Health

Health
5:52 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Why Mosquitoes Love Me, And Other Mysteries Revealed

The mosquitoes that feed on people are attracted to over 300 gases and other compounds emitted by human skin.
CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 1:44 pm

Come summertime, some of us here at Shots are reminded, as we lounge on decks and venture into overgrown gardens, that we are irresistible to mosquitoes. As we gripe about our itchy, pocked limbs, we can't help but wonder just why they unfailingly devour us and pass over our friends and loved ones. And when it comes to repellent, it's hard to tell just what works best.

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Health
11:27 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Menthol: Great In Aftershave, Not So Much In Cigarettes

Newport is the most popular menthol cigarette in the United States. Sales of menthols has increased though cigarette sales are declining overall.
Paul Sakuma Associated Press

Menthol gives cough drops, lip balm and other drugstore remedies that cool minty taste and slight numbing quality. Now the Food and Drug Administration has taken a long-awaited step toward saying that in cigarettes, those same qualities do more harm than good.

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Health
11:18 am
Wed July 24, 2013

NYC Doctors Are Now Prescribing Fruits And Veggies

Take two of these and call me in the morning.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 12:22 pm

Doctors typically give patients prescriptions for medications. But a new program in New York City has doctors prescribing fruits and vegetables to obese or overweight patients.

Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley launched the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program Tuesday. It aims to give at-risk families greater access to healthy foods.

Under the program, obese or overweight patients can be prescribed Health Bucks redeemable for produce at local farmers markets.

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Health
3:31 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Staying Healthy May Mean Learning To Love Our Microbiomes

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 5:07 pm

Not so long ago, most people thought that the only good microbe was a dead microbe.

But then scientists started to realize that even though some bugs can make us sick and even kill us, most don't.

In fact, in the past decade attitudes about the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes living all over our bodies has almost completely turned around. Now scientists say that not only are those microbes often not harmful, we can't live without them.

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Health
10:23 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Medicines To Fight White Plague Are Losing Their Punch

Children with tuberculosis sleep outside at Springfield House Open Air School in London in 1932. Like sanatoriums, these schools offered TB sufferers a place to receive the top treatment of the day: fresh air and sunshine.
Fox Photos Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 12:28 pm

You probably don't think about tuberculosis much. Why would you? The number of cases in the U.S. is at an all-time low.

But TB has returned with a vengeance in some parts of world, and there have been some troubling outbreaks here at home, too.

Many of the cases come with a deadly twist. They're resistant to standard drugs and can take years of painstaking treatment to bring under control.

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Health
3:23 am
Fri July 19, 2013

White House Muddles Obamacare Messaging — Again

President Obama walks off the stage after speaking about the Affordable Care Act during an event in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. Obama argued that the law is holding insurance companies accountable and putting money back into the pockets of consumers.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 6:13 am

This summer was supposed to be a time to reintroduce the public to the Affordable Care Act and teach people how to sign up for benefits this fall.

But that's not what's happening.

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Health
3:17 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Tuberculosis Outbreak Shakes Wisconsin City

Dale Hippensteel, manages the Sheboygan County health department.
Jeffrey Phelps For NPR

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 7:45 am

Looking crisp and official in his khaki-colored sheriff's department polo shirt, Steve Steinhardt says Sheboygan, Wis., is a pretty good place to be a director of emergency services.

"Nothing bad happens here," he says, knocking on wood. Unless, that is, you count the tuberculosis outbreak that struck the orderly Midwestern city of 50,000 this spring and summer.

"I never expected TB to be one of the bigger emergencies I'd face when I got into this field," Steinhardt says.

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Health
11:07 am
Wed July 17, 2013

A Warm Winter Helped Fuel West Nile Outbreak In Dallas

A sprayer truck blankets a neighborhood in North Dallas with insecticide to curb mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in July 2012.
Tom Fox/Dallas Morning News Corbis

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 10:43 am

West Nile virus looked like it was waning as a health threat, with the number of cases dropping each year. Then last summer, it roared back.

The number of people infected with the mosquito-borne illness suddenly spiked in 2012. And Dallas was hit hardest of all.

People showed up in emergency rooms with encephalitis and paralysis, unable to breathe on their own.

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Health
3:02 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Sickle Cell Anemia Is On The Rise Worldwide

Red blood cells are normally shaped like doughnuts, but sickle cells (purple) are flattened and clump together.
NIH

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 10:45 am

Sickle cell anemia may not be as well-known as, say, malaria, tuberculosis or AIDS. But every year, hundreds of thousands of babies around the world are born with this inherited blood disorder. And the numbers are expected to climb.

The number of sickle cell anemia cases is expected to increase about 30 percent globally by 2050, scientists said Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where the disease is most common, will be the hardest hit.

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Health
5:03 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

McCarthy's Vaccination Stance Complicates Job On 'The View'

Jenny McCarthy, a regular guest host on The View, has been selected as a permanent co-host beginning in September. The appointment has sparked controversy because of McCarthy's anti-vaccination advocacy.
Donna Svennevik ABC via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 8:59 pm

The newest co-host for Barbara Walters' chatfest The View is a vivacious and outspoken model, actor and activist for children, seemingly a perfect person to have at the table of the successful network talk show.

But Jenny McCarthy is also one of the nation's leading skeptics about the safety of vaccines. And in that role, ABC's newest star has stirred consternation.

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Health
4:17 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Doctors Heed Prescription For Computerized Records

Heather Garris, a custodian of medical records, organizes patients' files at Colorado Springs Internal Medicine in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Barry Gutierrez for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 9:39 am

Uncle Sam wants your doctor to go digital. And the federal government is backing that up with money for practices that start using computerized systems for record keeping.

Nearly half of all physicians in America still rely on paper records for most patient care. Time is running out for those who do to take advantage of federal funds to make the switch. So practices like Colorado Springs Internal Medicine are scrambling to get with the program.

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Health
3:00 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Patients Seek A Different Approach To Hip Replacement Surgery

Michael Pagliaro, left, laughs with Paul Scattaretico at the Muzic Store Inc. in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., as Pagliaro picks up instruments for his rental business. Before Pagliaro had a hip replacement, pain made it difficult to work.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 5:10 am

Every year more than a quarter of a million Americans have total hip replacement surgery. It's almost always a successful operation that frees patients from what's often described as disabling pain.

But in recent years, there's been lots of discussion on the Internet about "anterior approach" hip replacement, a surgical technique that's different than the standard procedure. It's one that proponents say can lead to quicker recovery, three to four weeks compared to six to eight weeks for typical surgery.

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Health
12:40 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

3-D Casts So Cool That You'll Almost Want To Break A Bone

The waterproof material of the Cortex cast may hold up better in high-stress areas, such as hands.
Courtesy of Jake Evill

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 9:11 am

Anybody who has ever worn a cast knows that it can really cramp your style. You itch. After a while, you stink. At times, it seems like the cast needs even more care than you do. Keep it dry or else!

Other than the addition of garish colors of fiberglass, there hasn't been much innovation in cast technology in what seems like forever. But down in New Zealand, designer Jake Evill is bringing the latest in 3-D printing to orthopedics.

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Health
12:32 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Do Diet Drinks Mess Up Metabolisms?

Some researchers think that artificial sweeteners, most frequently consumed in diet drinks, may confuse the body.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 5:10 pm

It may seem counterintuitive, but there's a body of evidence to suggest that the millions of Americans with a diet soda habit may not be doing their waistlines — or their blood sugar — any favors.

As the consumption of diet drinks made with artificial sweeteners continues to rise, researchers are beginning to make some uncomfortable associations with weight gain and other diseases.

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Health
5:07 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Harmful Parasites In Cat Poop Are Widespread

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 8:34 am

That cat poop can pose a health risk to humans no longer surprises us.

Some cats carry a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Infected cats shed embryonic T. gondii, called oocysts, in their feces.

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Health
5:42 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Insurance Pitch To Young Adults Started In Fenway Park

Fans take in the view of the outfield at Denver's Coors Field as the San Diego Padres face the Colorado Rockies in June.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 9, 2013 12:45 pm

The Major League Baseball season is now half over, and some fans are already starting to think about the World Series in October.

October is also a big month for the Obama administration.

That's when millions of Americans can start signing up for new health insurance policies through health exchanges established in each state under the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
4:26 am
Sat July 6, 2013

Growing The Latest In 16th-Century Medicine

The opium poppy is the most common source of opium and morphine.
New York Botanical Garden

Originally published on Sat July 6, 2013 6:37 pm

The Renaissance Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, a re-creation of a 16th-century medicinal garden, is so lush and colorful, it takes only a stroll through to absorb its good medicine.

The garden, part of a summer exhibit called Wild Medicine: Healing Plants Around the World, is a small-scale model of the Italian Renaissance Garden in Padua, Italy, Europe's first botanical garden.

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Health
3:37 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

A Busy ER Doctor Slows Down To Help Patients Cope With Adversity

Smith talks with Dawn Dillard, 57, about a medical procedure at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. Dillard has uterine cancer.
Annie Feidt APRN

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 8:51 am

Dr. Linda Smith walks into a room at Providence Alaska Medical Center, ready with a stethoscope and a huge grin. She teases her patient, Dawn Dillard, saying that her spiky hair recently resembled a "faux hawk."

Dillard found out she had uterine cancer a year ago. Her oncologist gave her a year to live. The 57-year-old has beaten those odds, but now her kidneys are failing. After the laughs are over, Smith sits down on the edge of Dillard's bed, leans in, and starts talking about a procedure Dillard will have.

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Health
4:52 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Scientists Grow A Simple, Human Liver In A Petri Dish

"Liver buds" grow in petri dishes. The rudimentary organs are about 5 mm wide, or half the height of a classic Lego block.
Courtesy of Takanori Takebe/Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 9:48 am

Japanese scientists have cracked open a freaky new chapter in the sci-fi-meets-stem-cells era. A group in Yokohama reported it has grown a primitive liver in a petri dish using a person's skin cells.

The organ isn't complete. It's missing a few parts. And it will be years --maybe decades — before the technique reaches clinics.

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Health
8:03 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Coke Changed Caramel Color To Avoid Cancer Warning; Pepsi In Transition

Pepsi says it plans to reformulate all its colas sold in the U.S. by February 2014 to eliminate 4-MEI, a chemical listed as a carcinogen by the state of California.
PR Newswire

In 2011, the state of California created a problem for the soda industry.

The caramel color that Coke and Pepsi used to give colas that distinctive brown hue contained a chemical, 4-methylimidazole — 4-MEI — that is listed as a carcinogen by the state.

And in accordance with California's Proposition 65 law, the levels of 4-MEI found in sodas would have warranted a cancer warning label on every can sold in the state.

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