Health

Health
4:29 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Violence, Chaos Let Polio Creep Back Into Syria And Horn Of Africa

The Ethiopian government has set up about a dozen vaccination booths along its thousand-mile border with Somalia.
Jason Beaubien NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:27 pm

Update on Thursday, Oct. 31, 6:30 p.m. ET:

A spokesman for the World Health Organization said Thursday that it was mistaken about the polio outbreak in Somalia spreading to South Sudan. The virus has been detected in Kenya and Ethiopia this year. But South Sudan has not recorded a polio case since 2009.

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Health
5:31 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Insurance Cancellations Elbow Out Website Woes At Health Hearing

Marilyn Tavenner was the first Obama administration official to testify before Congress about the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 7:57 pm

When the head of the agency responsible for the troubled Healthcare.gov went before Congress for the first time since its foibles became apparent Oct. 1, she probably didn't expect that many questions would be on something else altogether.

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Health
4:26 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

For A Longer Life, You Might Try Mowing The Lawn

Spiffing up the garden may also make your cardiovascular risk profile look better, too.
Lauren Mitchell Flickr

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:16 pm

We all know we're supposed to exercise daily, but precious few of us do. And it only seems to get harder with age.

There's a reason to try harder, though. Tacking more years of good health on to your life may be as simple as mowing the lawn more often and engaging in other everyday physical activities.

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Health
11:56 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Short-Term Insurance Skirts Health Law To Cut Costs

Health insurance that lasts less than a year may look like a deal, but there could be hidden costs.
iStockphoto.com

What a difference a day makes. Consumers who buy a health policy good for only 364 days might save hundreds of dollars in premiums, but they could also find themselves without important benefits and charged a penalty for not having insurance next year.

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Health
10:37 am
Tue October 29, 2013

How A Wandering Brain Can Help People Cope With Pain

A brain that can let other thoughts bubble up despite being in pain might help its owner benefit from meditation or other cognitive therapies.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:17 pm

When some people are in pain, the experience is so intense that they can't think of anything else. But others can turn their minds elsewhere and feel better.

Why? The difference may be due in part to brain wiring, researchers say, and knowing more about how it works may someday make it easier to match people with effective pain treatments.

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Health
5:15 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

More Technical Issues For Obamacare, But Good News For Medicare

Gone is the smiling young woman who used to grace HealthCare.gov. Now it's time to get down to work.
www.HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:02 pm

Monday was yet another troubled day for the Affordable Care Act.

Sunday night, the outside vendor that operates two key parts of the website that lets people browse and sign up for health insurance experienced a failure.

The failure took place at a vendor called Verizon Terremark and presumably affected other clients as well as HealthCare.gov, the federal website that people use to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
4:21 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Unlikely Multiple Sclerosis Pill On Track To Become Blockbuster

Biogen Idec

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:01 pm

There aren't very many drugs that are also, essentially, industrial chemicals available in railroad-car volumes, pharmaceutical chemist Derek Lowe noted on his blog, In The Pipeline, this spring.

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Health
3:35 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Some Health Screenings May Harm More Than Help

Stacy Riggs of Fairfax, Va., is prepped for a screening for atrial fibrillation by Life Line Screening medical assistant Kennea Blake at Messiah United Methodist Church in Springfield, Va.
Jenny Gold Kaiser Health News

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 1:26 pm

Messiah United Methodist Church in Springfield, Va., is unusually busy for a Thursday morning. It's not a typical time for worship, but parishioner Stacy Riggs and her husband have come for something a little different: a medical screening.

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Health
3:27 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Recipe For Strong Teen Bones: Exercise, Calcium And Vitamin D

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 7:03 pm

It's really only a sliver of time when humans build the bulk of their skeleton. At age 9, the bones start a big growth spurt. And by the time puberty ends, around 14 or 15 years old, the adult-sized skeleton is all but done, about 90 percent complete.

But doctors say a lot of children aren't getting what they need to do that. Calcium and vitamin D are essential, sure, but so is lots of time jumping and running.

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Health
7:04 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

For Obamacare To Work, It's Not Just About The Numbers

Ashley Hentze (left) gets help signing up for the Affordable Care Act from a volunteer in Florida. The government says that 40 percent of the expected enrollees for 2014 must be young and healthy for health insurance premiums to remain affordable.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 3:38 pm

Relatively few people have enrolled in new health insurance plans since the Affordable Care Act exchanges launched this month. But some health care experts say it's early days yet — and that getting the right proportion of healthy, young new enrollees is just as important as how quickly people sign up.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that 7 million people will buy health insurance for 2014 through the new exchanges, integral to the implementation of the government's new health care law.

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Health
6:12 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Aging Well: Keeping Blood Sugar Low May Protect Memory

Eating right and exercise are key to controlling blood sugar. So maybe you should skip that doughnut.
Pink Sherbet Photography Flickr

There's a growing body of evidence linking elevated blood sugar to memory problems.

For instance, earlier this year, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that higher glucose may be a risk factor for dementia, even among people without type 2 diabetes.

So the question is, at what point does the risk of cognitive decline set in?

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Health
2:18 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Why Engineers Want To Put B Vitamins In 3-D Printers

This riboflavin-rich material can be used to print intricate, microscopic structures in three dimensions.
Courtesy of North Carolina State University

Almost every day it seems there's a new use for 3-D printing.

In medicine, the printers are already making prosthetic hands, hearing aid cases and parts of human ears.

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Health
10:00 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Report: Meat Producers Ignore Pleas For Health, Environmental Reform

Chickens in a mechanized hatchery in Monroe County, Ala.
Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 10:41 am

Five years ago, a landmark report excoriated the animal agriculture industry's practices and laid out a road map for how it could do better. But in the years since, the problems are just as bad — and maybe even worse.

That's the conclusion of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. This week, the center scolded the industry again with a review of how it has fared in the years since the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production released its original report.

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Health
3:16 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Therapists Explore Dropping Solo Practices To Join Groups

The goals of therapy remain the same, but the business side is undergoing big changes.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 11:26 am

In the corporate world of American health care, psychologists and other mental health therapists are still mostly mom-and-pop shops. They build their own solo practices, not unlike Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip gang who hung her own shingle: "Psychiatric Help, 5 [Cents] — The Doctor Is In."

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Health
12:47 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

FDA Asks Dog Owners For Help With Illnesses Linked To Jerky

Jerky treats for dogs and cats have been linked to pet illnesses and deaths. But it's still unclear what is causing the problems.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 12:11 pm

The Food and Drug Administration has a mystery on its hands.

Thousands of dogs and at least 10 cats have become sick after eating various forms of jerky for pets over the past few years. Some 580 animals have died, the agency says. But it's not sure why.

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Health
3:58 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Antibiotics Can't Keep Up With 'Nightmare' Superbugs

On Tuesday night, PBS' Frontline will investigate how decades of antibiotic overuse has led to the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs.
Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 6:15 pm

We're used to relying on antibiotics to cure bacterial infections. But there are now strains of bacteria that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotics, and are causing deadly infections. According to the CDC, "more than 2 million people in the United States every year get infected with a resistant bacteria, and about 23,000 people die from it," journalist David Hoffman tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Health
5:03 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Why Scientists Are Trying Viruses To Beat Back Bacteria

Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that causes severe diarrhea, can be difficult to treat with antibiotics.
Stefan Hyman University of Leicester

Not all viruses are bad for us. Some of them might even help up us fight off bacterial infections someday.

Naturally occurring viruses called bacteriophages attack specific types of bacteria. So researchers at the University of Leicester decided to try and take advantage of phages' bacteria-destroying powers to treat infections with Clostridium difficile, a germ that that can cause severe diarrhea and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

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Health
3:19 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Exercise May Help Knees More Than Glucosamine And Chondroitin

With osteoarthritis, knees become swollen and stiff, and cartilage can degenerate.
Ted Kinsman Science Source

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 9:18 am

If you're among the estimated 27 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, then perhaps you've tried the nutritional supplements glucosamine and chondroitin. They've been marketed for joint health for about 20 years, and sales are still brisk. But do they help?

Some horses might say yes. The supplements were first tried in horses, and there's some evidence that the supplements might improve joint function for them.

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Health
2:58 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Proposed Treatment To Fix Genetic Diseases Raises Ethical Issues

This micrograph shows a single mitochondrion (yellow), one of many little energy factories inside a cell.
Keith R. Porter Science Source

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 3:39 pm

The federal government is considering whether to allow scientists to take a controversial step: make changes in some of the genetic material in a woman's egg that would be passed down through generations.

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Health
1:04 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

First Malaria Vaccine Moves A Step Closer To Approval

A health worker administers the malaria vaccine at a clinical trial in Kilifi, Kenya.
Joseph Okanga Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:50 pm

A malaria vaccine studied in more than 15,000 African children has been found to reduce the number of cases of disease by 27 to 46 percent.

That's only modest efficacy compared to most accepted vaccines. But this would be the first anti-malarial immunization on the market, and its developers emphasize that it still prevents a lot of cases. Its main sponsor, GlaxoSmithKline, says it's good enough to justify seeking regulatory approval in 2014.

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