Health Desk

The first people to set foot in the Americas apparently came from Siberia during the last ice age.

That's the conventional wisdom.

But now there's evidence from two different studies published this week that the first Americans may have migrated from different places at different times — and earlier than people thought.

The human race has walked or paddled or sailed until it covered the globe. Scientists can trace those migrations from the stuff these people left behind: tools, dwellings or burial grounds.

Changes in how women are screened for cervical cancer mean they're getting Pap tests less often. But that may also mean young women are not getting tested for chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted disease.

As the number of teens and young women getting annual Pap tests declined, so did the number getting screened for chlamydia, according to a study published Monday in Annals of Family Medicine.

Dorothée Goffin's lab in Belgium is outfitted with 3-D printers and digital milling machines. It's also a kitchen. And, one day a week, the doors open to anyone who feels like walking in to mess around with the equipment. These days, the tech geeks, chefs and curious folk that inhabit the lab are focused on 3-D printing. Instead of spouting plastic doodads, the printers exude chocolate.

About 7.5 million Americans paid an average penalty of $200 for not having health insurance in 2014 — the first year most Americans were required to have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday.

By contrast, taxpayers filing three-quarters of the 102 million returns received by the IRS so far this year checked a box indicating they had qualifying insurance coverage all year.

When it comes to sports, there seems to be something for everyone.

There are team sports and activities you can do alone. There's exercise that requires equipment, or none at all.

But how much benefit you get from each one depends on a lot of factors, including how much you weigh, how long you play and the intensity of the activity.

Missouri cattle farmer Greg Fleshman became so concerned about keeping his local hospital open that in 2011 he joined its governing board.

Until recently, John Henry Foster, an equipment distribution firm based in Eagan, Minn., offered its employees only a couple of health plans to choose from. That's common in companies across the United States.

"They just presented what we got," says Steve Heller, a forklift operator who has worked at John Henry Foster for 15 years.

If you've got a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit, your first thought is probably not, "Does my child really need that antireflux medication?"

It's family vacation time, and I've taken the kids back to where I grew up — a small plot of land off a dirt road in Kansas.

For my city kids, this is supposed to be heaven. There are freshly laid chicken eggs to gather, new kittens to play with and miles of pasture to explore.

But we're not outside.

I'm sitting in my childhood bedroom watching my 7-year-old son and his 11-year-old-cousin stare at a screen. The older kid is teaching the younger the secrets of one of the most popular games on Earth: Minecraft.

The United States is basketball crazy.

For boys and girls who play sports, basketball is the most popular choice.

But as Americans age, a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reveals, there's a widening gender gap when it comes to hoops. Why are adult female basketball players giving up the game they once loved?

Even as a young child, Amanda Angelotti dreamed about becoming a doctor.

But by her third year at the University of California, San Francisco medical school. Angelotti couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing.

During a routine shift at the hospital, making rounds with her fellow students, Angelotti said her thoughts kept drifting.

Efforts to find a treatment for Alzheimer's disease have been disappointing so far. But there's a new generation of drugs in the works that researchers think might help not only Alzheimer's patients, but also people with Parkinson's disease and other brain disorders.

In this installment of NPR's series Inside Alzheimer's, we hear from Greg O'Brien about his decision to sell the home where he and his wife raised their three children. O'Brien, a longtime journalist in Cape Cod, Mass., was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

Greg and Mary Catherine O'Brien have lived in their house on Cape Cod for more than 30 years. It's their dream house. They used to imagine growing old there.

This isn't your average top 30 list. No Taylor Swift song is on it, it doesn't involve sports and it's not a listicle of the Internet's best cat videos. But it does have a device that adds chlorine to water so it's safe to drink — and a condom tied to a catheter that can stop bleeding when a woman is having a baby.

UCLA Health says it was a victim of a criminal cyberattack that affected as many as 4.5 million people.

UCLA Health, in a statement Friday, said attackers accessed parts of the computer network that contain personal and medical information, but there is no evidence they "actually accessed or acquired any individual's personal or medical information." The statement said UCLA Health is working with the FBI and has hired private computer forensic experts to help in the investigation.

How Did A Medical Miracle Turn Into A Global Threat?

Jul 17, 2015

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Finite.

About Ramanan Laxminarayan's TED Talk

Antibiotics save lives, but we rely on them too much. Eventually, the drugs may stop working. Economist Ramanan Laxminarayan asks us to think twice before reaching for this double-edged resource.

About Ramanan Laxminarayan

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Finite.

About Mark Plotkin's TED Talk

The isolated tribes of the Amazon are getting dispersed or dying out. Ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin describes what we'll lose if their culture and collective wisdom vanish with them.

About Mark Plotkin

In Court, Your Face Could Determine Your Fate

Jul 17, 2015

Your face has a profound effect on the people around you. Its expression can prompt assumptions about how kind, mean or trustworthy you are. And for some people, a study finds, it could help determine their fate in court.

Lightning strikes have killed at least 20 people in the U.S. so far this year, according to the National Weather Service. That's higher than the average for recent years, the service says.

Most people who are injured or killed by lightning, it turns out, are not struck directly — instead, the bolt lands nearby.

That's what happened to Steve Marshburn in 1969. He was working inside a bank and says lightning somehow made its way through an ungrounded speaker at the drive-through window to the stool where he was sitting.

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Ora Mor Yosef, a disabled Israeli woman, challenged her country's rules about surrogate parenting and lost the baby.

Single and in her 30s, her efforts began by asking her traditional Jewish family what they thought.

"I wanted to hear how they would feel if I were a single parent," Mor Yosef says. "To my joy they agreed, and gave their blessing."

The next step was getting pregnant. But Mor Yosef has progressive muscular dystrophy and doctors advised her against using a sperm donor and carrying a child herself.

The federal government released on Thursday a new five-star rating system for home health agencies, an effort to bring clarity to a fast-growing but fragmented corner of the medical industry where it's often difficult to distinguish good from bad.

Medicare applied the new quality measure to more than 9,000 agencies based on how quickly visits began and how often patients improved while under their care. Nearly half received average scores, with the government sparingly doling out top and bottom ratings.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Athens resident, Lisa Cannon, was only in her 20s when she first learned she had breast cancer.  At the time, she had everything going for her - she was a wife and mom, and was finding success as a photographer and graphic designer with her own business. After under-going treatment she went into remission. Two years later though, the cancer was back - in her spine and liver. She learned she had stage IV metastatic cancer.

Webcast: Sports And Health In America

Jul 16, 2015

The vast majority of kids in America play sports.

But while about three-quarters of adults played sports when they were younger, only 1 in 4 still plays sports today. Among them, men are more than twice as likely as women to play.

It's almost impossible to ignore a screaming baby. (Click here if you doubt that.) And now scientists think they know why.

"Screams occupy their own little patch of the soundscape that doesn't seem to be used for other things," says David Poeppel, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at New York University and director of the Department of Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute in Frankfurt.

Consumer Reports, the granddaddy of advice-givers on what to buy, won't recommend laundry pods containing liquid detergent anymore. The risks to small kids are just too high, the magazine says.

In its latest tests, eight different single-use packets were rated very good at cleaning. That wasn't a strong enough showing to put any of them among the top three laundry detergents, which got the magazine's recommended check mark.

As you know, here at The Salt we've been a little obsessed with yogurt lately.

But there's a flip side to the story of the yogurt boom. What about that other product made from fermented milk that had its boom from 1950 to 1975, and has been sliding into obscurity ever since?

Cottage cheese took off as a diet and health food in the 1950s.

Playing sports has always been important to 31-year-old Erik Johanson, a city planner in Philadelphia. Johanson thrived in baseball and ice hockey as a kid, he says — "one of the best players on the team in high school."

Today, Johanson is married and expecting his first child but is still passionate about ice hockey — and about winning. He plays on a highly competitive team of guys who got together after college and still play weekly in an adult league; they hope to take the crown this year.

Don't kiss your chickens!

That's the message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is blaming a salmonella outbreak on backyard chicken owners being overly affectionate with their flocks.

The CDC says more than 180 people have come down with salmonella across the U.S. this year from contact with backyard poultry. Thirty-three of them became so sick they required hospitalization.

When you've got a bladder infection, the word "urgent" means right now.

Not urgent as in, wait two hours at the urgent care clinic. Not urgent as in, wait some more to get the prescription filled.

So when a doctor says that women should be able to self-prescribe antibiotics for simple urinary tract infections, that sounds like an idea whose time has come.

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