Health

Health
7:17 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Western Hemisphere Wipes Out Its Third Virus

Health worker Jackie Carnegie delivers a rubella vaccine in Colorado in 1972.
Ira Gay Sealy Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 11:39 am

It took 15 years and hundreds of millions of vaccines. But North America and South America have officially eradicated rubella, health authorities said Wednesday. Rubella is only the third virus eradicated from people in the Western Hemisphere.

Also known as German measles, rubella causes only a mild illness in children, with a rash and sometimes a fever.

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Health
2:46 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Expanding Medicaid Trims Hospitals' Costs Of Caring For Uninsured

St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore is one of the 131 hospitals run by Ascension Health. It's a not-for-profit, Catholic health care system that treats many low-income patients.
St. Agnes Hospital

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 4:42 pm

When patients show up in the hospital without health insurance, they often receive charity care — the hospital treats the person and then swallows some or all of the costs.

It's central to the mission of many nonprofit hospitals, particularly those serving low-income areas.

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Health
2:13 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Small Plague Outbreak In People Tracked To Pit Bull

Rod-shaped specimens of Yersinia pestis, the bacterial cause of plague, find a happy home here in the foregut of a flea. Fleas can transmit the infection to animals and people, who can get pneumonic plague and transmit the infection through a cough or kiss.
Science Source

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 2:14 pm

For the first time in 90 years, U.S. health officials say they have diagnosed a case of the plague that may have spread in the air from one person to another. Don't be alarmed — the plague these days is treatable with antibiotics and is exceptionally rare (just 10 cases were reported nationwide in 2014).

And if the plague has become mostly a curiosity in the United States, this case is more curious than most.

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Health
11:28 am
Thu April 30, 2015

The Great Success And Enduring Dilemma Of Cervical Cancer Screening

Dr. George Papanicolaou discovered that it was possible to detect cancer by inspecting cervical cells. The Pap smear, the cervical cancer screening test, is named after him.
American Cancer Society AP

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 1:30 pm

Cervical cancer, which still kills about 4,000 American women every year, is almost entirely preventable. Proper screening can catch early warning signs that could lead to cancer without the right treatment. But how often women should get screened and which tests should be used has been hotly debated by women, doctors and medical researchers for the past decade.

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Health
7:10 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Your Tough Job Might Help Keep You Sharp

Engaging, mentally stimulating work is good for the brain, scientists say, whether you get paid to do it or not. Running a household can be as mentally demanding as running a company.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 4:40 pm

It's just Wednesday, but maybe you're already crashing. You've got three deadlines to juggle, your boss is breathing down your neck and Lillith from Finance is being a total pain.

Here's a bit of research that might reassure you it's all worth it.

Challenging work that involves lots of analytical thinking, planning and other managerial skills might help your brain stay sharp as you age, a study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology suggests.

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Health
9:38 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Why The Urologist Is Usually A Man, But Maybe Not For Long

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 11:48 am

If you need to see a urologist, the odds are very good that your doctor will be a man. Only about 8 percent of the practicing urologists are female, according to a poll from WebMD that includes gender distribution among medical specialties.

The fact that there are few female urologists might not seem shocking – urologists spend a lot of time looking at penises. But they also treat a wide variety of urinary tract and kidney health problems in both men and women.

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Health
3:55 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Florida's House Quits Early, At Impasse Over Medicaid Expansion

Florida state Senate president Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, was applauded by his fellow senators Tuesday, after expressing his disappointment with the Florida House for ending its session three days early, instead of working through the budget clash.
Steve Cannon AP

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 2:22 pm

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature — at odds over the question of whether to expand Medicaid — abruptly ended its session three days early on Tuesday, leaving hundreds of bills that are unrelated to health care unfinished.

Andy Gardiner, president of Florida's state Senate, says he's disappointed with the House's decision to stop negotiating and leave town.

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Health
5:23 am
Mon April 27, 2015

Maybe You Should Rethink That Daily Aspirin

For all the good aspirin can do in preventing second heart attacks and strokes, taking it daily can boost some risks, too — of ulcers, for example, and of bleeding in the brain or gut.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 1:48 pm

We've all heard that an aspirin a day can keep heart disease at bay. But lots of Americans seem to be taking it as a preventive measure, when many probably shouldn't.

In a recent national survey, more than half the adults who were middle age or older reported taking an aspirin regularly to prevent a heart attack or stroke. The Food and Drug Administration only recommends the drug for people wh have already experienced such an event or are at extremely high risk.

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Health
2:35 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

CDC Warns More HIV, Hepatitis C Outbreaks Likely Among Drug Users

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 6:55 pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the U.S. epidemic of opioid abuse could lead to more severe outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis C nationally, much like the outbreak now seen in Indiana. A health advisory the agency released Friday outlines steps that state health departments and medical providers should take to minimize the risk of that happening.

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Health
12:15 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Thoughts Can Fuel Some Deadly Brain Cancers

A color-enhanced cerebral MRI showing a glioma tumor.
Scott Camazine Science Source

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 7:03 pm

The simple act of thinking can accelerate the growth of many brain tumors.

That's the conclusion of a paper in Cell published Thursday that showed how activity in the cerebral cortex affected high-grade gliomas, which represent about 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors in people.

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Health
9:45 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Critics Lash Out At Chinese Scientists Who Edited DNA In Human Embryos

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 12:34 pm

For the first time, scientists have edited DNA in human embryos, a highly controversial step long considered off limits.

Junjiu Huang and his colleagues at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, performed a series of experiments involving 86 human embryos to see if they could make changes in a gene known as HBB, which causes the sometimes fatal blood disorder beta-thalassemia.

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Health
3:46 am
Mon April 20, 2015

FDA Ponders Putting Homeopathy To A Tougher Test

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 11:08 am

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
11:31 am
Fri April 17, 2015

The State Of The Cancer Nation

Matt Stiles and Christopher Groskopf/NPR

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:40 pm

While a cure for cancer remains elusive, we already know how to keep many cases of the disease from developing in the first place.

People can reduce cancer risks by keeping a healthful weight and avoiding cigarettes.

But smoking, obesity and other major cancer risk factors remain common, and they still vary widely across the country.

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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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