Health

Health

Deaths from lightning strikes are up sharply this year, according to the National Weather Service. Here are some myths about lightning, or avoiding it, and tips on how to actually stay safe.

This story initially aired on July 17, 2015 on Morning Edition.

In this installment of NPR's series Inside Alzheimer's, we hear from Greg O'Brien about losing his sense of taste and smell, and how he's learning there's much more to a good meal than food. O'Brien, a longtime journalist in Cape Cod, Mass., was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

Malaria sickens tens of millions each year and kills roughly 500,000, mainly in Africa. A vaccine has been seen as the holy grail in global efforts against the disease.

For more than a decade, Wilson Matthews and Jeanne Yeatman worked together as flight nurses on emergency response helicopters. Over that time, they cared for countless patients as they were being transported to hospitals. One flight in particular, though, remains impossible for them to forget.

They had been trying to save a 13-year-old named Stephen. He'd been riding his bicycle over a dirt jump when he fell and suffered severe head trauma.

By the time he made it into the helicopter, nothing that Wilson or Jeanne tried was doing any good.

Health insurer Anthem has struck a deal to acquire rival Cigna for $48 billion — a buyout that would create the country's largest health insurer by enrollment.

The combined entity would have an estimated revenue of $115 billion and cover 53 million people in the U.S.

Chemotherapy given to patients at the end of life often does more harm than good, according to a study that calls into question this common practice.

There's a battle brewing behind the scenes to keep health plans affordable for consumers. The Obama administration weighed in this week, sending letters to insurance regulators in every state and Washington, D.C., that ask them to take a closer look at rate requests before granting them.

Under the Affordable Care Act, state agencies largely retain the right to regulate premiums. So far only a handful have finalized premiums for the coming year, for which enrollment begins in November.

Medical residents are the tweeners of health care.

They've got their medical degrees but still haven't finished the training they need to go forth and practice their chosen specialties.

Talking to residents is one way to get a bead on where medicine may be headed. Medscape, an online news source for health professionals, just released a survey of more than 1,700 medical residents that asked a slew of questions about their hopes, everyday experience on the job and finances.

The face of Alzheimer's isn't always old. Sometimes it belongs to someone like Giedre Cohen, who is 37, yet struggles to remember her own name.

Until about a year ago, Giedre was a "young, healthy, beautiful" woman just starting her life, says her husband, Tal Cohen, a real estate developer in Los Angeles. Now, he says, "her mind is slowly wasting away."

People like Giedre have a rare gene mutation that causes symptoms of Alzheimer's to appear before they turn 60.

Armadillos. Leprosy. Florida. It's hard to ignore news reports that fit all three words in the first sentence.

So when we heard that state health officials in Florida have reported nine people with leprosy and suggested that people avoid armadillos, we here at Team Shots just had to check it out.

Intensive End-Of-Life Care On The Rise For Cancer Patients

Jul 22, 2015

Conversations about end-of-life care are difficult. But even though most people now take some steps to communicate their wishes, many may still receive more intensive care than they would have wished, a study published in July found.

Most transgender adolescents go through the same steps during the medical transition from one gender to another. They're given a drug that blocks or pauses puberty. Then, if they and their doctors are sure they want to continue, they are given sex hormones that will resume puberty and give them more male or more female bodies.

There's new evidence suggesting that women's brains are especially vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease and other problems with memory and thinking.

Women with mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to Alzheimer's, tend to decline faster than men, researchers reported this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington, D.C.

The first people to set foot in the Americas apparently came from Siberia during the last ice age.

That's the conventional wisdom.

But now there's evidence from two different studies published this week that the first Americans may have migrated from different places at different times — and earlier than people thought.

The human race has walked or paddled or sailed until it covered the globe. Scientists can trace those migrations from the stuff these people left behind: tools, dwellings or burial grounds.

Changes in how women are screened for cervical cancer mean they're getting Pap tests less often. But that may also mean young women are not getting tested for chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted disease.

As the number of teens and young women getting annual Pap tests declined, so did the number getting screened for chlamydia, according to a study published Monday in Annals of Family Medicine.

Missouri cattle farmer Greg Fleshman became so concerned about keeping his local hospital open that in 2011 he joined its governing board.

If you've got a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit, your first thought is probably not, "Does my child really need that antireflux medication?"

Even as a young child, Amanda Angelotti dreamed about becoming a doctor.

But by her third year at the University of California, San Francisco medical school. Angelotti couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing.

During a routine shift at the hospital, making rounds with her fellow students, Angelotti said her thoughts kept drifting.

Efforts to find a treatment for Alzheimer's disease have been disappointing so far. But there's a new generation of drugs in the works that researchers think might help not only Alzheimer's patients, but also people with Parkinson's disease and other brain disorders.

In Court, Your Face Could Determine Your Fate

Jul 17, 2015

Your face has a profound effect on the people around you. Its expression can prompt assumptions about how kind, mean or trustworthy you are. And for some people, a study finds, it could help determine their fate in court.

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