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5:22 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Mine Dust Rules Could Slow Production, Coal Mining Companies Say

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced new regulations reducing the amount of coal dust miners can be exposed to in underground and surface mines.

Shots - Health News
3:38 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Why Bill Gates Fights Diseases Abroad, Not At Home

By ensuring vaccines are invented and distributed, Bill Gates says, his foundation is dramatically reducing the number of childhood deaths in poor countries.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:27 am

This week in Seattle, Bill and Melinda Gates are attending a meeting of the minds.

Five-hundred of the world's top innovators in global health have gathered for the Global Health Product Development Forum, an annual event in which scientists, engineers, policymakers and activists work to develop new tools for fighting diseases.

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Shots - Health News
12:03 am
Thu April 24, 2014

FDA Moves To Regulate Increasingly Popular E-Cigarettes

A woman tries electronic cigarettes at a store in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:00 am

The Food and Drug Administration says it will formally propose regulating e-cigarettes.

Early Thursday, the agency unveiled a long-awaited rule that would give it power to oversee the increasingly popular devices, much in the way that it regulates traditional cigarettes.

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Shots - Health News
5:31 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Costly Hepatitis C Pill Shreds Drug Industry Sales Record

Sovaldi, a daily oral treatment for hepatitis C, costs $1,000 a pill.
Courtesy of Gilead Sciences

The launch of Sovaldi, the $1,000-a-day pill for hepatitis C, is shaping up as the most successful ever.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the pill in December. And then Gilead Sciences was off to the races. The company said it sold $2.27 billion worth of Sovaldi in the quarter that ended March 31. $2.27 billion!

The boffo number beat Wall Street's estimate for the quarter by more than $1 billion.

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Shots - Health News
5:14 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Why Are We Spiteful, Even Though It Bites Us Back?

Angelina Jolie plays the spiteful protagonist in an upcoming movie called "Maleficent," based on "Sleeping Beauty."
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures USA

Maybe you turn up your music when your neighbor complains about the noise.

Or maybe you curse a baby princess because you didn't get invited to her christening, as in "Sleeping Beauty" and its latest incarnation, the upcoming movie "Maleficent."

To see spite in its purest form, try brunch in New York. At the hippest restaurants, patrons will linger at their tables long after they've paid the bill, just to show those losers on the wait list who's boss – even though they're wasting their own time in the process.

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Shots - Health News
4:36 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Education May Help Insulate The Brain Against Traumatic Injury

Proust and algebra may not sound like brain protection, but higher levels of education correlate with cognitive reserve.
iStockphoto

A little education goes a long way toward ensuring you'll recover from a serious traumatic brain injury. In fact, people with lots of education are seven times more likely than high school dropouts to have no measurable disability a year later.

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Business
4:09 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Blockbuster Trades Are Changing The Face Of Pharmaceuticals

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing some sweeping changes so the past few days, some major deals have been announced. The first involving a trio of big named companies: GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Ely Lily. The second is a proposed deal between Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals and California's Allergan, the maker of Botox. That deal is valued at $45 billion. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Shots - Health News
7:43 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Dirty Money: A Microbial Jungle Thrives In Your Wallet

Even some euro bank notes may need a good scrubbing. Like dollar bills, these notes are made from cotton and they harbor an array of bacteria.
Thomas Leuthard The Preiser Project/Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:44 pm

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.

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Medical Treatments
6:37 am
Wed April 23, 2014

How Hospitals Can Reduce Disabilities For Stroke Patients

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 8:02 am

Research finds when hospitals initiate rapid response programs to treat stroke victims, response time is cut and fewer patients die. The stroke patients also have fewer significant disabilities.

Shots - Health News
4:48 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Hospitals Can Speed Stroke Treatment, But It's Not Easy

Turning the standard ambulance into a specialized stroke treatment unit could help.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:08 am

When a patient who has had a stroke enters the emergency room, it's a race against the clock.

Those who receive the clotbusting drug tPA within 60 minutes of experiencing stroke symptoms have the best chance of avoiding brain damage or death, but studies show that only 30 percent of patients eligible for treatment with the drug get it within this "golden hour."

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Shots - Health News
4:06 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

FDA Advisers Vote Against Approving New Opioid Painkiller

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 9:50 pm

A key government panel Tuesday voted unanimously against approval of a powerful opioid prescription painkiller intended to provide faster relief with fewer side effects.

At the conclusion of a hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 14-0 against recommending that the agency approve Moxduo, the first drug to combine morphine and oxycodone into one capsule.

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Your Health
12:36 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Psychological Consequences Of Calling Obesity A Disease

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'd like to thank Celeste Headlee for sitting in for me while I was away. On the program today, we are focusing on some interesting health issues that might be on your mind after a week of holiday meals and family gatherings.

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Shots - Health News
11:11 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Change Your Income, Change Your Health Insurance Plan

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:46 am

People who qualified for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act aren't necessarily locked into the plan they chose. And that can be good news for people whose income fluctuates during the year. Here's our response to the latest reader questions on coverage through the health exchanges.

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Consumer
3:29 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Powerful Narcotic Painkiller Up For FDA Approval

Morphine and oxycodone (the active ingredient in Oxycontin) are strong narcotic pain relievers on their own. Moxduo, a drug now up for FDA approval, would combine morphine and oxycodone in a single capsule.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 12:34 pm

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to decide whether to approve a powerful new prescription painkiller that's designed to relieve severe pain quickly, and with fewer side effects than other opioids.

While some pain experts say the medicine could provide a valuable alternative for some patients in intense pain, the drug (called Moxduo) is also prompting concern that it could exacerbate the epidemic of abuse of prescription painkillers and overdoses.

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Shots - Health News
8:16 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Who's Protecting Whom From Deadly Toxin?

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:06 pm

Questions are swirling around a science journal's decision last year to publish a description of a newly discovered botulinum toxin while omitting key genetic details that researchers would normally disclose.

The unusual case highlights important unresolved issues in how to balance scientific openness with the worry that biological information could potentially be misused.

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Shots - Health News
7:38 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Sharp Rise In MERS Cases May Mean The Virus Is Evolving

An Egyptian Muslim prays during a ritual in Mina, Saudi Arabia, October 2013. Some people wore masks during the hajj pilgrimage last year to protect against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
Amr Nabil AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:46 am

There's growing concern that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome may have entered a new phase in the way it's spreading in Saudi Arabia.

The country has reported a sharp uptick in MERS cases over the past week. Since the deadly respiratory virus was first detected in September 2012, a total of 244 cases have been found in Saudi Arabia. About 50 of those cases were reported in the past six days.

Neighboring United Arab Emirates has also reported a rise in cases in the past week.

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The Salt
5:10 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

UPDATE: Feds Say Powdered Liquor Not Actually Legal

Margarita in a moment's notice: A powdered version of the classic cocktail is in the works. But will the so-called Powderita tastes as good as one made with fresh lime juice?
Lee Coursey/Flickr

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 10:30 am

UPDATE at 10:29 a.m. Tuesday: The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau told CNN that its approval of Palchohol was an error. We've amended our headline and Monday's story accordingly.

We're growing accustomed to mixologist mavericks vaporizing, freezing and whipping our cocktails. So why not turn a margarita or cosmopolitan into a powder?

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Health
4:39 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Robotic Exoskeleton Helps Get Vets Back On Their Feet

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:26 pm

Several bio-tech companies are developing exoskeletons that give people superhuman abilities. These robotic suits are also doing something simpler: They're helping people who are paralyzed, including many veterans, stand up and walk. As Erin Toner of WUWM reports, the technology helps improve patients' mental and physical health, but it's far from changing their lives entirely.

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Shots - Health News
4:29 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Tennessee Bill Could Send Addicted Moms To Jail

The number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome is rising in Tennessee, and lawmakers want to try a punitive approach.
Katie Collins PA Photos/Landov

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:26 pm

Pregnant women addicted to illegal narcotics or prescription pain pills could soon be jailed in Tennessee under a bill awaiting the governor's signature. The strict proposal enjoys bipartisan support — despite objections from doctors.

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The Salt
12:41 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Hunger Games: College Athletes Make Play For Collective Bargaining

Shabazz Napier of the Connecticut Huskies speaks to the media in the locker room after defeating Kentucky in the NCAA men's championship on April 7.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:36 pm

When University of Connecticut star basketball player Shabazz Napier told reporters right after winning the NCAA Division I men's basketball national championship he sometimes went to bed hungry, you could almost hear the collective gasp from mothers around the country.

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Shots - Health News
12:41 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Lead Poisoning Nightmare In Nigeria May Be Easing

Gado Labbo holds her 5-year-old son, Yusuf, at a clinic in Dareta, Nigeria. In 2010, when Yusuf first entered the clinic, he had a blood lead level 30 times higher than the amount the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers dangerous.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:51 pm

Children in northwestern Nigeria are no longer dying by the hundreds.

That's the promising word from Mary Jean Brown, chief of the lead poisoning prevention program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Shots - Health News
3:41 am
Mon April 21, 2014

For The Children's Sake, Put Down That Smartphone

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 9:43 am

It's not just kids who are overdoing screen time. Parents are often just as guilty of spending too much time checking smartphones and e-mail — and the consequences for their children can be troubling.

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Shots - Health News
3:40 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Scribes Are Back, Helping Doctors Tackle Electronic Medical Records

Medical scribe Connie Gayton keeps the electronic records, allowing orthopedic surgeon Devesh Ramnath to focus on his patients.
Brandon Thibodeaux for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 9:43 am

Like many other doctors across the country, Dr. Devesh Ramnath, a Dallas orthopedic surgeon, recently made the switch from paper to electronic medical records. This meant he no longer had to just take notes when he was examining a patient — he also had to put those notes into the computer as a permanent record.

"I was really focused on just trying to get the information in, and not really focusing on the patient anymore," Ramnath says.

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The New And The Next
5:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

From Empty Lots To Hospitals, New Purposes For Standard Spaces

LA Open Acres

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 6:28 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Watson tells about a fake hospital that's testing out high- and low-tech gadgets for real medical discoveries. They also discuss a Los Angeles project seeking to transform vacant lots into parks.

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Health
5:09 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Heroin Recovery And Redemption Where You'd Least Expect It

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 6:28 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

What often gets lost in the new about the heroine epidemic and the rising number of fatal overdoses is how hard some addicts are trying to get clean. Karen Brown of New England Public Radio has been following one young man as he seeks not only recovery, but redemption with some unlikely help.

KAREN BROWN: Nina Rossi and Lance Rice are sipping tea at her kitchen table talking about their mutual love of good food.

LANCE RICE: Last night we had steak and a fruit salad, and I don't know what the other thing was.

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Around the Nation
1:22 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Extra Vaccination Push Underway In Ohio As Mumps Outbreak Spreads

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 1:05 pm

Health officials in Columbus, Ohio, are calling the city's mumps outbreak the biggest since the development of the mumps vaccine in the 1940s.

Columbus generally gets an average of one case of mumps a year, but since February, there have been 244 cases reported in an outbreak that began on the Ohio State University campus. Most had already been vaccinated.

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Africa
8:12 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Polio Threatens To Spread Through Central Africa

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 11:40 am

A polio outbreak in Cameroon has spread to Equatorial Guinea and threatens to move throughout Central Africa. Before the outbreak, Equatorial Guinea had been free of polio for nearly 15 years.

Shots - Health News
7:03 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Mental And Physical Toll Of Bullying Persists For Decades

The longitudinal British study checked in with 8,000 families across 40 years to trace the trajectory of a bullied child.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 6:56 pm

What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right? Well, not when it comes to bullying.

Some may still consider bullying a harmless part of growing up, but mounting evidence suggests that the adverse effects of being bullied aren't something kids can just shake off. The psychological and physical tolls, like anxiety and depression, can follow a person into early adulthood.

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Shots - Health News
8:35 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Fake Morning-After Pills Found In Peru May Hint At Bigger Problem

Fake morning-after pills are often indistinguishable from the real ones.
Rob Felt Georgia Tech

Originally published on

A survey of emergency contraceptives in Lima, Peru, turned up worrying results: More than a quarter were either counterfeit or defective.

Some of the morning-after pills tested contained too little of the active ingredient, or none at all. Other pills contained another drug altogether, researchers reported Friday in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Shots - Health News
4:41 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

One Scientist's Quest To Vanquish Epileptic Seizures

The dream of epilepsy research, says neurobiologist Ivan Soltesz, is to stop seizures by manipulating only some brain cells, not all.
Steve Zylius UC Irvine Communications

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 7:13 pm

In the early 1990s, a young brain researcher named Ivan Soltesz heard a story that would shape his career.

His adviser told him about a school for children whose epileptic seizures were so severe and frequent that they had to wear helmets to prevent head injuries. The only exception to the helmet rule was for students who received an award.

"The big deal for them is that they can take the helmet off while they're walking across the stage," Soltesz says. "And that thing struck me as just wrong."

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