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.
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.
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.
Hand-Pumped Anesthesia Could Help With Surgeries In The Dark
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:17 pm
Listen To The Full Audio Of The Debate
Listen To The Broadcast Version Of The Debate
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."