NPR Health

Another day, another study undercutting the myth surrounding the 18th-century Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari.

Since the early 20th century, musicians and instrument experts have been trying to figure out what, if anything, makes the violins he made sound better.

There's more grim news about inequality in America.

New research documents significant disparities in the life spans of Americans depending on where they live. And those gaps appear to be widening, according to the research.

The advice to eat a healthy diet is not new. Back around 400 B.C., Hippocrates, the Greek doctor, had this missive: Let food be thy medicine.

But as a society, we've got a long way to go. About 1 out of every 2 deaths from heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. is linked to a poor diet. That's about 1,000 deaths a day.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Following general social protocol, my younger sister and I don't usually discuss our struggles with eating in public. But over the past couple years we have come a long way toward de-stigmatizing the conversation at home and challenging our family's approach to food.

Shortly after I was born, my dad's health declined. His previously mild psoriasis got much worse, a side effect of a new prescription medication meant to treat his debilitating arthritis.

In the Rose Garden last week President Trump and the House Republican leadership celebrated their vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as though it had actually repealed and replaced the 2010 law colloquially known as Obamacare.

It had not, of course. Several more giant steps remain in the process. And more than a few of these same Republicans may well be grateful.

Ximena Lopez wanted a bigger behind. She was 21 and lived in Medellín, Colombia, a hot spot for cosmetic work.

More than 357,000 surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures are performed in Colombia a year, making it the world's No. 8 country for body rehabbing.

A friend named Hanna Valencia told her, "Look, I've done the butt job." She recommended the "spa" she went to in a mall in a posh Medellín neighborhood.

Debates about health care are complicated, and it's easy to get overwhelmed when complicated things like premiums, block grants, state waivers, Medicaid and Medicare are the main topics.

But what are the ideas driving this debate? And why do debates get so heated when we're talking about something so technical?

Nearly three-quarters of private sector workers receive paid sick days from their employers, though there is no federal mandate requiring it. In recent years, dozens of states, cities and counties have passed their own ordinances, which typically require employers to provide between three and seven paid sick days a year.

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For the first time in the U.S., two physicians and a medical office manager were indicted on charges stemming from the alleged female genital mutilation of two young girls, about six to eight years old, according to a Michigan U.S. Attorney's Office. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and Attar's wife, Farida, were indicted on April 26 for FGM, which has been illegal in the U.S. since 1996. The AP reported that Nagarwala's attorney, Shannon Smith, has denied the allegation, saying the doctor was performing a religious custom that didn't involve cutting.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

In an all-staff email to employees in the Office of National Drug Control Policy, acting Director Richard Baum shared some news he described as "very discouraging for our Nation's effort to address drug abuse." A draft document from the White House budget office, obtained by NPR, proposes nearly zeroing out funding for the ONDCP and fully eliminating several programs involved in fighting the opioid crisis. Leaked documents indicate about a 94 percent overall cut.

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Republicans in the House of Representatives got their way finally. They found enough votes to squeak through a GOP replacement health care bill yesterday. Democrats did not want them to taste victory, though.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Why Taste Buds Dull As We Age

May 5, 2017

Sometimes people develop strange eating habits as they age. For example, Amy Hunt, a stay-at-home mom in Austin, Texas, says her grandfather cultivated some unusual taste preferences in his 80s.

"I remember teasing him because he literally put ketchup or Tabasco sauce on everything," says Hunt. "When we would tease him, he would shrug his shoulders and just say he liked it." But Hunt's father, a retired registered nurse, had a theory: Her grandfather liked strong flavors because of his old age and its effects on taste.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As soon as the House approved the GOP health care bill on Thursday, Democrats were working on using it against Republicans in next year's midterm elections.

"They have this vote tattooed on them. This is a scar they carry," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared just after the American Health Care Act passed the House.

Drug-impaired driving is a growing concern for highway safety officials. But, as a recent report makes clear, its actual impact is still difficult to measure.

The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, a group of state highway safety offices, found that in 2015, among fatally injured drivers with a known test result, drugs were detected more frequently than alcohol.

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President Trump and congressional Republicans are one step closer to fulfilling their campaign pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The House voted along party lines today to advance a bill to get rid of major parts of the law.

House Republicans have passed a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. If it is signed into law, the American Health Care Act will affect access to health care for millions of people in the U.S.

Jasson Garcia's daily travels look maddening. The sidewalks of Mexico City are broken and cars block pedestrian crossings. In the subway station, there's no elevator, so he has to labor down the stairs. Busy commuters push to get past him.

But you don't see this in Jasson's demeanor. The skinny 15-year-old seems totally unfazed.

"It just feels normal now," he says. "I can go basically anywhere I want without a problem."

The House of Representatives is debating the GOP bill to repeal and replace the key pillars of President Obama's health care law. This is the same bill that was pulled from the House floor just over a month ago when it was clear Republicans didn't have the votes to pass it. Now, they think they do, and the House is on track to vote on the bill early Thursday afternoon.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

The House voted Thursday to narrowly approve a Republican-drafted measure that would eliminate many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act — the first step toward keeping one of President Trump's campaign pledges and a victory for GOP lawmakers who have long railed against Obamacare, as the ACA is commonly known. The vote was 217-213.

The measure moves to the Senate, where its fate is far from certain — and where top lawmakers in both parties are already signaling that there is a long legislative process ahead.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Republicans finally got their health care bill.

After seven years of repeal-and-replace rhetoric against the Affordable Care Act, two presidential campaigns waged for and against it and a recent high-profile failure, House Republicans passed their bill.

The trouble is this bill is unlikely to ever become law — at least in its current iteration.

You've probably heard the phrase "it takes a village" to get things done. Many clinics across the U.S. are finding that's true for effectively controlling their patients' high blood pressure.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A little spit may help predict whether a child's concussion symptoms will subside in days or persist for weeks.

A test that measures fragments of genetic material in saliva was nearly 90 percent accurate in identifying children and adolescents whose symptoms persisted for at least a month, a Penn State team told the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. In contrast, a concussion survey commonly used by doctors was right less than 70 percent of the time.

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