NPR Health

Award-winning actor Alan Alda has revealed that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. "I'm not angry," he said.

"It hasn't stopped my life at all. I've had a richer life than I've had up until now," Alda said as he made the announcement Tuesday on CBS This Morning.

The U.N. has an incredibly ambitious goal of wiping out HIV transmission by the year 2030.

But global health experts say they can't execute that plan without a cheaper way to monitor the health of millions of HIV patients.

The Clinton Health Access Initiative, along with several other development agencies, has brokered an agreement to make routine HIV tests more accessible. They're aiming to make HIV viral load tests available for $12 a piece, slashing the price in some markets by more than 50 percent.

A group of Democratic senators have introduced a bill on Tuesday that would require the U.S. census and the country's largest survey to start directly asking about sexual orientation and gender identity.

If the Census Equality Act becomes law, sexual orientation and gender identity questions would have to be added to forms for the census by 2030 and for the American Community Survey — a survey that about 1 in 38 households are required by federal law to complete every year — by 2020.

Heading May Be Riskier For Female Soccer Players Than Males

Jul 31, 2018

The first rule of soccer is pretty obvious: don't use your hands. But soccer's signature move, heading the ball, can cause a detectable impact on players' brains. And according to a study published Tuesday in Radiology, female players are more sensitive to the impact than males.

For Many College Students, Hunger 'Makes It Hard To Focus'

Jul 31, 2018

As students enter college this fall, many will hunger for more than knowledge. Up to half of college students in recent published studies say they either are not getting enough to eat or are worried about it.

Alarms go off so frequently in emergency rooms that doctors barely notice — until a colleague is wheeled in on a gurney, clinging to life. All of a sudden, that alarm becomes a deafening wake-up call.

For Dr. Kip Wenger, that colleague, a 33-year-old physician, was also his friend.

Wenger is regional medical director for TeamHealth, one of the country's largest emergency room staffing companies, based in Knoxville, Tenn.

We all hope for a little peace at the end of life, for ourselves and for our loved ones. Hospice services can play a big role, relieving pain and providing spiritual and emotional support. But a federal report published Tuesday synthesized patient and Medicare payment data going back to 2005 and found that, while patients generally can count on hospice to relieve their suffering, some hospice providers are bilking Medicare and neglecting patients.

Was it hard to concentrate during that long meeting? Does the crossword seem a little tougher? You could be mildly dehydrated.

A growing body of evidence finds that being just a little dehydrated is tied to a range of subtle effects — from mood changes to muddled thinking.

When Cayti Kane delivered a baby boy via cesarean section last year, her team of doctors was prepared.

Kane had been diagnosed with placenta accreta, a condition that increased the likelihood of a dangerous hemorrhage during delivery. When that happened, she had an emergency hysterectomy. Kane and her son went home healthy.

Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwen's goal is to get inside her subjects' heads.

The self-trained, 28-year-old documentary photographer does just that by using a double-exposure technique. She takes portraits of Nigerian survivors of violence and terrorism — then superimposes it with an image of something that reminds them of how their lives have changed.

For the past three weeks, students across India's capital have been attending a radical new course: happiness.

The Delhi government introduced "happiness classes" in an effort to shift the country's academic focus from student achievement to emotional well-being. In a country that uses standardized testing to determine student success, offers a limited number of seats in top universities and sets high expectations, educators have been seeing mental health consequences.

Questions Rise About Shortcomings Of DNA Tests For Dogs

Jul 28, 2018

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In response to a joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR into the influence of the drug industry on Medicaid, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey made changes to the state's Medicaid program Friday, including adding new transparency rules and kicking a doctor off a state committee.

Read these sentences aloud:

I never said she stole my money.

I never said she stole my money.

I never said she stole my money.

Emphasizing any one of the words over the others makes the string of words mean something completely different. "Pitch change" — the vocal quality we use to emphasize words — is a crucial part of human communication, whether spoken or sung.

You can buy water with electrolytes, minerals or completely "purified." You can buy it with the pH changed to make it alkaline. You can purify your own tap water or even add nutrients back into it. But after seeing a video of a pricey, high-tech filter (about $400 U.S. on sale) that you can monitor with your phone, we wondered, how much of our water filtration fixation is healthy, and how much of it is hype?

It's hard enough for employers to find workers to fill open jobs these days, but on top of it, many prospective hires are failing drug tests.

The Belden electric wire factory in Richmond, Ind., is taking a novel approach to both problems: It now offers drug treatment, paid for by the company, to job applicants who fail the drug screen. Those who complete treatment are also promised a job.

The Trump administration announced a plan Friday that would affect about 40 percent of the payments physicians receive from Medicare. Not everybody's pleased.

Daniel, a Marine Corps veteran, used to fire a rocket launcher called the shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon. Two decades later, he still experiences dizzy spells and disorientation. But the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't have a category for vets like him, who may have sustained traumatic brain injuries from training rather than combat.

Read Daniel's full story on NPR's health blog, Shots.

The world now has a potent, new weapon against malaria — one that can wipe out the parasite from a person's body with a single dose.

But before many people around the world can use it, scientists have to overcome a big obstacle.

Wren Vetens thought she'd done everything possible to prepare for her surgery.

When Dorothy Paugh was 9, her father bought a pistol and started talking openly about ending his life. Her mother was terrified but didn't know what to do.

"She called our priest and called his best friend," Paugh recalled. "They came and talked to him, and they didn't ask to take his gun away."

Her father was 51 when he shot himself to death.

The 22nd annual International AIDS Conference is currently underway in Amsterdam. And several studies are looking at the U.S. government's largest foreign HIV program: the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR.

The multi-billion dollar program to combat HIV and AIDS globally has been slated for cuts by the Trump administration. But researchers and African health officials credit the program started by President George W. Bush with helping to change the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic.

Chris Ferrari was just 18 the first time he balanced a rocket launcher on his right shoulder and aimed it at a practice target.

"Your adrenaline's going and you're trying to focus on getting that round to hit, and then you go to squeeze that trigger and, you know."

Boom!

The report is loud enough to burst the eardrums of anyone not wearing military-grade hearing protection. And the blast wave from the weapon is so powerful it feels like a whole-body punch.

Three-quarters of Americans think the Supreme Court should not overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal nationwide, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

But that result includes a degree of nuance.

Just 17 percent say they support overturning Roe outright. Another 24 percent say they want Roe kept in place, but they want to see more restrictions on abortion.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The snack that smiles back is at the center of some frown-worthy news.

Pepperidge Farm announced a voluntary recall of four varieties of Goldfish crackers in a press release on Monday.

An ingredient supplier notified Pepperidge Farm that a whey powder used in the crackers' seasoning might be contaminated with salmonella bacteria, according to the release.

Editor's note: This story was updated on July 25 to include additional information about the length of time a tick must be attached to transmit Lyme disease bacteria.

So you've found a tick, and it's sucking your blood.

After an initial wave of revulsion, you carefully remove it with a pair of tweezers. Now you're probably wondering: What's the chance I have Lyme disease?

When a huge floating gyre of plastic waste was discovered in the Pacific in the late 1980s, people were shocked. When whales died and washed ashore with stomachs full of plastic, people were horrified. When photographs of beaches under knee-deep carpets of plastic trash were published, people were disgusted.

Though some of it came from ships, most, presumably, was from land. But how much was coming from where?

Hospitals Gear Up For New Diagnosis: Human Trafficking

Jul 24, 2018

The woman arrived at the emergency department at Huntington Hospital on New York's Long Island after she was hit by her boyfriend during an argument. Her situation raised concerns among the medical staff, which had recently been trained to be on the lookout for signs of sex trafficking.

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