Health Desk

There's no medicine to treat diarrhea or patients with war injuries.

Patients with cancer and hypertension are also not being treated because of a lack of supplies.

That's the situation in Taiz, Yemen's third largest city, because of a blockade that began in mid-November, a tactic in the civil war that began in September 2014 and greatly accelerated last March, when neighboring Saudi Arabia began a campaign of heavy air strikes in support of the country's recognized government.

Every year some 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and 23,000 of them die from these superbugs.

Superbugs are mostly a hospital problem: They're where these pathogens are often born and spread, and where the infected come for help. But hospitals are not where the majority of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used.

Is it real or is it satire?

In Thailand, a dark-skinned actress laments, "If I was white, I would win."

In India, a movie director says, "I can't have any dark people on my set" and hands a skin-lightening product to two dusky actors.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has notified the federal government that Kentucky will dismantle its state health insurance exchange, Kynect.

The move will direct Kentuckians seeking health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to use the federal health insurance site, HealthCare.gov.

More than 500,000 people have gotten health insurance through Kynect.

For people whose income changes shift them above or below the Medicaid threshold during the year, navigating their health insurance coverage can be confusing. Ditto for lower income people who live in states that may expand Medicaid this year.

Michigan officials are stepping up their efforts to address elevated lead levels in Flint's water after residents accused them of responding too slowly to the crisis.

Local officials are handing out water filters and jugs in the streets of Flint and have set up five new distribution centers for filters and testing kits.

The mammography debate heated up once again in April 2015, when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft of its latest breast cancer screening recommendations.

Melioidosis is a disease that strikes fear in those who've heard of it.

Doctors in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia know it as a stubborn, potentially deadly infection that causes pneumonia, abscesses and, in the most severe cases, organ failure. Without treatment, it can kill within 48 hours. Military officials worry it could be converted into an agent of terror.

A new traffic law has some New Delhi residents wondering: "How the heck do I get to work?"

Following the lead of Beijing and Mexico City, the Delhi government put into effect an "odd-even" policy for cars starting Jan. 1. Residents can only drive their cars on either odd or even days, based on the last digit of their license plate numbers — though everyone gets a pass before 8 a.m., after 8 p.m. and on weekends.

People who take certain popular medicines for heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux may want to proceed more cautiously, researchers reported Monday.

The drugs, known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), appear to significantly elevate the chances of developing chronic kidney disease, according to a study involving more than 250,000 people.

Lower-back pain is very democratic in the people it strikes.

"It's a universal experience. You'd be a really uncommon person never to have had an episode of back pain," says Chris Maher, a physical therapist turned health researcher at the University of Sydney in Australia. "It's a common problem across the whole of the globe," he says, whether it's North America, sub-Saharan Africa or rural India.

On any given episode of East Los High, the highly addictive teen soap on Hulu that just got a fourth season, you'll see love triangles and heartbreak, mean girls and bad boys, and some seriously skillful dancing. Think a Latino Degrassi meets Gossip Girl meets Glee.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

There has been a long debate in the United States over whether the mentally ill should be allowed to own guns. But in fact, for decades, federal law has banned gun ownership for a limited number of mentally ill people.

When Jack O'Connor was 19, he was so desperate to beat his addictions to alcohol and opioids that he took a really rash step. He joined the Marines.

"This will fix me," O'Connor thought as he went to boot camp. "It better fix me or I'm screwed."

After 13 weeks of sobriety and exercise and discipline, O'Connor completed basic training, but he started using again immediately.

"Same thing," he says. "Percocet, like, off the street. Pills."

Photographer Steve McCurry has been frequenting — and documenting — India since 1978. His new book, Steve McCurry: India highlights the extraordinary moments of ordinary, everyday life across the subcontinent.

We caught up with the man most famous for his portrait of a fiery young girl in Afghanistan and asked him about some of the more colorful scenes — and colorful people — that caught his eye.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

He's the cop who gets shot by Jennifer Lopez.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Poor bats. Already typecast as movie villains and Halloween bad guys, the persecuted creatures have also been pummeled recently by a rapidly spreading fungal disease. Now this.

A new map published in the February edition of The American Naturalist highlights the hot spots where diseases are most likely to spill over from winged to bipedal mammals.

Tucked inside the U.S. government's latest update to its official eating advice is this recommendation: "Drink water instead of sugary drinks" — aka soda.

Promising workers lower health insurance premiums for losing weight did nothing to help them take off the pounds, a recent study found. At the end of a year, obese workers had lost less than 1.5 pounds on average, statistically no different than the minute average gain of a tenth of a pound for workers who weren't offered a financial incentive to lose weight.

When the Romans expanded their empire across three continents, they probably seemed like the neat-freakiest people to attempt global domination.

The Romans brought aqueducts, heated public baths, flushing toilets, sewers and piped water. They even had multiseat public bathrooms decked out with contour toilet seats, a sea sponge version of toilet paper and hand-washing stations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is beating the drum again: We're consuming too much sodium and it's a reason we have such high rates of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Not me, you say? Well, chances are, yes, you.

Researchers have looked in the stomach of an ancient ice mummy and found the remains of the bacteria that lived in his gut. The results, published in the journal Science, suggest that the community of microbes living on and in humans has existed for millennia.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Many people have Neanderthal genes in their DNA that predispose them to allergies, two studies published Thursday have found.

"So I suppose that some of us can blame Neanderthals for our susceptibility to common allergies, like hay fever," says Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who led one of the teams.

"You have a minute to help that baby breathe," says Dr. Mark Hathaway. He works as a senior adviser for family planning at USAID's Maternal and Child Survival Program, and he is showing me how to get a newborn to take its first breath.

And it has to happen now — during the "golden minute" after a baby is born. That's what the medical world calls the tiny window of time an infant must bring oxygen into its lungs.

But I'm not a doctor or a nurse. I'm a reporter. So I am pretty clueless.

With January comes lots of diet advice.

And today comes the official advice from the U.S. government: The Obama administration has released its much-anticipated update to the Dietary Guidelines.

The guidelines, which are revised every five years, are based on evolving nutrition science and serve as the government's official advice on what to eat.

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