Listen

Health

Health

CVS is one of the biggest companies in the U.S., and it’s about to get even bigger through a planned acquisition of the health insurance company Aetna.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Michael Regan (@Reganonymous) of Bloomberg News about what the merger means for the companies, and for consumers, at a time when the U.S. health care system is changing.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Transparency.

About Leilani Schweitzer's TED Talk

The Face Of Hepatitis C Is Getting Younger

Dec 2, 2017

Three-quarters of all chronic hepatitis C cases in the U.S afflict people over 50. But in recent years, new infections have tripled among people in their 20s. Health officials call it a side effect of the opioid epidemic.

For a long time, the residents of Acre State in Brazil were lucky.

They lived in the right climate for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries dengue fever. But that mosquito was nowhere to be found, and there were no recorded cases of dengue in the state.

Eli Wheatley and Christian Guardino are among a growing number of patients whose lives are apparently being saved or radically improved by gene therapy.

Wheatley, 3, of Lebanon, Ky., and Guardino, 17, of Patchogue, N.Y., were both diagnosed with what were long thought to be incurable genetic disorders. In the past, Wheatley's condition would have probably killed him before his first birthday. Guardino's would have blinded him early in life.

But after receiving experimental gene therapies, both seem to be doing fine.

Women are more likely to have asthma than men, and though sex hormones have been suspected as one reason why, just how they might be affecting asthma risk has been something of a mystery.

Virginia is among several states warning families that children may soon lose their health care coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Money has been running out for CHIP since Congress failed to reauthorize federal funding for the program when it expired in September.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Linda Nablo, chief deputy director at Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services.

A new antipsychotic pill contains an ingestible sensor which can transmit information to the patient’s doctor. The pill is designed to help patients take medication consistently, but it also raises some privacy concerns.

Digital Pill Will Keep Tabs On Patients

Nov 15, 2017

Digital pills that report from inside your body on what you’ve taken and when. They’re approved. Where does this go?

We’ll also talk this hour about the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate.

This show airs Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST. 

In August, a doctor in Spain posted x-ray and microscopic pictures from a man's thigh on Twitter, asking for help.

The physician was concerned that he had cancer.

Last year, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children were confronted with a difficult decision. It involved a pair of conjoined, 2-year-old twin girls. One was in failing health and if she died, her death would kill her healthier sister. But operating to separate them would lead to the death of the sick twin — she wouldn’t be able to survive on her own.

A New Use For Polytrauma Treatment

Nov 13, 2017

Treating American service members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan has caused a new military emphasis on polytrauma, a medical term meaning more than one serious injury.

The lessons learned from treating those complex wounds demanded a new model of care that today is helping veterans and active-duty military heal — whether they have seen combat or not. Wendy Rigby (@TPRWendy) from Texas Public Radio has the story.

The day Dr. Roberto Montenegro finished his Ph.D. was memorable. But not for the right reasons.

"I still cringe when I think about it," says Montenegro.

It had started well. His colleagues at UCLA had taken him and his girlfriend (now wife) out to a fancy restaurant to celebrate.

Hundreds of people around the country are still suffering from complications linked to injections of tainted medicine produced at a Massachusetts pharmacy in 2012.

A nationwide outbreak of fungal infections was tied to the shipment of nearly 18,000 contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone, a steroid, made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

It's hard for Zachary Lane to wake up in time for school every day.

"I have four alarms set and it still takes me a long time to wake me up," says Lane, a 17-year-old high school junior in Zionsville, Ind.

He says he regularly gets detention for being tardy. "I get to school and I'm talked to like I'm attempting to skip school — like I'm attempting to be truant," he says. "I feel terrible. It's awful."

And when Lane does make it to class on time, he has a hard time focusing.

"I feel kind of like lagging behind myself," he says. "I don't feel totally there."

Public health authorities and infectious disease specialists now say we may not be able to rid the U.S. of the Zika virus. Despite months of intense work — including house to house inspections and aggressive mosquito control — federal, state and local officials have not been able to stop the spread of Zika in Miami.

Yana Shapiro is a partner at a Philadelphia law firm with an exhausting travel schedule and two boys, ages 9 and 4. When she feels run-down from juggling everything and feels a cold coming on, she books an appointment for an intravenous infusion of water, vitamins and minerals.

"Anything to avoid antibiotics or being out of commission," the 37-year-old says.

American lives have been getting steadily longer, and since the 1960s that trend has been driven mostly by a remarkable reduction in heart disease. But those improvements have slowed dramatically. Scientists are now wondering whether we're approaching the end of the trend of longer, healthier lives.

That's because the steady decline in heart disease is fading.

Human viruses are like a fine chocolate truffle: It takes only one to get the full experience.

At least, that's what scientists thought a few days ago. Now a new study published Thursday is making researchers rethink how some viruses could infect animals.

A team at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases has found a mosquito virus that's broken up into pieces. And the mosquito needs to catch several of the pieces to get an infection.

A series of medical images published Tuesday offer the most complete picture, so far, of how the Zika virus can damage the brain of a fetus.

"The images show the worst brain infections that doctors will ever see," says Dr. Deborah Levine, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who contributed to the study. "Zika is such a severe infection [in fetuses]. Most doctors will have never seen brains like this before."

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from the latest episode of the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

Until she was 54 years old, Kim was totally unaware that there were things in the world she couldn't see.

"This was the whole problem," Kim says. "I had no clue what the problem was."

The Obama administration is making a push to get young adults covered on the health insurance marketplaces, both for their own good and that of the marketplaces. The insurance exchanges need healthy people to balance sicker ones in the risk pool.

Despite beefed-up outreach planned for the coming months, several factors may throw a wrench into enrollment plans for young people.

Episiotomy, a once-routine surgical incision made in a woman's vaginal opening during childbirth to speed the baby's passage, has been officially discouraged for at least a decade by the leading association of obstetrician-gynecologists in the United States.

Nonetheless, despite evidence that the procedure is only rarely necessary, and in some cases leads to serious pain and injuries to the mother, it is still being performed at much higher than recommended rates by certain doctors and in certain hospitals.

The latest episode of the podcast Invisibilia explores the idea that personality — something a lot of us think of as immutable — can change over time.

Most children in the United States do not drink enough water, and when it's hot outside, they may need to drink even more.

But getting children to drink water can be a challenge. We spoke with medical experts, coaches, camp counselors and parents to find out how much water kids should drink in the summer, and how adults can help make sure they're getting enough.

How much water should kids drink on a hot day?

The Challenge Of Taking Health Apps Beyond The Well-Heeled

Jun 23, 2016

When you hear the phrase "digital health," you might think about a Fitbit, the healthy eating app on your smartphone, or maybe a new way to email the doctor.

But Fitbits aren't particularly useful if you're homeless, and the nutrition app won't mean much to someone who struggles to pay for groceries. Same for emailing your doctor if you don't have a doctor or reliable Internet access.

Guinea worm is going down. Way down.

From more than 3 million cases of Guinea worm disease a year in the 1980s, the world tally in 2016 stands at just two confirmed cases.

Both are in Chad and are believed to have been contained before they had a chance to spread. (There are also two suspected cases, one in Chad and one in Ethiopia.)

If Guinea worm is pushed into extinction, then Guinea worm disease would be just the second human disease to be eradicated after smallpox.

When you hold a tiny infant in your arms, it's easy to be struck by the fragility of a new human life.

I remember feeling both exhilarated and, at moments, terrified when my oldest son was born. It was such uncharted terrain.

One of the greatest comforts in those early months was watching him thrive and gain weight. I hadn't anticipated the compulsion – the singular focus — on feeding my babe. It was an overwhelming, primal impulse that must be universal among new mothers, right?

An elderly woman died and more than two dozen people were treated for possible rabies exposure after her family failed to realize that a nighttime encounter with a bat put her at risk of rabies.

Last August, the woman awoke in her Wyoming home and felt a bat on her neck. She swatted it away and washed her hands. Her husband captured the bat with gloved hands and released it outside.

Amid a raging opioid epidemic, many doctors and families in the U.S. have been pleading for better treatment alternatives. One option now under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration is a system of implanted rods that offer controlled release of buprenorphine — a drug already used in other forms to treat opioid addiction.

Because it's implanted in the skin, this version of the drug can't easily be sold on the illegal market, proponents say — a key treatment advantage. The FDA is expected to decide whether to approve the device — called Probuphine — within a week.

Pages