NPR Health

The chicken for sale at your local grocery store isn't like the chicken your grandparents used to eat. They're bigger and more "breasty," says public health journalist Maryn McKenna — and that's by design.

"In the United States, we much prefer to eat white meat, and so we have bred chickens and genetically redesigned chickens in order for them to have a lot of breast meat," McKenna says. She attributes the change in poultry to factors like precision breeding, hormones and nutrition, but adds, "Antibiotics started this process."

A dermatologist in Washington, D.C., was surprised to discover that one of her patients was using a powerful steroid cream bought without a prescription to treat a rash.

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The opioid commission chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered a long list of recommendations to President Trump yesterday in its final report on the nation's opioid crisis. And we have more from NPR's Greg Allen.

A new report from UNICEF says that violence against children knows no boundaries.

Among the statistics that back up that statement:

Approximately 300 million children around the world between the ages two and four are subject to physical punishment or verbal abuse from their parents or caregivers.

Every seven minutes, an adolescent is murdered.

By the time they reach age 19, fifteen million girls have already experienced forced sexual acts, including rape — inflicted, for the most part, by people they know.

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When President Trump officially declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency last week, he promised a massive campaign to discourage drug use.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Plastics Are Forever

Nov 1, 2017

Plastic is everywhere. It’s in the device you’re reading this on and possibly even sewn into the clothes you’re wearing. It’s also in multiple gyres of slurry, some of them larger than Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean.

Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter Wednesday morning to encourage people to shop for Affordable Care Act health insurance.

Obama's rare appeal comes as his signature health care law is under attack by his successor, President Trump, and Republicans in Congress.

The nurse who was roughly arrested at a Salt Lake City hospital has settled with the city and the university that owns the hospital for $500,000.

Two U.S. senators introduced legislation Tuesday requiring federal agencies to come up with solutions to the waste caused by oversized eyedrops and single-use drug vials, citing a ProPublica story published last month.

About a third of Latinos in America say they've been personally discriminated against when it comes to applying for jobs, being paid equally or considered for promotions — and when trying to rent a room or apartment or buy a house. Slightly more (37 percent) say they've personally experienced racial or ethnic slurs because of their race or ethnicity.

Latinos say institutional discrimination, including discrimination while trying to vote or participate in politics, is a problem in America today. However, when asked, many Latinos reported feeling better about their local government.

That's according to a new survey out this week from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

If you buy insurance on your own and have been paying attention to the Affordable Care Act, you've probably heard that open enrollment for 2018 plans has just started and the government is spending a lot less money this year to get the word out.

That's true in the 39 states that rely on HealthCare.gov. But circumstances are different in some of the 11 states plus the District of Columbia that run their own ACA websites and marketplaces.

Can a puppy video get you to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges? Florida Blue, a major insurer in that state, hopes the answer is yes.

Three years into the water crisis in Flint, Mich., many residents still rely on bottled water, and experts say the ramifications are likely to continue for years to come.

The water crisis began in 2012, when Flint decided to switch the city's water source and failed to treat the water with an anti-corrosive. Water corroded the pipes, allowing lead to dissolve into the water. Even as the city replaces the tainted lines, the water remains unsafe to drink.

For decades, scientists have been making predictions about how climate change will hurt health around the world.

But actually showing a link? That's been pretty tough.

Take for example, mosquito-borne diseases. It's easy to blame rising temperatures for the global spread of Zika or the explosion of dengue fever. Mosquitoes thrive in higher temperatures, right?

The 2018 annual open-enrollment period for coverage on the health insurance marketplaces starts Wednesday. But if you don't take care of lingering issues from your past coverage, they may come back to haunt you.

Unpaid premiums

A new rule will allow some insurers to require you to pay any back premiums you owe for the 12 months prior to the effective date of your new coverage.

People who are thinking about killing themselves appear to have distinctive brain activity that can now be measured by a computer.

In these people, words like "death" and "trouble" produce a distinctive "neural signature" not found in others, scientists report in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. More than 44,000 people commit suicide in the U.S. each year.

Forty days after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, most of the U.S. territory remains without power.

It's time to start shopping for health insurance if you're one of the millions who buys it on an Affordable Care Act exchange.

Open enrollment for 2018 starts Wednesday, and new numbers released by the Trump Administration show that the average cost of a benchmark policy will be about 27 percent higher next year.

But that's just the headline. The details suggest there's good news for lots of people who are willing to shop around a bit for insurance.

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Earlier this month, the toy-giant Mattel announced it had pulled the plug on plans to sell an interactive gadget for children.

The device, called Aristotle, looked similar to a baby monitor with a camera. Critics called it creepy.

Powered by artificial intelligence, Aristotle could get to know your child — at least that was how the device was being pitched.

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At first glance, you see a young girl goofing around with her friends.

But there's one crucial detail: This girl — 16-year-old Nirma — has a traditional stripe of vermilion powder smudged into her forehead. In her region in India, that's a sign that means Nirma is married.

Most people can acknowledge that discrimination has an insidious effect on the lives of minorities, even when it's unintentional. Those effects can include being passed over for jobs for which they are qualified or shut out of housing they can afford. And most people are painfully aware of the tensions between African-Americans and police.

Hepatitis A Outbreak Hits California

Oct 28, 2017

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Years before she became the health minister of Rwanda, Agnès Binagwaho tried to lock a fellow pediatrician in a hospital room. She saw a doctor in an examining room with a mother who held her sick daughter in her arms. And he was asleep.

As deaths from opioid overdoses rise around the country, the city of Baltimore feels the weight of the epidemic.

"I see the impact every single day," says Leana Wen, the city health commissioner. "We have two people in our city dying from overdose every day."

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