NPR Health

The much-vaunted Senate tax bill is now a health bill.

How Do You Help Refugees Who Are Too Traumatized To Talk?

Nov 16, 2017

If you walked into Cynthia Scott's waiting room at a clinic in the Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh, you would be surrounded by people lying on benches looking pained and malnourished.

They're part of the flood of 600,000 Rohingya refugees who've fled violence in Myanmar and sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. The U.N. has called the exodus "the world's fastest growing refugee crisis."

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In the east-Bohemian city of Havlíčkův Brod, two hours by train from Prague, the Potato Research Institute is caught in the crosshairs of time.

For years the Food and Drug Administration has been trying to get doctors to quit prescribing codeine, an opioid painkiller, to children after getting their tonsils or adenoids out.

But it can be hard to get clinicians to change their prescribing habits, even when children have died and other less risky medications are available.

A 79-year-old man picked up an object with his left hand and suddenly felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. Something moved in his upper arm. And with that, he was Popeye.

His right arm looked the same as it always had: lean and sagging a little with age. But his left biceps now sported a baseball-size bulge that looked like it could land a powerful punch. The brand-new muscle mound looked even bigger when the man flexed his biceps. The only thing was, it hurt. A lot.

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Two years ago, when the Zika virus was first identified as the cause of microcephaly in babies, women were scared. Expectant mothers who got infected had no idea what the chances were of having a healthy baby.

Researchers have since learned that while Zika infection is dangerous, about 94 percent of babies born to women infected with Zika appear to be normal at birth.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

The U.S. military's restrictions on covering abortions can create logistical, emotional, career and health challenges for service members who become pregnant, according to a newly released study.

How To Stop Hazing

Nov 15, 2017

Once again, Greek life at American colleges is under scrutiny – this time after the death of a 20-year-old fraternity pledge at Florida State University. FSU has suspended Greek activities.

In Pennsylvania, Penn State students are being charged in the death of a pledge.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published in August and has been updated.

The national news this week has been dominated by accusations against U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore — both the allegations that he sexually assaulted at least two teenage girls and also that he attempted to date teenagers while he was in his 30s.

At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, doctors and nurses are moving as many patients as they can from intravenous medications to the same drugs in pill form.

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When you're facing a major life change, it helps to talk to someone who has already been through it. All Things Considered is connecting people on either side of a shared experience, and they're letting us eavesdrop on their conversations in our series Been There.

All of a sudden, Maddy Rich found herself in the middle of a crisis. It sneaked up on her, in February 2016, during her sophomore year at Cornell University.

Updated 5:56 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans now plan to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate as part of a tax overhaul bill.

Several Senate Republicans said Tuesday that including the repeal in tax legislation, currently making its way through a key Senate committee, would allow them to further reduce tax rates for individuals without adding more to the deficit.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved its first digital drug: a pill embedded with a sensor that transmits whether someone has taken it.

Although the approval is a big step for digital medicine, there are concerns about privacy, convenience and cost.

A study published Tuesday in the journal Clinical Psychological Science finds that increased time spent with popular electronic devices — whether a computer, cell phone or tablet — might have contributed to an uptick in symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts over the last several years among teens, especially among girls.

Helen Nez had 10 children. Now she only has three.

Seven of her children died of a disorder called Navajo neuropathy, which is linked to uranium contamination.

"Many people died and some have liver disease, kidney disease and some suffer from cancer as a result," Nez said through a translator.

Federal health officials Tuesday issued a warning about kratom, a herbal product being promoted as a safe alternative to opioids for pain that is also marketed for treating addiction, anxiety and depression.

The Food and Drug Administration says there's insufficient evidence the supplement works to treat addiction or other problems and cited growing evidence it can be dangerous. Kratom may cause seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms.

You may not have had high blood pressure Sunday, but you may have it today. Even if your blood pressure hasn't changed a smidge. What's up?

The rules shifted Monday. It used to be that we encouraged people to adopt healthy behavior to keep their blood pressure down but didn't label someone as having hypertension until systolic blood pressure (the top number) exceeded 140 millimeters of mercury and/or the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) exceeded 90 mm Hg. Lots of people watch those numbers closely.

If you're poor, uninsured and have a bad car wreck or fall seriously ill, there's a chance in most states to enroll for Medicaid after the fact. If you qualify for Medicaid, the program will pay your medical bills going back three months.

This "retroactive eligibility" provides financial protection as patients await approval of their Medicaid applications. It protects hospitals, too, from having to absorb the costs of caring for these patients.

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In August, a doctor in Spain posted x-ray and microscopic pictures from a man's thigh on Twitter, asking for help.

The physician was concerned that he had cancer.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published in 2015 and has been updated.

With a string of devastating natural disasters and record numbers of refugees, 2017 has been a cruel year.

So it's a year when, more than ever, we need World Kindness Day.

The November 13 holiday was made up in 1998. So it doesn't have deep roots in human society.

Juan Flores and his family live in Galena Park, Texas, which is bordered on three sides by pipeline terminals, oil refineries, fertilizer plants and rail yards.

Flores has lived in the town of about 11,000 people just east of downtown Houston since he was 4 years old. For a while, he even served on the City Council.

Does a California law violate the Constitution by requiring anti-abortion pregnancy centers to inform clients about free or low-cost abortion and contraception services? That's the question the Supreme Court is taking on, in a new case it accepted on Monday.

Jon McHann, 56, got started on prescription opioids the way a lot of adults in the U.S. did: He was in pain following an accident. In his case, it was a fall.

"I hit my tailbone just right, and created a severe bulging disc" that required surgery, McHann says.

McHann, who lives in Smithville, Tenn., expected to make a full recovery and go back to work as a heavy haul truck driver. But 10 years after his accident, he's still at home.

The goal is simple: a drug that can relieve chronic pain without causing addiction.

But achieving that goal has proved difficult, says Edward Bilsky, a pharmacologist who serves as the provost and chief academic officer at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, Wash.

"We know a lot more about pain and addiction than we used to," says Bilsky, "But it's been hard to get a practical drug."

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