Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 3:24 pm
If you walk the streets of China today, you'll quickly notice that most young people wear glasses. In Shanghai, for instance, 86 percent of high school students suffer from myopia, or nearsightedness, according to the government's Xinhua News Agency.
Myopia has risen quickly in much of East Asia and Southeast Asia. And researchers are still trying to pin down exactly what's driving the epidemic.
Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 7:27 pm
Most of the 92 cases of measles confirmed in California are among adults — more than 62 percent. Maybe they or their parents chose not to vaccinate, or maybe those people are allergic to one of the ingredients in the measles vaccine.
But it's also possible that a few of those adults happened to slip through the cracks when the measles vaccine first came to the public.
Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 11:48 am
Something is destroying the kidneys of farm workers along the Pacific coast of Central America. Over the past two decades, more than 20,000 people in western Nicaragua and El Salvador — mostly men and many of them in their 20s and 30s — have died of a mysterious form of kidney failure. Researchers have been able to say definitively that it's not diabetes or other common causes of kidney failure.
The baby boomers are getting older: This year, 4 million people in America will turn 65.
In her new book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America, author Ai-jen Poo says that means the country is on the cusp of a major shift.
"The baby boom generation is reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 people per day," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "What that means is that by 2050, 27 million Americans will need some form of long-term care or assistance, and that's the basis for this book."
Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 1:26 pm
After a few cases here and there, measles is making a big push back into the national consciousness.
An outbreak linked to visitors to the Disneyland Resort Theme Parks in Orange County, Calif., has sickened 67 people in California and six other states according to the latest count from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 10:53 am
Nearly half of all reported sports concussions occur during a high school football game or practice. And even when injured bodies are ready to get back on the field, injured brains might not be ready to return to class.
Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 4:17 pm
Are you thinking about tax day yet? Your friendly neighborhood tax preparer is. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen declared this tax season one of the most complicated ever, partly because this is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will show up on your tax form.
Tax preparers from coast to coast are trying to get ready. Sue Ellen Smith manages an H&R Block office in San Francisco, and she is expecting things to get busy soon.
"This year taxes and health care intersect in a brand-new way," Smith says.
Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:32 pm
When it comes to detox diets, we totally get the appeal.
Who's not drawn to the idea of flushing all the toxins out of our bodies — a sort of spring cleaning of our insides?
And yes, several years back, I even remember trying — if only for a day — the trendy cayenne-pepper liquid cleanse (as seen in this Mindy Kaling clip from The Office) as part of a cleansing/detox diet.
Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 8:56 am
When I was just beginning my third year as a medical student, I learned an important lesson about what matters most in health.
It was a typical summer afternoon in St. Louis, with the temperature and humidity both approaching 100. My patient was a woman in her 40s who was being admitted to the hospital because her lungs were filling with fluid, a complication of kidney failure. She had missed all three dialysis appointments that week.
Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 8:56 am
In health insurance prices, as in the weather, Alaska and the Sun Belt are extremes. This year Alaska is the most expensive health insurance market for people who do not get coverage through their employers, while Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and Tucson, Ariz., are among the very cheapest.
Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:35 pm
A drug that is used worldwide to treat malaria is now being tested as a treatment for cervical cancer. This surprising idea is the result of a new laboratory technique that could have far-reaching uses.
Our story starts with Dr. Richard Schlegel at Georgetown University Medical Center. He's best known for inventing the Gardasil vaccine to protect women from cervical cancer.
Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 8:06 am
Here's more evidence that for people with Type 1 diabetes, strict blood sugar control matters – in this case, it actually reduces the risk of early death. But another study reveals the grim reality: Those with the condition still die about a decade sooner than those without.
Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 8:07 am
In December, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new obesity drug, Saxenda, the fourth prescription medicine the agency has given the green light to fight obesity since 2012. But even though two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, there's a good chance their insurer won't cover Saxenda or other anti-obesity drugs.
Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 4:17 pm
The last thing my 11-year-old does before she goes to sleep is put her iPod on the nightstand. And that could mean less sleep for her, researchers say.
There's plenty of evidence that children who have televisions in their rooms get less sleep. This is one of the first studies to look at whether having a small screen like an iPod or smartphone in the room also affects rest.