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Goats and Soda
6:49 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

In Sierra Leone, A Lockdown ... Or A Time To Reflect?

A woman washes clothes in a slum in Freetown.
Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

Starting just after midnight, residents of Sierra Leone will be confined to their homes for a three-day lockdown.

It's the latest government plan meant to stem the tide of Ebola cases, which exceeded 1,500 last week in Sierra Leone.

But the plan has not won the support of the international medical community — and is causing concern among Sierra Leoneans as well.

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Goats and Soda
6:05 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

A Frightening Curve: How Fast Is The Ebola Outbreak Growing?

Source: Columbia Prediction of Infectious Diseases, World Health Organization Credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 10:28 pm

In the past week, world leaders have started using a mathematical term when they talk about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

"It's spreading and growing exponentially," President Obama said Tuesday. "This is a disease outbreak that is advancing in an exponential fashion," said Dr. David Nabarro, who is heading the U.N.'s effort against Ebola.

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The Salt
4:33 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Sweet: Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme Pump Up Pledge On Palm Oil

Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts have pledged to source palm oil from suppliers who are not clear-cutting rain forests.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:57 pm

Environmentalists say two major doughnut chains got a little sweeter this week.

Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Brands have both made new commitments to source palm oil for frying their goodies from suppliers who are not clear-cutting forests.

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Shots - Health News
4:27 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Why Do You Care About Fairness? Ask A Chimp

What do you mean you got a grape? I only got a carrot!
iStockphoto

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Goats and Soda
12:07 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Some Airports Have A New Security Routine: Taking Your Temperature

A health official uses a handheld infrared thermometer on a passenger arriving at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Nigeria.
Sunday Alamba AP

Airports in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are relying on a familiar tool to stop the spread of Ebola: the thermometer.

Airport staff are measuring the temperature of anyone trying to leave the country, looking for "unexplained febrile illness," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is advising these countries on their exit screening processes.

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Shots - Health News
11:53 am
Thu September 18, 2014

San Francisco Politician Goes Public With His Choice To Take Anti-HIV Drug

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener (left) says he started taking a drug to prevent HIV infection earlier this year.
Lisa Aliferis/KQED

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 12:39 pm

In an effort to combat stigma that has arisen around a treatment that prevents HIV, a San Francisco elected official announced publicly Wednesday that he is taking the medicine.

City Supervisor Scott Wiener said he is taking Truvada, a drug that dramatically reduces the risk of HIV infection. He appears to be the first public official to make such an announcement.

Wiener wrote about his experience for The Huffington Post:

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Shots - Health News
5:26 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Europe's Family Tree Gets A New Branch

This skull, from the Swedish archaeological site called Motala, is thought to have come from a hunter-gatherer who died there about 8,000 years ago.
Anna Arnberg

For those who eagerly trace their genetic lineage or subscribe online to find their earliest ancestors, there's a new group to consider adding to the furthest reaches of your list. A previously unrecognized population of ancient north Eurasians may be a major third braid in the genetic twist that gave rise to most modern Europeans and their kin.

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The Salt
5:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And Raise The Risk Of Diabetes

Should we drink diet soda or not? The latest study doesn't really clear things up.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 5:29 am

The debate over whether diet sodas are good, bad or just OK for us never seems to end.

Some research suggests zero-calorie drinks can help people cut calories and fend off weight gain.

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Goats and Soda
5:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

The Insights Of An Ebola Doctor Who Became A Patient

Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife, Amber, leave a news conference after his release from Emory University Hospital on Aug. 21.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:19 pm

He had cared for Ebola patients. He himself caught the virus. Only then, said Dr. Kent Brantly, did he fully grasp the awful nature of this disease.

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Shots - Health News
3:13 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Kids' Perception Of Parents' Favoritism Counts More Than Reality

If a child feels like the odd person out, it could mean more problems in the teenage years, psychologists say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 3:37 pm

We all know which kid Mom and Dad liked best, and odds are you're thinking it's not you.

But does that really make a difference? It can, researchers say, but not always the way you might think.

Less-favored children are more likely to be using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as teenagers, according to researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

But what matters is not how the parents actually treat the children, but how the kids perceive it.

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Goats and Soda
1:40 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Who's Giving What: Nonprofits Step Up Anti-Ebola Efforts

Direct Relief has been shipping medical supplies to West Africa.
Courtesy of Direct Relief

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 3:44 pm

"Charities and individual philanthropies have given generously and they can make a big difference," President Obama emphasized yesterday during his announcement of U.S. plans for addressing Ebola.

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Shots - Health News
1:01 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Colorado Tries Hard To Convince Teens That Pot Is Bad For You

This human-scale lab rat cage is parked near a skate park in Denver, Colo., to make a point about the lack of science on marijuana.
Richard Feldman Studio/Sukle Advertising and Design

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:16 pm

Colorado's new campaign to deter teen marijuana use tries to make the case that weed is bad for your brain.

One TV ad shows a group of teens lighting up inside a dark car as moody music plays in the background. The commercial cites a Duke University study that found a link between regular marijuana use and a lower IQ.

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Shots - Health News
12:08 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

How Catholic Insurance Companies Outsource Contraceptive Coverage

Contraceptive coverage has long been required by state laws or sought by nonreligious employers the religious health plans serve.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 8:03 am

Catholic and other religious hospitals and universities have been arguing in federal court for much of the past two years that they shouldn't have to offer or facilitate birth control as part of their employee health plans because it violates their religious beliefs.

But what happens when the insurance company is itself Catholic? It turns out that Catholic health plans have for years been arranging for outside firms to provide contraceptive coverage to their enrollees.

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Goats and Soda
4:15 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Will Obama's Plan Bring The Ebola Outbreak Under Control?

President Obama meets with Emory University doctors and health care workers during his visit Tuesday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 7:50 pm

It is the biggest anti-Ebola effort yet.

After months of calls by aid workers for the global community to do something about the escalating crisis, President Obama has announced plans for a massive international intervention.

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Consumer
4:11 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Top Scientists Suggest A Few Fixes For Medical Funding Crisis

Dr. Harold Varmus, a Nobel Prize winner, cancer biologist and director of the National Cancer Institute.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 8:02 am

Many U.S. scientists had hoped to ride out the steady decline in federal funding for biomedical research, but it's continuing on a downward trend with no end in sight. So leaders of the science establishment are now trying to figure out how to fix this broken system.

It's a familiar problem. Biomedical science has a long history of funding ups and downs, and, in the past, the system has always righted itself with the passage of time and plumper budgets.

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Goats and Soda
5:32 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Dr. Kent Brantly: Ebola Survivor Gives Testimony On The Hill

Dr. Kent Brantly was medical director at Monrovia's only Ebola treatment center when he fell ill with the disease in July. He survived after being evacuated and treated in the United States.
Courtesy of Samaritan's Purse

Dr. Kent Brantly, a U.S. medical missionary who contracted Ebola in July while working as a doctor in Liberia and survived the deadly disease after treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, appeared at a joint Senate hearing today examining the Ebola outbreak.

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Goats and Soda
5:13 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

More Birthdays For Kids Under 5 Around The World

Jung Ha-yoon, 2, and other children in Seoul, South Korea, enjoy playing around (and in) ceramic jars. The country's infant mortality rate dropped 91 percent between 1972 and 2012.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 8:12 pm

In 2013, 6.3 million children under the age of 5 died. That's a tragic statistic — yet it represents a 49 percent drop from 1990, according to data released Tuesday by the United Nations.

Dr. Mickey Chopra, the head of UNICEF's global health programs, spoke with us about the encouraging trend — and what still needs to be done in parts of the world where children's lives are threatened by unsanitary water, disease and malnutrition.

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Shots - Health News
4:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Breast Cancer Patients Seek More Control Over Research Agenda

Coalitions of patient advocates now help steer research funding toward particular projects.
Lilli Carré for NPR

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:08 pm

The federal government has poured more than $3 billion into breast cancer research over the past couple of decades, but the results have been disappointing. The disease remains a stubborn killer of women.

So the National Breast Cancer Coalition is trying something bold: The advocacy group has decided that it's not simply going to lobby for more research dollars. Instead, its leaders are sitting down at the table with scientists studying the disease and telling them how they'd like that money to be spent.

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Global Health
4:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

U.S. To Send 3,000 Troops To West Africa To Aid In Ebola Epidemic

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:33 pm

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

Global Health
4:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Ebola Outbreak Presents Special Challenges For U.S. Military

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:33 pm

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

Global Health
4:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

American Doctor In Libera Calls U.S. Ebola Response Plan 'Outstanding'

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:33 pm

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

The Two-Way
4:21 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Obama Gives New Details On America's Effort To Fight Ebola

President Obama spoke Tuesday about the U.S. plan to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, speaking at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The White House plan reportedly includes deploying 3,000 U.S. military personnel and training health care providers in Liberia.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:51 pm

President Obama announced details of his plan Tuesday to help contain the Ebola outbreak that has caused more than 2,400 deaths in West Africa. The strategy reportedly includes sending up to 3,000 military personnel to the region.

Obama spoke at the Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday afternoon.

Update at 4:18 p.m. ET: 'It Doesn't Have To Be This Way'

The president describes "a major increase in our response." Some details:

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Shots - Health News
4:05 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Americans' Waistlines Are Expanding, And That's Not Good Fat

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:31 pm

If your belt needs to be let out a notch, you're not alone. The average American waistline is growing even though obesity rates haven't grown. And excess abdominal fat increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

The collective American waistline grew by more than an inch from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Goats and Soda
3:12 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Which Contagious Diseases Are The Deadliest?

Do you know what the deadliest disease is? Hint: It's not Ebola (viral particles seen here in a digitally colorized microscopic image, at top right, along with similar depictions of other contagious diseases)
NPR Composite CDC

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 4:47 pm

No one knows what the death toll in the Ebola epidemic will be. As of Tuesday, nearly 2,500 people have died and nearly 5,000 have caught the virus, the World Health Organization says.

So how does this epidemic compare with the toll taken by other contagious diseases?

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Shots - Health News
12:20 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Farewell, Heating Pad: Physical Therapists Say It Doesn't Help

The physical therapist will advise, but you're going to have to do the work.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 8:56 am

I have fond memories of listening to NPR while lounging at the physical therapist's with a heating pad on my shoulder. Don't do that, the nation's physical therapists' association says.

Heat therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and other "passive physical agents" almost never help, according to a list released Monday by the Choosing Wisely campaign. Instead, they siphon time and money away from what you really want from a physical therapist — an exercise program that will restore strength and mobility.

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Shots - Health News
11:20 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Health Law Tempers States' Insurance Mandates

Is that health service covered?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 3:05 pm

For decades, states have set rules for health coverage through mandates. These laws require insurers to cover specific types of medical care or services.

The Affordable Care Act aims to curb this piecemeal approach to coverage by establishing minimum standards for insurance coverage in individual and small group plans nationwide and requiring states to pay for mandates that go beyond them.

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Goats and Soda
3:42 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Hiccups Were The Clue That Led Researchers To Ebola

Red Cross health workers wearing protective suits in Conakry, Guinea, on Sunday.
Cellou Binani AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 10:05 am

The Ebola virus had been circulating in Guinea for roughly three months before doctors and international aid organizations finally detected it.

It was hiccups that eventually gave it away, journalist Jeffrey Stern wrote in Vanity Fair this weekend.

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Shots - Health News
3:38 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Too Few University Jobs For America's Young Scientists

Victoria Ruiz (left), a postdoctoral fellow in immunology, works with Brianna Delgado, a high school student that she mentors, at the Blaser Lab, inside NYU's Langone Medical Center in New York, NY.
Ramsay de Give for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 4:23 pm

Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That's, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research.

In the United States, more than 40,000 temporary employees known as postdoctoral research fellows are doing science at a bargain price. And most postdocs are being trained for jobs that don't actually exist.

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Goats and Soda
1:36 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Obama To Announce Buildup In U.S. Efforts To Fight Ebola

Workers unload medical supplies to fight the Ebola epidemic from a USAID cargo flight in Harbel, Liberia, in August.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 9:43 am

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is already the deadliest on record, having killed more than 2,400 people. Health experts warn it could get much worse, if the spread of the disease isn't contained quickly.

That alarm has President Obama meeting today with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Obama is expected to announce a major buildup in U.S. efforts to address the threat of Ebola.

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Goats and Soda
5:28 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

What Obama Should Say And Do About Ebola

A health worker speaks with families in a classroom now used as Ebola isolation ward in Monrovia, Liberia. Ebola-stricken West Africa needs more health staff and more medical facilities.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 5:55 pm

Tomorrow, President Obama is scheduled to announce a new U.S. plan to help stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

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