Health

Health
3:32 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Doctor Shortage Looming? Maybe Not

Victoria Elizabeth Fischer was presented with a white coat by her grandfather, Dr. Christian Van Den Heuvel, at Georgetown University School of Medicine in August. The ceremony marks the start for each new class of medical students.
Lisa Helfert Courtesy of Georgetown University

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 2:34 pm

The United States is facing a critical shortage of doctors that could seriously jeopardize the ability of a patient to get medical care in the coming years.

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Health
5:56 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Ebola In 3-D: A Video Game To Guide Health Care Workers Through A Ward

A screenshot from a demo of the Ebola-training video game.
Courtesy of Shift Labs

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 8:47 pm

Could you walk through an Ebola treatment center in Liberia without catching the virus?

Soon you may be able to find out from the comfort of your living room. Shift Labs, a Seattle-based tech outfit, has developed a prototype for a video game that could be used to train health workers on duty in West Africa.

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Health
5:08 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

The Risk Of Brain Injuries Shifts As Children Grow Up

As children grow, they learn to crawl, to walk and then to drive. It turns out, the way they get hurt, and in particular their heads, evolves as as their forms of motion change.

Small children suffer head injuries from falling, while teenagers are at risk from car accidents, assaults and sports injuries, according to a paper published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Health
3:35 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Medical Experts Look For New Ways To Test Ebola Drugs

Nurses assist a new patient at an Ebola center in Liberia's Lofa County. As drug trials get underway, patients may receive experimental medicines.
Tommy Trenchard NPR

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 8:06 am

Medical experts are meeting today and tomorrow at the World Health Organization in Geneva to figure out how to test potential Ebola drugs in Africa. In addition to determining which experimental drugs should be the highest priority, the experts are sorting through some difficult ethical issues.

In short, they're trying to figure out how to design tests that will provide the fastest and most trustworthy answers — and yet minimize the need for comparison groups who won't be offered the experimental treatments.

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Health
6:52 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

A Smartphone Gadget Pumps Up Breast-Milk Banks

Newborn in an incubator at Greytown Hospital in South Africa in 2009.
Wendy Stone Courtesy of PATH

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 10:37 am

Breast-milk banks are a great way to help babies whose mothers aren't able to breast-feed. Breast milk, in case you didn't know, does a better job than formula at bolstering a baby's immune system, especially if the tot is premature or underweight.

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Health
4:30 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

HealthCare.gov's Tech Improvements Mean You Can Now Window Shop

Consumers can window shop on HealthCare.gov leading up to open enrollment, which starts Saturday.
AP

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 8:59 am

HealthCare.gov barely worked when it launched last fall, with only six people able to enroll in a plan on opening day.

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Health
3:35 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Kidney Dialysis Company Expands Into The Hospital Business

Dialysis giant DaVita HealthCare Partners is moving into the hospital business.
Courtesy of DaVita HealthCare Partners

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 7:08 pm

Critics of America's health care system say it's really a "sick care" system. Doctors and hospitals only get paid for treating people when they're sick.

But that's starting to change. Health insurance companies and big government payers like Medicare are starting to reward doctors and hospitals for keeping people healthy.

So, many health care companies are trying to position themselves as organizations that help people stay well.

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Health
4:21 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

How Much Is That MRI, Really? Massachusetts Shines A Light

In 49 U.S. states, spotting the squished disc in this spinal MRI is still much easier than learning the price of the MRI in advance.
AWelshLad iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 5:45 pm

The kids are asleep, and I've settled into a comfy armchair in the corner of my New England living room, one of my favorite spots for shopping online. I've got my laptop open and I'm ready to search for a bone density test.

Hmmm ... looks like the price that my insurer pays for that test varies from $190 at Harvard Vanguard to $445 at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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Health
5:17 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Researchers Tap Web Chatter To Figure Out Who's Sick

Hotspots show where the common cold is popping up across the U.S.
via Sickweather

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 9:03 am

What if you could track people getting sick just by analyzing how they surf the Web?

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Health
3:46 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

A Field Of Medicine That Wants To Know Where You Live

A map of toxic waste sites can be combined with maps of waterways and cities to reveal potential health risks.
Bill Davenhall Esri

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 8:39 am

In 1854, an English doctor named John Snow pinpointed an outbreak of cholera in London to a single contaminated water pump.

A pioneer of modern epidemiology, Snow used information about where the sick people lived to deduce that they were drinking tainted water from that source.

And while using clues about peoples' locations is an important tool in public health, it's now set to make individual health care even more personal.

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Health
3:42 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Scientists Implicate More Than 100 Genes In Causing Autism

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 6:51 pm

The hunt to find genes that cause autism has been a long slog, one hampered by a lack of technology and families willing to be tested.

But the effort is starting to pay off. On Tuesday, researchers at more than 50 laboratories said they had identified more than 100 genes that are mutated in children with autism, dozens more than were known before.

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Health
4:36 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Corneal Implants Might Make Reading Glasses Obsolete

A corneal inlay next to a contact lens.
Courtesy of John Vukich

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 9:03 am

For Lori Bandt, who works as a medical technician and an EMT in a suburb of Madison, Wis., the print on vials of medication has become so difficult to read that if she forgets her reading glasses she has to resort to having a younger EMT worker read the directions. The 45-year-old says: "I'm just stuck."

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Health
1:03 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Slippery When Coated: Helping Medical Devices Prevent Blood Clots

The slide on the right has been treated with a coating that repels blood.
Wyss Institute via Vimeo

A carnivorous plant has inspired an invention that may turn out to be a medical lifesaver.

Nepenthes, also known as tropical pitcher plants or monkey cups, produce a superslippery surface that causes unfortunate insects that climb into the plant to slide to their doom.

Scientists at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering wondered if they could find a way to mimic that surface to solve a problem in medicine.

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Health
10:38 am
Wed October 8, 2014

The Great Bluff That Led To A 'Magical' Pill And A Sexual Revolution

The history of how the birth control pill was developed in the 1950s is recounted in Jonathan Eig's new book The Birth of the Pill.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 4:20 pm

In the 1950s, four people — the founder of the birth control movement, a controversial scientist, a Catholic obstetrician and a wealthy feminist — got together to create a revolutionary little pill the world had never seen before.

They were sneaky about what they were doing — skirting the law, lying to women about the tests they performed and fibbing to the public about their motivations.

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Health
3:17 am
Wed October 8, 2014

One U.S. Hospital's Strategy For Stopping Ebola's Advance

Ideally, the best place to care for someone ill with Ebola is at the end of a hall in a room with its own bathroom, anteroom and entrance, says Dr. Jack Ross of Hartford Hospital.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 12:22 pm

Dr. Jack Ross is used to seeing potentially lethal viruses, and he is used to putting patients into isolation. Still, Ebola is different.

"I think, for any hospital today, Ebola represents one step higher than anything else, if we had to do it," says Ross, who directs infection control for Hartford Healthcare's five hospitals in Connecticut.

On a tour of Hartford Hospital, Ross explains how his Ebola control plan would affect various parts of the facility — from the emergency room, to the intensive care unit, to the floors of rooms where patients stay.

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Health
3:16 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Why Saying Is Believing — The Science Of Self-Talk

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 9:27 am

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Health
3:35 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Vaccine Controversies Are As Social As They Are Medical

Daniela Chavarriaga holds her daughter Emma as Dr. Jose Rosa-Olivares administers a measles vaccination at Miami Children's Hospital.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 11:02 am

When essayist Eula Biss was pregnant with her son, she decided she wanted to do just a bit of research into vaccination. "I thought I would do a small amount of research to answer some questions that had come up for me," she tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "And the questions just got bigger the more I learned and the more I read."

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Health
3:34 am
Mon September 22, 2014

NFL Looks To Training To Prevent Domestic Violence By Players

No amount of training can undo the violence someone experienced at home as a child, but it can help break the cycle.
Pamela Albin Moore iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 9:14 am

On Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell broke a week of silence following the release of a video that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancee.

Goodell apologized for his role in the NFL's handling of the matter.

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Health
3:30 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Best To Not Sweat The Small Stuff, Because It Could Kill You

Keith Negley for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:21 am

Chronic stress is hazardous to health and can lead to early death from heart disease, cancer and of other health problems. But it turns out it doesn't matter whether the stress comes from major events in life or from minor problems. Both can be deadly.

And it may be that it's not the stress from major life events like divorce, illness and job loss trickled down to everyday life that gets you; it's how you react to the smaller, everyday stress.

The most stressed-out people have the highest risk of premature death, according to one study that followed 1,293 men for years.

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Health
4:15 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Will Obama's Plan Bring The Ebola Outbreak Under Control?

President Obama meets with Emory University doctors and health care workers during his visit Tuesday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 12:37 am

It is the biggest anti-Ebola effort yet.

After months of calls by aid workers for the global community to do something about the escalating crisis, President Obama has announced plans for a massive international intervention.

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