Health Desk

With egg freezing being touted as a way for women to potentially expand future childbearing options, the viability of those eggs when they're defrosted is still relatively unknown. The latest bit of guardedly good news is a short report in JAMA indicating that frozen eggs do indeed lead to live births after IVF nearly half the time — but that the odds of a live birth are almost 20 percent higher for IVF using fresh eggs.

Most women 40 and older believe they should have mammograms every year to screen for breast cancer, the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics health poll finds.

Illinois authorities say eight residents of the Illinois Veterans' Home in Quincy have confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease.  

The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the cases Thursday, adding that there have been no known deaths related to the outbreak.  

The agencies say test results are currently pending for other residents.  
 They say they're working closely with the Adams County Health Department to identify and mitigate possible sources of the Legionella bacteria.  

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Polio is almost gone from the face of the earth. The virus is actively circulating in only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But now there's a worrisome new development in the polio end-game.

In Thursday's edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens, scientists report on a man in the United Kingdom who was immunized with oral polio vaccine as a child and whose stool samples continued to contain live polio virus for 28 years.

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday ordered three tobacco companies to stop claiming their cigarettes are "additive-free" or "natural."

The agency said those claims could mislead smokers into thinking those cigarettes are safer than others.

In a new report and letter sent to congressional leadership, Planned Parenthood contends that controversial videos alleging the organization sells fetal tissue have been "heavily edited in order to significantly change the meaning" of what its staff said.

Dr. Bill Mahon was a young pediatrician in the early 1970s when he fell in love with the rugged coast and majestic redwoods of Mendocino County, Calif. Like other people who have moved to Mendocino from around the country, settling here for him was a personal choice that prioritized lifestyle over money.

The prospect of practicing medicine in a small community also called to him. In 1977 he left his well-paying job at Kaiser Sacramento to join a practice with two other pediatricians in Fort Bragg.

Still, the move was a risk.

The scene in front of clinics where abortions are performed is often tense, with clinic workers escorting patients past activists waving signs and taking photographs.

But increasingly, another drama is unfolding out back. There, abortion opponents dig through the trash in search of patient information.

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If you've ever had surgery, you may have been given an analgesic named fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a favored painkiller because it acts fast. But it's also 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The powerful drug has made its way to the streets and increasingly is being used to cut heroin — resulting in a deadly combination.

Angelo Alonzo, a resident of Portland, Maine, says he nearly died last month after injecting what he believed to be a safe dose of heroin — the same amount he's taken before. But this time, he says, the drug knocked him to his knees.

"An amount that usually gives me a good mellow high was just way too much," he says, "and I woke up in the shower and I was cold. And I didn't put myself there."

People whose diabetes requires insulin injections usually have to make a series of visits to the doctor's office to fine-tune their daily dosage. But many low-income patients can't afford to take those few hours off to see the doctor. As a result, they often live with chronically elevated blood sugars for weeks or months until they can find time to get to the clinic.

Peek into a Peloton indoor cycling class in New York's posh Chelsea neighborhood and it'll look like most other indoor cycling classes. Sixty stationary bikes are clustered in a dark room, loud music blares to get the heart racing, and a mic-ed up instructor motivates riders.

Except this class has one major difference: Instructor Jen Sherman isn't just talking to riders in the classroom. She's also monitoring metrics for riders in places like New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Kansas. "Jamie in Wichita, good to see you this morning," she says.

I stepped out my parents' front door last Thursday, expecting a typically glorious summer day in southern Oregon. Instead, I was hit with acrid wood smoke that stung my eyes and throat. The air was thick with haze that obscured the mountains. I quickly retreated inside.

Health departments across the West are mobilizing to protect residents from smoke generated by dozens of fires that have sent smoke as far east as the Midwest.

There's a new candidate in the century-old quest for perfect, guiltless sweetness.

I encountered it at the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists, a combination of Super Bowl, Mecca, and Disneyland for the folks who put the processing in processed food.

Doctors' practices are increasingly trying to reach their patients online. But don't expect your doctor to "friend" you on Facebook – at least, not just yet.

Sierra Leone's last known Ebola patient, Adama Sankoh, has left the hospital, dancing down a red carpet, with the president of the country cheering her on.

"It was like she was a rock star. There were at least 100 people there — politicians, press — everyone wanting a photograph of her," said a spokesman for the International Medical Corps (IMC) in Makeni.

Five years ago, New Orleans attorney Ermence Parent was struggling to find out what was wrong with her leg. She was 58 years old, and her right leg hurt so much that she needed a cane. That was not only painful, but frustrating for a woman who routinely exercised and enjoyed it. Parent sought advice from several doctors and a chiropractor, but got no diagnosis.

It's time for consumers to wake up to the risks of sleep disorders, scientists say.

Marion, Ohio, just north of Columbus, used to be an idyllic place to grow up.

Kelly Clixby and Beth Carey remember what it was like a generation ago, when they were young.

"I lived across the street from one of the big parks here," Clixby says. "We would rip n' run all day and all night and come in when the street lights were on."

"It was just a nice place to live," Carey says.

Today, Marion is different. It's grappling with a full-blown heroin epidemic, one that derailed Kelly Clixby's life and killed Beth Carey's twin sister.

Molten mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and yeast are the aromas that punctuate summer in Rome.

On a recent day, 7-year-old Filippo Virgo has a hankering for pizza — a classic of the Eternal City.

The problem is that Filippo has celiac disease. This means he gets sick from eating gluten — a protein found in wheat and other grains. Pizza is usually out of bounds. And, for a second-grader, that's a travesty.

Filippo's family heads inside Il Tulipano Nero, a classic Italian restaurant — right down to the checkered tablecloth.

Imagine a town crier walking down the street outside shouting through his bullhorn: "All of the young people should go get the new meningitis A vaccine." And adding that it's free.

That's one of the ways that health practitioners are combating what they call "vaccine hesitancy" — refusing a vaccine when it is offered or available.

It's a topic that has made headlines this year, when an outbreak of measles focused attention on U.S. parents who'd not vaccinated their kids, fearing unproven side effects.

Soon after their wedding, Dr. Mimi Lee and Stephen Findley decided to create five embryos. Lee had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she worried that treatment would leave her infertile. Now that they're divorced, Lee wants to use them; Findley, however, does not.

Those embryos are at the heart of a court case that will soon decide a very modern problem: Which member of a divorced couple gets control of their frozen embryos?

In one photo, 23-year-old photographer Liu Yuyang captured a special moment between Mei Lin and her two granddaughters. The 83-year-old woman is smiling as one granddaughter leans down to give her a kiss and the other poses for the camera.

But Mei Lin's eyes give away how tired she is. Her hair has completely grayed, and her face is deeply lined. At her age, Mei Lin is supposed to live relatively carefree. Instead, she has to support her family of four: her daughter, son and two granddaughters — all of whom are mentally ill.

Trying to find healthy food at a state fair awash with deep-fried Oreos and foot-long corn dogs is no easy task.

At the Iowa State Fair, one of the rites of passage is trying food on a stick.

But dietitian Nikki Stahr, who works for the Iowa-based Hy-Vee grocery chain, is running a booth at the fair promoting healthy eating and portion control.

She has her work cut out for her.

There's an old fashioned hand-dipped ice cream stand and a cookie booth right across from her, so she's got some competition for her message of healthy eating.

We've all heard the advice about the importance of filling our bellies in the morning. It's a notion that's based on a blend of intuition, cultural tradition and science.

Some of the earliest evidence goes back to the 1960s when pioneering researchers in Alameda County, Calif., began documenting the effects of everyday habits. Their long-term study linked eating breakfast — along with a host of other lifestyle choices — to good health and longevity.

Weeks before school started in Olathe, Kan., earlier this month, the town's school district began its annual effort to get low-income students signed up for dental checkups.

When parents register at the elementary schools that serve the district's poorest students, they are asked whether their children have a dentist. "And if they say no, we say, 'We have a program in our school — a dentist is coming to our school this year,' " says health services director Cynthia Galemore.

How Well Do War And Women's Health Mix?

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Elizabeth Buchbinder is a doctor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She specializes in melanoma or skin cancer, and she joins me now. Dr. Buchbinder, welcome to the program.

ELIZABETH BUCHBINDER: Thanks - great to be here.