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Barbecued pork or fried chicken served with a heaping side of mac and cheese or creamy potato salad, sweet tea and peach cobbler — these Southern classics, loaded with as much history as flavor, have become comfort foods for Americans from all over.

Everything seemed okay when Elizabeth Coleman went to bed on Sunday, September 16. After evacuating three days prior to escape Hurricane Florence, her family of four and parents-in-law had just returned to their one-level, two-bedroom ranch home on Crusoe Island Road in Whiteville, N.C. It was, thankfully, undamaged.

The family had gone home after evacuating because they believed that the storm had passed and they had heard that the floodwater was receding. They thought it would be safe to return.

By 5 a.m., something was wrong.

In some parts of the country people are learning their drinking water contains pollution from a group of chemicals called Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). These chemicals have been linked to illnesses, including cancer. But a lot of questions remain including how exactly they affect people's health and in what doses.

These chemicals have been around for decades but the issue gained urgency in recent years as water suppliers tested for and found PFAS pollution as part of an Environmental Protection Agency program.

Marilyn Bartlett took a deep breath, drew herself up to her full 5 feet and a smidge, and told the assembled handful of Montana officials that she had a radical strategy to bail out the state's foundering benefit plan for its 30,000 employees and their families.

The officials were listening. Their health plan was going broke, with losses that could top $50 million in just a few years. It needed a savior, but none of the applicants to be its new administrator had wowed them.

Now here was a self-described pushy 64-year-old grandmother interviewing for the job.

For Shiva Ghaed, the outdoor Route 91 Harvest country music festival one year ago was to be the capstone of a fun girlfriends' weekend in Las Vegas. But it became a struggle for survival when automatic weapons fire on the crowd began killing concertgoers.

In the days after the shooting, Ghaed, a clinical psychologist whose work includes treating veterans with PTSD, realized there were few services available for survivors dealing with the trauma of a mass shooting. So one week after the shooting, she began leading a support group for survivors.

India has 1.3 billion people, and no equivalent of the Social Security number. About 4 in 10 births go unregistered. Less than 2 percent of the population pays income tax.

Many more are eligible for welfare benefits but may never have collected them, either because they can't figure out how or a middleman stole their share.

Three Orlando police officers shot dead an emergency room patient who they say was claiming to have a firearm. They later learned the man was unarmed.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters that officers responded to reports of an issue in the ER at Orlando Regional Medical Center at about 6 a.m. Monday.

The white male, who Mina said was approximately 35 years old, came to the hospital that morning for an unspecified medical issue.

A large study has produced strong evidence that a drug commonly used to treat the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis could safely prevent fractures in elderly women who have bones that aren't as weak.

If you're looking for cheaper health insurance, a whole host of new options will hit the market starting Tuesday.

But buyer beware!

If you get sick, the new plans – known as short-term, limited duration insurance — may not pay for the medical care you need.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 2:45 p.m. to include more information.

James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo will be awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries which led to the development of a revolution in cancer treatment — therapies that work by harnessing the body's own immune system.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (ph) will be given to two scientists whose discoveries have led to a revolution in cancer treatment.

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James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo have won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of cancer therapy that works by harnessing the body's own immune system.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the flu shot.

But following a winter in which more than 80,000 people died from flu-related illnesses in the U.S. — the highest death toll in more than 40 years — infectious disease experts are ramping up efforts to get the word out.

Sign up for the CommonHealth newsletter to receive a weekly digest of WBUR's best health, medicine and science coverage.

Let's say you're one of the 6.5 million Americans with heart failure.

Boys And Masculinity In America

Sep 29, 2018

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

In Thursday's testimony at Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, Christine Blasey Ford alleged Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party in 1982, when she was 15 years old and he was 17.

Kavanaugh staunchly denied these allegations.

But memory is fallible. A question on many people's minds is, how well can anyone recall something that happened over 35 years ago?

Pretty well, say scientists, if the memory is of a traumatic event. That's because of the key role emotions play in making and storing memories.

David Herzberg was alarmed when he heard that Richard Sackler, former chairman of opioid giant Purdue Pharma, was listed as an inventor on a new patent for an opioid addiction treatment.

In the past few years, consumer advocacy groups have pressed restaurant chains to offer healthier kids' meals and more nutritious side options like milk and fruit, and the restaurants have responded.

Maybe the short answer is: We need a better imagination?

The global health world hasn't set its goals high enough, hasn't dreamed big enough when it comes to stopping tuberculosis, says Dr. Paul Farmer, physician at Harvard Medical School and founder of the nonprofit Partners In Health.

"We've had a failure of imagination," he says. "We haven't had the same optimism, commitment and high ambitious goals around TB that we've seen around HIV. And what's the downside of setting high goals? I think it's very limited."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This week, in New York City for the first time, the United Nations General Assembly is hosting a high-level meeting on tuberculosis, or TB.

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On Wednesday, as part of the United Nation's annual General Assembly in New York, world leaders are convening for the first ever high-level meeting dedicated to fighting tuberculosis, and Nandita Venkatesan got the chance to share her story as a survivor in the opening session.

"It's humbling," Venkatesan says of her inclusion in the program. "Not long ago I was just a girl lying in bed with a hopeless future. I never thought I'd get out of bed, let alone fly to New York."

Air ambulance rides can be lifesavers. But how much should they cost?

In the ongoing, crowdsourced "Bill of the Month" investigation, NPR and Kaiser Health News have received more than a dozen bills from people around the country on the hook for medevac helicopter rides that ranged from $28,000 to $97,000.

What gives? Why should a lifesaving flight come with a life-altering bill?

At the direction of Congress, Medicare is easing up on its annual readmissions penalties for hundreds of hospitals serving large populations of low-income patients, records released last week show.

In June, M., a 28-year-old woman jumped from the second floor of her home in Madurai, India — 20 feet above a rocky, tar road — after a bitter argument with her husband. He had accused her of having an affair.

It was the first — and only — time Dr. Naveed Khan, a 35-year-old radiologist, ever rode in an all-terrain vehicle.

Khan took the wheel from his friend and drove circles in the sand, on a trail along the Red River in Texas.

"As soon as I turned to the side where my body weight was, this two-seater vehicle ... just tilted toward the side and toppled," Khan recalled. It landed on his left arm.

A scientist in Australia has come up with an insecticide-free way to control a particularly pesky species of mosquito.

The approach involves two things: deploying a decidedly low-tech mosquito trap called a GAT and getting to know your neighbors.

GAT stands for Gravid Aedes Trap. Aedes is short for Aedes albopictus, known colloquially as the Asian tiger mosquito, which bites aggressively night and day.

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that a controversial new kind of genetic engineering can rapidly spread a self-destructive genetic modification through a complex species.

NPR is looking at when and why obstetricians and gynecologists put their patients on bed rest. If you've been pregnant in the past year and were advised to stay on bed rest, we would like to hear from you.

A reporter may reach out to you to follow up on your response. Share your thoughts with us below.

The empty field behind Mahlodumela primary school in Chebeng village doesn't look like much. It's an anonymous stretch of scrubby grass, punctuated by a lonely metal goal post.

But what happened in this field in 2014 sparked a debate in South Africa that is still simmering today. That January, Michael Komape, a 5-year-old student who had just started school three days earlier, wandered out to the field to use the school toilet.

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