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Health

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Nation's Mourning: How We Cope

Dec 15, 2012

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.

Most States Punt Health Exchanges To The Feds

Dec 14, 2012

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.

For Man With Amnesia, Love Repeats Itself

Dec 13, 2012

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.' "

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

I, Robot: Paraplegics Get An Assist

Nov 14, 2012

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.

http://www.americanhumane.org / American Humane Society

Disclaimer: This is a press release from the American Humane Society, a credited organization, and not is not a reviewed story from the WCBE newsroom.

Even as the giant Red Star truck drives toward its staging area, American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert ordered the issuance of life-saving tips to families in the hurricane’s path.

“It is very important that families take action now to protect the most vulnerable among us,” she said. “There are things that can be done before, during, and after a storm to keep children and pets safe.”

We almost brought you news today about a study that appeared to raise some troubling questions about aspartame, the popular sugar substitute found in many common foods like diet soda. Note the key word — almost.

A study due to be published at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and released to reporters earlier in the week under embargo found some correlation between drinking diet soda and an increased risk of leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as a few other rare blood-related cancers.

Researchers in South Africa have learned something new about how antibodies fight off HIV in research that could advance the quest to develop a vaccine against the virus.

With a growing population of baby boomers, officials are bracing for a surge in senior drivers. Statistics tell us that accidents increase after the age of 65, and fatal accidents are more likely after the age of 75.

Across a swath of northern Nigeria, a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, as lead from illegal gold mines sickens thousands of children.

More than 400 kids have died, and many more have been mentally stunted for life.

Doctors Without Borders, which has set up clinics to treat the children, is calling it one of the worst cases of environmental lead poisoning in recent history.

Do you bite your nails? For 30 years, I did. We nail biters can be "pathological groomers" — people for whom normal grooming behaviors, like skin picking or hair pulling, have become virtually uncontrollable.

For Best Toilet Health: Squat Or Sit?

Sep 28, 2012

We at Shots don't shy away from talking about poop, as Michaeleen Doucleff demonstrated last month with her post on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's investment in fake feces.

Losing 160 Pounds, One Photo At A Time

Sep 24, 2012

After her wedding in 2009, artist Julia Kozerski decided to drastically change her lifestyle. She lost 160 pounds in one year — and documented the transition with her iPhone.

Her series — called "Changing Room" — was shot in various dressing rooms in 2010 and 2011. Her body was changing so rapidly that she kept trying on clothes as a way of exploring her identity.

Yes, we love salt. It makes everything taste better. But as a society, we're eating way too much of it. And, so are our children.

A new study from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that children in the U.S. between the ages of 8 and 18 are eating, on average, 3,387 mg per day. That's about the same amount as adults. But it's a lot more than the 2,300 mg daily limit recommended by the federal dietary guidelines.

In my Morning Edition story today, I look at expectations — specifically, how teacher expectations can affect the performance of the children they teach.

Where Traffic Noise Takes A Toll On Health

Sep 11, 2012

Living next to a noisy highway can be annoying. The racket can also disrupt your sleep.

Too many bad nights' sleep can raise the risk of heart attack, high blood pressure and other ailments.

The health care overhaul law makes it easier for most people with private insurance to get the vaccines they need without going into their pockets for a copay. Medicare beneficiaries don't get the quite same sweet deal, though.

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