Teenagers put a lot of stock in what their peers are doing, and parents are forever trying to push back against that influence. But with the advent of social media, hanging out with the wrong crowd can include not just classmates, but teenagers thousands of miles away on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
It's hard to imagine a more devastating diagnosis than ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease. For most people, it means their nervous system is going to deteriorate until their body is completely immobile. That also means they'll lose their ability to speak.
So Carl Moore of Kent, Wash., worked with a speech pathologist to record his own voice to use later — when he can no longer talk on his own.
Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 4:25 pm
This week, I answer readers' questions about what doctors can ask for in advance and the nuances of switching insurance plans, both on and off the health exchanges.
Q. After signing up for a gold level plan on the health insurance marketplace, my physician, who is part of my plan, asked for $75 up front. My copayment is $25. His office also wants to keep a credit card on file. Is this legal?
For people in good health and without any special nutritional deficiencies, there isn't enough evidence to say it's a good idea — at least when it comes to preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 10:20 am
Full body CT scans can save lives by helping detect cancer early. But the scans use high doses of radiation to create their detailed images, which means they also increase patients' risk of developing cancer later on in life.
Children and teenagers are at greatest risk, because they tend to live long enough to develop secondary cancers. And their growing tissues may be more susceptible to radiation.
When private hospitals transfer patients who don't have insurance to public hospitals, it's called "patient dumping." But a study from Stanford University published Wednesday suggests a twist: Hospitals, it seems, are less likely to transfer critically injured patients to trauma centers if the patients have health insurance.
Coffee is important to many of us, but let's say your coffee maker breaks. Finding a new one is as easy as typing "shop coffee maker" into your browser. Voila — you've got models, prices and customer reviews at your fingertips.
But say you need something less fun than a coffee maker — like a colonoscopy. Shopping for one of those is a lot harder. Actual prices for the procedure are almost impossible to find, and Bob Kershner says there's huge variation in cost from one clinic to the next.
Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:38 pm
Most parents prefer that their children pick up a book rather than a game controller. But for kids with dyslexia, action video games may be just what the doctor ordered.
Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting an estimated 5 to 10 percent of the world's population. Many approaches to help struggling readers focus on words and phonetics, but researchers at Oxford University say dyslexia is more of an attention issue.
Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:55 pm
People in much of Minnesota, northwestern Pennsylvania and Tucson, Ariz., are getting the best bargains from the health care law's new insurance marketplaces. Their premiums run half as much as those in the country's most expensive markets.
The 10 regions with the lowest premiums in the nation also include Salt Lake City, all of Hawaii and eastern Tennessee. This ranking is based on the lowest cost of a silver plan, the midrange plan most consumers are choosing.
Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 11:40 am
We usually think of the flu as an illness that afflicts the elderly. But this season the virus seems to be hitting younger people hard.
This winter at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., the median age of people hospitalized with influenza was 28.5 years. Many of the worst cases of flu occurred in young, otherwise healthy people.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 9:32 pm
For many Americans it's been a harsh, disruptive winter, from the country's Northern edges to the Deep South.
When cold snaps and blizzards shutter schools, kids miss more than their daily lessons. Some miss out on the day's nutritious meal as well.
This recently became apparent to school administrators in rural Iowa, where extreme cold delayed openings two days in a row at Laurens-Marathon Community School, where 59 percent of students who eat school lunch qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 11:39 am
Abortions in the U.S. resumed their downward trend between 2008 and 2011, according to a new study. But its authors say the recent surge of state laws intended to restrict the procedure is likely not the reason.