HEALTH

HEALTH
2:21 am
Tue March 10, 2015

With Medicare Pay On The Line, Hospitals Push Harder To Please Patients

Patient perceptions have been tough to change at Rowan Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, N.C.
Joanna Serah/Wikimedia

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 5:33 am

Lillie Robinson came to Rowan Medical Center for surgery on her left foot. She expected to be in and out in a day, returning weeks later to the Salisbury, N.C., hospital for her surgeon to operate on the other foot.

But that's not how things turned out. "When I got here I found out he was doing both," she said. "We didn't realize that until they started medicating me for the procedure." Robinson signed a consent form and the operation went fine, but she was in the hospital far longer than she'd expected to be.

"I wasn't prepared for that," she said.

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HEALTH
1:55 am
Mon March 9, 2015

The Gentle Cesarean: More Like A Birth Than An Operation

Kristen Caminiti cuddles her son Connor while doctors stitch her up following a C-section.
Courtesy of Kristen DeBoy Caminiti

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 12:30 pm

There are many reasons women need cesareans. Sometimes the situation is truly life-threatening. But often the problem is that labor simply isn't progressing. That was the case for Valerie Echo Duckett, 35, who lives in Columbus, Ohio. After receiving an epidural for pain, Duckett's contractions stopped. By late evening she was told she'd need a C-section to deliver her son, Avery. Duckett says she has vague memories of being wheeled into the operating room, strapped down and shaking from cold.

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HEALTH
9:54 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Pot Can Trigger Psychotic Symptoms For Some, But Do The Effects Last?

High-end marijuana buds on sale at a Denver dispensary.
Craig F. Walker Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 1:05 pm

In the "American Sniper" murder trial, prosecutors successfully countered Eddie Ray Routh's plea of not guilty by reason of insanity by saying that he just seemed psychotic because he was high. But scientists continue to argue over whether marijuana-induced psychosis is always short-lived or if there's a deeper connection at play.

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HEALTH
1:38 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Sharing Patient Records Is Still A Digital Dilemma For Doctors

U.S. taxpayers have poured $30 billion into funding electronic records systems in hospitals and doctors' offices since 2009. But most of those systems still can't talk to each other, which makes transfer of medical information tough.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 3:10 pm

Technology entrepreneur Jonathan Bush says he was recently watching a patient move from a hospital to a nursing home. The patient's information was in an electronic medical record, or EMR. And getting the patient's records from the hospital to the nursing home, Bush says, wasn't exactly drag and drop.

"These two guys then type — I kid you not — the printout from the brand new EMR into their EMR, so that their fax server can fax it to the bloody nursing home," Bush says.

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HEALTH
4:32 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Colorado Debates Whether IUDs Are Contraception Or Abortion

An interauterine device provides long-term birth control.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 7:21 pm

A popular contraception program in Colorado is receiving criticism from conservative lawmakers who say that the program's use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, qualify as abortions.

More than 30,000 women in Colorado have gotten a device because of the state program, the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. An IUD normally costs between $500 and several thousand dollars. Through the program women could receive one for free.

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HEALTH
12:15 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Snow Is Delicious. But Is It Dangerous To Eat?

When foraging for delicious bites of snow, steer clear of plowed piles and manure, researchers say.
Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 1:45 pm

Many people will see the snow that's currently blanketing much of the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. as a nuisance coating sidewalks and roads. Others are celebrating it as an excuse to spend the day swooshing down a hill.

As for me, I like to think of snow as food.

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HEALTH
1:37 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Improving Housing Can Pay Dividends In Better Health

Uzuri Pease-Greene, right, leads a walk through the public housing complex in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco where her family lives. She is working to have the old buildings replaced.
Talia Herman for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 3:20 pm

Faiza Ayesh giggles with delight as she describes her brand-new two-bedroom apartment in Oakland, Calif. She shares her home with her husband and three little girls, ages 3, 2 and 5 months. Ayesh, 30, says she just loves being a stay-at-home mom. "It's the best job in the world."

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HEALTH
3:18 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Walk A Little Faster To Get The Most Out of Your Exercise Time

Government guidelines say exercising 2.5 hours a week will keep you healthy, but a study says you can get the job done in less time if you rev it up.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 3:50 pm

Some people — who are they? — have no problem fitting regular aerobic exercise into their lives. The rest of us want to know how much we have to exercise to see health benefits. Now we have some answers: You may want to go just a tad longer and harder than you'd thought.

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HEALTH
1:58 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Hickenlooper Announces Campaign To Reduce Rx Drug Abuse

Credit flickr/macwagen

This week Governor John Hickenlooper announced a new campaign seeking to reduce prescription drug abuse and misuse in Colorado.

In partnership with the University of Colorado the state has launched its “Take Meds Seriously” campaign.

Robert Valuck, a professor of pharmacy at CU, is part of a statewide consortium created by the governor to address prescription drug abuse in Colorado.  

"We say safe use, safe storage [and] safe disposal," Valuck says ."And that’s what our public awareness campaign is all about." 

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HEALTH
10:02 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Therapeutic Specialist Discusses Recreation Program For Western Slope Seniors

Volunteers of America offers a senior therapeutic recreation program on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Paonia.
Credit Laura Palmisano

February is National Therapeutic Recreation Month. Volunteers of America has therapeutic recreation programs for seniors in Montrose and Delta counties. KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Anne Johnson, a therapeutic specialist, who oversees the program. 

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HEALTH
7:10 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Attention, Shoppers: Prices For 70 Health Care Procedures Now Online!

Shopping for an MRI scan? Guroo.org, won't yet show you what your local hospital or radiologist charges, but it will reveal the average cost of the test in your area.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 2:04 pm

Buying health care in America is like shopping blindfolded at Macy's and getting the bill months after you leave the store, Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt likes to say.

But an online tool that went live Wednesday is supposed to help change that, giving patients in most parts of the country a small peek at the prices of medical tests and procedures before they open their wallets.

Got a sore knee? Having a baby? Need a primary-care doctor? Shopping for an MRI scan?

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HEALTH
11:57 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Eyelashes Grow To Just The Right Length To Shield Eyes

A calf sports platinum blonde lashes.
Mike Horrocks/Flickr

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 2:04 pm

Attaching fake eyelashes might make give you a few extra millimeters to bat at your date, but they could also be channeling dust into your eyes. That's because the ideal eyelash length is about one third the width of an eye. And that goes for 22 different animals, not just humans.

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HEALTH
5:08 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Preventing Suicide With A 'Contagion Of Strength'

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:32 am

For Whitney Bischoff, high school was tough. On the first day of her freshman year, a childhood friend committed suicide. Things weren't any better at home — her father died when she was 7 and her mom was an alcoholic with an abusive boyfriend.

She had a hard time making friends.

And when all the stress threatened to overwhelm her, she, too, considered suicide.

"I thought family was everything," Bischoff says. "I thought, if I didn't have family support – what am I going to do? Suicide seemed like the only way out."

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HEALTH
2:15 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Will Vaping Reignite The Battle Over Smoking On Airplanes?

Those were the days: A stewardess lights a cigar for a passenger aboard an American Airlines flight in 1949.
Bettmann/CORBIS

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:50 am

My biggest concern while flying is whether my legs will fall victim to deep vein thrombosis from being crammed in the sardine can we call an airplane seat. But on the bright side, at least I'm not increasing my risk of lung cancer, emphysema and bronchitis because of secondhand smoke.

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HEALTH
2:24 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Lots Of Seniors Are Overweight, But Few Use Free Counseling For It

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 2:16 pm

Anne Roberson walks a quarter-mile down the road each day to her mailbox in the farming town of Exeter, deep in California's Central Valley. Her daily walk and housekeeping chores are her only exercise, and her weight has remained stubbornly over 200 pounds for some time now. Roberson is 68 years old, and she says it gets harder to lose weight as you get older: "You get to a certain point in your life and you say, 'What's the use?' "

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HEALTH
6:00 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Health Officials Want You To Give Your Heart Some Love

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heart disease kills more than 600,000 Americans each year.
Credit flickr/proudlove

It's common to see candy and paper hearts in February, but medical professionals also want you to think about your own heart this month. KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Mark Leach the director of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation at Delta County Memorial Hospital. In recognition of National Heart Month, they discuss heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in the United States. 

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HEALTH
8:25 am
Wed February 18, 2015

How Marijuana Highjacks Your Brain To Give You The Munchies

After the pot-smoking comes the insatiable hunger. Just ask James Franco and Seth Rogen's weed-loving characters in Pineapple Express.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 10:20 am

Shortly after toking up, a lot of marijuana users find that there's one burning question on their minds: "Why am I so hungry?" Researchers have been probing different parts of the brain looking for the root cause of the marijuana munchies for years. Now, a team of neuroscientists report that they have stumbled onto a major clue buried in a cluster of neurons they thought was responsible for making you feel full.

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HEALTH
1:42 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Beyond BPA: Court Battle Reveals A Shift In Debate Over Plastic Safety

Eastman Chemical went a step beyond calling Tritan plastic BPA-free, setting off a legal challenge.
Eastman

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 2:56 pm

BPA-free isn't good enough anymore if you're trying to sell plastic sippy cups, water bottles and food containers.

The new standard may be "EA-free," which means free of not only BPA, short for bisphenol A, but also free of other chemicals that mimic the hormone estrogen.

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HEALTH
9:08 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Are Pediatricians Prepared To Help Patients Who Want IUDs?

The ParaGuard IUD, which releases copper into the uterine cavity, can last up to 10 years. In clinical studies, the pregnancy rate among women using the device was less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women annually.
Mark Harmel Science Source

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 6:13 am

When Wendy Sue Swanson started out as a pediatrician eight years ago, it never crossed her mind to bring up the option of intrauterine devices — an insertable form of long-acting contraception — when she had her regular birth-control discussions with teenage patients who were sexually active.

"The patch had been the thing," she said, referring to a small, Band-Aid-like plastic patch that transmits hormones through the skin to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

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HEALTH
1:40 am
Wed February 11, 2015

What Causes Breast Cancer? These Families Want To Help Find Out

Bernice Singleton (left), one of the original mothers in the research project, is seen with her daughter Jenny and granddaughter Gretta.
Paige Cowett/WNYC

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 7:27 am

At 48, Jenny Singleton got breast cancer. At 66, her mother did, too.

"When my breast cancer was diagnosed, I immediately thought we must have a gene for it," Jenny Singleton said. "So I was tested and I didn't have the BRCA gene. And so that's often left me wondering, well, then why is it that my mom and I both got breast cancer?"

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HEALTH
2:54 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Pregnant With Cancer: One Woman's Journey

Mary Harris was relieved when Stella was born with a mop of thick black hair, as if she had been protected from the chemo somehow.
Courtesy of Howard Harris

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 12:25 pm

After years of debating whether to have a second child, my husband, Mark, and I decided to give it a try. Two weeks later, we found a lump. I was 35.

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HEALTH
6:00 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Child Health Lags In Colorado, Report Finds

Credit Flickr.com/dis_patch

A report that grades Colorado on the health of its citizens gave the state high marks for adult health, but mediocre scores for child health.

The 2015 Colorado Health Report Card uses indicators like obesity, poverty and access to medical care as ways to measure the overall health of people in the state. The Colorado Health Foundation puts out the report. 

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HEALTH
11:33 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Psychological Biases Play A Part In Vaccination Decisions

Gazi Alam iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 5:49 am

With the recent outbreak of measles originating from Disneyland, there's been no shortage of speculation, accusation and recrimination concerning why some people won't vaccinate their children.

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HEALTH
5:20 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Vaccination Rates Worry Colorado Health Officials

Colorado is one of twenty states that allow parents to opt-out of vaccines with a personal belief exemption form.
Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

The national measles outbreak has state and local health officials concerned. 

Last month 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of those cases was reported in Colorado and a majority of them are part of an outbreak linked to a California amusement park.  

That’s why state and local health officials are urging adults to get vaccinated and parents to inoculate their kids against the disease.

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HEALTH
1:10 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Most People Getting Measles Are Adults. Time For A Shot?

Jackie Carnegie immunizes Mabel Haywood in a Colorado Health Department immunization van in 1972. Shots for measles and other infectious diseases were offered.
Ira Gay Sealy Denver Post Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 5:27 pm

Most of the 92 cases of measles confirmed in California are among adults — more than 62 percent. Maybe they or their parents chose not to vaccinate, or maybe those people are allergic to one of the ingredients in the measles vaccine.

But it's also possible that a few of those adults happened to slip through the cracks when the measles vaccine first came to the public.

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HEALTH
10:44 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Leadville Hospital To Stay Open Under New Management

Colorado-based Centura Health will take over managing St. Vincent Hospital in Leadville.
Credit St. Vincent Hospital

It seems Lake County’s only hospital won’t be closing. A new partnership has saved St. Vincent General in Leadville.

Last November, St. Vincent Hospital announced it was planning to close in March due to financial issues. A property-tax increase that would have helped the hospital pay for much-needed repairs was turned down by voters. 

Now, things are looking better for St. Vincent General. This week the hospital’s board entered a verbal agreement with Centura Health, a Colorado-based company.

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HEALTH
2:41 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Beyond Rash And Fever: How Measles Can Kill

Writer Roald Dahl and his wife, actress Patricia Neal, with two of their children, Theo and Chantel Sophia "Tessa." The photo was taken a few years after oldest daughter, Olivia, died of measles.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 3:24 pm

In 1962, children's book author Roald Dahl lost his oldest daughter, Olivia, to measles. She was 7 years old.

Twenty-six years later, Dahl wrote a letter to parents about what happened:

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HEALTH
9:03 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Pain And Suffering At Life's End Are Getting Worse, Not Better

A lot of time and money has gone into trying to improve end-of-life care.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 2:39 pm

It's been more than 15 years since the Institute of Medicine released its seminal 1997 report detailing the suffering that many Americans experience at the end of life and offering sweeping recommendations on how to improve care.

But the number of people experiencing pain in the last year of life actually increased by nearly 12 percent between 1998 and 2010, according to a study published Monday. And the number of people with depression in the last year of life increased by more than 26 percent.

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HEALTH
12:18 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains

Dr. Frances Jensen is a professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 11:26 am

Teens can't control impulses and make rapid, smart decisions like adults can — but why?

Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. In a teenager, the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls decision-making, is built but not fully insulated — so signals move slowly.

"Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, 'Oh, I better not do this,' " Dr. Frances Jensen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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HEALTH
3:07 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Multivitamins: The Case For Taking One A Day

Ideally, we'd all eat super healthful diets. But that's not the world we live in, and multivitamins may help bridge the nutritional gaps.
Jasper White Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 12:52 pm

In an ideal world, we'd all be eating copious amounts of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables — and getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients our bodies need for optimal health.

But, as a nation, we're far from that healthful eating ideal.

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