Health

Health
3:48 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Fake Malaria Drugs Fuel Rise Of Drug-Resistant Disease

In rural areas of Myanmar, villagers can buy inexpensive packets of drugs, called Ya Chut, when they have malaria. But these local remedies often don't contain adequate amounts of malaria medicines.
Ben de la Cruz NPR

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

Counterfeit drugs are a growing scourge around the world. They're generating millions of dollars in revenue for organized crime and fueling the rise of drug-resistant parasites.

Anti-malarials are among the most popular drugs to fake. But these faux pharmaceuticals are particularly dangerous because malaria can kill a person in a matter of days.

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Health
4:27 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Easing Of Marijuana Laws Complicates Parents' Advice To Kids

People at a Denver party early this month celebrate the recognition of an amendment to the Colorado constitution legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
Brennan Linsley AP

Parents drill certain warnings into their children: don't drink, don't smoke and don't do drugs. But those conversations have gotten tougher now that two states, Colorado and Washington, have decriminalized some recreational marijuana use.

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Health
1:20 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Dangers of 'Whoonga': Abuse Of AIDS Drugs Stokes Resistance

A whoonga smoker near Durban, South Africa, shows a crushed AIDS pill in the palm of his hand before mixing the drug with marijuana.
John Robinson AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 4:01 pm

Opportunists who market street drugs may be undermining the global struggle against AIDS.

In South Africa, two mainstay HIV drugs have found their way into recreational use. That may help explain why some HIV patients are resistant to these front-line medicines even if they've never been in treatment before.

It can happen in two ways.

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Health
12:34 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

A View From The Ground: Thailand Confronts Drug-Resistant Malaria

Dr. Aun Pyae Phyo examines a baby at the Whampa malaria clinic on the Thailand-Myanmar border.
Ben de la Cruz NPR

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:16 pm

Global efforts to combat malaria are under threat from new strains of drug-resistant malaria, which are cropping up in Southeast Asia.

Over the last decade, the number of malaria deaths around the world has dropped sharply, from just over 1 million in 2000 to roughly 600,000 last year.

Much of that progress is due to the widespread use of drugs containing artemisinin. The new malaria drugs quickly kill the parasite.

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Health
10:59 am
Tue December 18, 2012

In France, Free Birth Control For Girls At Age 15

An employee tidies boxes of medicines displayed in a pharmacy in the city of Caen in western France last month. Beginning in 2013, girls between the ages of 15 and 18 will be able to get birth control free of charge, and without parental notification.
Charly Triballeau AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:16 pm

Beginning next year, young women in France between the ages of 15 and 18 will have access to birth control free of charge, and without parental notification. The French government says the new measure is intended to reduce pregnancies in this age group that result from a mixture of ignorance, taboo and lack of access to contraception.

One place where information is available on birth control, abortion and sexual abuse is a family planning clinic in a gritty neighborhood in the east of Paris.

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Health
3:18 am
Tue December 18, 2012

NIH Revisits Debate On Controversial Bird Flu Research

A prefectural officer carries a chicken on a poultry farm on Oct. 15 on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, where chickens suspected of being infected with bird flu were found.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 8:14 am

On Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health in Maryland is holding a second day of talks about whether and how to continue funding some controversial scientific experiments.

Back in January, virologists agreed to temporarily stop research that was creating new forms of bird flu because critics argued that the work was too dangerous. NIH officials are now seeking input from scientists and the public about how to proceed.

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Health
3:36 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Experts Argue Against Proposed Ban On Vaccine Preservative

A boy in Lima, Peru, receives a hepatitis B vaccine during an immunization drive in 2008. The United Nations is considering a ban on the preservative thimerosal, which is often used in hepatitis B and other vaccines in developing countries.
Martin Mejia AP

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 8:55 am

An old complaint about the safety of childhood vaccines is finding new life at the United Nations.

The U.N. Environment Program is considering a ban on thimerosal, a vaccine preservative that is widely used in developing countries. The program expects to make a decision sometime after a final meeting on the issue in January.

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Health
5:38 pm
Sat December 15, 2012

A Nation's Mourning: How We Cope

Shop owners Tamara Doherty (left) and Jackie Gaudet meet outside their stores for the first time since becoming neighbors, just down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 9:33 am

Many of us following the news out of Newtown, Conn., do not have a personal relationship with those murdered Friday. Some of us may not have children whom we need to guide as they see images from the scene.

Yet even without these connections, many people are looking for ways to process their grief and mourn the victims.

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Health
3:59 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Most States Punt Health Exchanges To The Feds

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks to reporters after announcing in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday that that he had decided against creating a state-run health insurance exchange. The Republican governor said he will leave it to the federal government to run the marketplace.
Erik Schelzig ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:48 pm

Few people expected that the Obama administration would be running health exchanges in more than 30 states when the federal health law was signed two years ago.

But with the deadline for states to decide just hours away, only 18 states and the District of Columbia have proposed operating their own insurance marketplaces. The exchanges are a key tool under the law to expand health coverage to an estimated 23 million people over the next four years.

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Health
10:03 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

For Man With Amnesia, Love Repeats Itself

Jeff Ingram, 46, suffers from a rare condition that wipes his memory. Whenever he has an attack, his wife, Penny, fears he won't regain his love for her.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 9:25 am

Forty-six-year-old Jeff Ingram has a rare type of amnesia called dissociative fugue. When he has an attack, his memory is wiped clean and he doesn't remember who he is or where he's from.

To chronicle their memories in case he forgets again, Jeff and his wife, Penny, came to StoryCorps in Olympia, Wash.

"You and I were talking on the phone," Penny recalls. "You said, 'Well, I have a medical condition that I probably should share with you.' "

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Health
2:33 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

We're Living Longer, But Not All That Healthier

Average life expectancy around the world has ticked up over the past twenty years. Here it's shown for men in 2009. The extremes are in dark green and dark red, which represent 78 to 82 years old and less than 66 years old, respectively.
Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 4:52 pm

People around the world are living longer than they did two decades ago, but many people aren't very healthy during those extra years.

That's a key finding from a large-scale study estimating what makes people sick worldwide.

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Health
12:18 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Caution: Walking Under The Influence Of Mobile Devices

He better not be talking to his mom.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:50 pm

Here's an experiment you can try. But please be the scientist and not the test subject.

Watch people cross the street and note whether they're yakking on the phone, texting or bopping to tunes while they do it. If you're really ambitious, time how long it takes them to cross.

This past summer researchers from the University of Washington did it. They watched more than 1,100 pedestrians at the 20 intersections in Seattle that racked up the most pedestrian injuries over the last three years.

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Health
9:53 am
Wed December 12, 2012

A Guarded Thumbs Up For Sugar To Ease Tots' Pain From Shots

Does a little sugar water before shots really help ease a babies' pain? If only they could tell us.
Dmitry Naumov iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 4:21 pm

Nobody likes to see a baby in pain. But it's been surprisingly hard for doctors to figure out how to make shots and other medical procedures hurt less.

The solution might be as simple as giving a baby a bit of sugar water before the shot. Or it might not be so simple at all.

How do we know when a baby's hurting? A parent might be able to tell the difference between a cry of pain, the wet diaper cry, and the boy I'm tired cry. Doctors and nurses lack that intimate knowledge.

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Health
3:57 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Perfection Is Skin Deep: Everyone Has Flawed Genes

When researchers looked at the genetic sequences of 179 individuals, they found far more defects in the patterns of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs than they expected.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:19 pm

We all know that nobody's perfect. But now scientists have documented that fact on a genetic level.

Researchers discovered that normal, healthy people are walking around with a surprisingly large number of mutations in their genes.

It's been well known that everyone has flaws in their DNA, though, for the most part, the defects are harmless. It's been less clear, however, just how many mistakes are lurking in someone's genes.

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Health
2:42 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Genome Sequencing For Babies Brings Knowledge And Conflicts

By sequencing a newborn's genome, doctors could screen for more genetic conditions. But parents could be confronted with confusing or ambiguous data about their baby's health.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 11:21 am

When Christine Rowan gave birth prematurely in August, her new baby was having problems breathing. So Rowan brought her daughter, Zoe, to the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., for genetic testing.

"It's funny because when we first had the testing done, we didn't even really think about the fact the testing was going to lay out all of her DNA," says Rowan, 32, who lives in Northern Virginia.

But while Rowan and her husband were waiting for the results, questions started popping into their heads.

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Health
4:58 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

A Risky Mix: Grapefruit And Quite A Few Drugs

Grapefruit can make for a tasty addition to breakfast. But it can also interfere with some medications.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 3:44 pm

Grapefruit sprinkled with a little sugar has just the right amount of kick for a morning meal. But when the bitter fruit is mixed with medication, things can get a bit tricky.

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Health
4:49 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Give And Take: How The Rule Of Reciprocation Binds Us

A Hare Krishna distributes food gifts from a chariot during a festival in London in 2011. The religious group began distributing books, flowers and gifts to strangers in the 1970s, drawing on the rule of reciprocation to raise money.
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 9:44 am

In 1974, Phillip Kunz and his family got a record number of Christmas cards. In the weeks before Christmas they came daily, sometimes by the dozen. Kunz still has them in his home, collected in an old photo album.

"Dear Phil, Joyce and family," a typical card reads, "we received your holiday greeting with much joy and enthusiasm ... Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's. Love Lou, Bev and the children."

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Health
4:45 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Making Sense Of Colors And Shapes In The Toilet

A physician examines a patient's urine flask in this 17th century print by Isaac Sarrabat.
CollectionImages from the History of Medicine (NLM)

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:30 pm

If you haven't heard, yesterday was World Toilet Day, and its sponsors, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and the World Toilet Organization, suggest you take a moment to consider the profound luxury of good sanitation. A mind-boggling 2.6 billion people on Earth don't have toilets, and WSSCC and WTO are among the parties set on bringing that number down.

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Health
3:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Can You Move It And Work It On A Treadmill Desk?

Employees at at Salo, a Minneapolis-based financial consulting firm, walk while working on treadmill desks. The firm offers treadmill desks for employee use and encourages an active workplace environment.
Salo LLC

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:38 am

As we've reported, there's a backlash brewing to sedentary office life as more people realize how sitting all day can do a body wrong.

I work at home and often sit in front of my computer doing research and writing. So I thought I'd give a treadmill desk a try.

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Health
9:48 am
Wed November 14, 2012

I, Robot: Paraplegics Get An Assist

Brian Shaffer tests an exoskeleton developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University at a rehabilitation center in Franklin, Tenn. The exoskeleton locks around the legs and feet. To stand up, a paralyzed person simply leans forward.
Joe Howell Vanderbilt University

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 11:41 am

A robotic suit that gives the wearer superhuman powers sounds like the stuff of science fiction. But technology like that is making the leap from fantasy to reality.

Though much of the gear is still experimental, the equipment is giving some paraplegics a chance to walk again.

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