Health

Health
4:05 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Well Does A Drug Work? Look Beyond The Fine Print

Traditional warning labels on medicine boxes tend to be long on confusing language, critics say, but short on helpful numbers.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 9:47 am

Anybody who has ever seen a drug advertisement or talked over the pros and cons of a medicine with a doctor can be forgiven for being confused.

Sorting out the risks and benefits of taking a medicine can be complicated even for professionals.

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Health
4:05 am
Sun July 20, 2014

A YouTube Video Is Doctor's Secret Weapon Against Back Pain

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:45 pm

A woman in her late 20s came to see me recently because her back hurt. She works at a child care center in town where she picks up babies and small children all day long.

She felt a twinge in her lower back when hoisting a fussy kid. The pain was bad enough that she went home from work early and was laid out on the couch until she came to see me the next day.

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Health
3:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Patients With Low-Cost Insurance Struggle To Find Specialists

Dr. Charu Sawhney examines patient Mang Caan. Sawhney supports the Affordable Care Act, but has been frustrated by how difficult it is to find specialists who accept some of the plans her patients bought.
Carrie Feibel for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 7:02 pm

The Hope Clinic in southwest Houston is in the very heart of Asia Town, a part of the city where bland strip malls hide culinary treasures — Vietnamese pho, Malaysian noodles, Sichuan rabbit and bubble tea.

Inside the clinic, internist Charu Sawhney sees patients from many countries and circumstances. She's a big believer in the Affordable Care Act since most of her patients have been uninsured. She actively pushed many of them to sign up for the new plans.

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Health
2:28 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Want More Stress In Your Life? Try Parenting A Teenager

Amy Myers talks with her son Kamron, 18, in the backyard of their home in Boise, Idaho. She has found raising a teenager to be extremely stressful.
Kyle Green for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:32 am

If anyone can handle the stress of parenting in the teen years, you'd think it would be a high school teacher.

That's how Amy Myers felt. She teaches high school English in a suburb of Boise, Idaho, where she says she has "pseudo parented" about 3,000 teenagers "who I have talked to, given advice to, guided, directed, even lectured about teenage issues," she says.

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Health
5:24 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Stroke Rate May Be Declining In Older Adults

Film CT scans show these people have suffered strokes.
stockdevil/iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 8:31 am

Stroke is the fourth highest cause of death among adults in the U.S. But among people older than 65, stroke rates may be going down, a study published Tuesday suggests. And compared with 10 or 20 years ago, more of those hit with a stroke are surviving.

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Health
3:15 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

This Is Your Stressed-Out Brain On Scarcity

Josh Neufeld for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 5:24 pm

Being poor is stressful. That's no big surprise.

In a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 1 in 3 people making less than $20,000 a year said they'd experienced "a great deal of stress" in the previous month. And of those very stressed-out people, 70 percent said that money problems were to blame.

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Health
1:11 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Why A Spoonful Of Medicine Can Be A Big Safety Risk For Kids

Ordinary spoons vary widely in size and shape. Confusing regular spoons for accurate measurements of teaspoons and tablespoons can lead to accidental overdoses.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 4:15 pm

We've all done it. The bottle of Pepto-Bismol says to take two tablespoons, so you grab the nearest spoon from the silverware drawer and drink down two of those. It's probably pretty close, right?

Maybe not. With all the different sizes and shapes of spoons out there — soup spoons, dessert spoons, grapefruit spoons and coffee spoons, to name just a few — who knows if the spoon you chose is actually close to a tablespoon.

And when it comes to children, that lack of precision can be dangerous.

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Health
6:36 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Putting a Life-Saving Drug in More Hands - Legal or Not

A Baton Rouge EMS paramedic holds a single dose pre-filled syringe of Nalaxone, otherwise known as Narcan. Baton Rouge paramedics have been carrying the drug for years.
Credit Ann Marie Awad / WRKF News

Heroin-related deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish spiked last year - the Coroner's office recorded 35 fatalities. Only Jefferson and Orleans Parish had as many.

To try to stop the deaths, a new law will allow not just paramedics, but all first responders to carry the drug Narcan - which can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose within seconds.

But some activists say the law doesn't go far enough. They say they'll keep distributing Narcan themselves directly to drug users illegally.

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Health
3:29 am
Mon July 14, 2014

To Make Children Healthier, A Doctor Prescribes A Trip To The Park

Zarr with Kellsi Aguilar and her father, Felipe, in Zarr's Washington, D.C., office.
Sam Sanders/NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 12:08 pm

When Dr. Robert Zarr wanted a young patient to get more exercise, he gave her an unusual prescription: Get off the bus to school earlier.

"She has to take a bus to the train, then a train to another bus, then that bus to her school," says Zarr, a pediatrician at Unity Health Care, a clinic that serves low-income and uninsured families in Washington, D.C. So the prescription read: "Walk the remaining four blocks on the second bus on your route to school from home, every day."

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Health
3:32 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Doctors Face Ethical Issues In Benching Kids With Concussions

If parents won't bench a child after a concussion, is it OK for the doctor to tell the coach?
iStockphoto

Doctors have gotten much better at diagnosing and treating sports-related concussions, which is a good thing since Americans suffer up to 4 million sports-related concussions a year.

But we're not so good at is following their advice.

Student athletes and parents sometimes balk at doctors' recommendations to avoid play until concussion symptoms are gone, or to cut back on schoolwork. Both have been shown to speed recovery, and getting another hit on a vulnerable brain increases the risk of long-term problems.

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