NPR health

NPR health
7:19 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Teen pregnancy declines, but U.S. still lags

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 3:20 pm

Roxana Castro sits in an orange chair in the waiting room at Mary's Center in Washington, D.C. She's 17, and expecting a baby boy next month. The pregnancy was a surprise, she says, mostly for her parents, but also for the baby's father.

Even with her mother's help, Castro admits she's nervous. The father of the baby says he'll be there, but she knows this is a big responsibility, and says she's not ready to start a family just yet.

"A baby is so fragile," she says. "I don't know how to take care of it or anything."

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Health
12:37 pm
Sun August 19, 2012

Dallas Deploys Old Weapon In New Mosquito Fight

Mike Stuart of Dynamic Aviation speaks to the media this week about the type of plane used for aerial spraying in Dallas. The city and county are conducting aerial spraying to combat the nation's worst outbreak of West Nile virus, which has killed at least 10 people and sickened about 200.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Sun August 19, 2012 11:01 am

The recent outbreak of West Nile virus in the Dallas area has led to a new round of large-scale spraying for mosquitoes — a method of treating outbreaks that has generations of success, and even nostalgia, behind it.

Although the overall mosquito-killing strategy has changed little since the days when it was pioneered during construction of the Panama Canal a century ago, the chemicals used have become much safer for everything and everyone involved, save the mosquitoes, experts say.

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NPR health
6:33 am
Tue July 31, 2012

Distractions Come Naturally To Teenage Drivers

Drivers under 25 are more likely to send text messages and make calls behind the wheel. They're also less able to handle distractions while driving.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 5:58 am

Distracted driving is a problem for all drivers, but teens are at higher risk.

Yes, it's true that drivers under 25 are up to three times more likely to send text messages or emails while behind the wheel than older drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But there's a deeper problem: Teenagers are also at a developmental stage where getting distracted is more problematic than it is for older drivers.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:57 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Cats might threaten your mental health

What's the link between cats and madness?
Hans Martens iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 4, 2012 1:31 am

There's fresh evidence that cats can be a threat to your mental health.

To be fair, it's not kitties themselves that are the problem, but a parasite they carry called Toxoplasma gondii.

A study of more than 45,000 Danish women found that those infected with this feline parasite were 1.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than women who weren't infected.

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NPR health
9:08 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Feds move to curb abusive debt collection by nonprofit hospitals

Deb Waldin testifies about her experience with a debt collector at a Minnesota hospital during a hearing led by Sen. Al Franken in St. Paul, Minn., in late May.
Minnesota Public Radio/Jeffrey Thompson

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 7:36 am

Deb Waldin was in agony when she arrived at the emergency room of Fairview Southdale, a nonprofit hospital in suburban Minneapolis. On a scale of 1 to 10, she says her pain was at 12.

She turned out to have kidney stones. But before she got the diagnosis, while she was still lying on a gurney waiting to see a doctor, she was approached by a debt collector from a company called Accretive Health.

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NPR HealtH
7:04 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Dementia complicates romance in nursing homes

Holding hands is the easy part.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 5:45 am

Relationships are never easy.

If the partners in love happen to be living in a nursing home, there are even more challenges. And if they're showing signs of dementia, then things get really tricky.

Although no law forbids intimate relationships between people with dementia in nursing homes, staff and family members often discourage residents from expressing their sexuality, says a recent report in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

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NPR health
9:45 am
Wed June 20, 2012

A few drinks while pregnant may be OK

How risky is a drink during pregnancy?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 4:15 pm

When a woman drinks heavily during pregnancy, it can cause profound damage to her unborn child.

Nobody knows how much alcohol, if any, is safe, so the U.S. surgeon general and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise women to abstain from drinking throughout pregnancy to avoid physical and mental birth defects.

But here and elsewhere, even conscientious pregnant women have been known to have an occasional beer or glass of wine while carrying a child. How risky is that?

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NPR health
3:37 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Pure ecstasy is safe, Canadian doctor says; Don't buy 'E' on the street

An ecstasy pill with a rocket shop imprint.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 2:55 pm

As far as recreational drugs that could have health benefits go, ecstasy doesn't exactly have a lot of champions. Instead, the drug, so often associated with raves, has been fingered as responsible for fatal overdoses, depression and problems in fetal development.

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NPR health
8:51 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Traces Of Virus In Man Cured Of HIV Trigger Scientific Debate

Timothy Ray Brown, widely known in research circles as the Berlin patient, was cured of his HIV infection by bone marrow transplants. Now scientists are trying to make sense of the traces of HIV they've found in some cells of his body.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 6:35 am

Top AIDS scientists are scratching their heads about new data from the most famous HIV patient in the world — at least to people in the AIDS community.

Timothy Ray Brown, known as the Berlin patient, is thought to be the first patient ever to be cured of HIV infection.

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NPR health
12:46 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Panel questions benefits of vitamin D supplements

A woman pours two tablets into her hand from a pill bottle.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 5:35 am

An influential panel of experts questioned two big reasons people take vitamin D supplements.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded in draft recommendations released Tuesday that taking less than 400 international units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day doesn't reduce the risk for bone fractures among postmenopausal women. And so the task force recommended against doing that.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:16 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Why Women Suffer More Migraines Than Men

A vintage ad for a headache remedy plays to women.
The National Library of Medicine

Originally published on Mon April 16, 2012 5:52 am

One in four women has had a migraine. And, it turns out, the debilitating headaches affect three times more women than men.

But why?

Decades ago, these headaches were attributed to women's inability to cope with stress, a sort of hysteria. Now experts are starting to figure out the factors that really make a difference.

Today scientists know a migraine is all in your head — but not in that old-fashioned sense. Migraines are biologically based, and they play themselves out as a wave of electrical activity traveling across the brain.

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