NPR Health

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Dying Well.

About Emily Levine's TED Talk

Writer Emily Levine has stage IV lung cancer. But instead of fearing the inevitable, she decided to embrace her new reality, and face death with humor and gratitude for a life well-lived.

About Emily Levine

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Dying Well.

About Michelle Knox's TED Talk

How can we better cope with grief? After observing funerals around the world, banker and travel blogger Michelle Knox suggests we talk about death with our loved ones — especially when we're healthy.

About Michelle Knox

Michelle Knox works in Finance Transformation for Westpac Banking Corporation in Sydney Australia.

Do you think that the private thoughts in your head could influence how other people — or creatures — act? The answer is "Of course not," right? Because to say yes would be to admit you believe in mind control or telekinesis or some other phenomenon usually reserved for superhero comic books.

I can feel the warmth from the wood-burning oven just over my shoulder and catch myself intermittently gazing off into a heat-induced trance from the blaze.

Despite the place feeling crowded (probably another reason for the heat), it's eerily quiet inside: My table of five occasionally lowers our voices as if we were in the library. But a library this is not: Mozzeria is one of the most talked-about pizzerias in the heart of a vibrant San Francisco neighborhood, where wait times on Saturday nights can extend as long as two hours.

Sometimes IV bags are hard for hospitals to come by. Other times it's injectable folic acid to treat anemias. Right now, the tissue-numbing agent lidocaine is in short supply.

Shortages of commonplace generic drugs have plagued hospitals in recent years. And with short supplies and fewer suppliers for key drugs, there have been price increases.

Here's a bold idea to fight back against bacteria that can't be stopped by antibiotics: Go after them with germ-eating microbes. That reasoning lies behind an intriguing line of research that might also be put to use in the event of a germ-warfare attack.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

To talk more about what this lawsuit could mean for health care, we turn to Julie Rovner, chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News. Good to see you, Julie.

JULIE ROVNER: Nice to see you, Ari.

Copyright 2018 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

What Kills 5 Million People A Year? It's Not Just Disease

Sep 5, 2018

In the global health world, giving people access to health care — even if they're just basic services — has long been a top priority.

But what if that approach is wrong?

A new report published in The Lancet on Wednesday finds that when it comes to health, quality — not quantity — seems to be more important.

The explosion of deaths related to opioid misuse has underscored a pressing need for better ways of treating pain, especially chronic pain.

Duquesne University pharmacology associate professor Jelena Janjic thinks she's on to one. It involves using a patient's own immune system to deliver non-opioid pain medication to places in the body where there's pain.

Theranos — the Silicon Valley blood-testing startup whose former top executives are accused of carrying out a massive, years-long fraud — is shutting down.

Updated at 1:33 p.m. ET

Health and safety officials are investigating an illness that struck people on an Emirates Airline flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday morning.

Seven crew members and three passengers were taken to the hospital, Emirates Airline said. It added that Wednesday's return flight from New York to Dubai would leave three hours late.

Senior medical student Giselle Lynch has plenty of accomplishments to list when she applies for a coveted spot in an ophthalmology residency program this fall.

But one box she won't be able to check when she submits her application is one of the highest academic awards medical students can receive, election to the honor society Alpha Omega Alpha.

Can Anyone Fix A Rigged Economy?

Sep 4, 2018

A key component of political stump speeches is summed up in this longstanding idea: “The economy is rigged.”

Two new books have indicted the super-wealthy as a source of major societal ills — even when they mean well.

Anand Giridharadas is a former columnist for The New York Times, and Steve Hilton is the host of Fox News’ “The Next Revolution.”

In July 2017, I wrote a story about two young Nigerians who quit their office jobs to start an informal school for kids in a camp for displaced people in Abuja, the country's capital. How's the project going?

Wednesday is looking like yet another pivotal day in the life-or-death saga that has marked the history of the Affordable Care Act.

Copyright 2018 Nashville Public Radio. To see more, visit Nashville Public Radio.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tomorrow, a judge in Texas hears a request to suspend the Affordable Care Act nationwide. Blake Farmer of WPLN met a woman with a stake in the outcome.

Consumers who buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act markets may be pleasantly surprised this fall as average premiums are forecast to rise much less than in recent years.

The price of a 2019 policy sold on the ACA exchanges will increase less than 4 percent, according to an analysis of preliminary filings from insurers in all 50 states by ACASignups.net, a website and blog run by analyst Charles Gaba that tracks ACA enrollment and insurer participation.

And those insurers are expanding their offerings.

Walking through the woods alone can be a scary prospect for a kid, but not for 7-year-old Matthew of Portland, Oregon. He doesn't have much of a backyard at his condo, so the woods behind his house essentially serve the same purpose. He spends hours out there: swinging on a tire swing, tromping across the ravine to a friend's house, and using garden shears to cut a path. He lays down sticks to form a bridge across the small stream that flows in the winter.

And he does all of this without any adult supervision.

A Texas man has a heart attack – and good medical insurance – and still finds himself on the hook for $109,000 in medical bills.

Another man in Florida owed $3,400 for a CT scan, after his insurance company pays its part.

When my son, Eli, was born a year ago, it was a given that I would breastfeed him.

During medical school, I learned that breastfeeding bolsters a baby's immune system, reduces infant mortality and improves the mother's long-term health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for a year, and I was committed to making it work.

But as a first-time mom, I had no idea how hard it would be.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a terrible way to die. It's what happens when you don't have enough insulin. Your blood sugar gets so high that your blood becomes highly acidic, your cells dehydrate, and your body stops functioning.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is how Nicole Smith-Holt lost her son. Three days before his payday. Because he couldn't afford his insulin.

"It shouldn't have happened," Smith-Holt says looking at her son's death certificate on her dining room table in Richfield, Minn. "That cause of death of diabetic ketoacidosis should have never happened."

The Houston Ship Channel has the rhythm of an ant colony. Barges and oil tankers lumber through the silty water; tangles of exposed pipe rise hundreds of feet above a sea of white tanks. Residents of the coastal plain between Houston and Galveston will tell you the plain is flatter than a regulation pool table. But if you can get up high enough you'll see trains and ships and trucks moving ceaselessly from dock to dock, terminal to terminal.

Viviana Aguirre, 14, knows the air is bad when she has to reach for her inhaler once, maybe twice a week.

The air in her low-income neighborhood in East Bakersfield, Calif., has been thick with smoke for weeks, she says, forcing her to remain indoors most of the time. It's hard to tell, she says, whether the smoke is coming from the usual controlled burns in the farmers' fields surrounding her home — or from the record-breaking wildfires blazing to the north and south of her.

The latest Mission Impossible film is a global health nerd's dream. There's an immunization campaign. Weaponized smallpox. A medical camp run by a fictional aid organization. And of course: Tom Cruise chasing the bad guy in a helicopter over the disputed region of Kashmir, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan (spoiler alert: that was filmed in New Zealand).

So what does a real-life health worker make of all that?

The case of a Michigan couple charged in the death of their 10-month-old daughter is bringing to light a debate about withholding medical care because of religious beliefs.

A Texas hospital that charged a teacher $108,951 for care after a 2017 heart attack told the patient Thursday it would slash the bill to $332.29 — but not before a story about the huge charge sparked a national conversation over what should be done to combat surprise medical bills that afflict a growing number of Americans.

The story of Drew Calver was first reported by NPR and Kaiser Health News on Monday as part of the "Bill of the Month" series, which examines U.S. health care prices and the troubles patients run up against in the $3.5 trillion industry.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We wanted to get some perspective on those suspected prison overdoses, so we called on Dr. Sarah Wakeman. She's an addiction medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who has studied opioid use among people who are incarcerated.

A top Justice Department official is putting cities considering medically-supervised drug injection facilities on notice: If you open one, prepare for swift and aggressive legal action.

With record numbers of fatal overdoses, several cities are working on plans to launch facilities where people can inject illegal drugs with staff on hand to help them if they overdose. Now, however, the Trump administration is vowing a major crackdown.

When humorist and writer Mara Altman was 19 and attending college at UCLA, she learned something about herself which, she says, felt devastating at the time.

It happened while she was flirting with a server at a Mexican restaurant one evening. His name was Gustavo and he said five simple words: "I like your blonde mustache."

Now, she knew about this blonde mustache. But she had been bleaching it for years in the hopes that no one else would notice it.

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