NPR Health

In the East African country where they were born, the conjoined twin girls would likely both have died.

But even in the wealthiest of nations, it's not easy to make decisions about how to treat conjoined twins. If surgery is warranted, it is a long and difficult procedure.

And there are ethical considerations that transcend culture.

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Opioid abuse causes a 9/11-scale loss of life every three weeks in America. Last year, more than 50,000 people died from a drug overdose. The largest annual jump ever recorded. The evidence suggests the problem is even worse this year.

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Does Smoking Pot Lead To More Sex?

Oct 27, 2017

Tobacco companies put a lot of effort into giving cigarettes sex appeal, but the more sensual smoke might actually belong to marijuana.

Some users have said pot is a natural aphrodisiac, despite scientific literature turning up mixed results on the subject.

At the very least, a study published Friday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that people who smoke more weed are having more sex than those who smoke less or abstain. But whether it's cause or effect isn't clear.

On the same day President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, the co-founder of a prominent opioid medication manufacturer has been arrested on fraud and racketeering charges. John Kapoor, former CEO of Insys Therapeutics, has been charged with conspiring to push the company's signature drug for unacceptable uses through a series of bribes and kickbacks.

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In a ceremony at the White House today, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.

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President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday, freeing up resources to deal with the epidemic.

Last year, more than 64,000 people died from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics. Many of those overdoses were from heroin, prescription painkillers, fentanyl and other opioids.

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Today, President Trump addresses the opioids crisis in the United States. He's not declaring a national emergency precisely. He is declaring, however, a public health emergency, as we understand it.

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Despite all of the efforts in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this year, it remains the law of the land. People can start signing up for health insurance for 2018 starting Nov. 1. But the landscape for the law has changed a lot.

It has the power to save lives by targeting opioid overdoses — something that kills more than 140 Americans every day. And now Narcan, the nasal spray that can pull a drug user back from an overdose, is being carried by all of Walgreens' more than 8,000 pharmacies.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

President Trump declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic Thursday, freeing up some resources for treatment. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are currently dealing with the worst drug crisis in American history," Trump said, adding, "it's just been so long in the making. Addressing it will require all of our effort."

"We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic," he said.

Julie Eldred has been struggling with addiction to opioids for more than a decade and she says the criminal justice system punishes her for it.

Eldred, a part-time pet caretaker in Acton, Mass., was put on probation last year for theft. She knew staying drug-free would be tough — especially at first, when she was going through opioid withdrawal. But, she says, she didn't have much of a choice.

Kids stick things in their nose, ears, and mouth all the time; it may be another way for them to explore and learn.

But getting those objects out be challenging, and can take some creativity. Like when an 11-year-old boy put button magnets up both nostrils, where they locked tightly onto his septum.

It's a Sunday morning at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, a famous African-American church in the Harlem area of New York City. The organist plays as hundreds of worshippers stream into the pews. The Rev. Calvin O. Butts III steps to the pulpit.

"Now may we stand for our call to worship," says Butts, as he begins a powerful three-hour service filed with music, dancing, prayers and preaching. "How good and pleasant it is when all of God's children get together."

Scientists in Seattle have created three-dimensional computer reconstructions of living human brain cells by studying tissue that is usually discarded during surgery.

10 Tips To Stay Safe In The Wild

Oct 25, 2017

Brian Mann, who reported on rescuers seeing more people venturing into the wildnerness unprepared, is an experienced hiker and paddler who contributes to outdoor magazines. Here's his basic checklist for traveling and playing safe when the park you visit is bigger than Central Park.

1. Prepare to spend the night

Two states looking for approval to customize their health insurance systems under the Affordable Care Act reversed course after the Trump administration said their applications couldn't be approved in time for next year.

E-cigarettes and vaping are being banned in indoor public areas in New York, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will place the same restrictions on new and old nicotine delivery systems.

For people who buy health insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, the 2018 open enrollment period begins in one week. But many consumers are confused about what to expect. No wonder.

Majorities in many ethnic, identity and racial groups in America believe that discrimination exists against their own group, across many areas of people's daily lives, according to a poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The poll asked a wide range of questions about where Americans experience discrimination — from the workplace to the doctor's office — and people's perception of it. The groups polled include whites, blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans and LGBTQ adults.

Here's something that may sound like a contradiction in terms: low-fat pigs.

But that's exactly what Chinese scientists have created using new genetic engineering techniques.

In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists report that they have created 12 healthy pigs with about 24 percent less body fat than normal pigs.

When it comes to brain training, some workouts seem to work better than others.

A comparison of the two most common training methods scientists use to improve memory and attention found that one was twice as effective as the other. The more effective method also changed brain activity in a part of the brain involved in high-level thinking.

What counts as dietary fiber? That's up for debate.

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing 26 ingredients that food manufacturers use to bulk up the fiber content of processed foods to determine if there's a health benefit.

If you're a nutrition-label reader, the list includes some familiar-ish sounding ingredients — such as inulin, which is often sourced from chicory root.

In the gritty industrial town of Yiwu, workers prepare jeans to be dyed in a vivid range of colors.

Two months ago, this factory — and this entire city, located in China's eastern province of Zhejiang — was a much quieter place. Inspection crews from the environmental bureau had shut businesses down, cutting electricity and gas so that they could determine who was following China's environmental laws and who wasn't.

The boss of this factory, who asked that his name not be used for fear of punishment by local officials, says he's never seen anything like it.

When the drinking water in Flint, Mich., became contaminated with lead, causing a major public health crisis, 11-year-old Gitanjali Rao took notice.

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