Health

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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Health
11:32 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Globe-Trotting Virus Hides Inside People's Gut Bacteria

We are all Russian nesting dolls: Our intestines house many bacteria, which house many viruses. These so-called bacteriophages are likely as important for our health as the bacteria they live in.
Lisa Brown for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:34 pm

New viruses are a dime a dozen.

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Health
7:57 am
Thu July 24, 2014

A Simple Way To Reduce Stroke Risk: Take Your Pulse

Sure, your doctor can do this. But you can, too. And for stroke patients, it could be a lifesaver.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 6:02 pm

An irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation is a big cause of stroke, especially for people who have recently had a stroke. But it's not something that most people can feel.

Doctors test for atrial fibrillation by hooking people up to an electrocardiogram machine at the office, or having them wear a Holter monitor for a day or a week. There are also implantable monitors to check for afib, but they aren't widely used.

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Health
10:20 am
Wed July 23, 2014

California Nurses Union Braces For Contract Battle

Members of the California Nurses Association say they rallied in Sacramento in May to raise public awareness of their concerns about patient care in California hospitals.
April Dembosky KQED

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 7:51 am

Going to a union meeting of nurses is a little bit like going to an evangelical church service.

"We all have to stand up, and it's a struggle," says Veronica Cambra, a nurse reporting a grievance at Kaiser Hospital in Fremont, Calif., as though she's giving testimony. "And we will overcome this, OK?"

The rest of the nurses respond with the passion of a devout congregation, humming "Mmm hmmm," and "That's right," through the series of speeches.

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Health
7:29 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Many Kids Who Are Obese Or Overweight Don't Know It

Fun hikes offer health benefits for kids of every shape and size.
Annette Birkenfeld annedde/iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 11:07 am

Kids can be cruel, especially about weight. So you might think overweight or obese children know all too well that they're heavy — thanks to playground politics. But that's not necessarily so, according to government data covering about 6,100 kids and teens ages 8-15.

About 30 percent "misperceived" their weight status (underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese), according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. (The CDC bases those categories on body mass index, adjusted for gender and age.)

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Health
3:17 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Rumor Patrol: No, A Snake In A Bag Did Not Cause Ebola

Eerie protective suits and shiny body bags have fueled rumors about the origins of Ebola. Here, a burial team removes the body of a person suspected to have died from the virus in the village of Pendembu, Sierra Leone.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 4:57 pm

"A lady had a snake in a bag. When somebody opened the bag, that made the lady die."

That's the beginning of a story that Temba Morris often hears about the origins of Ebola. Morris runs a government health clinic in a remote village near Sierra Leone's border with Guinea. According to the story, somebody else then looked inside the bag.

"And the one who opened the bag also died," is what Morris hears next. The snake escaped into the Sierra Leone bush.

So there you have it: Ebola is an evil snake that will kill you if you look at it.

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Health
7:41 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Son's Mental Illness Prompts Billionaire's Big Donation To Psychiatric Research

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 4:43 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Health
7:10 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Experimental Cocktail May Speed Up Cure Of Drug-Resistant TB

An Indian woman takes tuberculosis pills at a clinic in Mumbai. More than 700 Indians die from TB each day. That's one death every two minutes.
Pal Pillai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 7:14 pm

It's been a long time coming — nearly a half century. But the world is finally close to gaining a new weapon against a growing problem: drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Over the past few decades, TB has quietly evolved into dangerous forms that can't be stopped with traditional antibiotics. Now nearly a half million people around the globe are infected with these deadly strains of the bacteria.

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Health
4:45 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Ebola Is A Deadly Virus — But Doctors Say It Can Be Beaten

Sylvester Jusu is a volunteer who works with the Red Cross burial team in Sierra Leone.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 8:34 pm

Saidu Kanneh was given a hero's welcome last week when he walked into a community meeting about Ebola in a tiny village of mud huts in the Kissi Kama region of Sierra Leone. Kanneh was diagnosed with Ebola early in July, was treated for 12 days in a Doctors Without Borders hospital and overcame the disease.

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Health
5:06 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

What The Odds Fail To Capture When A Health Crisis Hits

Brian Zikmund-Fisher with his wife, Naomi, and daughter, Eve, in 1999, after he had a bone marrow transplant. He says he made the decision to have the treatment based on factors he couldn't quantify.
Courtesy of Brian Zikmund-Fisher

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:44 pm

How well do we understand and act on probabilities that something will happen? A 30 percent chance of this or an 80 percent chance of that?

As it turns out, making decisions based on the odds can be an extremely difficult thing to do, even for people who study the science of how we make decisions.

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Health
12:47 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Straightening Sisay's Spine: A Twist Of Fate Saves A Boy's Life

Andrew Dickinson Andrew Dickinson for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 2:24 pm

One dewy morning back in May 2013, a dozen children gathered in an elementary school courtyard to play soccer in Addis Ababa. Seven-year-old Sisay Gudeta stood alone on the balcony above them.

Sisay poked his head through the arms of a rusty, blue guard rail, staring down at his classmates as they kicked an empty plastic bottle across the pavement. The kids rarely ask him to play, Sisay says. They are afraid to touch him, afraid of the bump on his back that stretches out his neatly pressed school sweater.

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Health
3:36 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Head Scientist At CDC Weighs Costs Of Recent Lab Safety Breaches

The CDC's director, Tom Frieden, testified before a congressional subcommittee Wednesday regarding a recent anthrax incident and lab safety improvements he is instituting.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 10:40 am

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is on the hot seat.

It all started in mid-June, when the CDC announced that dozens of its scientists might have accidentally been exposed to anthrax.

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Health
2:00 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Feeling The Heat, Burning The Suits: Reporting On Ebola From Sierra Leone

Construction workers repair the roof inside the isolation area at the Doctors Without Borders treatment center in Kailahun.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 5:36 pm

NPR's Jason Beaubien is in Sierra Leone, covering the Ebola outbreak that began in March in Guinea and has spread to neighboring countries. When we spoke Thursday, he had just toured the treatment center built by Doctors Without Borders in the town of Kailahun. With 64 beds, it's the largest Ebola isolation ward ever built. Currently there are 31 patients.

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Health
3:31 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Skimping On Sleep Can Stress Body And Brain

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 8:58 am

"The lion and calf shall lie down together," Woody Allen once wrote, "but the calf won't get much sleep."

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Health
12:44 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Dialing Back Stress With A Bubble Bath, Beach Trip And Bees

Avi Ofer NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 8:58 am

Standing in the middle of a swarm of bees might not be your idea of stress relief, but it works for Ray Von Culin. He's a beekeeper in Washington, D.C., and he says caring for bees is one of the most relaxing things in his life.

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