Health

Health
3:42 am
Thu February 28, 2013

What Happened To The Aid Meant To Rebuild Haiti?

Many homes that were rebuilt after the earthquake in 2010 are even more dangerous than the original ones. This three-story home was put up after the quake but is already slated for demolition to make way for an 18-unit housing project.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 4:39 pm

After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, governments and foundations from around the world pledged more than $9 billion to help get the country back on its feet.

Only a fraction of the money ever made it. And Haiti's President Michel Martelly says the funds aren't "showing results."

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Health
3:35 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Younger Women Have Rising Rate Of Advanced Breast Cancer, Study Says

Blend Images/Jon Feingersh Getty Images/iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 8:19 am

Researchers say more young American women are being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

It's a newly recognized trend. The numbers are small, but it's been going on for a generation. And the trend has accelerated in recent years.

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Health
3:04 am
Wed February 27, 2013

In Many Families, Exercise Is By Appointment Only

Yvonne Condes helps her son Alec get ready for baseball practice.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 1:18 pm

Most families know that their kids need to exercise. In a poll that NPR recently conducted with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, practically all of the parents surveyed said it's important for their kids to exercise. But about one-third of them said that can be difficult.

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Health
1:37 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

How The Food Industry Manipulates Taste Buds With 'Salt Sugar Fat'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 12:46 pm

Dealing Coke to customers called "heavy users." Selling to teens in an attempt to hook them for life. Scientifically tweaking ratios of salt, sugar and fat to optimize consumer bliss.

In his new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Moss goes inside the world of processed and packaged foods.

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Health
1:02 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Women To See Higher Prices For Long-Term Care Insurance

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 6:24 am

The country's largest long-term care insurer is making it tougher for people — especially women — to buy its policy.

Genworth Financial has announced that starting this spring it will begin taking gender into account when setting premiums on new policies. The reason: Women account for two out of every three dollars spent on claims, says Thomas Topinka, a company spokesman.

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Health
3:26 am
Mon February 25, 2013

How 'Crunch Time' Between School And Sleep Shapes Kids' Health

A new poll explores what happens in American households during the hours between school and bedtime.
Image courtesy of The Bishop family (left), The Benavides family (top right), NPR (center) and The Jacobs family (bottom right)

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 11:30 am

It's an important question for American families and the nation as a whole: Why do so many kids weigh too much?

There are recent hints the epidemic may be abating slightly. Still, one in every three American kids is overweight or obese.

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Health
3:26 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Pediatricians Urged To Treat Ear Infections More Cautiously

Giancario Gemignani-Hernandez, 2, of Pittsburgh has his ear examined by Dr. Alejandro Hoberman.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:40 pm

Hoping to reduce unnecessary antibiotics use, the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday issued new guidelines for how doctors should diagnose and treat ear infections.

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Health
5:05 am
Sun February 24, 2013

Ancient Chompers Were Healthier Than Ours

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 7:55 am

Prehistoric humans didn't have toothbrushes. They didn't have floss or toothpaste, and they certainly didn't have Listerine. Yet somehow, their mouths were a lot healthier than ours are today.

"Hunter-gatherers had really good teeth," says Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA. "[But] as soon as you get to farming populations, you see this massive change. Huge amounts of gum disease. And cavities start cropping up."

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Health
1:27 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Print Me An Ear: 3-D Printing Tackles Human Cartilage

Larry Bonassar shows off an ear that he and his colleagues at Cornell University built out of living cartilage cells with the help of a 3-D printer.
Lindsay France Cornell University Photography

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 7:34 am

An ear, unsurprisingly, is difficult to make from scratch. Ear cartilage is uniquely flexible and strong and has been impossible for scientists to reproduce with synthetic prostheses.

If a child is born without one, doctors typically carve a replacement ear out of rib cartilage, but it lacks the wonderfully firm yet springy qualities of the original ear. And it often doesn't look so good.

So why not print one?

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Health
5:47 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Morning-After Pills Don't Cause Abortion, Studies Say

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

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:51 pm

The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.

Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion?

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Health
3:06 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Money Replaces Willpower In Programs Promoting Weight Loss

Peggy Renzi (middle) talks with her teammates Erika Hersey (left) and Erica Webster. The three are part of a team of nurses in the Bowie Health Center emergency room in Bowie, Md., who are working together to lose weight.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 6:23 pm

Sticking to a diet is a challenge for many people, but starting next year, Americans may have an even bigger, financial incentive to keep their weight in check. The new health care law includes a provision that would allow employers with more than 50 employees to require overweight workers who do not exercise to pay more to cover their insurance costs.

Some employers, inspired in part by the success of shows like The Biggest Loser, are already designing weight-loss programs that use money to succeed where willpower has failed.

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Health
2:39 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Should We Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies?

Nita Farahany and Lee Silver argue against the motion "Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies" during an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate.
Samuel LaHoz

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 3:59 pm

What if, before your children were born, you could make sure they had the genes to be taller or smarter? Would that tempt you, or would you find it unnerving?

What if that genetic engineering would save a child from a rare disease?

As advancements in science bring these ideas closer to reality, a group of experts faced off two against two in an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on the proposition: "Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies."

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Health
1:27 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Don't Count On Extra Weight To Help You In Old Age

Extra weight is no defense against aging, says a demographer who argues that the apparent benefits from being overweight are a mirage.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 9:47 am

Wouldn't it be great, considering how many of us are overweight, if carrying a few extra pounds meant we'd live longer?

A recent analysis of nearly 100 published studies involving almost 3 million people found, surprisingly, that being a little overweight was associated with a lower risk of death than having a normal weight or being obese.

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Health
3:34 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Traces Of Anxiety Drugs May Make Fish Act Funny

Perch exposed to the anxiety drug oxazepam were more daring and ate more quickly than fish that lived in drug-free water.
Courtesy of Bent Christensen

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 5:40 pm

Many of the drugs we take aren't actually digested — they pass through our bodies, and down through the sewer pipes. Traces of those drugs end up in the bodies of fish and other wildlife. Nobody's sure what effect they have.

Now, a paper being published in Science magazine finds that drugs for anxiety drugs — even at these very low levels — can affect the behavior of fish.

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Health
11:42 am
Thu February 14, 2013

More Women Turn To Morning-After Pill

The Plan B pill, one version of the morning-after pill, is available without a prescription, except for women 17 and younger.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 11:56 am

The number of women who have used emergency contraceptive pills has increased dramatically in the past decade, according to the latest government data.

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Health
2:50 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Fear Of Cantaloupes and Crumpets? A 'Phobia' Rises From The Web

Seeds of fear? To most of us, cantaloupe and horn melon look like a healthy breakfast or snack. But the clusters of seeds can evoke anxiety, nervousness and even nausea for some trypophobes.
Daniel M. N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 1:40 pm

Four years ago, my husband revealed one of his more peculiar qualities: He's freaked out by the sight of sliced cantaloupe.

The melon seeds, all clustered together, make his skin itch and his stomach churn. Then he gets obsessed and can't stop talking about it.

A bit concerned by his behavior, I started researching it on the Web. Boy, was I in for a treat. My husband was not alone.

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Health
1:54 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

SARS-Like Virus Spreads From One Person To Another

Virologists discovered the new coronavirus after it killed a Saudi Arabian man last summer.
Elizabeth R. Fischer Rocky Mountain Labs/NIAID/NIH

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 5:19 pm

A mysterious illness with a striking resemblance to the one caused by the SARS virus emerged in the Middle East last year.

But the new virus behind the latest cases didn't seem to be contagious – until now.

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Health
11:34 am
Wed February 13, 2013

World's Most Popular Painkiller Raises Heart Attack Risk

The painkiller diclofenac is sold under several brand names in the U.S. and abroad, including Voltaren.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 9:35 am

The painkiller diclofenac isn't very popular in the U.S., but it's by far the most widely used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID, in the world.

A slew of studies, though, show diclofenac — sold under the brand names Voltaren, Cambia, Cataflam and Zipsor — is just as likely to cause a heart attack as the discredited painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib), which was pulled from the U.S. market in 2004.

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Health
4:31 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Folic Acid For Pregnant Mothers Cuts Kids' Autism Risk

Despite public health campaigns urging women in the U.S. to take folic acid, many are still not taking the supplements when they become pregnant.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 1:19 pm

A common vitamin supplement appears to dramatically reduce a woman's risk of having a child with autism.

A study of more than 85,000 women in Norway found that those who started taking folic acid before getting pregnant were about 40 percent less likely to have a child who developed the disorder, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Health
3:38 am
Mon February 11, 2013

How Parents Can Learn To Tame A Testy Teenager

Brad McDonald and his 14-year-old daughter, Madalyn, are working to understand each other during her teenage years.
Courtesy of Brad McDonald

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 11:41 am

If you're the parent of a teenager, this may sound familiar: "Leave me alone! Get out of my face!" Maybe you've had a door slammed on you. And maybe you feel like all of your interactions are arguments.

Kim Abraham, a therapist in private practice in Michigan, specializes in helping teens and parents cope with anger. She also contributes regularly to the online newsletter Empowering Parents. Abraham says, for starters, don't take it personally.

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