm

As the scheduled launch of the state health insurance marketplaces on Oct. 1 approaches, many parents have questions about covering their children. Here are a few we got recently.

I am a divorced dad who has responsibility for maintaining my 15-year-old daughter's health insurance. It was easy when I was working and had a corporate health plan. Now that I am retired and covered by Medicare, I am looking for alternatives when the new exchanges open. Can I buy health insurance for just my underage daughter on these new exchanges?

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