Health

Health
3:46 am
Mon April 20, 2015

FDA Ponders Putting Homeopathy To A Tougher Test

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 5:48 pm

It's another busy morning at Dr. Anthony Aurigemma's homeopathy practice in Bethesda, Md.

Wendy Resnick, 58, is here because she's suffering from a nasty bout of laryngitis. "I don't feel great," she says. "I don't feel myself."

Resnick, who lives in Millersville, Md., has been seeing Aurigemma for years for a variety of health problems, including ankle and knee injuries and back problems. "I don't know what I would do without him," she says. "The traditional treatments just weren't helping me at all."

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Health
11:00 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Bundle Of Joyful Microbes: Mom's DNA Alters Baby's Gut Bacteria

During the first year of life, a baby's gut will become home to about 1,000 species of bacteria.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 8:35 pm

Right after birth, trillions of microbes rush into a baby's gut and start to grow. Most of these critters come from the mom's skin, birth canal and gut.

But exactly which types of bacteria take up residence in an infant's gut can depend on the mother's DNA, scientists reported Thursday.

The study, published in the journal Microbiome, focuses on a microbe called Bifidobacterium that potentially benefits babies.

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Health
6:03 am
Fri April 10, 2015

A Lifesaving Medicine That My Patient Didn't Get In Time

A kit with naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is displayed at the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City. Naloxone counters an overdose with heroin or certain prescription painkillers by blocking the receptors these opioids bind to in the brain.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 5:56 pm

Every doctor and nurse in our hospital's emergency room knew Jerome. He was one of our regulars.

In his 20s, he had back problems that led him to become addicted to prescription painkillers. That habit proved too expensive, and he switched to heroin.

Jerome used to come to the ER nearly every week. Often, he just wanted a sandwich and someone to talk to. He had lost his job and his home. Several months ago, he decided he had to quit heroin.

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Health
2:58 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Bill To Limit Vaccine Exemptions Moves A Step Closer In California

People who oppose repealing the personal belief exemption gathered outside California's Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday.
Pauline Bartolone/Capital Public Radio

A California bill that would allow students to opt out of mandatory school vaccinations only if they have a medical condition that justifies an exemption is one step closer to becoming law, though it still has a long way to go. The bill was introduced in the California Senate in response to a measles outbreak at Disneyland in late December that's now linked to almost 150 infections.

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Health
6:12 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Sushi Science: A 3-D View Of The Body's Wasabi Receptor

The same nerve receptor that responds to the green paste on your sushi plate is activated by car exhaust, the smoke of a wildfire, tear gas and other chemical irritants.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 7:33 pm

Researchers have discovered the exact structure of the receptor that makes our sensory nerves tingle when we eat sushi garnished with wasabi. And because the "wasabi receptor" is also involved in pain perception, knowing its shape should help pharmaceutical companies develop new drugs to fight pain.

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Health
5:44 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Link Between Heart Disease And Height Hidden In Our Genes

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 11:53 am

Shorter people are more likely than taller folks to have clogged heart arteries, and a new study says part of the reason lies in the genes.

Doctors have known since the 1950s about the link between short stature and coronary artery disease, "but the reason behind this really hasn't been completely clear," says Nilesh Samani, a cardiologist at the University of Leicester in the U.K.

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Health
2:02 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

What's My Chance Of Having A Baby? A Better Predictor Of IVF Success

In the technique known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a fertility specialist uses a tiny needle to inject sperm into an egg cell.
Mauro Fermariello Science Source

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 6:19 pm

Before a couple commit time, money and emotion to the process of in vitro fertilization, they want to know one thing: What are our chances of having a baby?

Success rates vary dramatically by age. In 2013, for example, 40 percent of IVF cycles performed in women who were under the age of 35 resulted in live births, compared with 4.5 percent for women older than 42.

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Health
12:13 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Patients Often Aren't Offered Minimally Invasive Surgery

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 10:32 am

It would be nice to think that when you go in for surgery you'd be offered the safest, cheapest alternative, but that's not always the case, a study finds.

Some hospitals are much more likely than others to offer minimally invasive surgery for procedures like colon or lung surgery or appendectomy, according to an analysis published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery.

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Health
3:08 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 6:40 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
5:20 pm
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 9:58 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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Health
5:51 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
11:26 am
Mon March 9, 2015

For Young People In Rural Areas, Suicide Poses A Growing Threat

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 5:59 pm

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults, and those who live in rural areas are especially at risk.

For young people between the ages of 10 and 24, the suicide rates in rural areas are nearly double those of urban areas, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. And that disparity is growing.

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Health
3:38 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Sharing Patient Records Is Still A Digital Dilemma For Doctors

U.S. taxpayers have poured $30 billion into funding electronic records systems in hospitals and doctors' offices since 2009. But most of those systems still can't talk to each other, which makes transfer of medical information tough.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 5:10 pm

Technology entrepreneur Jonathan Bush says he was recently watching a patient move from a hospital to a nursing home. The patient's information was in an electronic medical record, or EMR. And getting the patient's records from the hospital to the nursing home, Bush says, wasn't exactly drag and drop.

"These two guys then type — I kid you not — the printout from the brand new EMR into their EMR, so that their fax server can fax it to the bloody nursing home," Bush says.

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Health
4:03 am
Tue March 3, 2015

What Shapes Health? Webcast Explores Social And Economic Factors

Mitchell Funk/Getty Images/Harvard

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 12:14 pm

Health is more than the sum of its parts. Sometimes in surprising ways, factors such as childhood experiences, housing conditions, poor diets and health care access drive who ends up sick — and who does not.

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Health
4:06 am
Mon March 2, 2015

People With Low Incomes Say They Pay A Price In Poor Health

Hanna Barczyk for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 7:39 am

When you ask people what impacts health you'll get a lot of different answers: Access to good health care and preventative services, personal behavior, exposure to germs or pollution and stress. But if you dig a little deeper you'll find a clear dividing line, and it boils down to one word: money.

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Health
11:01 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Administration Bars Health Plans That Won't Cover Hospital Care

Is health insurance that doesn't cover hospital care worth having?
iStockphoto

The Obama administration has blocked health plans without hospital benefits that many large employers argued fulfilled their obligations under the Affordable Care Act.

Companies with millions of workers, mainly in lower-wage industries such as staffing, retailing, restaurants and hotels that hadn't offered health coverage previously, had been flocking toward such insurance for 2015.

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Health
4:24 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Lots Of Seniors Are Overweight, But Few Use Free Counseling For It

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 4:16 pm

Anne Roberson walks a quarter-mile down the road each day to her mailbox in the farming town of Exeter, deep in California's Central Valley. Her daily walk and housekeeping chores are her only exercise, and her weight has remained stubbornly over 200 pounds for some time now. Roberson is 68 years old, and she says it gets harder to lose weight as you get older: "You get to a certain point in your life and you say, 'What's the use?' "

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Health
12:41 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Kids, Allergies And A Possible Downside To Squeaky Clean Dishes

Vidhya Nagarajan for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 11:21 am

Could using a dishwashing machine increase the chances your child will develop allergies? That's what some provocative new research suggests — but don't tear out your machine just yet.

The study involved 1,029 Swedish children (ages 7 or 8) and found that those whose parents said they mostly wash the family's dishes by hand were significantly less likely to develop eczema, and somewhat less likely to develop allergic asthma and hay fever.

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Health
5:18 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

When Pot Goes From Illegal To Recreational, Schools Face A Dilemma

Schools in Colorado are trying to find effective ways to teach the health effects of marijuana use. "When it's legal for your parents to smoke it or grow it," says one educator, "that changes the conversation."
David Zalubowski AP

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 11:21 am

Like many schools across Colorado, Arapahoe Ridge High School in Boulder has seen an increase in overall drug incidents since recreational marijuana became legal.

While public schools aren't required to report marijuana incidents separately from other drugs such as cocaine, evidence compiled by Rocky Mountain PBS I-News suggests more students are using marijuana.

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Health
3:13 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

15-Minute Ebola Test Approved For Fighting The Epidemic

The rapid Ebola test from Corgenix Medical Corporation is small and easy to use. But because it involves blood, health workers would still need to run the test at a lab to stay safe.
Courtesy of Corgenix Medical Corp.

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 4:57 pm

Speed. That's key to ending the Ebola epidemic, health officials have been saying for months. Now there's a new tool to help do the trick.

The World Health Organization approved the first quick test for Ebola Friday. The test gives results in about 15 minutes, instead of hours. So people infected can get treatment and be quarantined more quickly.

"It's definitely a breakthrough," WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said Friday in Geneva.

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