Health Desk

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Getting Organized

About Bruce Feiler's TED Talk

Parents help their kids manage their lives. But according to Bruce Feiler, it can work the other way around. It just takes a little insight drawn from Japanese computer programming principles.

About Bruce Feiler

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Startups fail for a lot of reasons: bad product, wrong timing. But sometimes, it's just you.

Relationship problems between co-founders are among the biggest reasons companies don't make it. Increasingly in Silicon Valley, business partners are looking for help before things go downhill — they're signing up for couples counseling.

The simple act of thinking can accelerate the growth of many brain tumors.

That's the conclusion of a paper in Cell published Thursday that showed how activity in the cerebral cortex affected high-grade gliomas, which represent about 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors in people.

For the first time, scientists have edited DNA in human embryos, a highly controversial step long considered off limits.

Junjiu Huang and his colleagues at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, performed a series of experiments involving 86 human embryos to see if they could make changes in a gene known as HBB, which causes the sometimes fatal blood disorder beta-thalassemia.

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Privately run Medicare plans, fresh off a lobbying victory that reversed proposed budget cuts, face new scrutiny from government investigators and whistleblowers who allege that plans have overcharged the government for years.

You can take your drinks outside on Bourbon Street, but you can no longer bring your smokes indoors.

Effective Wednesday, New Orleans has banned smoking in bars, restaurants and casinos.

The New York Times published an intriguing look at the city's nightlife spots as the ban went into effect.

Here's an excerpt:

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A study that asked a few dozen pairs of twins to brave a swarm of hungry mosquitoes has revealed another clue to the cluster of reasons the insects are more attracted to some people than others: Genes matter.

Belle Gibson is an Australian blogger who said she cured her terminal brain cancer solely through diet and lifestyle, spawning a wellness empire, an award-winning app, a recipe book and a large online following. Trouble is, Gibson now says she made it all up.

Sexual relationships in long-term care facilities are not uncommon. But the long-term care industry is still grappling with the issue.

On April 20, 2015, the body of a 27-year-old mother of two was laid to rest in a village in India. She had been admitted to the hospital ten days earlier, with bleeding in the head and a spinal injury that left her paralyzed. She told authorities she had slipped and fallen. NPR contributor Wilbur Sargunaraj had the opportunity to speak with three of her close friends, who said her husband caused her death. Family members would not comment.

Editor's note: A version of this story ran in April 2014.

Yes, it is true that gardening requires patience.

But face it, we live in an impatient world. And gardeners everywhere were depressed by the brutal and endless winter.

So we are understandably eager to get sowing. And to see results by ... well, if not next Thursday, then maybe mid-May?

For all their talk about evidence-based medicine, a lot of doctors don't follow the clinical guidelines set by leading medical groups.

Consider, for example, the case of cataract surgery. It's a fairly straightforward medical procedure: Doctors replace an eye's cloudy lens with a clear, prosthetic one. More than a million people each year in the U.S. have the surgery — most of them older than 65.

Is It Time To Make Medical And Family Leave Paid?

Apr 22, 2015

It's been more than 20 years since passage of the landmark Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for medical or family reasons without losing their jobs.

Bird flu has been striking chicken and turkey farms in parts of the West and Midwest. This past week, it hit a flock of millions egg-laying chickens in northeastern Iowa. Update 4/22/2015: The USDA now says that around 3 million birds were affected in the Iowa facility — down from a previous estimate of 5 million.

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A new California company announced Monday it is offering a much cheaper and easier way for women to get tested for genetic mutations that increase their risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Color Genomics of Burlingame, Calif., has begun selling a $249 test that it says can accurately analyze a saliva sample for mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, as well as check for 17 other genetic variants that have been associated with a somewhat increased risk for cancer of the breast or ovaries.

The transition to adulthood marks a big turning point in life for everyone, but for young people on the autism spectrum that transition can be really tough.

Young adults with autism had lower employment rates and higher rates of complete social isolation than people with other disabilities, according to a report published Tuesday by the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.

A farm in Iowa is going to destroy more than five million of its chickens in an attempt to curb the spread of the highly infectious avian flu.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the H5N2 avian influenza outbreak Monday, adding that the agency says that there is little chance that humans could become infected. According to the department's press release:

Looks like many of us don't have the right stomach for a paleodiet. Literally.

Two studies give us a glimpse into our ancestors' microbiome — you know, those trillions of bacteria that live in the human gut.

And the take-home message of the studies is clear: Western diets and modern-day hygiene have wiped a few dozen species right out of our digestive tracts. One missing microbe helps metabolize carbohydrates. Other bygone bacteria act as prebiotics. And another communicates with our immune system.

The largest publicly run health plan in the nation, L.A. Care, will allow customers who do not have traditional bank accounts to pay their health insurance premiums with cash.

IL Heart Assoc.

The 2015 Springfield Heart & Stroke Walk is a family-friendly fundraiser for the American Heart Association. Participants build teams of walkers who raise funds on behalf of their workplace or a loved one who suffered from heart disease or the effects of a stroke. The Executive Leadership Team has a goal of raising $100,000 for the American Heart Association; walkers who raise at least $100 will receive a t-shirt and are eligible for other prizes.

Texas ice cream maker Blue Bell Creameries has widely expanded a voluntary recall over Listeria concerns, seeking the return of all of its products currently on the market. Blue Bell products are sold in 23 states.

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. To help coax people to buy a health plan, the federal government now subsidizes premiums for millions of Americans.

In 2009, I was among the scrum of reporters covering the controversial advice from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that women in their 40s think twice about regular mammograms. The task force pointed out that the net benefits in younger women were small and said women should weigh the pros and cons of screening before making a decision.

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In the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, Phyllis Omido knew that industry could pose a danger to the surrounding communities. She'd worked on environmental impact assessment reports for several factories.

But when her 2 1/2-year-old son, King David, got sick with a mysterious condition, it didn't occur to her that it might be from environmental toxins. He had a high fever that wasn't responding to medication. He couldn't sleep. He was plagued with diarrhea, and his eyes became runny. He spent two weeks in the hospital, and still no one could figure out what was wrong.

If you're being treated for cancer, an iguana might not be the pet for you.

Ditto if you're pregnant, elderly or have small children at home.

Pets can transmit dozens of diseases to humans, but doctors aren't always as good as they should be in asking about pets in the home and humans' health issues, a study finds.

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