Health

Health
10:37 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Boston Blasts A Reminder Of 'The Fragility Of Life'

Jillian Blenis, 30, of Boston reacts while stopping at a makeshift memorial to marathon bombing victims Wednesday.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 5:33 pm

From the first explosion in Boston on Monday to the second, just 15 seconds elapsed. And in those 15 seconds, three people were mortally wounded, including an 8-year-old boy. The number of injured topped 100, and for those of us watching, it was a profound reminder of a reality we'd prefer to ignore.

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Health
3:04 am
Mon April 15, 2013

How Exercise And Other Activities Beat Back Dementia

An older man performs exercises in Mumbai, India. Research suggests that moderate physical exercise may be the best way to keep our brains healthy as we age.
Rajesh Kumar Singh AP

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 8:45 am

The numbers are pretty grim: More than half of all 85-year-olds suffer some form of dementia.

But here's the good news: Brain researchers say there are ways to boost brain power and stave off problems in memory and thinking.

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Health
10:19 am
Fri April 12, 2013

On Call In The Wild: Animals Play Doctor, Too

Is there a doctor in the house? Chimpanzees eat certain plants to rid themselves of parasites.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 9:01 am

What do animals do when they get sick? They can't go to the doctor's office. They can't go to the pharmacy. Heck, they can't even go online.

Nevertheless, a surprising number of wild creatures have figured out ways to use herbs, resins, and even alcohol and nicotine for health's sake.

Scientists review the ranks of animal pharmacists in the latest issue of Science.

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Health
3:08 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Seniors In The South Are More Apt To Be Prescribed Risky Drugs

Seniors in the Southeast were much more likely to be prescribed more than one high-risk medications in 2009.
Danya Qato and Amal Trivedi Alpert Medical School, Brown University

Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 2:53 pm

Health care types have spent years trying to make the point that seniors are being prescribed medications that are unnecessary and dangerous. But the message hasn't really sunk in.

More than 20 percent of people with Medicare Advantage coverage are taking at least one high-risk medication, a new study finds.

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Health
11:02 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Companies On The Move Look For Healthy Workers

A Denver man runs in the snow near Washington Park after a winter storm moved through town in late January.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 9:04 am

It may cost less to do business in places where there's what some people call a culture of health. And that's put Colorado, which has the lowest rates of adult obesity in the country, on the map for companies looking to relocate or expand.

Kelly Brough is making the most of it. She runs the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and she's creative about luring businesses to relocate to Colorado. She runs a "Colorado loves California" campaign, for instance.

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Health
5:15 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Genetically Modified Rat Is Promising Model For Alzheimer's

Scientists hope a new genetically modified rat will help them find Alzheimer's drugs that work on humans.
Ryumin Alexander ITAR-TASS/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 9, 2013 7:34 pm

A rat with some human genes could provide a better way to test Alzheimer's drugs.

The genetically modified rat is the first rodent model to exhibit the full range of brain changes found in Alzheimer's, researchers report in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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Shots - Health News
10:37 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Federal Judge Strikes Down Restrictions On Morning-After Pill

Plan B is one of two emergency contraceptives available in the U.S.
UPI/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 3:01 pm

A federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., has ruled that the morning-after pill for emergency contraception must be made available over the counter to girls 16 and under.

The ruling could end a more than decade-long battle over how easy or difficult it should be for teenage girls to obtain emergency contraception. The ruling would also make it easier for older women to obtain the drug because it wouldn't have to be kept behind drugstore counters anymore.

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Health
3:04 am
Wed April 3, 2013

In South Jersey, New Options For Primary Care Are Slow To Take Hold

Dr. Madhumathi Gunasekaran examines John Pike at the Northgate II clinic in Camden, N.J.
Emma Lee

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 8:19 am

Camden, N.J., has serious health problems, with too many people going to local emergency rooms unnecessarily. But progress is being made, albeit slowly.

John Pike, 53, is a Camden resident who used to be a frequent flier at the ER.

Pike has a smoker's cough, and when that cough or pain in his bad hip flared up, he'd go to the ER — maybe eight or nine times a year. But when he did, ER staffers didn't really remember him or his medical history.

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Health
7:08 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Obama's Plan To Explore The Brain: A 'Most Audacious' Project

A colored 3-D MRI scan of the brain's white matter pathways traces connections between cells in the cerebrum and the brainstem.
Tom Barrick, Chris Clark, SGHMS Science Source

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 2:35 pm

President Obama has announced an ambitious plan to explore the mysteries of the human brain.

In a speech Tuesday, Obama said he will ask Congress for $100 million in 2014 to "better understand how we think and how we learn and how we remember." Other goals include finding new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.

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Health
5:39 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Employers Try To Spur Healthy Behaviors With Health Plan Rewards

Chick-Fil-A employees Jennifer Cummins, right, and Joshua Figaretti work out in the gym during lunch at the company's corporate headquarters office in Hapeville, Ga. Increasingly employers are offering health plan incentives to encourage healthy behaviors from workers.
Ric Feld AP

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 6:24 pm

As employers try to nudge employees toward healthy behaviors, a growing number are taking aim at the medical expense accounts linked to the health plans they offer their workers.

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Health
12:09 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Sequencing Of HeLa Genome Revives Genetic Privacy Concerns

A micrograph of HeLa cells, derived from cervical cancer cells taken from Henrietta Lacks.
Tomasz Szul/Visuals Unlimited, Inc. Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 1:32 pm

Last week, scientists announced they had sequenced the full genome of the most widely used human cell line in biology, the "HeLa" cells, and published the results on the web. But the descendents of the woman from whom the cells originated were never consulted before the genetic information was made public, and thus never gave their consent to its release.

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Health
5:11 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Colorado Doctors Treating Gunshot Victims Differ On Gun Politics

Chris Colwell, director of emergency medicine at Denver Health, has treated victims from two of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. He says he's deeply disturbed by how easy it is to get guns.
Barry Gutierrez for NPR

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 3:29 pm

In Colorado, more people die from gunshots than car crashes. And that has a profound effect on the people on the front lines who treat gunshot victims.

Chris Colwell is an emergency room doctor in Denver, and says he sees gun violence victims on a weekly basis. When those cases are fatal, they are hard for him to forget.

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Health
4:01 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Tuberculosis Cases In The U.S. Keep Sliding

About a third of the world's population is thought to be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but only a small fraction of people get the disease.
NIAID_Flickr

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 12:02 pm

The U.S. is slowly but steadily closing in on tuberculosis.

For the first time since the government started tracking the disease in the 1950s, the number of annual TB cases has dropped below 10,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Health
9:48 am
Wed March 20, 2013

How Ideas To Cut ER Expenses Could Backfire

Wilfred Mobley pushes a patient to the radiology department at the University of Miami Hospital in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 1:58 pm

Cash-strapped states are coming up with an appealingly simple fix for soaring Medicaid costs: Don't pay for emergency room visits for people who aren't sick enough to be there.

There's a problem, though. It's almost impossible to figure out who's sick enough and who isn't at the moment they walk in the door, researchers say.

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Health
3:09 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Law Says Insurers Should Pay For Breast Pumps, But Which Ones?

Some insurers prefer to pay for manual breast pumps, but some working moms prefer more expensive, electric models.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 9:30 am

Pediatricians and health officials are eager to encourage breast-feeding as one of the best and most economical ways to protect a baby's health.

To that end, the federal Affordable Care Act requires that health insurance plans provide new mothers with equipment and services to help make those feedings easier.

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Health
3:22 am
Mon March 18, 2013

To Control Asthma, Start With The Home Instead Of The Child

Maria Texeira-Gomes holds a photo of her 5-year-old son, Matheo, who has struggled with asthma nearly all his life.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 10:36 am

Nothing sends more kids to the hospital than asthma.

So when doctors at Children's Hospital in Boston noticed they kept seeing an unusually high number of asthmatic kids from certain low-income neighborhoods, they wondered if they could do something about the environment these kids were living in.

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Shots - Health News
5:27 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Binge Drinking Sticks Wisconsin With A Hefty Tab

A bartender pours a beer at the Nomad Pub in Milwaukee, Wisc., in 2006.
Darren Hauck Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 9:47 am

Wisconsin has the highest number of binge drinkers in the nation — one in four adults. And binge drinking — defined as five or more alcoholic drinks in a short period of time for men, and four for women — cost the state $6.8 billion in 2012.

That breaks down to about $1,200 per person in higher taxes, more health care, and other costs, according to a new study from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

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Health Care
4:24 am
Wed March 13, 2013

'We Shouldn't Have To Live Like This'

Linwood Hearne, 64, and his wife, Evelyn, 47, stand near Interstate 83 in Baltimore where they have slept on and off for the past four years. According to the local nonprofit Health Care for the Homeless (HCH), a growing percentage of homeless patients nationally are 50 or older, with complex mental and physical conditions.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 12:05 pm

If aging is not for sissies, that's especially true if you're homeless. You can be on your feet for hours, or forced to sleep in the frigid cold or seriously ill with no place to go. But, increasingly, the nation's homeless population is getting older. By some estimates, more than half of single homeless adults are 47 or older.

And there's growing alarm about what this means — both for the aging homeless and for those who have to foot the bill. The cost to society, especially for health care and social services, could mushroom.

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Health
11:49 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Hardening Of Human Arteries Turns Out To Be A Very Old Story

A 3-D reconstruction of Mummy 38's CT scans shows calcification in her aorta and iliac arteries.
Courtesy of The Lancet

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 1:23 pm

Going "paleo" may not be the answer to heart disease, after all.

A few years ago, a team of researchers challenged our understanding of heart disease as a modern affliction. They found evidence of hardened arteries in the CT scans of ancient Egyptian mummies.

It was a little surprising since our predecessors didn't have fried chicken or cars.

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Health
2:59 am
Thu March 7, 2013

In A Grain Of Golden Rice, A World Of Controversy Over GMO Foods

Genetically modified to be enriched with beta-carotene, golden rice grains (left) are a deep yellow. At right, white rice grains.
Isagani Serrano International Rice Research Institute

Originally published on Fri March 8, 2013 10:44 am

There's a kind of rice growing in some test plots in the Philippines that's unlike any rice ever seen before. It's yellow. Its backers call it "golden rice." It's been genetically modified so that it contains beta-carotene, the source of vitamin A.

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