Health

Health
6:03 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

The Human Voice May Not Spark Pleasure In Children With Autism

Instructional assistant Jessica Reeder touches her nose to get Jacob Day, 3, who has autism, to focus his attention on her during a therapy session in April 2007.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 11:31 am

The human voice appears to trigger pleasure circuits in the brains of typical kids, but not children with autism, a Stanford University team reports. The finding could explain why many children with autism seem indifferent to spoken words.

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Health
2:59 am
Mon June 17, 2013

To Find Out How The Health Law Affects You, Ask The President

President Obama encourages people to sign up for health insurance exchanges in San Jose, Calif., on June 6.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 1:13 pm

Call it the Affordable Care Act, call it Obamacare, call it whatever you want — it's coming. And soon. In less than four months people without health insurance will be able to start signing up for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

A lot has been said about the law, most of it not that understandable. So starting now, and continuing occasionally through the summer and fall, we're going to try to fix that.

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Health
12:53 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Prevention Pill Cuts HIV Risk For Injecting Drug Users

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says doctors should prescribe Truvada, a once-a-day pill for HIV, to help prevent infections in IV drug users.
Jeff Chiu AP

A once-a-day pill has been proven to lower the risk of getting HIV among needle-using drug addicts, just as it does among heterosexual couples and men who have sex with men.

Among 2,400 injecting drug users in Bangkok, those assigned to take a daily dose of an antiviral drug Viread, or tenofovir generically, had half the risk of getting HIV over a four-year period as those who took a placebo pill. Among those who took tenofovir faithfully, there were 74 percent fewer infections.

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Health
3:48 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Rises In Great Britain

A public health poster from 1952 encourages Americans to get checked for sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhea is the second-most-common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., with more than 300,000 cases reported in 2011.
Images from the History of Medicine

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 12:31 pm

Forms of gonorrhea that don't respond to the last line of antibiotics have rapidly spread in Great Britain, expanding the reach of drug-resistant disease.

The number of gonorrhea cases with decreased sensitivity to the front-line drug cefixime increased by nearly six times from 2004 to 2011 in England and Wales, a team from the U.K.'s Health Protection Agency reported Tuesday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Health
4:31 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Triple Threat: Middle East Respiratory Virus And 2 Bird Flus

Men outside a hospital in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, wear surgical masks as a precaution against infection with a coronavirus.
Stringer Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:11 am

The World Health Organization is warning health care workers everywhere to suspect a disease called Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, whenever they see a case of unexplained pneumonia.

Monday's warning comes at the end of a six-day WHO investigation in Saudi Arabia, where 40 of the 55 cases of the respiratory disease have occurred. Sixty percent of those people with known infections died.

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Health
2:56 am
Mon June 10, 2013

African-Americans Remain Hardest Hit By Medical Bills

Mike Jackson has diabetes and high blood pressure. His eye was damaged after he cut back on insulin because he couldn't afford it.
Bryan Terry for NPR

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:37 am

For many years, high medical bills have been a leading cause of financial distress and bankruptcy in America. That pressure may be easing ever so slightly, according to a survey released earlier this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But 1 in 5 Americans still face hardships due to medical costs — and African-Americans continue to be the hardest hit.

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Health
2:55 am
Mon June 10, 2013

With Epilepsy Treatment, The Goal Is To Keep Kids Seizure-Free

Barton Holmes, 2, sits with his father, Kevin Holmes, and his mother, Catherine McEaddy Holmes, during an appointment at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 8:48 am

Barton Holmes was 16 months old when he had his first seizure. "He was convulsing and his eyes were rolling in the back of his head," his mother, Catherine McEaddy Holmes, says. "His lips were blue. I thought he was dying."

The seizure ended in less than a minute. And by the time an ambulance arrived, Barton was back to his old self. Even so, doctors at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where the family lives, kept him overnight while they tried, without success, to figure out what had caused the seizure.

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Health
10:48 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Girl's Need Breathes Life Into Debate Over Organ Allocation

Sarah Murnaghan, on May 30, as she and her parents marked the 100th day of her stay in Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Murnaghan family AP

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:38 pm

The case of a Pennsylvania girl who is dying from cystic fibrosis has sparked an emotional debate over how the nation allocates lungs for transplantation.

Ten-year-old Sarah Murnaghan is in intensive care at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia awaiting a lung transplant. Under the current rules, lungs from adults are offered to other adults and adolescents before being offered to children younger than 12.

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Health
5:03 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Court Says Some Morning-After Pills Must Be Available OTC Now

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 6:00 pm

A federal appeals court has dealt the Obama administration yet another blow in its quest to keep at least some age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraceptive pills.

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Health
3:56 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Can Going Vegetarian Help You Live Longer? Maybe

PETA members hold placards on the street in Johannesburg.
Themba Hadebe AP

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 10:18 am

If you're looking for the definitive study that might persuade meat lovers to become vegetarians, this may not be it.

New research published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that vegetarian diets are linked to a slightly lower risk of early death — about 12 percent lower over a period of about six years of follow-up. But the link to longevity was more significant in men compared with women.

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Health
2:19 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Obama Administration Seeks To Ease Approvals For Antibiotics

These staph bacteria are resistant to vancomycin, an antibiotic that is one of the last lines of defense.
Janice Haney Carr CDC

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 5:15 pm

Every day in hospitals all over America, thousands of patients die of infections that used to be curable. But the antibiotics used to treat them aren't working anymore.

It's called drug resistance, and it's largely a consequence of antibiotics overuse. The more germs are exposed to antibiotics, the faster they mutate to evade being vanquished.

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Health
6:11 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Miss. Turns To 'Cord Blood' To Track Down Statutory Rapists

Gov. Phil Bryant, at the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Summit in Jackson, Miss., in 2012, supports a controversial effort to identify men who impregnate teen girls.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 8:43 am

Mississippi lawmakers have embarked on a controversial campaign to discourage older men from having sex with teenagers.

Starting in July, doctors and midwives in the state will be required by law to collect samples of umbilical cord blood from babies born to some girls under the age of 16. Officials will analyze the samples and try to identify the fathers through matches in the state's DNA database.

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Health
3:34 am
Mon June 3, 2013

A Boston Family's Struggle With TB Reveals A Stubborn Foe

Michelle Williams (center) and two daughters visit the grave of her mother, Judy Williams, at Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park, Mass., on May 11. Judy died in 2011.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 9:10 am

Thanks to gold-standard tuberculosis treatment and prevention programs, cases of TB in the United States have declined every year for the past two decades — to the lowest level ever.

But TB's course through the Williams family in Boston shows that no nation can afford to relax its efforts to find, treat and prevent TB. It's just too sneaky and stubborn an adversary.

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Health
5:56 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

Survivor Of Boston Marathon Bombings Has Long Road Ahead

Jen Regan strokes the head of her fiancée, Marc Fucarile, as he sleeps in his hospital bed at Massachusetts General Hospital. Fucarile was injured in the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and had to have his right leg amputated.
Bill Greene Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:41 am

Marc Fucarile reached a huge milestone this week: He was one of the last two Boston Marathon bombing survivors to be released from the hospital.

Fucarile spent 45 days in Massachusetts General Hospital, and he hopes someday to get back to work with a roofing company.

But first he will have to go through rehab. He lost his right leg, and his left leg was badly hurt. He also suffered head injuries.

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Health
5:58 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

'Soda Mouth' Can Look A Lot Like 'Meth Mouth'

A dental researcher says he's concerned that excessive soda consumption is leading to severe erosion of teeth.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 6:23 pm

Drink enough soda and your teeth could deteriorate so much that they look like the teeth of a methamphetamine or crack addict.

That's one of the messages of a case study published in a recent issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.

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Health
6:33 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Tea Party Favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann Leaving Congress

She's saying goodbye, for now at least: Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has announced she won't seek re-election in 2014. (File photo from Jan. 4, 2012, when she left the Republican presidential race.)
Jim Young Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 10:53 am

Rep. Michele Bachmann, a hero to many conservatives and tea party advocates who saw her fortunes rise and fall quickly in the 2012 race for the GOP presidential nomination, announced early Wednesday that she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress.

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Health
2:40 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Oh, This Is Fattening? Teens Ignore Fast Food Calorie Counts

Teen boys are far less likely than girls to check out calorie counts before biting into that burger, researchers say.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 10:28 am

"Make that a large fry and Coke!"

This is what came out of my 13-year-old son's mouth this weekend on the way back from a camping trip.

After I'd ordered him a kids' meal at the drive-thru, he interjected to change the order. (I let it go, this time, since he's lean and we don't frequently eat fast food.)

But think of those extra calories. Or not.

Apparently, not too many boys his age are inclined to check out calorie counts (or other calorie information) when they eat out.

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Health
3:49 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Why Healthful Vending Machines Might Hurt The Blind

Vending machines at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, Ark., were stocked with more healthful snacks in 2006.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 10:52 am

Look in any vending machine, and you can find plenty of snacks with dubious nutritional profiles. Take the ones in the state Capitol in Salem, Ore.

"We've got a lot of Cheetos and Pop-Tarts and candy bars and cookies and things like that," says state Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer.

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Health
3:45 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Hearing Aids: A Luxury Good For Many Seniors

Basic hearing aids cost an average of $1,500 per ear.
IStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 12:07 pm

More than 30 million Americans experience significant hearing loss, but only a third of them get hearing aids.

There are a lot of reasons why someone who needs a hearing aid won't get one: Some think their hearing loss is not that bad, others are too embarrassed to use them, and many people say they are just not worth the price.

Hearing aids cost an average of $1,500 per ear for a basic model, and unlike most technology, their price has not dropped over time.

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Health
11:04 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Antidepressant May Protect The Heart Against Mental Stress

Researchers tested the antidepressant Lexapro, or escitalopram generically, to see if it would protect the heart against mental stress.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 2:12 pm

Stress can be a bummer for your heart. And, it seems, antidepressants may help some people with heart disease better weather that stress.

That's the intriguing suggestion from a study that tested how people with heart disease reacted when faced with challenging mental and social tests.

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