Health

Shots - Health Blog
3:07 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

You Think Beauty Is Skin Deep? You're Not A Chiropractor

Contestants Marianne Baba (left), Lois Conway and Ruth Swenson stand next to plates of their X-Rays during a chiropractor-judged beauty contest.
Wallace Kirkland Time

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 12:51 pm

When the nation's chiropractors descended on Chicago for a weeklong convention in May 1956, they threw a beauty contest.

The judges crowned Lois Conway, 18, Miss Correct Posture. Second place went to Marianne Caba, 16, according to an account in the Chicago Tribune. Ruth Swenson, 26, came in third.

But this was no ordinary pageant.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:06 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Lab Findings Support Provocative Theory On Cancer 'Enemy' Within

The white arrows in these two tumor samples point to a subset of tumor cells that are in a resting state.
Nature

Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 5:54 pm

Scientists reported new evidence Wednesday that supports a provocative theory about cancer.

Three separate teams of scientists said they had, for the first time, shown that so-called cancer stem cells can be found naturally in brain tumors and early forms of skin and colon cancer.

Evidence has been mounting in recent years for the existence of these cells, which would be especially insidious. They are believed to resist standard chemotherapy and radiation and fuel the growth of tumors and relapses.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:57 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Magnets May Pull Kids With Sunken Chests Out Of Operating Room

A cross-sectional X-ray shows what's called a "sunken chest." The bright circle near the bottom is the spine; the gray blob on the right is the heart.
Living LLC Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 8:24 am

You may not have heard of pectus excavatum — or "sunken chest," as it's commonly known — but there's a good chance you know someone who was born with it.

It's the most common deformity of the chest wall, affecting roughly one in 500 people — boys much more often than girls. And while sunken chest can be corrected with surgery, the procedure is invasive and very painful. Many families won't do it.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:13 am
Fri July 27, 2012

GOP Says Coverage For The Uninsured Is No Longer The Priority

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says covering the uninsured shouldn't be Republicans' top health priority.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 11:44 am

For decades, the primary goal of those who would fix the U.S. health system has been to help people without insurance get coverage. Now, it seems, all that may be changing. At least some top Republicans are trying to steer the health debate away from the problem of the uninsured.

The shift in emphasis is a subtle one, but it's noticeable.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:50 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Two More Nearing AIDS 'Cure' After Bone Marrow Transplants, Doctors Say

Timothy Ray Brown, shown in May 2011 with his dog Jack in San Francisco, is the only man ever known to have been fully cured from AIDS. Brown is known as the "Berlin patient" because he had a bone marrow transplant in a German hospital five years ago.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 1:28 pm

The so-called Berlin patient is famously the only person in the world who has been cured of HIV. But he may soon have company.

Two people in Boston also seem to be free of HIV after undergoing bone marrow transplants for cancer, just as the Berlin patient did five years ago. The crucial difference is that the Boston patients have not yet stopped taking anti-HIV drugs — although that may happen in the coming months.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:34 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Amid An AIDS Epidemic, South Africa Battles Another Foe: Tuberculosis

A mobile clinic set up to test students for HIV is parked near Madwaleni High School in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on March 8, 2011. Parts of the South African province have HIV rates that are more than twice the national average.
Stephane de Sakutin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 6:24 pm

The province of KwaZulu-Natal has emerged as the epicenter of South Africa's HIV epidemic. South Africa already has more people infected with HIV than any other country in the world, but parts of KwaZulu-Natal have HIV rates that are more than twice the national average.

Now in addition to HIV and AIDS, the province is also dealing with a major tuberculosis epidemic.

In the northeastern part of KwaZulu-Natal, dusty dirt tracks wind through pastures and fields of sugar cane. The hillsides are dotted with small huts made of cinder blocks and field stones.

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Health
4:32 pm
Sat July 21, 2012

Say 'Ahhh': A Simpler Way To Detect Parkinson's

Mathematician Max Little has come up with an algorithm that can detect Parkinson's just using a person's voice.
Courtesy of Max Little

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 8:45 pm

There's currently no cure for Parkinson's, a debilitating neurological disease. There's also no blood test that can detect it, meaning early intervention is almost impossible.

But soon there might be a shockingly easy way to screen for Parkinson's disease. It would be as simple as picking up the telephone and saying "ahhh."

"There's some evidence, admittedly weak, that voice disturbances may well be one of the first or early indicator of the disease," mathematician Max Little tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.

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Human Tissue Donation
2:43 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Am I A Tissue Donor, Too?

Organ and tissue donation forms vary from state to state. Some are very general, while others allow people to choose or restrict what they want to donate.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:20 pm

Part 3 in a four-part series

Maybe you've agreed to be an organ donor. There might be something on your driver's license — a red heart, a pink dot or the word "Donor" — to show it. That also means you've very likely agreed — even if you don't realize it — to donate more than just your organs.

I know that I'm an organ donor. I signed up years ago, when I renewed my driver's license. But I had no idea that I'd also signed up to donate my tissue. That is, until Laura Siminoff, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's medical school, explained it to me.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:39 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

FDA Approves First Drug To Prevent HIV Infection

Dr. Lisa Sterman holds up a Truvada pill at her office in San Francisco in May. Even before the Food and Drug Administration's approval, Sterman had prescribed Truvada for about a dozen patients at high risk for developing AIDS.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 2:57 pm

The Food and Drug Administration has given the first OK for a drug to prevent HIV infection.

The daily pill Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences, combines two medicines that inhibit the reproduction of HIV. It's been a mainstay in the treatment of HIV/AIDS for years, and as of today is an approved option for reducing the risk of HIV infection for people at high risk.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:52 pm
Sun July 15, 2012

Thriving Gut Bacteria Linked To Good Health

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is important for gut health, especially in aging adults.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:19 am

There's no magic elixir for healthy aging, but here's one more thing to add to the list: good gut health.

A study published in the latest issue of Nature finds diet may be key to promoting diverse communities of beneficial bacteria in the guts of older people.

To evaluate this, researchers analyzed the microbiota, or gut bacteria, of 178 older folks, mostly in their 70s and 80s.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:09 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Staph Infections Tied To Misuse Of Drug Vials

Misuse of a medical vials can spread infections.
Sean Locke iStockphoto.com

Ten people were hospitalized and one was found dead after contracting staph infections from injections received at health clinics in Delaware and Arizona in early spring, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The infection clusters were described in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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The Salt
8:41 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Nightly Glass Of Wine May Protect Boomer Women's Bones

Cheers! Moderate drinking might slow age-related bone loss in women.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 10:00 am

It's well-known that exercise is good for our bones, even as we age, but how about that nightly glass of wine?

A new study of women in their 50s and early 60s finds that moderate alcohol consumption may help prevent bone loss. The women in the study consumed about 1 1/2 drinks per day.

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The Two-Way
4:04 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

House Votes To Repeal Health Care Law

With a vote of 244 to 185, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives just voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature domestic legislation known colloquially as "Obamacare."

Of course, the vote doesn't matter, because the measure has a very slim chance of being adopted by the Senate.

The AP reports that this is the "33rd time in 18 months that the tea party-infused GOP majority has tried to scrap, defund or scale back the law since grabbing the majority."

The AP adds:

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Shots - Health Blog
3:57 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Firefighters Prevail In Fight for Health Insurance

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 5:33 pm

It all started around a kitchen table in Custer, South Dakota. John Lauer, a 27-year-old seasonal firefighter for an elite U.S.

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Planet Money
3:49 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Episode 383: What The Health Care Decision Means For Peoples' Lives

Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Mon July 2, 2012 10:19 am

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the health-care law will change peoples' lives. On today's show, we talk to a few of those people.

When the ruling came down, we were visiting people who work at a health insurance agency in Connecticut. The Court's ruling means the company needs to find a new line of business or close down altogether. (Here's more on our visit.)

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Opinion
3:44 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

The Nation: The One Word That Saved Health Care

Tea Party protesters demonstrate against the Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Healthcare Act outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on June 28.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 3, 2012 8:41 am

Ilyse Hogue is a columnist for The Nation.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:05 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Why You Should Keep Medicines Out Of Summer Heat

When the outside temperature feels like a fever, your medicines are at risk.
iStockphoto.com

As record-breaking temperatures sweep the nation, it's hard to keep anything cool, especially if the power goes out.

And, try as you might, it's hard to find health products — from prescription drugs to over-the-counter pain relievers — that don't caution against storage in high temperatures.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:43 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Doctors Hesitant To Deal With Patients' Weight Problems

This happens less often than you might think.
iStockphoto.com

In 2010, there were 78 million adults classified as obese in the United States, and roughly 164,000 primary care doctors to take care of them.

It doesn't take a math wizard to figure out that doctors who handle routine care, although they may well want to help their patients lose weight, are unlikely to have the time to provide the kind of intensive coaching to that would help their patients make a lasting change.

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The Salt
3:02 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Confusion At The Yogurt Aisle? Time for Probiotics 101

Packages of Activa yogurt, which contain probiotics, on a grocery shelf in Chicago.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 8:51 am

Researchers are studying the ability of beneficial micro-organisms - or probiotics - to treat a range of conditions from eczema to inflammatory bowel disease. And the idea that "good" bacteria are healthy for us is gaining traction.

But the science is tricky.

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