Health

Health
8:05 am
Tue July 28, 2015

Rehab Before Cancer Treatment Can Help Patients Bounce Back

Putting some work in ahead of cancer therapy can help speed up recovery afterward.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 29, 2015 1:09 pm

Cancer patients who do rehabilitation before they begin treatment may recover more quickly from surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, some cancer specialists say. But insurance coverage for cancer prehabilitation, as it's called, can be spotty, especially if the aim is to prevent problems rather than treat existing ones.

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Health
5:13 am
Tue July 28, 2015

How Finns Make Sports Part Of Everyday Life

A Helsinki bomb shelter now serves as a shooting range for an archery club.
Rae Ellen Bichell for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 29, 2015 1:09 pm

In Helsinki, sports facilities pop up all over the place, sometimes in some pretty odd nooks and crannies. One bomb shelter hosts an archery club, another an underground swimming pool and an ice hockey rink.

Though they hardly need it, there's a national plan in Finland to get people to sit less. It reminds them, in fact, that, "Under the Constitution ... physical activity is a basic cultural right."

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Health
12:05 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Experiment In Coordinated Care For Medicare Failed To Show Savings

Coordinating care for high-risk patients was expected to save money and improve quality of care. A Medicare experiment didn't pan out.
Roy Scott Getty Images/Ikon Images

A $57 million experiment to provide better, more efficient care at federally funded health centers struggled to meet its goals and is unlikely to save money, says a government report on the project.

The test to coordinate treatment for high-risk Medicare patients in hundreds of communities was one of many demonstrations run by the Department of Health and Human Services' innovation center.

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Health
3:57 am
Mon July 27, 2015

A Scientist Deploys Light And Sound To Reveal The Brain

A nanosecond pulsed laser beam starts the photoacoustic imaging process.
Geoff Story/Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

Originally published on Wed July 29, 2015 3:51 pm

Lihong Wang creates the sort of medical technology you'd expect to find on the starship Enterprise.

Wang, a professor of biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has already helped develop instruments that can detect individual cancer cells in the bloodstream and oxygen consumption deep within the body. He has also created a camera that shoots at 100 billion frames a second, fast enough to freeze an object traveling at the speed of light.

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Health
2:12 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Why A Vaccine That Works Only A Third Of The Time Is Still A Good Deal

A baby helps make history. The Kenyan child is receiving the new malaria vaccine — the first ever that can wipe out a parasite — as part of a clinical trial.
Karel Prinsloo AP

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 9:11 pm

Malaria sickens tens of millions each year and kills roughly 500,000, mainly in Africa. A vaccine has been seen as the holy grail in global efforts against the disease.

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Health
10:04 am
Fri July 24, 2015

The Teen Who Didn't Make It — And The Nurses He Moved Along The Way

Stephen Wright, on his front porch in fall 2000.
Courtesy of the Wright family

For more than a decade, Wilson Matthews and Jeanne Yeatman worked together as flight nurses on emergency response helicopters. Over that time, they cared for countless patients as they were being transported to hospitals. One flight in particular, though, remains impossible for them to forget.

They had been trying to save a 13-year-old named Stephen. He'd been riding his bicycle over a dirt jump when he fell and suffered severe head trauma.

By the time he made it into the helicopter, nothing that Wilson or Jeanne tried was doing any good.

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Health
8:25 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Anthem To Buy Cigna, Creating Largest Health Insurer By Enrollment

Anthem, headquartered in Indianapolis, is buying rival Cigna in a deal valued at $48 billion announced Friday.
Michael Conroy AP

Health insurer Anthem has struck a deal to acquire rival Cigna for $48 billion — a buyout that would create the country's largest health insurer by enrollment.

The combined entity would have an estimated revenue of $115 billion and cover 53 million people in the U.S.

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Health
6:14 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

What If Chemo Doesn't Help You Live Longer Or Better?

For best quality of life, many cancer patients who can't be cured might do best to forgo chemo and focus instead on pain relief and easing sleep and mood problems, a survey of caregivers suggests.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 11:10 am

Chemotherapy given to patients at the end of life often does more harm than good, according to a study that calls into question this common practice.

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Health
2:56 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Administration Prods States To Scrutinize Insurers' Rate Hikes

akindo iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 8:29 am

There's a battle brewing behind the scenes to keep health plans affordable for consumers. The Obama administration weighed in this week, sending letters to insurance regulators in every state and Washington, D.C., that ask them to take a closer look at rate requests before granting them.

Under the Affordable Care Act, state agencies largely retain the right to regulate premiums. So far only a handful have finalized premiums for the coming year, for which enrollment begins in November.

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Health
8:51 am
Thu July 23, 2015

Medical Residents Are Indebted But Reasonably Happy

Alyson Hurt NPR

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 4:43 pm

Medical residents are the tweeners of health care.

They've got their medical degrees but still haven't finished the training they need to go forth and practice their chosen specialties.

Talking to residents is one way to get a bead on where medicine may be headed. Medscape, an online news source for health professionals, just released a survey of more than 1,700 medical residents that asked a slew of questions about their hopes, everyday experience on the job and finances.

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Health
3:47 am
Thu July 23, 2015

Younger Adults With Alzheimer's Are Key To Drug Search

Giedre (left) and Tal Cohen in March 2013, while Giedre was still healthy. Since then, she's begun having symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. In Giedre's case, the illness is tied to a rare genetic mutation she inherited.
Courtesy of Tal Cohen

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 4:42 pm

The face of Alzheimer's isn't always old. Sometimes it belongs to someone like Giedre Cohen, who is 37, yet struggles to remember her own name.

Until about a year ago, Giedre was a "young, healthy, beautiful" woman just starting her life, says her husband, Tal Cohen, a real estate developer in Los Angeles. Now, he says, "her mind is slowly wasting away."

People like Giedre have a rare gene mutation that causes symptoms of Alzheimer's to appear before they turn 60.

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Health
6:05 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

Leprosy From An Armadillo? That's An Unlikely Peccadillo

Public health threat, or just a very odd animal you're likely to see in the southern United States?
Richard Heathcote Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 3:16 pm

Armadillos. Leprosy. Florida. It's hard to ignore news reports that fit all three words in the first sentence.

So when we heard that state health officials in Florida have reported nine people with leprosy and suggested that people avoid armadillos, we here at Team Shots just had to check it out.

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Health
1:04 pm
Wed July 22, 2015

Intensive End-Of-Life Care On The Rise For Cancer Patients

Maximum care at the end of life for cancer patients has increased.
iStockphoto

Conversations about end-of-life care are difficult. But even though most people now take some steps to communicate their wishes, many may still receive more intensive care than they would have wished, a study published in July found.

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Health
11:18 am
Wed July 22, 2015

Health Effects Of Transitioning In Teen Years Remain Unknown

Most transgender adolescents go through the same steps during the medical transition from one gender to another. They're given a drug that blocks or pauses puberty. Then, if they and their doctors are sure they want to continue, they are given sex hormones that will resume puberty and give them more male or more female bodies.

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Health
4:21 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

Women's Brains Appear More Vulnerable To Alzheimer's Than Men's

Women with mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to Alzheimer's, tend to decline faster than men.
Lizzie Roberts Getty Images/Ikon Images

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 6:05 am

There's new evidence suggesting that women's brains are especially vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease and other problems with memory and thinking.

Women with mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to Alzheimer's, tend to decline faster than men, researchers reported this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington, D.C.

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Health
3:45 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

2 Gene Studies Suggest First Migrants To Americas A Complex Mix

The area around the confluence of the Silverthrone and Klinaklini glaciers in southwestern British Columbia provides a glimpse into how the terrain traveled by Native Americans in Pleistocene times may have appeared.
David J. Meltzer/Science

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 2:42 pm

The first people to set foot in the Americas apparently came from Siberia during the last ice age.

That's the conventional wisdom.

But now there's evidence from two different studies published this week that the first Americans may have migrated from different places at different times — and earlier than people thought.

The human race has walked or paddled or sailed until it covered the globe. Scientists can trace those migrations from the stuff these people left behind: tools, dwellings or burial grounds.

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Health
2:19 pm
Tue July 21, 2015

With Pap Tests Less Common, Women May Miss Out On STD Tests

The chlamydia bacteria can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and fertility problems, but women often don't know they're infected.
David M. Phillips Science Source

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 8:06 am

Changes in how women are screened for cervical cancer mean they're getting Pap tests less often. But that may also mean young women are not getting tested for chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted disease.

As the number of teens and young women getting annual Pap tests declined, so did the number getting screened for chlamydia, according to a study published Monday in Annals of Family Medicine.

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Health
10:03 am
Tue July 21, 2015

Expanding, Not Shrinking, Saves A Small Rural Hospital

One of the first signs drivers see on the way into Unionville, Mo. is this billboard advertising cardiology at Putnam County Memorial Hospital. Offering specialty services, like cardiology and psychiatry turned the hospital around, community leaders say.
Bram Sable-Smith/KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

Missouri cattle farmer Greg Fleshman became so concerned about keeping his local hospital open that in 2011 he joined its governing board.

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Health
2:04 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

5 Things Your Baby Should Avoid In The NICU

Babies in the neonatal intensive care unit hospital don't always need the tests and treatments suggested.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 21, 2015 12:52 pm

If you've got a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit, your first thought is probably not, "Does my child really need that antireflux medication?"

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Health
12:03 pm
Sun July 19, 2015

Siren Song Of Tech Lures New Doctors Away From Medicine

Amanda Angelotti (left) and Connie Chen, both graduates of University of California, San Francisco's medical school, opted for careers in digital health.
Josh Cassidy/KQED

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 4:53 pm

Even as a young child, Amanda Angelotti dreamed about becoming a doctor.

But by her third year at the University of California, San Francisco medical school. Angelotti couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing.

During a routine shift at the hospital, making rounds with her fellow students, Angelotti said her thoughts kept drifting.

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