Health

Health
3:07 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

The Secret History Behind The Science Of Stress

Camel marketed smoke breaks at work as time spent relaxing instead of stressing. Camel, 1964.
Stanford University

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 2:47 pm

The modern idea of stress began on a rooftop in Canada, with a handful of rats freezing in the winter wind.

This was 1936 and by that point the owner of the rats, an endocrinologist named Hans Selye, had become expert at making rats suffer for science.

"He would subject them to extreme temperatures, make them go hungry for long periods, or make them exercise a lot," the medical historian Mark Jackson says. "Then what he would do is kill the rats and look at their organs."

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Health
6:07 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Stressed Out: Americans Tell Us About Stress In Their Lives

Aly Hurt/NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 6:57 am

Everyone seems to talk about feeling stressed out. But what's the reality of stress in America these days?

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a nationwide poll in March and early April to find out.

Our questions zeroed in on the effect of stress in Americans' lives. We asked about people's personal experiences with stress in the preceding month and year. We also asked about how they perceived the effects of stress, how they cope with stress and their attitudes about it.

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Health
2:18 am
Mon July 7, 2014

For Many Americans, Stress Takes A Toll On Health And Family

Leif Parsons for NPR

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 12:14 pm

Stress is part of the human condition, unavoidable and even necessary to a degree. But too much stress can be toxic — even disabling.

And there's a lot of toxic stress out there.

A national poll done by NPR with our partners at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds that more than 1 in every 4 Americans say they had a great deal of stress in the previous month.

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Health
4:15 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Insight: Research Points to Cost Savings for Coverage of Obesity Treatment

In their long list of recommendations for how the state could save money, the Jindal administration's consultants, Alvarez & Marsal, suggested Louisiana could find a billion dollars in savings from the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) over the next five years -- largely by redesigning state employee health insurance plans and what they cover.

Dr. Phillip Brantley, senior scientist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, has been looking into whether specifically the state could save money by covering medical treatment for severe obesity. 

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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