Health Desk

Goats and Soda
5:36 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Breast-Feeding Boosts Chances Of Success, Study In Brazil Finds

Brazilian mothers participate in a demonstration in 2011 for the right to breastfeed in public, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Eduardo Anizelli/STF LatinContent/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 11:23 am

Babies who are breast-fed may be more likely to be successful in life, a provocative study published Tuesday suggests.

The study followed more than 3,000 babies into adulthood in Brazil. The researchers found those who were breast-fed scored slightly higher in intelligence tests in their 30s, stayed in school longer and earned more money than those who were given formula.

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Shots - Health News
4:15 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Your Drinking Habits May Be Influenced By How Much You Make

Cultura/Liam Norris Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 7:30 am

To keep people from getting into trouble with alcohol, it would help to know why they're at risk.

Genes make some people more susceptible to dependence or addiction, while the surroundings exert a stronger pull on others. But it's been devilishly hard for researchers to sort those out. Context — who's drinking where and when with whom — matters a lot.

Add in money and it gets even trickier. And we're not talking about whether you can afford microbrews.

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Shots - Health News
2:51 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Workplace Suicide Rates Rise Sharply

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 7:30 am

Suicide rates in the U.S. have gone up considerably in recent years, claiming an average of 36,000 lives annually.

Most people take their lives in or near home. But suicide on the job is also increasing and, according to federal researchers, suicide risk changes depending on the type of work people do.

Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health analyzed census data and compared suicide rates among different occupations.

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Shots - Health News
8:55 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Most N.Y. Marketplace Plans Lack Out-Of-Network Coverage

If you're a New Yorker shopping for health insurance on the state's exchange, you won't be able to find a health plan with out-of-network coverage unless you live around Albany or in the far western part of the state.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 8:20 am

More than a dozen insurers offer plans on the New York health insurance marketplace. Depending on where shoppers live, they may have more than a hundred options to choose from.

But despite being spoiled in many ways, there's one popular feature that most New Yorkers can't find in any of the health plans offered on their state exchange: out-of-network coverage.

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All Tech Considered
8:35 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Facebook's Suicide Prevention Tools Connect Friends, Test Privacy

After a post has been flagged for review, Facebook intervenes with a supportive message.
Facebook

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 2:41 pm

People who struggle with suicidal thoughts will often reach out to friends and family first. But when our social circle lives online these days, the biggest social media networks grapple with how to intervene and with getting users the right kind of help.

Facebook is the latest social media network to roll out support resources for suicide prevention. The company is now trying to combat suicide by doing what it does best — connecting friends.

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Goats and Soda
7:03 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

If You're One Of The World's 382 Million Diabetics, Your Wages May Dip

The blue circle is the symbol of diabetes — carried here by students marching in a World Diabetes Day rally in Kolkata, India.
Bikas Das AP

Whenever I hear statistics that diabetes costs the U.S. $245 billion a year — and billions more globally — these numbers feel too big to get my head around.

So a new analysis — which attempts to break down the cost-per-person toll of diabetes in countries around the globe — caught my attention.

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Shots - Health News
5:25 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Clues To Autism, Schizophrenia Emerge From Cerebellum Research

Jonathan Keleher talks with a colleague, Rafael Wainhaus, at work. Keleher was born without a cerebellum, but his brain has developed work-arounds for solving problems of balance and abstract thought.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 3:27 pm

A new understanding of the brain's cerebellum could lead to new treatments for people with problems caused by some strokes, autism and even schizophrenia.

That's because there's growing evidence that symptoms ranging from difficulty with abstract thinking to emotional instability to psychosis all have links to the cerebellum, says Jeremy Schmahmann, a professor of neurology at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital.

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It's All Politics
4:05 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

I'm Mike Huckabee, And I Approve This ... Infomercial?

In an infomercial for Barton Publishing's Diabetes Solution Kit Huckabee says he knows diabetes can be reversed "because I did it and today, you can too."
Getty Images

Mike Huckabee has always had the reputation as a candidate who does things outside the box.

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Shots - Health News
1:33 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Obamacare Cut The Ranks Of The Uninsured By A Third

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 8:20 am

A total of 16.4 million non-elderly adults have gained health insurance coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law five years ago this month. It's a reduction in the ranks of the uninsured the the Department of Health and Human Services called historic.

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The Two-Way
12:52 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Ebola Patient Being Treated In Maryland Is In Critical Condition

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 1:01 pm

The status of a patient with Ebola who was recently admitted to a specialized federal facility in Bethesda, Md., has changed from serious to critical condition. The American health care worker, whose identity hasn't been publicly released, was taken to the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health last week.

The patient being cared for in Bethesda contracted Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone, where the aid worker had been with the group Partners in Health. The person was flown back to the U.S. Thursday, aboard a private jet.

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Shots - Health News
12:15 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Vaccination Gaps Helped Fuel Disneyland Measles Spread

Disneyland and California Adventure Park seen in late December, soon after measles was contracted by some visitors to Disneyland.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 8:56 am

California has been dealing with a big measles outbreak since December, when cases emerged among visitors to Disneyland in Orange County.

Measles spread quickly afterward. As of Friday, the state had confirmed 133 measles cases among residents since December.

Of the people who got sick and for whom the state could determine vaccination status, 57 people hadn't been vaccinated against measles and 20 people had had at least one shot of the vaccine.

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Shots - Health News
2:08 am
Mon March 16, 2015

A Man's Incomplete Brain Reveals Cerebellum's Role In Thought And Emotion

Jonathan Keleher is one of a handful of people who have lived their entire lives without a cerebellum.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 5:40 pm

Since his birth 33 years ago, Jonathan Keleher has been living without a cerebellum, a structure that usually contains about half the brain's neurons.

This exceedingly rare condition has left Jonathan with a distinctive way of speaking and a walk that is slightly awkward. He also lacks the balance to ride a bicycle.

But all that hasn't kept him from living on his own, holding down an office job and charming pretty much every person he meets.

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Health
4:17 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

Why Is The Risk Of Youth Suicide Higher In Rural Areas?

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 12:36 pm

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

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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Health
4:17 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

Amid Rising Concern About Addiction, Universities Focus On Recovery

Students in recovery from substance abuse are finding support on a growing number of college and university campuses, including the University of Texas at Austin.
Ronald Martinez Getty Images

Originally published on Sun March 15, 2015 5:22 pm

In murder mystery novels, when the hero, a private detective or homicide cop, drops by a late-night Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to stave off a sudden craving for a beer or two or 20, it's usually in some dingy church basement or dilapidated storefront on the seedier side of town. There's a pot of burnt coffee and a few stale doughnuts on a back table.

The Center for Students in Recovery at the University of Texas could not be more different.

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Interviews
9:25 am
Sun March 15, 2015

The Truth About Humanitarian Work: High Ideals Vs. Hard Realities

UNICEF workers assemble "school infection prevention kits" in Monrovia, Liberia, to stop the spread of Ebola back in January.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 11:31 am

The Syrian civil war has dragged on for four years now. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died and more than 3 million have been displaced.

The refugee crisis there has attracted humanitarian aid workers hoping to make a difference. Kayla Mueller was one of them. The 26-year-old Arizona native was captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in August of 2013. She was killed last month.

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Goats and Soda
6:03 am
Sun March 15, 2015

How Far Has The Health Of Moms Come Since 1995?

A mother feeds her new baby at the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan, which has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. About 1 in 7 women in South Sudan die from causes related to pregnancy.
Paula Bronstein Getty Images

Officials and activists from around the world gathered in New York this week to mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1995 World Conference on Women.

Although there were a lot of depressing statistics discussed at the current meeting, there was one piece of good news that many kept citing as reason for hope: Since 1995 the rate of women worldwide who die in childbirth has dropped by more than 40 percent.

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Movies
4:19 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

People With Disabilities, On Screen And Sans Clichés

From left, Bastian Wurbs (as Titus), Joel Basman (as Valentin) and Nikki Rappl (as Lukas) star in Keep Rollin', a coming-of-age drama featured in the seventh annual Reelabilities film festival.
Courtesy of EastWest Film Distribution

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 9:43 pm

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Shots - Health News
6:48 am
Sat March 14, 2015

From Freud To Possession, A Doctor Faces Psychiatry's Demons

Benjamin Rush, a physician and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, invented the rotational chair as a treatment for psychotic patients. He believed the chair helped improve circulation to the mentally ill brain.
U.S. National Library of Medicine Courtesy of Little Brown and Company

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 8:58 am

People don't talk about psychiatrists the way they talk about neurologists, dentists or vets. In fact, there are those who call psychiatry voodoo or pseudoscience; and, to be fair, the specialty does have a history of claims and practices that are now considered weird and destructive.

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Goats and Soda
6:03 am
Sat March 14, 2015

New Dads In Togo Are Guaranteed Something That U.S. Dads Aren't

Maternity And Paternity Leave By Country
Matt Stiles/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 10:24 am

This month, women's rights are in the headlines, as a U.N. conference looks at efforts to bring about gender equality.

So men are the forgotten sex.

Only not entirely. A new UCLA report, which looks at "inequalities in legal rights for women and girls around the world" includes a surprising section – on paid paternity leave.

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The Two-Way
11:07 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Dutch Owl's Rampage Ends Safely For All

A falconer has captured an aggressive eagle owl that terrorized a Dutch town by swooping out of the sky and sinking its talons into residents' heads.
Jacob Jorritsma AP

We sent out the alert to travelers headed for the Netherlands last month that an eagle owl was targeting runners and other unsuspecting pedestrians in the town of Purmerend.

The bird would take aim at human heads, inflicting wounds that required stitches, and prompting people to wear helmets and other protective gear.

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Goats and Soda
8:21 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Several Americans Possibly Exposed To Ebola, As Epidemic Smolders

Health workers are disinfected with a chlorine solution after treating patients at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Nine American aid workers have contracted Ebola while working in West Africa.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 4:42 pm

This week we got a rude reminder that Ebola is clearly not over in West Africa.

Another American aid worker contracted the disease in Sierra Leone, health officials reported Thursday. The infected worker was flown back to the U.S. in a private jet and is being treated at the National Institutes of Health Clinic Center in Maryland.

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Business
5:39 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Lumber Liquidators Defends Its Products After '60 Minutes' Report

A man walks past a Lumber Liquidators store in Philadelphia. The retailer says it stands by its products and will pay for the safety testing of laminate floors.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 7:00 pm

Earlier this month, the flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators got the kind of attention companies dread. CBS' 60 Minutes did a story saying the company's products have unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

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Shots - Health News
4:51 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Nurses Have To Translate When Medical Devices Fail To Communicate

Will the pump talk to the computer that holds the patient's records?
iStockphoto

Walk past a patient's hospital room, and the flashing control panels on devices by the bed might make you think you're peering at the cockpit of a 737.

Medical technology can make patient care better and more precise. But the gadgets and computers can cause trouble, too. One big problem is that most of the devices can't communicate with one another.

The ultimate technological goal is what the engineers call interoperability. Let the ventilators, IV pumps, heart monitors and computers holding patient records communicate and update one another automatically.

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Health
4:36 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Federal Government, States Battle Over Safety Of Powdered Alcohol

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 7:00 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Goats and Soda
1:46 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Mr. Mambia Goes To Washington: To Honor His Sister, Who Died Of Ebola

Tarkpor Mambia in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. He says he "literally froze" during his first American winter in 2013, but is getting used to the cold weather.
Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 5:17 pm

When he first got word of an Ebola outbreak in his home country of Liberia last March, Tarkpor Mambia didn't take the news too seriously.

He was talking to his sister Grace, 28, on the phone. She was about to finish nursing school in the inland Liberian town of Gbarnga. Mambia lives with his brother in Massachusetts, where he studies business at Salem State University.

Grace told him she hadn't tended to any Ebola patients but expected to soon. She was worried about an epidemic.

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Shots - Health News
11:22 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Credit Agencies Agree To Wait Before Adding Medical Debt To Ratings

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 7:41 am

Too many consumers have learned the hard way that their credit rating can be tarnished by medical bills they may not owe or when disputes delay insurer payment. That should change under a new policy agreed to this week by the three major credit reporting agencies.

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The Two-Way
8:58 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Patient With Ebola Is Admitted To NIH Hospital In Maryland

An American who contracted Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone was admitted to the hospital at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda early Friday.
NIH

An American health care worker who contracted Ebola while volunteering in Sierra Leone is now receiving care at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland. The patient's condition is still being evaluated, the NIH says.

The patient is the second to be treated for Ebola at the Bethesda facility, which previously cared for — and eventually released — Nina Pham, a nurse who contracted Ebola in Dallas. The hospital has also monitored two patients who were seen as being at high risk of having the deadly disease. They were later released.

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Shots - Health News
8:14 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Feds Knew About Medicare Advantage Overcharges Years Ago

Carol Berman, of West Palm Beach, Fla., makes the case for policymakers to protect Medicare Advantage benefits during the Coalition for Medicare Choices' Medicare Advantage Food Truck stop in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
Bill Clark CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 7:41 am

Federal health officials were advised in 2009 that a formula used to pay private Medicare plans triggered widespread billing errors and overcharges that have since wasted billions of tax dollars, newly released government records show.

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Goats and Soda
7:29 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Singing About Chikungunya Might Not Cure You But Will Make You Laugh

tk
YouTube

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 4:35 pm

Chikungunya is a mosquito-transmitted disease that's been rearing its head throughout Central and South America. People infected with the virus develop a fever and extreme joint pain. There's no cure, and sometimes the joint pain lasts for months or even years.

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Shots - Health News
11:05 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Before The Gas Is Passed, Researchers Aim To Measure It In The Gut

Feces contain digested food residue and a wide variety of microorganisms, mostly bacteria, that are adapted to life in the intestines. The gases the microbes produce could help doctors and scientists track and understand changes related to health.
Scimat Scimat Photo Researchers/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 7:40 am

Electrical engineer Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh calls the stinking mixture puddled in jars inside his laboratory "fecal inocula."

The jars of fresh poop are instrumental to his research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia to develop ways to scientifically analyze people's farts, something that the researchers believe could help them more easily track the activity of the human gut microbiome.

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