Health

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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Health
4:15 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

This Is Your Stressed-Out Brain On Scarcity

Josh Neufeld for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:24 pm

Being poor is stressful. That's no big surprise.

In a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 1 in 3 people making less than $20,000 a year said they'd experienced "a great deal of stress" in the previous month. And of those very stressed-out people, 70 percent said that money problems were to blame.

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Health
4:28 am
Mon July 14, 2014

To Make Children Healthier, A Doctor Prescribes A Trip To The Park

Zarr with Kellsi Aguilar and her father, Felipe, in Zarr's Washington, D.C., office.
Sam Sanders/NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 1:08 pm

When Dr. Robert Zarr wanted a young patient to get more exercise, he gave her an unusual prescription: Get off the bus to school earlier.

"She has to take a bus to the train, then a train to another bus, then that bus to her school," says Zarr, a pediatrician at Unity Health Care, a clinic that serves low-income and uninsured families in Washington, D.C. So the prescription read: "Walk the remaining four blocks on the second bus on your route to school from home, every day."

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Health
3:36 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Why HIV Spreads Less Easily In Heterosexual Couples

HIV particles (red) invade a human immune cell. When HIV is transmitted through sex, only the strongest versions of the virus establish long-term infection.
Chris Bjornberg/ScienceSource

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:07 pm

HIV is sexist.

A woman is twice as likely to catch the virus from an infected partner in a heterosexual relationship than a man is.

And homosexual men are at even greater risk. They're more than 20 times as likely to get infected from an HIV-positive partner than partners in a heterosexual relationship.

Now scientists at Microsoft Research and the Zambia-Emory HIV Project have a clue about why these disparities exist.

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Health
3:27 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Bingeing On Bad News Can Fuel Daily Stress

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 3:34 pm

If you're feeling stressed these days, the news media may be partly to blame.

At least that's the suggestion of a national survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Health
3:32 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Like All Animals, We Need Stress. Just Not Too Much

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:09 pm

Ask somebody about stress, and you're likely to hear an outpouring about all the bad things that cause it — and the bad things that result. But if you ask a biologist, you'll hear that stress can be good.

In fact, it's essential.

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Health
3:37 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Stress Causes Health Problems, Which Then Cause More Stress

Staci Moritz and her son Aidan, 11, play at a park in their neighborhood in Portland, Ore. Caring for three children and her injured husband exacerbated her health problems.
Beth Nakamura for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 12:38 pm

Stress is bad for your health. And bad health causes a lot of stress.

Poor health and disability are common among people who say they suffer from a lot of stress, according to a national poll by NPR, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

And it's not just those whose own health is poor. Serious illness and injury often impose enormous stress on entire families.

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Health
4:07 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

The Secret History Behind The Science Of Stress

Camel marketed smoke breaks at work as time spent relaxing instead of stressing. Camel, 1964.
Stanford University

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 3:47 pm

The modern idea of stress began on a rooftop in Canada, with a handful of rats freezing in the winter wind.

This was 1936 and by that point the owner of the rats, an endocrinologist named Hans Selye, had become expert at making rats suffer for science.

"He would subject them to extreme temperatures, make them go hungry for long periods, or make them exercise a lot," the medical historian Mark Jackson says. "Then what he would do is kill the rats and look at their organs."

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Health
3:18 am
Mon July 7, 2014

For Many Americans, Stress Takes A Toll On Health And Family

Leif Parsons for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 1:14 pm

Stress is part of the human condition, unavoidable and even necessary to a degree. But too much stress can be toxic — even disabling.

And there's a lot of toxic stress out there.

A national poll done by NPR with our partners at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds that more than 1 in every 4 Americans say they had a great deal of stress in the previous month.

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Health
5:06 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Can We Predict Which Teens Are Likely To Binge Drink? Maybe

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 6:07 pm

More than half of 16-year-olds in the United States have tried alcohol. While many of them learn to drink responsibly, some go on to binge on alcohol, putting themselves at risk for trouble as adults. Researchers still aren't sure why that is.

But it may be possible to predict with about 70 percent accuracy which teens will become binge drinkers, based on their genetics, brain function, personality traits and history, according to a study published Wednesday in Nature.

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Health
11:37 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Easy Method For Making Stem Cells Was Too Good To Be True

The heart beats in a mouse embryo grown with stem cells made from blood. Now the research that claimed a simple acid solution could be used to create those cells has been retracted.
Courtesy of Haruko Obokata

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 11:21 am

A prestigious scientific journal Wednesday took the unusual step of retracting some high-profile research that had generated international excitement about stem cell research.

The British scientific journal Nature retracted two papers published in January by scientists at the Riken research institute in Japan and at Harvard Medical School that claimed that they could create stem cells simply by dipping skin and blood cells into acid.

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Health
3:49 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Targeting Overweight Workers With Wellness Programs Can Backfire

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 2:08 pm

Employers say obesity is a top health concern for their workers. But health is a sensitive and personal issue. Some employees say these wellness initiatives can go too far.

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Health
12:04 am
Thu June 19, 2014

How Your State Rates In Terms Of Long-Term Care

Minnesota, Washington and Oregon topped the ranking, which looked at 26 variables, including affordability and whether patients could get good paid care at home. Alabama and Kentucky came in last.
Fred Froese/iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 11:58 am

In just 12 years, the oldest members of the huge baby-boom generation will turn 80. Many will need some kind of long-term care. A new study from AARP says that care could vary dramatically in cost and quality depending on where they live.

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Health
6:34 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Warnings Against Antidepressants For Teens May Have Backfired

Antidepressant use nationally fell by 31 percent among adolescents between 2000 and 2010. Suicide attempts increased by almost 22 percent.
JustinLing/Flickr

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 9:24 am

Government warnings that antidepressants may be risky for adolescents, and the ensuing media coverage, appear to have caused an increase in suicide attempts among young people, researchers reported Wednesday.

A study involving the health records of more than 7 million people between 2000 and 2010 found a sharp drop in antidepressant use among adolescents and young people and a significant increase in suicide attempts after the Food and Drug Administration issued its warnings.

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Health
3:14 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Doctors Aren't Sure How To Stop Africa's Deadliest Ebola Outbreak

A health worker from Doctors Without Borders examines Ebola patient Finda Marie Kamano, 33, at her home in Conakry, Guinea, in April. The outbreak that began in February is still spreading in West Africa.
Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos/Courtesy of Doctors Without Borders

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 9:24 am

When an Ebola outbreak lasts for months and continues to show up in new cities, health officials take notice.

That's exactly what's happening in West Africa. An outbreak that started in Guinea last February has surged in the past few weeks. It's now the deadliest outbreak since the virus was first detected in 1976.

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Health
3:08 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Someday Soon You May Swallow A Computer With Your Pill

The company Proteus has developed a computer that attaches to a pill and tracks the pill's absorption into the body. The technology has passed clinical trials.
iStock

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 9:24 am

What if you could swallow a computer the size of a poppy seed, and it could report back exactly if and when you took a medicine while recording how your body responded to the drug?

It sounds crazy, but the tiny computers exist. It sounds dangerous, but they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration. And the company that makes them, Proteus, has tens of millions of dollars and relationships with some of the biggest drug companies in the world, including Novartis.

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