As a child, Diany Levy was called lazy and unfocused. She remembers that teachers called home on a daily basis to tell her parents she was not paying attention in class. Now, at the age of 23, Diany has finally been diagnosed with the cause of her problems – ADHD.
On an interstate heading into Birmingham, Ala., Dustin Jones merges a small white SUV into the flow of traffic. This might seem unremarkable, but Jones has a genetic condition that reduces his long-distance vision. Driving safely hadn't been an option for him, but now, with the help of a little device called a bioptic telescope, it is.
"Life without the ability to drive is exponentially harder," Jones says. "It's just very difficult to do anything at all."
We Americans love our fried shrimp, our sushi and our fish sticks. And a lot of other people around the world count on fish as a critical part of their diet, too. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, fish now accounts for almost 17 percent of the world's intake of protein — in some coastal and island countries it's as high as 70 percent.
Researchers are developing a radical way to diagnose infectious diseases. Instead of guessing what a patient might have, and ordering one test after another, this new technology starts with no assumptions.
The technology starts with a sample of blood or spinal fluid from an infected person and searches through all the DNA in it, looking for sequences that came from a virus, a bacterium, a fungus or even a parasite.
"The talk." The facts of life. The birds and the bees. Whatever you call it, do you remember when and how you first learned about human sexuality? For me, it was a series of conversations in school and with my parents that began in third grade with the classic picture book Where Did I Come From?.
In the two years since Middle East respiratory syndrome was first diagnosed in people, scientists have struggled to figure out how we catch the deadly virus. Some blamed bats. Others pointed at camels.
Now scientists in Saudi Arabia offer the strongest evidence yet that the one-humped dromedaries can indeed spread the MERS virus — which has infected more than 800 people on four continents, including two men in the U.S.
Of the 5 million Americans with failing hearts, about half of them will die within five years of getting diagnosed. Given the odds, it seems that people with heart failure should start thinking about how they want to die.
But doctors don't routinely talk to those patients about end-of-life planning.
When researchers asked 50 doctors and 45 nurse practitioners and physician assistants how often they discuss preparing for death with their heart failure patients.
The horrifying mass shooting in Isla Vista, Calif., last month brought up many questions. What could parents have done to prevent the tragedy? And what did they actually know about their son's mental illness?
More than 2.5 million veterans served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they qualify for health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. These recent vets have been putting in for more service-related conditions than previous generations, for everything from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury to the bad knees, bad backs and bad hearing that nearly every new vet seems to have.
For many young people, college graduation marks the entry into what grown-ups call "the real world." But if you're a new graduate with a mental health condition, the transition can be especially challenging.
Many young people start managing their own health care for the first time when they graduate. And while finding and paying for a psychologist or psychiatrist can be difficult at any age, for young people who don't have steady jobs or stable paychecks, the task can be especially daunting. Perseverance and planning ahead help.
When you unwrap it, break off a piece and stick it in your mouth, it doesn't remind you of the pyramids, a suspension bridge or a skyscraper; but chocolate, says materials scientist Mark Miodownik, "is one of our greatest engineering creations."
If you follow the news on nasty, contagious norovirus, you might assume that the place you're most likely to get it is on a cruise ship. For one, there was that outbreak earlier this year when a group of passengers got sick with severe vomiting and diarrhea on a Royal Caribbean boat.
Veterans across the country are still waiting too long for medical care, a situation that drove the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki last week.
Now Republicans and Democrats in Congress are competing to pass laws they think will fix the problem of medical wait times and other problems at the VA. The discussion over how to reform veterans' health care is starting to sound familiar.
When we first met Tammy Boudreaux, a freelance social worker in Houston, last December, she was still weighing her health insurance options.
She told us she was overwhelmed and confused by the choices she was finding on HealthCare.gov. And the high deductibles of the Obamacare plans didn't seem like such a great deal. But when we checked back in with Boudreaux this month, we learned that a chance encounter with a bottle of hot sauce ultimately changed her mind.
The crowd in a hotel ballroom in Washington, D.C., was rocking on Monday, the 2,000 people shrieking with excitement over federal health-care databases. That could only happen at Health Datapalooza, the annual summit for data geeks, doctors, researchers and patients who want to use data to transform health care — or at least make a buck.
Both of those goals are proving to demand a lot more than just coming up with a nifty API and getting the venture capitalists to buy in.
With so many studies linking Americans' collective sweet tooth to diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity, there's a lot of talk about policies to nudge consumers to consume less sugar.
MICHEL MARTIN: As we've just heard, being fired or losing your job is something that a lot of people have had to worry about in recent years. But our next guest has some advice for those of us who tend to worry a lot about life's what-ifs. That advice is to wait. Columnist Steven Petrow recently wrote about his epiphany and learning how to wait to worry for The Washington Post. In the piece, he talked about how he decided to stop worrying about stuff that hadn't even happened yet. Steven Petrow is with us now. Welcome back. Thanks so much for joining us once again.
MICHEL MARTIN: I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly conversation about personal finance - one of our money coach conversations. We've been hearing that the economy is slowly but surely picking up, which means that finally people are getting hired again. But in some industries, people are still getting laid off. And unfortunately, we know a little bit about that ourselves.
The effects of a sexual assault can be long-lasting, but the medical bills aren't supposed to be.
Yet a study published recently finds that despite federal efforts to lift that burden from rape victims, a hodgepodge of state rules mean some victims may still be charged for medical services related to rape, including prevention and treatment of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.
Now we have a story about the power of play. Some 200 million toddlers in poor countries are starting life with an extra burden. Because of malnourishment or disease, these kids are small for their age and their brains are underdeveloped. The consequences of this can haunt them into adulthood. But here's some positive news - there's a study in the journal Science suggesting that more play time with parents can dramatically reverse the damage suffered by these kids. NPR's Nurith Aizenman reports.