Health

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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Health
3:33 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Why Even Radiologists Can Miss A Gorilla Hiding In Plain Sight

Notice anything unusual about this lung scan? Harvard researchers found that 83 percent of radiologists didn't notice the gorilla in the top right portion of this image.
Trafton Drew and Jeremy Wolfe

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 9:37 am

This story begins with a group of people who are expert at looking: the professional searchers known as radiologists.

"If you watch radiologists do what they do, [you're] absolutely convinced that they are like superhuman," says Trafton Drew, an attention researcher at Harvard Medical School.

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Health
2:29 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Botulism From 'Pruno' Hits Arizona Prison

If you must make pruno, avoid potatoes.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 5:10 pm

Well, it has happened again. Twice.

Inmates at a maximum security prison in Arizona were stricken with botulism after consuming homemade hooch that's called "pruno" inside the big house.

Eight inmates wound up in the hospital in November after drinking the stuff. In August, four prisoners at the same facility were hospitalized.

The symptoms of botulism include blurred vision, dry mouth and difficulty swallowing and breathing.

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Health
10:06 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Despite Rocky Economy, Money For Global Health Remains Solid

After going through a huge growth spurt, money for global health has plateaued recently. The U.S. government remains the biggest donor, but private charities like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have boosted donations.
Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Given the world's economic troubles, you'd probably expect money to fight HIV and other illnesses around the world to have plummeted in the past few years.

But foreign aid for global health held steady in 2011 and 2012, hovering right around $28 billion a year, a report published Wednesday finds.

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Health
3:31 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Shortage Of Brain Tissue Hinders Autism Research

Jonathan Mitchell is autistic and wants to donate his brain to science when he dies.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 8:39 am

Research on autism is being hobbled by a shortage of brain tissue.

The brain tissue comes from people with autism who have died, and it has allowed researchers to make key discoveries about how the disorder affects brain development.

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Health
5:45 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Carrot Juice Instead of Coke? USDA Proposes New School Snack Rules

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposed new rules for school snacks promote healthier options, like the fruits and vegetables served in this Palo Alto, Calif., cafeteria.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 10:24 am

The Department of Agriculture has proposed a new "Smart Snacks in School" rule that aims to promote more healthful options in school vending machines, snack bars and cafeterias across the country.

The USDA's updated regulations, which are open to public comment for 60 days, will set nutrition standards and calorie limits for snack foods that are sold in schools.

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Health
9:05 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Lesson Learned: A Curb On Drugmakers' Gifts To Medical Students

A package of microwave popcorn promoting Johnson & Johnson's antipsychotic drug Invega back in 2008 would have been a no-no at many medical schools.
Nurse Ratched's Place

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 7:57 am

It used to be common for drugmakers to ply medical students with meals and gifts as a way to curry favor with America's next generation of doctors.

But times are changing.

To curb the influence of drug companies, most U.S. medical schools have now instituted policies that restrict or ban gifts altogether. The policies appear to have a lasting effect.

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Health
12:43 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Should Medicare Pay For Alzheimer's Scans?

The loss of contrast between gray and white matter in this brain scan indicates a high uptake of Amyvid and the presence of amyloid plaques.
Eli Lilly & Co. and Avid Radiopharmaceuticals

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 4:18 pm

Though increasingly common, Alzheimer's disease still isn't all that easy to diagnose, especially in its early stages.

Forgetfulness and other signs of dementia can be caused by lots of things other than Alzheimer's. Sometimes the symptoms are fleeting or normal in the context of a person's age. But at other times these symptoms mark the dark path of Alzheimer's.

Doctors' standard approach to diagnosis includes taking a medical history of the patient, assessing mental function and administering various neurological and lab tests.

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Health
5:36 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Gut Microbes May Play Deadly Role In Malnutrition

Researchers followed 300 sets of twins in Malawi for the first three years of their life. In many cases, only one twin developed severe malnutrition, while the other remained healthier.
Photograph courtesy of Tanya Yatsunenko

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 10:44 am

There's a part of our body that's only now getting mapped: the trillions of microbes, mostly bacteria, that live in our guts.

Some scientists describe this community as a previously unnoticed vital organ. It appears to play a role in how quickly we gain weight and how well we fight off disease.

A study published in the journal Science suggests that changes in this community of microbes also may cause kwashiorkor, a kind of deadly malnutrition.

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Health
3:04 am
Wed January 30, 2013

To Maximize Weight Loss, Eat Early in The Day, Not Late

Front-loading your calories may help you lose weight.
Gaelle Cohen iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 10:44 am

You've heard the dieting advice to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper? Well, there's mounting evidence that there's some truth to it.

A new study published in the International Journal of Obesity builds on previous studies that suggest it's best not to eat too many calories late in the day.

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Health
3:30 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Fighting Misconceptions About Sickle Cell Disease In The ER

Nurse Corean McClinton, left, talks about pain management with Sherry Webb at the Sickle Cell Disease Center in the Truman Medical Center, in Kansas City, Mo., in 2007.
Dick Whipple Associated Press

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:47 pm

When sickle cell patients arrive at emergency rooms, they often have difficulty getting proper treatment. Paula Tanabe, an associate professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, is working to change that.

Sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder most common among people of African descent, affects 100,000 Americans. It causes normally disk-shaped red blood cells to take the form of pointed crescents or sickles.

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Health
11:38 am
Thu January 24, 2013

If You Think You're Good At Multitasking, You Probably Aren't

Take it easy, fella.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 4:54 pm

Everybody complains that people shouldn't talk on cellphones while driving. And yet it seems pretty much everybody does it.

That may be because so many of us think we're multitasking ninjas, while the rest of the people nattering away while driving are idiots.

But scientists say that the better people think they are at multitasking, the worse they really are at juggling.

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Health
8:35 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Nature Has A Formula That Tells Us When It's Time To Die

Courtesy of Yunfun Tan

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 10:19 pm

Editor's Note: Robert has added a postscript to this post. Scroll down or click here to read it.


We wax, we wane. It's the dance of life.

Every living thing is a pulse. We quicken, then we fade. There is a deep beauty in this, but deeper down, inside every plant, every leaf, inside every living thing (us included) sits a secret.

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Health
3:40 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Female Smokers Face Greater Risk Than Previously Thought

Women smoke in New York City's Times Square.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 1:19 pm

There's still more to learn about the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting.

Studies in this week's New England Journal of Medicine show that the risk for women has been under-appreciated for decades. New data also quantify the surprising payoffs of smoking cessation — especially under the age of 40.

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Health
3:51 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

A Worm's Ovary Cells Become A Flu Vaccine Machine

The fall armyworm, a corn pest, is now also a vaccine factory.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 9:57 am

As the flu season grinds on from news cycle to news cycle, there's some flu news of a different sort. Federal regulators have approved a next-generation type of flu vaccine for the second time in two months.

The two new vaccines are the first fruits of a big government push to hasten and simplify the laborious production of flu vaccines.

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Health
6:21 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

It's Legal For Some Insurers To Discriminate Based On Genes

Slides containing DNA sit in a bay waiting to be analyzed by a genome sequencing machine.
David Paul Morris Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 10:48 am

Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora's box. You might learn something useful or interesting, or you might learn that you're likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.

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