Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 5:03 am
After the insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act first went live in late 2013, Lori Lomas started combing the website of Covered California on a hunt for good deals for her clients. Lomas is an agent at Feather Financial, in the Sierra Nevada mountain town of Quincy, California; she's been selling health policies in rural communities for more than 20 years.
Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:42 pm
Women who smoke while they're pregnant are more likely to have health problems, and their babies are at risk, too. But attempts to get women to stop smoking while pregnant usually fail.
When pregnant women in Scotland got paid to quit, 23 percent of them managed to stop smoking, compared with 9 percent who quit after they got counseling, support calls and free nicotine replacement therapy, according to a study published Tuesday in The BMJ.
Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:32 pm
Ask Americans if someone in their family served in the military, and the answer is probably no. After all, fewer than 1 percent of Americans serve these days.
But ask if one of their grandfathers served, and you'll likely get a different answer. Between World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam, millions of men were drafted into service — and both men and women volunteered.
GAVI is the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. At a conference in Berlin today, the nonprofit group asked for help in meeting its goals of vaccinating 300 million children in low income countries against potentially fatal diseases.
The response was extraordinary: a total of $7.5 billion pledged to cover GAVI's 2016-2020 efforts.
Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:09 pm
Carl Krawitt has watched his son, Rhett, now 6, fight leukemia for the past 4 1/2 years. For more than three of those years, Rhett has undergone round after round of chemotherapy. Last year he finished chemotherapy, and doctors say he is in remission.
Now, there's a new threat, one that the family should not have to worry about: measles.
Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 2:08 pm
For more than a year, a once-popular drug that makes cattle put on weight faster has been stuck in a kind of veterinary purgatory.
As far as the Food and Drug Administration is concerned, the drug, Zilmax, is legal to use. But large meat packers, which dominate the industry, have ostracized it after the drug was accused of making animals suffer. The drug's manufacturer, Merck, has been working on a plan to rehabilitate it. But that effort has stalled.
Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:12 pm
Insurance and the subsidies available to buy it can be confusing. Here are some answers to recent questions from people who are running into difficulties with premiums and tax credits on their marketplace plans.
Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 3:54 pm
Could a 12-step program, with its Christian roots, help addicts recover on a conservative Muslim island in the Indian Ocean?
Suleiman Mauly was desperate to find out. He'd been using heroin in his native Zanzibar since age 17. The island nation is a key stop for heroin smuggled from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Europe. An estimated 7 percent of the 1 million inhabitants are heroin addicts.
Mauly had tried to get clean a couple of times. It didn't work. Then he discovered a 12-step program in Mombasa, Kenya.
Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 11:27 am
Laws intended to protect children from abuse and neglect are not being properly enforced, and the federal government is to blame. That's according to a study by the Children's Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, which says children are suffering as a result.
The numbers are grim. Almost 680,000 children in the United States were the victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. More than 1,500 of them died.
Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 11:51 am
The Obama administration said Monday that it wants to speed up changes to Medicare so that within four years half of its traditional spending will go to doctors, hospitals and other providers that coordinate patient care.
The shift is being made to stress quality and frugality over payment by the procedure, test and visit.
Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:11 pm
Across the country, efforts to make marijuana more accessible have quickly gained traction. Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, and recreational use is also legal in four states and the District of Columbia.
Science, however, hasn't quite caught up. Largely due to its illegal status, there's been very little research done on marijuana's health effects. And researchers don't fully understand how pot affects the developing teenage brain.
This may explain the why the nation's pediatricians have changed their recommendations on marijuana and children.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 2:23 pm
"Ebola — you have to do more," roars the barrel-bellied cleric El Hadj Mamadou Saliou Camara, with his white beard and mustache, in a snow-white boubou, the traditional flowing gown of West Africa.
That's the message he delivered over the weekend to hundreds of his fellow clerics, who gathered in Kindia, the third largest city in Guinea and a major crossroads. Many of the residents still blame Westerners for bringing the virus to their country.
Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:10 pm
When Amy Seitz got pregnant with her second child last year, she knew that being 35 years old meant there was an increased chance of chromosomal disorders like Down syndrome. She wanted to be screened, and she knew just what kind of screening she wanted — a test that's so new, some women and doctors don't quite realize what they've signed up for.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 10:53 am
Nearly half of all reported sports concussions occur during a high school football game or practice. And even when injured bodies are ready to get back on the field, injured brains might not be ready to return to class.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 8:22 am
Some researchers say big data could change the way medical research is done and the way individual doctors make medical decisions. Others say it raises too many questions when it comes to medicine. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 5.)
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 5:16 pm
This is the first in a series, "Inside Alzheimer's," about the experience of being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
In 2009, 59-year-old Greg O'Brien was a successful journalist and writer living in Cape Cod. He was healthy and happy — he exercised every day, made a good living, spent time with his three children and wife.
But he had also started to notice changes in himself. He was forgetting things, and his judgment sometimes seemed to fail him. Meanwhile, his own mother was dying of Alzheimer's disease.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:48 am
Maya Weinstein is now a happy, bubbly junior at the George Washington University. But she says that two years ago, just a few weeks after she arrived on campus as a freshman, she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student.
"It was one of those 'acquaintance rape' things that people forget about, even though they are way more common," she says.
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:02 pm
Young women these days are encouraged to lean in, to want and have it all. And national polls show the idea that a woman's place is in the home has been losing traction among young people since the 1960s.
Given the option, the majority of young men and women say they would prefer to share both work and domestic duties equally with their spouses, according to a study published in the February issue of the American Sociological Review.
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 1:19 pm
Each year for the past six years, Bill and Melinda Gates have written a letter about how their foundation is trying to make the world a better place, how they're trying to improve health and education and end poverty. Their 2015 letter was published Wednesday on the foundation's blog. (Note: The Gates Foundation is a supporter of NPR.)
Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 7:12 pm
Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET on Jan. 23.
Two former World Wrestling Entertainment fighters are suing the company, alleging that it ignored signs of brain damage and injuries.
The lawsuit, dated Jan. 16, was filed by Vito "Big Vito" LoGrasso and Evan Singleton, who wrestled under the name "Adam Mercer."
The suit alleges that LoGrasso has sustained serious neurological damage as a result of wrestling. He says he has headaches, memory loss, depression and hearing impairment. Singleton also says he has tremors, convulsions and migraines.
Seven years ago, Carmen Guadalupe Vasquez Aldana went to jail in El Salvador. She was initially charged with abortion but prosecutors elevated the charge to aggravated homicide, arguing that the fetus was viable. Vasquez always contended that she did not have an abortion but had lost her unborn son due to medical complications late in the pregnancy.
Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 8:32 pm
House Republicans decided Wednesday night to shelve a bill that would have banned abortion at 20 weeks post-conception. But 10 states already ban abortions at 20 weeks and two others are defending such laws in court.
Activists are pushing for bans in at least three more states; a panel in the South Carolina Legislature passed one Thursday.
But under the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, a woman has the right to an abortion for several weeks after that, until the point when the fetus is considered viable.