NPR Health

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Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole is on the line. He's a member of the House Republican leadership team. He's a deputy whip, which means his job is to help round up votes as Republicans are trying to do again today for a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

House Republicans are bringing their health care bill back for a vote on Thursday. The American Health Care Act was pulled from the House floor just minutes before an expected vote in March, which was seen as a stark failure of Republicans on a key campaign promise.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday evening that they are confident in having enough votes to pass the bill in its latest form early Thursday afternoon.

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Health officials in Minnesota have been scrambling to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened primarily Somali-American children in the state. So far health officials have identified 34 cases, still mostly in Hennepin County, and they're worried there will be more.

All four of Anab Gulaid's children have received their vaccinations on the recommended schedule. As Somali-American residents of Minneapolis, that puts them in the minority.

Fewer than half of Minnesota children of Somali descent have received the MMR shot that protects against measles, mumps and rubella, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Health, which is now working to combat a growing measles outbreak in the Twin Cities.

On an afternoon a few weeks ago, Faithe Craig noticed that her temperature had spiked to just above 100 degrees F. For most people, the change might not be cause for alarm, but Craig is being treated for stage 3 breast cancer, and any temperature change could signal a serious problem.

She called her nurse at the hospital clinic where she gets care, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who told her to come in immediately for cancer urgent-care services at the hospital's hematology oncology clinic.

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We've been hearing stories about people adapting to a changing economy for our series Brave New Workers.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Do I still see myself as a cowboy? Yeah, I do, and I hope I always do.

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On the Indonesian island of Java, a small farming village buried a local legend this week. The man's name was Sodimedjo. He also went by Mbah Ghoto. And he claimed he was born in 1870...

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

What?

Updated 5 pm April 3, 2017 to include the proposed Upton amendment.

The House may yet pass its bill to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act. But Republicans' options to fulfill their seven-year effort to undo the federal health law are getting narrower by the day.

"As of now, they still don't have the votes," said Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) as he was leaving a meeting of GOP members Tuesday. King has been heavily lobbied by both sides.

The Trump administration has said it wants to remove burdensome regulation, and on Monday it served up a taste of what that looks like when it comes to two aspects of food policy: school lunch and calorie labels on menus.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a plan to delay a mandate that would require schools to further reduce sodium levels in the meals they serve. In addition, Perdue wants to give the green light to schools that want to serve some grains that aren't whole-grain rich.

A Child's Suffering Drives A Mother To Seek Untested Treatments

May 2, 2017

Your child is diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease and conventional treatments aren't proving to be effective. Doctors prescribe powerful medications that don't seem to work. Not only is your child not responding as hoped, he's withering from the side effects. What do you do? Journalist Susannah Meadows found herself having to answer this question when her son, Shepherd, was diagnosed at age 3 with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, joint inflammation that can last a lifetime.

"I have a story to tell about something that happened to our family last week." That's how Jimmy Kimmel began an unusually heartfelt monologue on his late-night show Monday.

While this year's annual State of Black America report from the National Urban League focuses as usual on areas of progress (education, healthcare and economic well-being) and regress (criminal justice) over the past year, the report took the unusual step of warning that the organization now has a new priority: protecting areas of progress from retrenchment during the Trump years.

There's sort of a designated driver in Jason Stavely's circle of Iraq buddies, but he doesn't take away people's car keys. He takes the guns.

"Come toward September-October, if I get the feeling, I'm more than happy to give my guns back to my buddy again," said Stavely.

Stavely has bad memories from the war that get triggered every autumn. And last year, one of his Marine Corps friends died by suicide in October. So Stavely's therapist at the Veterans Affairs clinic suggested getting his guns out of the house.

A New Generation Overthrows Gender

May 2, 2017

Max, age 13, is agender — neither male nor female. When referring to Max, you don't use "he" or "she;" you use "they."

On a sunny Friday morning in San Pablo Huitzo, a town in the Valles Centrales region of Oaxaca, Mexico, a half-dozen women are gathered for a workshop on making alegrías, a healthy, granola bar-like snack made with popped amaranth seeds. Their ingredient list is short: water, honey, raisins, a form of raw cane sugar known as piloncillo, and lime juice.

A new study suggests that skipping meals is difficult.

Obviously, right?

The study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine did not set out to investigate the hardships of abstaining from food. The main question was: Is alternate-day fasting more effective for weight loss and weight maintenance compared with daily calorie restriction?

In July 2012, a science reporter for The Washington Post, Brian Vastag, was in Wisconsin visiting his family when a high fever hit. He became instantly bedridden with flu-like symptoms that never went away.

"It didn't feel like anything I'd ever had before. ... The things that distinguished it were the dizziness and the feeling of unreality in the head," Vastag says.

Hunger in America can often seem invisible, but recent studies have shown that it is a problem that affects millions of people, many of them children.

On July 17, 2014 Kurt Hinrichs, of Gladstone, Mo., went to bed early. As often happens, he woke in the middle of the night. When he tried to get out of bed, he crashed to the floor, which woke his wife, Alice.

"At first it was like, 'What's going on?' " Alice says. "Are you dreaming? Are you sleepwalking?"

Kurt wasn't responding to anything Alice asked him, so she called 911. "I [was] thinking, 'this is a nightmare,' " Kurt says.

"Yo-yo dieting" — where people lose weight and gain it back again — doubles the risk of a heart attack, stroke or death in people who already have significant heart disease.

That's the conclusion of an international study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Surprising Wishes Of India's Sex Workers

Apr 30, 2017

I awoke to the sound of a mosquito buzzing near my ear. It was still dark out, and I could see the stars from my window, a rare sight in India when you are in the city.

I, however, was at least a few hours from the nearest one. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure where I was as I was never given the address or directions, having been transported by a private car from Hyderabad, one of India's bustling tech hubs. I was spending a few days at the Prajwala facilities, a compound of several acres hidden away in the outskirts of a small town in rural Andhra Pradesh.

"Why am I doing this, again?"

I've asked myself that question several mornings over the past few months as my stomach begins growling, usually after I smell popcorn in my coworker's office. He's on a strict 10 a.m. popcorn schedule that coincides with my strict 10 a.m. hunger pang schedule.

I am following an intermittent fasting program as part of a clinical trial for people with multiple sclerosis. For the past five months, I have tried to eat only between noon and 8 p.m., and am allowed only water, tea or coffee during the remaining 16 hours.

Come July, the yellow fever vaccine could be tough to find.

So, if you're traveling this summer to a place with the disease, you probably want to schedule a trip to a clinic sooner rather than later, the Centers for Diseases for Control and Prevention tells NPR.

"Take heed of our warning: Plan ahead," says CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner. "It may be difficult to get this vaccine. And if you can't get it, then you should postpone your trip."

When Chris Ategeka was a boy of 7 in Uganda, his parents died of HIV/AIDS. And his brother, not yet 5, died of malaria.

Today he's 32. He's got a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley (where he was the commencement speaker for the college of engineering at his graduation in 2011). With his entrepreneurial spirit, he could have followed classmates to Silicon Valley.

But he didn't.

In his TED Fellows talk in Vancouver this week, he explained how his personal history set him on a different path.

Gerald Chinchar, a Navy veteran who loves TV Westerns, isn't quite at the end of his life, but the end is probably not far away. The 77-year-old's medications fill a dresser drawer, and congestive heart failure puts him at high risk of emergency room visits and long hospital stays. He fell twice last year, shattering his hip and femur, and now gets around his San Diego home in a wheelchair.

Above all, Chinchar hopes to avoid another long stint in the hospital. He still likes to go watch his grandchildren's sporting events and play blackjack at the casino.

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Because I Was Harmed

Apr 27, 2017

Unlike my fellow Americans, the news of a Detroit doctor being arrested for performing female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) did not shock me. I grew up in the same religious sect (Dawoodi Bohra) as the doctor, and twenty-seven years earlier, in 1990, before U.S. federal legislation criminalizing FGM/C existed, I too was cut.

As Republicans in Congress debate changes to the Affordable Care Act, insurance executives across the country are trying to make plans for next year.

Companies that sell policies on the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, face fast-approaching deadlines to inform states about what plans they want to sell, and what they intend to charge.

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