5:50 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Colorado Officials Try To Raise Radon Risk Awareness

Health officials say the best way to protect yourself from radon is by testing your home. And, winter is the perfect time to do it because when you test you need to keep all of your doors and windows closed.
Credit Laura Palmisano

Radon is an odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in our environment. Long-term exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. That's why Colorado and the Environmental Protection Agency have declared January a call to action month for radon testing. 

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6:00 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Emergency Flu Shelter For The Homeless To Open In Mesa County

A medical technician with the Wiesbaden Army Health Clinic prepares an influenza shot.
Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

The state reports more than 2,600 people have been hospitalized because of the flu so far this season. And, St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction has seen its share of those cases. 

Gretchen Gore, with the hospital, says after patients are discharged it’s recommend they rest at home, but that’s not an option for everyone. 

"It was discovered that when we have someone that is homeless they don’t have a warm home to go home to and recover," Gore says.  

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1:30 am
Wed January 28, 2015

VA Steps Up Programs As More Veterans Enter Hospice Care

A hospital bed is draped with a flag after a veteran died in the hospice ward at St. Albans VA in Queens, N.Y.
Quil Lawrence NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:32 pm

Ask Americans if someone in their family served in the military, and the answer is probably no. After all, fewer than 1 percent of Americans serve these days.

But ask if one of their grandfathers served, and you'll likely get a different answer. Between World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam, millions of men were drafted into service — and both men and women volunteered.

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3:05 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

To Protect His Son, A Father Asks School To Bar Unvaccinated Children

Rhett Krawitt, 6, outside his school in Tiburon, Calif. Seven percent of the children in his school are not vaccinated.
Courtesy of Carl Krawitt

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 12:09 pm

Carl Krawitt has watched his son, Rhett, now 6, fight leukemia for the past 4 1/2 years. For more than three of those years, Rhett has undergone round after round of chemotherapy. Last year he finished chemotherapy, and doctors say he is in remission.

Now, there's a new threat, one that the family should not have to worry about: measles.

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10:02 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Pediatricians Say Don't Lock Up Teenagers For Using Marijuana

A marijuana bud displayed in Denver. Don't legalize pot, the pediatricians say, but don't lock teenagers up for using it, either.
Seth McConnell The Denver Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 12:11 pm

Across the country, efforts to make marijuana more accessible have quickly gained traction. Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, and recreational use is also legal in four states and the District of Columbia.

Science, however, hasn't quite caught up. Largely due to its illegal status, there's been very little research done on marijuana's health effects. And researchers don't fully understand how pot affects the developing teenage brain.

This may explain the why the nation's pediatricians have changed their recommendations on marijuana and children.

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6:00 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Flu Quarantine Ends At Mesa County Jail

Health officials say you can reduce the spread of the flu by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick.
Credit flickr/breatheindigital

Up to nine inmates with influenza at the Mesa County Jail were quarantined for a five-day period that ended earlier this week. 

Heather Benjamin, with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, says the ill men were placed in two separate pods, or sections, during that time. 

"Those two pods were quarantined in the sense that no new inmates were moved into those pods and no inmates were moved out," Benjamin says.

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10:24 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Hits 59 Cases And Counting

People who visited Disneyland in December were at risk of getting an unwelcome souvenir: the measles.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 6:50 am

The measles outbreak that started at Disneyland and one other California theme park is expanding, with 59 confirmed cases in patients ranging in age from 7 months to 70 years. The California Department of Public Health has linked 42 of these cases to people who visited Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure Park.

Initially, cases were linked to people who visited the parks in mid-December, but health officials now say that other people with measles were at the parks in January while infectious and also have spread the disease.

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3:08 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

E-Cigarettes Can Churn Out High Levels Of Formaldehyde

Vapor from an e-cigarette obscures the user's face in a London coffee bar.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 2:55 pm

Vapor produced by electronic cigarettes can contain a surprisingly high concentration of formaldehyde — a known carcinogen — researchers reported Wednesday.

The findings, described in a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, intensify concern about the safety of electronic cigarettes, which have become increasingly popular.

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4:22 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Parents Who Shun Vaccines Tend To Cluster, Boosting Children's Risk

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 6:05 am

Although vaccines are among the safest, most effective ways to protect children from major communicable diseases, some parents still doubt this. As a result, some choose immunization schedules that defy science or refuse to vaccinate altogether.

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3:46 am
Sun January 18, 2015

One Scientist's Race To Help Microbes Help You

Biologist Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project, recently moved the project to the University of California, San Diego's School of Medicine.
Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 6:26 am

The rate of recent discoveries about the human microbiome has been dizzying. And Rob Knight wants to crank up the pace.

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7:15 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Health Insurance Prices: Highest In Alaska, Lowest In Sun Belt

Alaska: home to Denali National Park and Preserve, grizzly bears and some very pricey health insurance.
Universal Images Group UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 6:56 am

In health insurance prices, as in the weather, Alaska and the Sun Belt are extremes. This year Alaska is the most expensive health insurance market for people who do not get coverage through their employers, while Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and Tucson, Ariz., are among the very cheapest.

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11:30 am
Tue January 13, 2015

3 Kings Holiday Cake Laced With Synthetic Drugs Makes Dozens Hallucinate

Synthetic drugs, gathered in evidence bags, sit on a white counter.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 1:18 pm

Updated at 3:18 p.m. on Jan. 13.

Last week Southern California Public Radio reported that dozens of people became ill from a Rosca de Reyes, a Three Kings Day bread that is traditional in various Hispanic communities. The sick patrons of Cholula's Bakery in Santa Ana, Calif., and its retail outlets complained of heart palpitations and hallucinations.

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1:17 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Specialists Split Over HPV Test's Role In Cancer Screening

The human papilloma virus causes most — but not all — cases of cancer of the cervix.
James Cavallini ScienceSource

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 10:49 am

Two medical groups say doctors could replace the Pap smear with a different test to screen many women for cervical cancer.

But that recommendation, included in an "interim guidance" released Thursday, is highly controversial; other experts call it premature.

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10:17 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Leadville Hospital Might Be Saved By Outside Investors

Last year St. Vincent Hospital in Leadville, Colo. announced it plans to close in March. Hospital officials say the closure comes after voters failed to pass a property tax increase to help fund the facility.
Credit St. Vincent Hospital

St. Vincent Hospital in Leadville is scheduled to closed in March.

The 25-bed critical access hospital serves more than 7,300 people in Lake County.

Since the closure was announced in November, St. Vincent has laid off nearly half of its staff and ended its long-term care unit and physical therapy services.

The hospital is still operating its emergency room and ambulance service.

KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Karen Rinehart the community relations director for St. Vincent. 

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1:38 am
Wed January 7, 2015

A Bed Of Mouse Cells Helps Human Cells Thrive In The Lab

Dr. Richard Schlegel and postdoctoral fellow Nancy Palechor-Ceron use a microscope to look at human epithelial cells growing on mouse fibroblasts at Georgetown University Medical Center.
Lauren Wolkoff/Georgetown University

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 10:35 am

A drug that is used worldwide to treat malaria is now being tested as a treatment for cervical cancer. This surprising idea is the result of a new laboratory technique that could have far-reaching uses.

Our story starts with Dr. Richard Schlegel at Georgetown University Medical Center. He's best known for inventing the Gardasil vaccine to protect women from cervical cancer.

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1:10 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Tight Control Of Type 1 Diabetes Saves Lives, But It's Tough

Even with the best available technology, keeping blood sugar under control requires constant vigilance.
Mark Hatfield iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 6:06 am

Here's more evidence that for people with Type 1 diabetes, strict blood sugar control matters – in this case, it actually reduces the risk of early death. But another study reveals the grim reality: Those with the condition still die about a decade sooner than those without.

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10:49 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Delta County Memorial Hospital's CEO Looks Ahead

Delta County Memorial Hospital opened an Urgent Care in Dec. 2014.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Delta County Memorial Hospital expanded its health care options for patients in 2014. It took over two clinics in the North Fork Valley and opened an Urgent Care. KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke to the hospital's CEO Jason Cleckler about the expansion and what's ahead for it in 2015.  

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12:45 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Flu Hits Mesa County Hard, One Death Reported

Health officials say you can reduce the spread of the flu by covering when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick.
Credit flickr/breatheindigital

State and federal health officials are warning this flu season could be a bad one.

Veronica Daehn Harvey, with the Mesa County Health Department, says a resident has died from complications from the illness.  

She says the last time the county saw a flu-related death was three years ago. 

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3:03 am
Fri December 19, 2014

When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Poorest Patients

Keith Herie is swamped in debt from medical issues he and his wife encountered starting about a decade ago. Heartland hospital is seizing 10 percent of his paycheck and 25 percent of his wife's wages, and has placed a lien on their home.
Steve Hebert for ProPublica

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 8:13 am

On the eastern edge of St. Joseph, Mo., lies the small city's only hospital, a landmark of modern brick and glass buildings. Everyone in town knows Heartland Regional Medical Center — many residents gave birth to their children here. Many rush here when they get hurt or sick.

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6:00 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Urgent Care Center Opens In Delta

Delta County Memorial Hospital recently opened an Urgent Care center in Delta.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Delta County Memorial Hospital is once again expanding its health care options for patients. Earlier this month the hospital opened an Urgent Care center in Delta. 

"We have a lot of the same things that an emergency room would have to care for people," Jane Rosen, a nurse practitioner with DCMH's new Urgent Care, says. 

Rosen explains how it differs from the emergency room.

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10:05 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Enrollment Centers Help Coloradans Navigate Health Coverage Options

Janet Schafer, background, and Anna Cubel, foreground, at Hilltop's Health Access site in Grand Junction. Cubel is answering a caller's questions about open enrollment.
Credit Laura Palmisano

Open enrollment for Colorado’s health exchange ends Feb. 15. If you need help figuring out coverage options there are enrollment centers across the state where you can get it.  

Hilltop’s Health Access site in Grand Junction is busy. It's 1 of 13 enrollment centers in the state.

People can come here to get help navigating Colorado’s insurance exchange.

Rhonda Lofing manages the site for Hilltop, a local nonprofit. Lofing is also a certified health coverage guide.

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8:44 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Is Your State Ready For The Next Infectious Outbreak? Probably Not

Alyson Hurt/NPR

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 2:12 pm

Ebola may have slid off the nation's worry list, but that doesn't mean the United States is ready to handle an outbreak of Ebola or another infectious disease, an analysis says. That includes naturally occurring outbreaks like dengue fever, tuberculosis and measles, as well as the use of bioterrorism agents like anthrax.

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4:37 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

More than 100000 Coloradans Enroll For Private Health Plans


According to the latest data, more than 100,000 Coloradans have sign up for private health insurance through the state’s exchange.  

Open enrollment for Connect for Health Colorado started last month.

As of Monday, more than 136,000 residents have signed up for coverage.

Breaking down those numbers, more the 27,000 people enrolled for Medicaid and 932 signed up for CHP+, the state’s health plan for low-income children and pregnant women.

The exchange has also seen more than 108,000 enrollments in private insurance plans.

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10:06 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Behind The Scenes At The Lab That Fingerprints Microbiomes

Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project at the University of Colorado in Boulder, works in the lab where the samples are processed.
The American Gut Project

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:32 pm

The gut microbiome may soon reveal important answers to questions about our health. But those answers aren't yet easy to spot or quick to obtain.

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8:24 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Poo And You: A Journey Into The Guts Of A Microbiome

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:27 am

The trillions of microbes that live in our guts and on our skin have the power to affect our health in big ways — from stomach disorders and autoimmune diseases to acne and mood. The secret life of what scientists call our microbiota has remained largely obscured, however, because many of the organisms in the gut can't be grown in a lab.

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3:16 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

This Nursing Home Calms Troubling Behavior Without Risky Drugs

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 3:34 pm

It's a sunny autumn afternoon and a good time to make apple crisp at Pathstone Living, a memory care facility and nursing home in Mankato, Minn. Activities staffer Jessica Abbott gathers half a dozen older women at a counter in the dining area, where the soundtrack is mostly music they could have fox-trotted to back in the day.

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2:22 am
Mon December 8, 2014

When It Comes To Day Care, Parents Want All Children Vaccinated

According to a national poll on children's health, over 80 percent of parents believe all children in day care should be required to be up to date on their vaccines.
Alison Bruzek NPR

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 2:55 pm

There's been a lot of attention drawn to people who don't believe in vaccinating their children, but there are many more people who believe that vaccines are the best way to protect children from contagious disease. A recent poll shows just how concerned parents are about vaccines when it comes to putting their children in day care.

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10:07 am
Thu December 4, 2014

CDC Warns That The Flu Season May Be A Bad One

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, got his flu shot in September.
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 5:21 pm

We may be in for a nasty flu season. That's the warning out today from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is worried because the most common strain of flu virus circulating in the United States is one called H3N2. In previous years, H3N2 strains have tended to send more people to the hospital than other strains — and cause more deaths, especially among the elderly, children and people with other health problems.

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1:29 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Health Law's Big Tent Still Leaves Some People Out

Andres Cuartas got help from an agent last March when he signed up for health insurance at a Miami mall. In the last year, the percentage of women who are uninsured has dropped more than the percentage of uninsured men.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 5:57 am

A Shots post earlier this week by NPR's John Ydstie detailed the "family glitch" in the Affordable Care Act. That's where people who can't afford their insurance at work aren't eligible for help in the new insurance exchanges. Many of these Americans, most of whom make middling incomes, will remain uninsured.

That story got us wondering: Who else is getting left out by health law? And who is getting coverage?

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3:20 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Still No Fluoride

Credit Flickr user smanography

If you live between Ridgway and Delta, there’s been a change to your drinking water, although you might not notice until your next dentist appointment.

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