Health

Health
2:56 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Health Law Calls For Automatic Enrollment Of Some Workers

When is no choice a good choice?
endopack/iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 4:28 pm

Newly hired employees who don't sign up for health insurance on the job could have it done for them under a health law provision that may take effect as early as next year.

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Health
2:40 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Why Fat Grizzlies Don't Get Diabetes Like We Do

Bears can eat like pigs, hibernate for months and still be healthy. This seems so unfair.
Tim Shobe iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 12:21 pm

Sometimes nature comes up with elegant solutions to difficult problems, like how to gain weight and not get diabetes.

Take, for instance, the grizzly bear. How does this 750-pound mammal survive long, lean winters? Well, it just gets really fat beforehand and then sleeps the hungry season away.

Grizzly bears can easily double their body fat in the months leading up to hibernation. For us humans, this kind of weight gain could result in some pretty serious health consequences — one of the most common being Type 2 diabetes.

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Health
11:30 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Why U.S. Hospitals Are Testing People For Ebola Virus

Television trucks converged on Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Monday after it announced that it was screening a patient for Ebola virus.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 12:21 pm

If you show up at a hospital emergency department with a high fever and you just happen to have been traveling in Africa, don't be surprised if you get a lot of attention.

Hospitals are on the lookout for people with symptoms such as a high fever, vomiting and diarrhea who had been traveling in parts of West Africa affected by Ebola, following instructions from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Monday, New York's Mount Sinai Hospital announced that it was evaluating a patient who had recently been in West Africa.

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Health
3:44 am
Tue August 5, 2014

A Hospital Reboots Medicaid To Give Better Care For Less Money

Carmen Smith, 44, shows son Roland, 6, her new perfume. The Cleveland resident says getting on Medicaid has made it much easier to manage her diabetes.
Sarah Jane Tribble WCPN

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 10:47 am

Carmen Smith remembers the day about a year ago when she gained Medicaid coverage.

"It was like Christmas Day, it was like getting a gift from Santa Claus!" she says. "People don't realize how important and how special it is to have insurance to be able to go see a doctor on a regular basis when you have an illness like mine."

Smith, 44, has Type 2 diabetes. Before qualifying for Medicaid coverage, she was what policy experts call a "frequent flier." She had used the emergency room at MetroHealth, the public hospital in Cleveland, five times in one year.

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Health
3:41 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Oxytocin Isn't Lacking In Children With Autism, Researchers Say

The hormone oxytocin affects social functioning, but researchers say it isn't commonly lacking in children with autism.
danchooalex/iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 12:22 pm

Scratch one more simple explanation for autism off the list. This time it's the idea that children with autism have low levels of oxytocin, often called the "love hormone" because it can make people more trusting and social.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon August 4, 2014

One Step To Combat Obesity: Make Stairs More Attractive

TK
Leif Parsons for NPR

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 12:12 pm

If there's a single invention that helped shape New York City, literally, it might be the elevator. Along with steel frame construction, the elevator allowed New York City to grow up.

But according to architect David Burney, former New York City commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction, it's time to celebrate the steps.

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Health
3:17 am
Mon August 4, 2014

What Makes Us Fat: Is It Eating Too Much Or Moving Too Little?

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 11:35 am

We're constantly hearing messages that we're eating too much and not moving around enough. Now researchers suggest that we're actually not eating more than we did 20 years ago, it's that we're much less active. And that includes not just middle-aged workers tied to their desks, but also young men and women who spend their days sitting in front of their laptops.

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Health
4:24 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Breast-Feeding Is Still Difficult For Many Moms

Amber Medel weighs her 3-week-old baby, Elijah, as lactation consultant Carol Chamblin takes note. Medel had problems breast-feeding and Chamblin encouraged her to use a breast pump to get the milk flowing more easily.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 10:19 am

When Elizabeth O'Connell was expecting her first child, she knew she wanted to breast-feed. And, she says, she sort of expected it to just happen, naturally.

That's not quite how it panned out. "I was experiencing very tremendous pain," she says.

At first she figured that was normal — but soon it became too much to handle. "I was devastated," she says. "The reality is nursing is a wonderful bonding experience, but when you're in pain, you aren't really thinking about that."

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Health
8:03 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Caffeine Gives Athletes An Edge, But Don't Overdo It

Peter Kennaugh of SKY Procycling enjoys an espresso ahead of first stage of the Tour de France 2013, in Corsica.
Scott Mitchell teamsky.com via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 10:19 am

After winning the Tour de France last Sunday, Vincenzo Nibali was tested for a bunch of performance-enhancing substances. But Nibali and his fellow competitors were welcome to have several cups of coffee (or cans of Red Bull), before their ride into Paris; caffeine is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list.

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Health
6:19 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

As Ebola Surges, CDC Sends Aid And Warns Against Travel

Red Cross volunteers prepare to bury the body of an Ebola victim in Pendembu, Sierra Leone, early this month.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 11:59 am

For the second time this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised the travel alert for three West African countries, as the death toll in the Ebola outbreak increased at an alarming rate.

"The bottom line is that the multiple outbreaks in West Africa are worsening right now," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden told NPR on Thursday. "This is the biggest, most complex and the most difficult outbreak of Ebola that we've had to deal with."

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Health
4:57 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Amid Smoking Decline, Look Who's Still Lighting Up

Tobacco giant Reynolds American is buying Lorillard and acquiring Newport, a popular menthol cigarette. In a shrinking market, Newport is one of the few U.S. brands gaining market share. It is particularly popular among African-American smokers.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 10:18 am

Robin Koval is making a career of her changed tobacco habit.

"I'm a child of a smoker — my father was a heavy smoker," Koval says. "Really typical to the way the story goes, I started smoking when I was 15."

Now she is president and CEO of Legacy, a foundation devoted to preventing tobacco use.

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Health
5:12 am
Thu July 31, 2014

What Somebody's Mummy Can Teach You About Heart Disease

Eduard Egarter-Vigl (left) and Albert Zink (right) sample Italy's mummified iceman for genetic analysis in November 2010. Previous research suggests he, too, was predisposed to heart disease.
Samadelli Marco/EURAC

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 2:47 pm

We think of heart disease as a modern scourge, brought on by our sedentary lifestyles and our affinity for fast food.

But a few years ago, a team of researchers discovered something puzzling — CT scans of Egyptian mummies showed signs of hardened, narrow arteries. Further scans of mummies from other ancient civilizations turned up the same thing.

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Health
1:54 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Problem Drinking In Midlife Linked To Memory Trouble Later

How much is too much?
Robert S. Donovan/Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 2:58 pm

To ward off big memory problems in your 70s and beyond you may want to cork the bottle more often now.

In a study of 6,500 people published this week, adults with a midlife history of drinking problems were more than twice as likely as those without alcohol problems to suffer severe memory impairment decades later.

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Health
12:36 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

2 Americans Catch Ebola In Liberia, As Nigeria Reports First Case

Dr. Kent Brantly (right) of Samaritan's Purse gives orders to treat Ebola patients through the doorway of the isolation ward in Monrovia, Liberia.
Courtesy of Samaritan's Purse

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 9:09 pm

News about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to go from bad to worse.

Last week a doctor leading the fight against the outbreak got sick in Sierra Leone. Now two American aid workers have tested positive for the virus in Liberia, and the outbreak has likely spread to a fourth country, Nigeria.

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Health
12:17 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Getting Hospice Care Shouldn't Have To Mean Giving Up

Patients who get the comforts of palliative care as well as disease treatment live longer, studies show, than those who only get treatment for the disease.
Annette Birkenfeld iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 2:31 pm

It's a painful dilemma for seriously ill Medicare patients: To receive the extra support, counseling and care provided by the program's hospice benefit, they have to agree to stop receiving curative treatment for their disease.

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Health
4:40 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Taliban In Pakistan Derail World Polio Eradication

A health worker gives a child the polio vaccine in Bannu, Pakistan, June 25. More than a quarter-million children in Taliban-controlled areas are likely to miss their immunizations.
A. Majeed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 10:46 am

Last January Salma Jaffar was shot while she was going door to door in Karachi, giving children drops of the polio vaccine.

"Even when they took out the pistol, I couldn't understand why he was taking out the gun," Jaffar says of the two men who pulled up on a motorcycle and started shooting at the vaccination team.

"But when he opened fire, that is when I thought it was the end of the life," she says. "My first thought was that I won't be able to see my children again."

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Health
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

New York Debates Whether Housing Counts As Health Care

Lissette Encarnacion in her apartment at The Brook, a supportive housing complex in the New York City borough of the Bronx.
Natalie Fertig WNYC

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:52 pm

Standing outside her sixth-floor apartment in the Bronx, Lissette Encarnacion says she sometimes forgets the place belongs to her.

"I'm thinking I'm at somebody else's [house]," she says. "I'm ringing my own doorbell."

Encarnacion used to have a career in banking, and lived in a real home with her son and husband. Then one night everything changed, she says, when her husband came home drunk and angry, and threw her off a balcony.

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Health
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Why We Think Ignorance Is Bliss, Even When It Hurts Our Health

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:52 pm

Medical tests are rarely a pleasant experience, especially if you're worried that something could be seriously wrong. That's true even though we know that regular screenings and tests often help doctors catch issues early.

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Health
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 7:37 pm

We know that happiness and social connection can have positive benefits on health. Now research suggests that having a sense of purpose or direction in life may also be beneficial.

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Health
4:45 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Well Does A Drug Work? Look Beyond The Fine Print

Traditional warning labels on medicine boxes tend to be long on confusing language, critics say, but short on helpful numbers.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 12:31 pm

Anybody who has ever seen a drug advertisement or talked over the pros and cons of a medicine with a doctor can be forgiven for being confused.

Sorting out the risks and benefits of taking a medicine can be complicated even for professionals.

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