NPR News

Pages

Shots - Health News
3:40 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Upfront Costs Of Going Digital Overwhelm Some Doctors

Dr. Oliver Korshin says he's just a few years from retirement, and can't afford the flurry of technology upgrades the federal government expects him to make.
Annie Feidt Alaska Public Media

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 5:16 am

Dr. Oliver Korshin practices ophthalmology three days a week in the same small office in east Anchorage he's had for three decades. Many of his patients have aged into their Medicare years right along with him.

For his tiny practice, which employs just one part-time nurse, putting all his patients' medical records in an online database just doesn't make sense, Korshin says. It would cost too much to install and maintain — especially considering that he expects to retire in just a few years.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:38 am
Mon November 24, 2014

An African Village Inspires A Health Care Experiment In New York

Norma Melendez, a community health worker with City Health Works, walks along 2nd Avenue on her way to meet a client. City Health Works is an organization that is attempting to bring an African model of health care delivery to the United States.
Bryan Thomas for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 5:16 am

There's a project in the neighborhood of Harlem in New York that has a through-the-looking glass quality. An organization called City Health Works is trying to bring an African model of health care delivery to the United States. Usually it works the other way round.

If City Health Works' approach is successful, it could help change the way chronic diseases are managed in poverty-stricken communities, where people suffer disproportionately from HIV/AIDS, obesity and diabetes.

Read more
Global Health
6:25 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Ebola Gatekeeper: 'When The Tears Stop, You Continue The Work'

Wencke Petersen, a Doctors Without Borders health worker, talks to a man through a chain link gate in September, when she was doing patient assessment at the front gate of an Ebola treatment unit. "There were days we couldn't take any patients at all," she tells NPR.
Michel du Cille The Washington Post

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 9:53 pm

Wencke Petersen came to Liberia in late August to do what she normally does for Doctors Without Borders in hotspots all over the world — manage supplies.

But the supplies she was meant to organize hadn't arrived yet. So she was asked to help with another job: standing at the main gate of the walled-in compound, turning people away when the unit was full.

For five weeks, she gave people the bad news.

Read more
Health
5:11 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Countering The 8-Hour Sleep Schedule

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 6:23 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Global Health
5:11 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Ebola: Then And Now

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 6:23 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Goats and Soda
7:03 am
Sun November 23, 2014

Anesthesia Miracle: No Power, No Oxygen Tanks, No Problem

A nurse anesthetist practices using the Universal Anesthesia Machine on an uncomplaining patient.
John Sampson/JHMI

Waking up during a surgery would be a nightmare, yet that's a regular problem for patients in low-income countries. Sketchy power grids mean the lights often go out, and with them, the anesthesia machine. In other cases, there are too few oxygen tanks for a surgery, so it's canceled.

Read more
Shots - Health News
5:52 am
Sun November 23, 2014

What Microbes Lurked In The Last Public Restroom You Used?

Even cleaning a bathroom daily didn't much affect the make-up of the community of microbes living there, scientists say.
Claire Eggers NPR

The invisible world of the bathroom isn't pretty — unless you're a microbe. After scanning the microbial zoo of four public restrooms recently, a team of researchers found a diverse swarm of characters that persisted for months despite regular cleaning of the facilities.

Read more
Goats and Soda
5:33 am
Sat November 22, 2014

You Might Be Surprised When You Take Your Temperature

Temperatures are taken two ways at Casablanca's airport: with an infrared body scanner (left) and a handheld thermometer (right).
Abdeljalil Bounhar AP

What's your temperature?

That's the question of the hour. The Ebola virus has made taking your temperature part of everyday conversation. People in West Africa are doing it. People returning from the region are doing it. And so are the overly paranoid in the United States.

For anyone who's been exposed to the virus, a body temperatures of 100.4 or higher has been deemed the point of concern. The goal, of course, is that magic number: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Except 98.6 degrees isn't so magical after all. In fact, that might not be your normal temperature.

Read more
Goats and Soda
9:26 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Plague Outbreak In Madagascar Spreads To Its Capital

Rats are a common sight along the streets of Antananarivo, where trash can go weeks, even months, without being collected.
Mike Rajaonarison Xinhua /Landov

An outbreak of the plague has sickened at least 119 people and killed 40 in Madagascar, the World Health Organization reports Friday.

The outbreak started back in August in a rural village, WHO said. Then it spread to seven of Madagascar's 22 regions. Two cases have occurred in the country's capital of Antananarivo.

"There is now a risk of a rapid spread of the disease due to the city's high population density and the weakness of the health care system," the WHO writes.

Read more
Health Care
5:02 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Georgia's 'Coverage Gap' Leaves Many Uninsured

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 6:36 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Goats and Soda
4:49 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

An Ebola Clinic Figures Out A Way To Start Beating The Odds

Dr. Komba Songu M'Briwah, left, talks on the phone while staff members disinfect offices at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center in Freetown.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 8:22 pm

One reason the Ebola virus is so terrifying is that it's so lethal. Researchers estimate that the strain circulating in West Africa is killing upward of 70 percent of those it infects. Even among those getting care, as many as 64 percent are dying.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:14 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

To Stay Energy Efficient As You Age, Keep On Running

People use energy less efficiently as they age. Running seems to help prevent that slowdown.
iStockphoto

Walking is a simple thing that becomes really, really important as we age. Being able to get around on our feet for extended periods of time not only makes everyday life easier, it's linked to fewer hospitalizations and greater longevity. As we get older, though, the body takes about 15 to 20 percent more energy to cover the same terrain.

Read more
Shots - Health News
12:06 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

In The Hospital, There's No Such Thing As A Lesbian Knee

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 7:49 am

When my partner Cheryl was dying from respiratory complications related to treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, she was in so much physical distress she couldn't bear to be touched.

The only contact she could stand — one of the few ways I could share my love with her — was for me to rub her feet. As I stood at the foot of her hospital bed doing just that, a scrub-clad figure we had never seen before poked her head in the door, curled her lip and demanded: "What is your relationship?"

Read more
Shots - Health News
10:13 am
Fri November 21, 2014

The 2 Things That Rarely Happen After A Medical Mistake

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 7:50 am

Patients who suffer injuries, infections or mistakes during medical care rarely get an acknowledgment or apology, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report.

Their study was based on responses of 236 patients who completed ProPublica's Patient Harm Questionnaire during the one-year period ending in May 2013 and who agreed to share their data.

Read more
TED Radio Hour
9:21 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Why Do We Undervalue Introverts?

"What I'm saying is that culturally we need a much better balance. We need more of a yin and yang between [introverts and extroverts]." - Susan Cain
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Quiet.

About Susan Cain's TED Talk

In a culture where being social and outgoing are celebrated, it can be difficult to be an introvert. Susan Cain argues introverts bring extraordinary talents to the world, and should be celebrated.

About Susan Cain

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:19 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Blind From Birth, But Able To Use Sound To 'See' Faces

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 3:29 pm

A brain area that recognizes faces remains functional even in people who have been blind since birth, researchers say. The finding, presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting this week, suggests that facial recognition is so important that evolution has hardwired it into the human brain.

Read more
The Salt
6:41 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Moderate Drinker Or Alcoholic? Many Americans Fall In Between

A lot of us make the assumption that there are two kinds of drinkers: moderate drinkers who have a glass of wine with dinner, and on the other end of the spectrum, alcoholics.

But this is not an accurate picture, according to researchers.

Read more
Goats and Soda
5:30 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

The Whole World Is Fat! And That Ends Up Costing $2 Trillion A Year

This Chinese teenager weighs 353 pounds. At a "slimming center" in China's central Hubei province, he's exercising and undergoing acupuncture to lose weight.
Color China AP

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 8:09 pm

Obesity used to be an issue primarily in well-off countries. It was one of those things flippantly dismissed as a "first-world problem." Now people are packing on the pounds all over the planet. In some fast-growing cities in China, for example, half the people are now overweight.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:51 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

White House Acknowledges Over-Counting Obamacare Signups

The White House acknowledged today that it overreported the number of signups under the Affordable Care Act by nearly 400,000 people.

Some people with separate medical and dental plans were counted twice, leading the administration to state erroneously that more than 7 million had enrolled in coverage under ACA, instead of the correct figure of about 6.7 million.

Read more
Intelligence Squared U.S.
4:49 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Debate: Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?

Bioethicist Peter Singer argues that, under certain circumstances, people should have the right to die at a time of their choosing.
Samuel La Hoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:17 pm

Since Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill in 1997, more than 700 people have taken their lives with prescribed medication — including Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with an incurable brain tumor, who ended her life earlier this month.

Read more
Shots - Health News
3:51 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

What Diabetes Costs You, Even If You Don't Have The Disease

The costs of diabetes aren't all as obvious as an insulin pump.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 2:04 pm

Diabetes is an expensive disease to treat, costing the United States $244 billion in 2012, according to an analysis of the disease's economic burden.

When the loss of productivity due to illness and disability is added in, the bill comes to $322 billion, or $1,000 a year for each American, including those without diabetes. That's 48 percent higher than the same benchmark in 2007; not a healthy trend.

The increase is being driven by a growing and aging population, the report finds, as well as more common risk factors like obesity, and higher medical costs.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:59 am
Thu November 20, 2014

How Well Do Your Apps Protect Your Privacy?

Google Maps scored an A on PrivacyGrade.org.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 8:21 am

When you open up your Skype app to make a call, it's probably no surprise that it's accessing your phone's call history. But would you expect your Nike+ Running app to collect that information too?

If you're like most people, the answer is no.

That's why the Nike+ Running app gets a B on PrivacyGrade, a site for people to figure out what information their apps might be collecting. Right now it only looks at Android apps, but the site already lists hundreds of them from Google Maps to Instagram to WebMD.

Read more
The Salt
11:36 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Soda Companies Step Up Their Marketing To Black And Latino Kids

Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:06 pm

While beverage companies have cut their marketing of unhealthy drinks to children on TV and websites overall, they have ramped up marketing to black and Latino kids and teens, who have higher rates of obesity than white youth, a study finds.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:25 am
Thu November 20, 2014

A Worry In Theory, Medical Data Privacy Draws A Yawn In Practice

How concerned are people about the privacy of their medical information? The NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll found worries were low.
NPR

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 2:01 pm

When it comes to health records, how concerned are Americans about what happens to their personal information?

We asked in the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll. And, in a bit of surprise to me, the responses showed that, in general, worries don't run very high.

First, we learned that nearly three-quarters of people see doctors who use electronic medical records. So the chances are good that your medical information is being kept digitally and that it can be served up to lots of people inside your doctor's office and elsewhere.

Read more
Goats and Soda
10:42 am
Thu November 20, 2014

An NPR Photographer Looks Ebola In The Eye

Baby Sesay, a traditional healer in Sierra Leone, treated a child who later died, apparently of Ebola, and then became sick herself and went to a care center. As this photo was taken, her body seized up and she nearly collapsed.
David P Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 1:06 pm

Her eyes met the camera. She was there. And yet she wasn't there.

That's how NPR photographer David Gilkey remembers the moment last Saturday when he took a picture of Baby Sesay, a 45-year-old traditional healer in the village of Royail in Sierra Leone.

Sesay had tried to cure a sick little boy. The boy died, likely of Ebola. Then Sesay herself fell ill. She had come to a community care center a few hours earlier, walking in under her own power, to be tested for the virus.

Read more
Shots - Health News
9:56 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Sleep's Link To Learning And Memory Traced To Brain Chemistry

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:23 pm

Almost a century after the discovery that sleep helps us remember things, scientists are beginning to understand why.

During sleep, the brain produces chemicals that are important to memory and relives events we want to remember, scientists reported this week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington D.C.

Read more
Shots - Health News
4:09 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Gilead Buys Shortcut For FDA Drug Review For $125 Million

Drew Kilb/Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 1:41 pm

How much is a fast track for the Food and Drug Administration review of a new drug worth? Try $125 million.

In an auction, Gilead Sciences, a maker of HIV and hepatitis medicines, just bought a coupon good for the accelerated review of a drug of the company's choice from Knight Therapeutics, a Canadian company.

The priority review voucher entitles Gilead to move a drug of its choice through the FDA four months faster than the normal track.

Read more
Goats and Soda
2:29 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Me, Myself And The Loo: A Woman's Future Can Rest On A Toilet

"Parents enroll their kids here because of our child-friendly toilets," says Eunice, the co-founder of a Kenyan school with latrines designed specially for kids.
Frederic Courbet WSUP/Panos

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 2:49 pm

What does it mean to have a toilet?

We in the West don't spend much time pondering that question (on or off the toilet).

"It's something that's always in the background that keeps everything else moving," says Sam Drabble of Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), a London-based nonprofit. "It allows us to live very busy lives, and it's not something we ever need to think about."

Read more
Goats and Soda
11:53 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Toilets 'R' Him: Jack Sim Wants A Potty In Every Pad

Jack Sim, the founder of World Toilet Day, travels the world promoting access to safe and clean toilets.
John Poole/Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 1:02 pm

Jack Sim's career is in the toilet — literally.

The 57-year-old Singaporean made his fortune in the construction industry when he was in his 40s. And he wanted to make a meaningful contribution to the world.

Sim tried his hand at saving historic buildings and answering phone calls from people in distress, but neither felt right. "I was looking for something that was neglected and able to serve large number of people," he says.

Read more
Shots - Health News
11:52 am
Wed November 19, 2014

You Can Monitor Your Baby's Vital Signs 24/7, But Should You?

The Owlet, which is not yet on the market, is designed to measure a baby's heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
Courtesy of Owlet Care

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:23 pm

I'm sure I'm not the only parent who has hovered over a newborn's crib, wondering, "Is she breathing?" Tech companies are now offering to help parents manage that anxiety with devices that monitor a baby's vital signs and beam them to a smartphone.

But that might not be such a good idea, according to Dr. David King, a pediatric researcher at the University of Sheffield. He first heard baby vital signs monitors being discussed on the radio, and "I suspected there wasn't much evidence behind it, because I knew cardiovascular monitoring wasn't recommended in SIDS."

Read more

Pages