Health

Health
5:09 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

For Those Unable To Talk, A Machine That Speaks Their Voice

Carl Moore, a former helicopter mechanic, was diagnosed with ALS 20 years ago. He has had unusual longevity for someone with ALS but expects someday to rely on his wheelchair and speech-generating device.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:26 am

It's hard to imagine a more devastating diagnosis than ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease. For most people, it means their nervous system is going to deteriorate until their body is completely immobile. That also means they'll lose their ability to speak.

So Carl Moore of Kent, Wash., worked with a speech pathologist to record his own voice to use later — when he can no longer talk on his own.

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Health
1:39 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Legal Drinking Age Of 21 Saves Lives, Even Though It's Flouted

Students drink outside the Rose Bowl during the NCAA BCS national championship game in January.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:46 am

Eighty percent of college students say they drink, despite laws making it illegal for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol. Critics of that drinking age say that lowering it would reduce binge drinking and alcohol-related deaths.

But that might be wishful thinking, a study says. Researchers from Boston University reviewed scientific literature published since 2006 and concluded keeping the legal drinking age at 21 reduces rates of drunk driving and crashes, and reduces rates of underage drinking.

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Health
2:35 am
Fri February 21, 2014

As Deadline Nears, State Insurance Exchanges Still A Mixed Bag

Oregon's road to health coverage continues to be bumpy; the website for the state's health insurance marketplace still isn't fully open to consumers.
ilbusca iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 4:53 pm

With a bit more than a month left for people to sign up for health insurance plans set up under the Affordable Care Act, the federal website known as HealthCare.gov finally seems to be working smoothly — in 36 states.

But what's happening in the 14 states that are running their own exchanges?

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Health
8:33 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Insurance, Not Injuries, May Determine Who Goes To Trauma Centers

For someone with a serious injury, it's not just a matter of getting in the door at the closest hospital, but getting in the door at the right hospital, says Dr. Arthur Kellermann, an emergency medicine specialist.
micheal kennedy iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:00 pm

When private hospitals transfer patients who don't have insurance to public hospitals, it's called "patient dumping." But a study from Stanford University published Wednesday suggests a twist: Hospitals, it seems, are less likely to transfer critically injured patients to trauma centers if the patients have health insurance.

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Health
11:48 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Sit More, And You're More Likely To Be Disabled After Age 60

Sure, it's relaxing. But all those hours on the sofa may make it hard to actually stand up on your own.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 1:26 pm

The more you sit, the less physically active you are, which can lead to all sorts of health problems, including an early death.

But too much sitting increasingly looks like a health risk all its own. Researchers at Northwestern University say that for people 60 and older, each additional hour a day spent sitting increases the risk of becoming physically disabled by about 50 percent — no matter how much exercise they get.

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Health
4:28 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Babies Who Eat Too Well May Be On The Path To Obesity

It's great that he's going for the last piece of pasta. Or is it?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 5:48 pm

Parents love it when their babies are good eaters, whether it's polishing off a bottle or happily grabbing bits of pasta. But researchers think babies who chow down with gusto might be setting themselves up for obesity later on.

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Health
2:39 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Finessing Health Coverage: When To Buy Insurance For A New Baby

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 8:59 am

We're heading into the home stretch to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act this year. The open enrollment period ends March 31 for most people.

But there are exceptions. And they are the subject of many of our questions this month.

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Health
2:37 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Candy Flavors Put E-Cigarettes On Kids' Menu

Kids as young as 13 purchase e-cigarettes, or "vape pens," online, where independent sellers don't necessarily ask a buyer's age.
Jenny Lei Bolario Youth Radio

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 2:59 pm

Electronic cigarettes are often billed as a safe way for smokers to try to kick their habit. But it's not just smokers who are getting their fix this way. According to a survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 middle school students who've tried one say they've never smoked a "real" cigarette. And between 2011 and 2012, e-cigarettes doubled in popularity among middle and high school students.

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Health
9:21 am
Thu February 13, 2014

With This Year's Flu, Young Adults Are Not So Invincible

A flu shot would have helped protect young adults, but most didn't get it.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 10:40 am

We usually think of the flu as an illness that afflicts the elderly. But this season the virus seems to be hitting younger people hard.

This winter at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., the median age of people hospitalized with influenza was 28.5 years. Many of the worst cases of flu occurred in young, otherwise healthy people.

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Health
9:25 am
Wed February 12, 2014

The High Cost Of Treating People Hospitalized With West Nile Virus

Small but costly: Dozens of mosquito species carry West Nile virus in the U.S.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 4:11 pm

Fifteen years ago an unwelcome viral visitor entered the U.S., and we've been paying for it ever since.

The U.S recorded its first case of West Nile virus back in 1999. Since then, the disease has spread across the lower 48 states and cost the country around $800 million, scientists reported this week in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

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