Health

Health
2:08 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Chikun-What? A New Mosquito-Borne Virus Lands In The U.S.

Sick with chikungunya, Karla Sepulveda, 5, waits in a public hospital with her grandmother in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, on May 15. The Caribbean nation has reported more than 100,000 cases this year.
Ezequiel Abiu Lopez AP

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 10:14 am

Pediatrician Jennifer Halverson will never forget her 36th birthday.

The St. Paul native was volunteering at a maternity clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She felt great — she went to her job that day and then out to dinner with friends.

But when she got home and went to sleep that night in May, something didn't feel right.

"Then I woke up at 3 in the morning," she says, "and what struck me the most was that my shoulders were on fire. It was like I was being stabbed in both shoulders."

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Health
5:52 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

How Dark Chocolate, Not Milk Chocolate, May Help Blood Flow

Researchers say the polyphenols in dark chocolate can help the body form more nitric oxide, a compound that causes blood vessels to dilate and blood to flow more easily.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:44 am

The idea that eating cocoa-rich, dark chocolate may offer greater health benefits than milk chocolate is not new.

Cocoa is loaded with compounds called polyphenols that have been shown to help our bodies fend off inflammation and maybe even improve our moods.

And now a small study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association offers evidence of another possible benefit: improving vascular health by increasing blood flow.

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Health
2:49 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Targeting Overweight Workers With Wellness Programs Can Backfire

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 1:08 pm

Employers say obesity is a top health concern for their workers. But health is a sensitive and personal issue. Some employees say these wellness initiatives can go too far.

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Health
3:38 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

A Misspent Youth Doesn't Doom You To Heart Disease

Had a bit too much fun in your 20s?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 9:34 am

We all know that a healthy lifestyle can keep heart disease at bay. But if like many of us you spent your 20s scarfing down pizza, throwing back a few too many beers and aggressively avoiding the gym, don't despair.

People who drop bad habits in their late 30s and 40s can reduce their risk of developing coronary artery disease, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Circulation.

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Health
11:25 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Older Adults Are Fatter Than Ever, Increasing Their Risk Of Illness

Most older adults are overweight or obese, which increases the risk of chronic health problems.
Claudio Arnese iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 1:08 pm

Older people are working more, voting more and drinking and smoking less than they used to. That's the good news.

But nearly three-quarters of older men and about two-thirds of women over age 64 are overweight or obese, making them more likely to have to deal with diabetes, arthritis and impaired mobility.

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Health
4:34 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Few Doctors Warn Expectant Mothers About Environmental Hazards

Doctors may be more hesitant to discuss environmental hazards than the risks of smoking and drinking.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 9:14 am

Doctors regularly counsel expectant mothers about the risks associated with smoking, drinking and poor nutrition during pregnancy.

But many obstetricians are reluctant to speak with them about the potential dangers posed by toxic substances in the environment — things like heavy metals, solvents and pesticides.

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Health
12:29 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Never Too Young: Pediatricians Say Parents Should Read To Infants

Cuddling up to read a story with the very young helps them recognize words and learn vocabulary, researchers say.
Jo Unruh iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 3:29 pm

Children whose parents read to them get a head start on language skills and literacy, as well as lovely cuddle time with Mom or Dad. But many children miss out on that experience, with one-third of children starting kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn to read.

So the nation's pediatricians are upping the ante, asking parents to start reading to their children when they're babies.

And pediatricians are becoming book purveyors, handing out books to families who might not have the resources to buy them.

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Health
4:02 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Pharmaceutical Companies Accuse Hospitals Of Misusing Discounts

David Chance recuperates at Oregon Health and Science University.
Kristian Foden-Vencil Oregon Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:07 pm

In 1992, the federal government told drugmakers they had to give steep discounts to hospitals that treat a large percentage of poor patients.

The law got bipartisan support and it was a boon for hospitals and the federal government. In the decades that followed, the discount program has grown by leaps and bounds.

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Health
3:07 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Are Life Spans Getting Longer? It Depends On How Wealthy You Are

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 7:07 pm

While life expectancies are getting longer for those who are well off, life spans for poor women are actually getting shorter. The stories of two women, from two very different places, illustrate the reasons for the gap.

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Health
2:29 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Hospitals To Pay Big Fines For Infections, Avoidable Injuries

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:32 am

Medicare is preparing to penalize about 750 hospitals that have the highest rates of infections and patient injuries. The sanctions, estimated to total $330 million over a year, will kick in at a time when most infections and accidents in hospitals are on the decline, but still too common.

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