HEALTH

HEALTH
4:02 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Health Coverage Guide Discusses Colorado Exchange

Connect for Health Colorado is the state's health insurance marketplace.
Credit connectforhealthco.com

Open enrollment for Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance exchange, has started. The enrollment period ends Feb. 15.

Connect for Health has health coverage guides across the state that help people navigate the marketplace and buy an insurance plan.

KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Maria Forster, a health coverage guide for Volunteers of America, about the exchange and the people who are signing up for insurance.  

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HEALTH
1:51 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

What Diabetes Costs You, Even If You Don't Have The Disease

The costs of diabetes aren't all as obvious as an insulin pump.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 12:04 pm

Diabetes is an expensive disease to treat, costing the United States $244 billion in 2012, according to an analysis of the disease's economic burden.

When the loss of productivity due to illness and disability is added in, the bill comes to $322 billion, or $1,000 a year for each American, including those without diabetes. That's 48 percent higher than the same benchmark in 2007; not a healthy trend.

The increase is being driven by a growing and aging population, the report finds, as well as more common risk factors like obesity, and higher medical costs.

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HEALTH
7:56 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Sleep's Link To Learning And Memory Traced To Brain Chemistry

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:23 pm

Almost a century after the discovery that sleep helps us remember things, scientists are beginning to understand why.

During sleep, the brain produces chemicals that are important to memory and relives events we want to remember, scientists reported this week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington D.C.

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HEALTH
11:51 am
Tue November 18, 2014

More States Adopt Laws To Ease Access To Experimental Treatments

When should a patient in dire condition be allowed to try an experimental treatment?
BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 10:00 am

On Election Day, Arizona voters approved a referendum that allows terminally ill patients to receive treatment with drugs and devices that haven't been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Arizona became the fifth state to approve a so-called right-to-try law this year.

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HEALTH
4:46 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Open Enrollment Begins For Colorado's Health Exchange

Connect for Health Colorado is the state's health insurance marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act.
Credit connectforhealthco.com

Open enrollment for Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance marketplace, started Saturday. The enrollment period ends Feb. 15.

“It’s important for Coloradans to know that if they want their coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2015, they need to enroll, select a plan and conclude the process by Dec. 15,” says Linda Gann with Connect For Health on the Western Slope. 

The state exchange, which is separate from the federal marketplace, allows people and small businesses to purchase health insurance and apply for federal subsidies. 

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HEALTH
1:38 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Why Sterilization Is The Most Popular Form Of Family Planning

Women who underwent sterilization surgery at a government-run camp were hospitalized in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh after 13 patients died following the procedure.
Anindito Mukherjee Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 8:30 am

Last week, 13 women died in India after undergoing sterilization procedures in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, possibly because of tainted pills administered after the surgery. This tragedy has cast a negative light on sterilization.

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HEALTH
3:34 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

School-Based Health Clinic Opens In Delta

A Kidz Clinic is the first school-based health clinic to open in Delta County.
Credit Laura Palmisano

Delta County has a new school-based health clinic.  


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HEALTH
3:22 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

State Pushes Hospitals To Serve Healthy Food

Credit Flickr user Ableman

A new program is starting this week to fight one of Colorado’s biggest health threats: obesity.

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HEALTH
4:01 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

The Prosthetics Industry Gets A Human Touch

The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab created an electronic prosthetic hand and arm that has the same dexterity as a human arm. Electronic prosthetics are the biggest area of growth in this industry.
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 1:57 pm

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base." This is the latest in the ongoing series.

"There's been more advancement in the field of prosthetics since 1945 than there has been in the entire automobile industry," says Mark Vukov, a clinical education manager at College Park Industries, a manufacturer of prosthetic feet.

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HEALTH
2:47 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Kidney Dialysis Company Expands Into The Hospital Business

Dialysis giant DaVita HealthCare Partners is moving into the hospital business.
Courtesy of DaVita HealthCare Partners

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 5:08 pm

Critics of America's health care system say it's really a "sick care" system. Doctors and hospitals only get paid for treating people when they're sick.

But that's starting to change. Health insurance companies and big government payers like Medicare are starting to reward doctors and hospitals for keeping people healthy.

So, many health care companies are trying to position themselves as organizations that help people stay well.

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HEALTH
10:14 am
Mon November 10, 2014

5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Obamacare

Look no farther for the top things to watch out for when shopping for health insurance on the online marketplaces.
Giorgio Magini iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 3:03 pm

The second open enrollment season for health insurance offered through marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act is just around the corner. Are you ready?

Here's a quick checklist for people who don't get their health insurance at work and plan to shop for coverage on the health law's online exchanges. Enrollment starts Nov. 15, but you can start kicking the tires now.

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HEALTH
4:30 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Two Of Three States Reject Ballot Measures Restricting Abortion

Abortion-rights supporters outside the Supreme Court in January for the annual March for Life. This week North Dakota and Colorado struck down ballot measures restricting abortion, while Tennessee passed an initiative that may result in restricted rights.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 6:11 pm

Amid all the shakeout from this week's midterm elections, many are trying to assess the impact on abortion.

Two abortion-related ballot measures were soundly defeated. A third passed easily. And those favoring restrictions on abortion will have a much bigger voice in the new Congress.

In North Dakota and Colorado, voters rejected 2-to-1 so-called personhood measures, which would give legal rights to fetuses.

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HEALTH
1:34 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

How Boy Bits First Came To Be

A python embryo turns its leg cells into a pair of penises. Researchers now believe that signals from the embryonic gut trigger the development of the penis in many different species.
Patrick Tschopp/Harvard Medical School/Department of Genetics

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 10:13 am

Evolution has shaped every part of the body, and that includes our private parts. New research published this week sheds light on how the penis evolved and how it forms in different animals.

The research might also one day help illuminate a medical mystery: Birth defects of the penis have risen sharply in recent decades, and nobody is sure why.

Penises weren't necessary when our early ancestors lived in the ocean. A female could lay eggs, and a male could just swim by and excrete some sperm. It would all mix and fertilize in the water.

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HEALTH
7:55 am
Tue October 28, 2014

With Obamacare, More Millennials Are Going To The Doctor, Sort Of

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 6:45 am

I write about health and health care, but even I'm not immune to the "young and invincible" mentality. My annual dental checkup is more than six months overdue.

A provision of the Affordable Care Act that took effect in 2010 aimed to make it easier for young adults to access preventive care by allowing them to stay on their parents' insurance until they turn 26. As of 2011, some 3 million young adults gained coverage through this provision.

So does this mean more young people are getting their annual checkups and cholesterol screenings?

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HEALTH
10:11 am
Wed October 15, 2014

State Tries To Tackle Suicide Rate

Credit Stephen Butler via Flickr (CC-BY)

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the US, and Colorado has some of the highest rates in the nation.

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HEALTH
9:21 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Western Slope Hospitals Prepare For Ebola

Scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus budding from a cell (African green monkey kidney epithelial cell line).
Credit NIAID

With Ebola still ravaging West Africa and a cases popping up in Europe and the US, hospitals across the country are having to take a serious look at how they’re prepared.

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HEALTH
8:28 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Health Premiums And Costs Set To Rise For Workers Covered At Work

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 9:20 am

Fall is enrollment season for many people who get insurance through their workplace. Premium increases for 2015 plans are expected to be modest on average, but the shift toward higher out-of-pocket costs overall for consumers will continue as employers try to keep a lid on their costs and incorporate health law changes.

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HEALTH
10:41 am
Fri October 10, 2014

32 Myths About The Flu Vaccine You Don't Need To Fear

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 6:14 am

Brace yourselves: Flu season is coming. And along with the coughing, fevers and aches, you can expect a lot of unreliable or downright wrong information about the flu vaccine.

Many people underestimate the health risks from flu. Thousands of Americans die from flu-related complications in a typical year, and last season's H1N1 strain hit young adults particularly hard.

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HEALTH
9:20 am
Wed October 8, 2014

The Great Bluff That Led To A 'Magical' Pill And A Sexual Revolution

The history of how the birth control pill was developed in the 1950s is recounted in Jonathan Eig's new book The Birth of the Pill.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 2:20 pm

In the 1950s, four people — the founder of the birth control movement, a controversial scientist, a Catholic obstetrician and a wealthy feminist — got together to create a revolutionary little pill the world had never seen before.

They were sneaky about what they were doing — skirting the law, lying to women about the tests they performed and fibbing to the public about their motivations.

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HEALTH
1:31 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Social Media, The New Weapon In The Battle To Lose Weight

Photos from Liz Paul's blog entries on Prior Fat Girl. The blog chronicles women's weight loss journeys.
Courtesy of Liz Paul/PriorFatGirl.com

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 12:25 pm

On a recent Sunday night, Liz Paul was tired. She'd worked in the morning, spent a full day with her family and she did not feel like going out for her daily jog.

"I tweeted out, 'Well, it's 9 p.m. on Sunday and I didn't work out,' " she says, "I really shouldn't go run in the dark should I?"

The response was immediate. The network of people Paul is relying on to help in her battle to lose weight chimed in with advice. Some tweeted back, "Yes, get out and run." Others offered alternatives like a video workout. But everyone said, "Do something!"

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HEALTH
12:31 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Is Enterovirus D68 Behind The Mysterious Paralysis In Children?

Sofia Jarvis, seen here with her family at a press conference in February, is one of several dozen children in California who have been diagnosed with a rare paralytic syndrome. It has left her left arm paralyzed.
Martha Mendoza AP

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 2:28 pm

When nine children in one hospital in Colorado come down with a mysterious form of paralysis in less than two months, it's hard not to worry.

Colorado has been hit hard by enterovirus D68, a virus that has caused severe respiratory illnesses in children around the country over the past few months.

All of the children had had been ill within a few weeks of suffering weakness in their arms or legs, a drooping face or difficulty swallowing.

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HEALTH
8:59 am
Thu October 2, 2014

No, Seriously, How Contagious Is Ebola?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 6:22 pm

Update on Oct. 8: The Ebola patient in Dallas, the first diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., has died.

Holy moly! There's a case of Ebola in the U.S.!

That first reaction was understandable. There's no question the disease is scary. The World Health Organization now estimates that the virus has killed about 70 percent of people infected in West Africa.

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HEALTH
1:35 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Vaccine Controversies Are As Social As They Are Medical

Daniela Chavarriaga holds her daughter Emma as Dr. Jose Rosa-Olivares administers a measles vaccination at Miami Children's Hospital.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 9:02 am

When essayist Eula Biss was pregnant with her son, she decided she wanted to do just a bit of research into vaccination. "I thought I would do a small amount of research to answer some questions that had come up for me," she tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "And the questions just got bigger the more I learned and the more I read."

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HEALTH
2:59 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Diabetes Highest On Western Slope In Delta County

Map of Colorado Counties, colored by percentage of residents diagnosed with diabetes.
Credit CDC

Diabetes is a huge issue for Americans. 

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HEALTH
2:08 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

More Women Skip Some Prenatal Tests After Learning About Risks

Is it time for a test?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 1:41 pm

For decades, OB-GYNs have offered prenatal tests to expectant moms to uncover potential issues, including Down syndrome, before they give birth. However, some tests, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, carry health risks, including miscarriage. For some women, the risks can be greater than the potential benefits from information they would gain.

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HEALTH
11:54 am
Mon September 22, 2014

In California, Less Water Means More West Nile Virus

Low water levels, like at this reservoir near Gustine, Calif., bring birds and mosquitoes together and help transmit West Nile virus to humans.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 6:20 am

California's historic drought is partly to blame for the recent rise in West Nile virus infections, public health officials say. There have been 311 cases reported so far, double the number of the same time last year, and the most of any state in the country.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes. They contract the virus when they feed on infected birds, then spread it to the birds they bite next. A shortage of water can accelerate this cycle.

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HEALTH
5:35 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Colorado Board Votes Down Medical Marijuana Caregiver Patient Cap Change

Jenea Cox - who testified at the hearing - and her 5-year-old daughter Haleigh. They moved to Colorado from Georgia so Haleigh could take a special medical marijuana strain to help with her seizures.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 10:33 am

The Colorado Board of Health has voted against setting maximum patient caps for medical marijuana caregivers. The proposed rule would have limited caregivers to just 10 patients. After a tense and at times tearful hearing Tuesday, the board said the change was unnecessary.

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HEALTH
11:16 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Colorado Tries Hard To Convince Teens That Pot Is Bad For You

This human-scale lab rat cage is parked near a skate park in Denver, Colo., to make a point about the lack of science on marijuana.
Richard Feldman Studio/Sukle Advertising and Design

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 8:29 am

Colorado's new campaign to deter teen marijuana use tries to make the case that weed is bad for your brain.

One TV ad shows a group of teens lighting up inside a dark car as moody music plays in the background. The commercial cites a Duke University study that found a link between regular marijuana use and a lower IQ.

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HEALTH
9:32 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Antibiotics Prescribed For Children Twice As Often As Needed

Drat those viruses. They're the culprit in the majority of children's colds and sore throats.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:58 am

When your child has an earache or a bad cold, it's hard to think that there's not much you can offer beyond Tylenol and sympathy. But most of those infections are mostly caused by viruses that don't respond to antibiotics, a study finds.

Just 27 percent of acute respiratory tract infections are caused by bacteria, researchers at Seattle Children's Hospital found. That means that more than two-thirds are viral and antibiotics don't help.

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HEALTH
2:03 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Rare Virus Has Sickened Hundreds More Children, Hospitals Say

PCR tests like this can tell if a virus is an enterovirus, but they can't ID the new virus that has caused a surge in serious respiratory infections.
BSIP / Science Source

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 3:33 pm

Just 82 children have confirmed cases of enterovirus-D68, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but hospitals around the country say they are treating hundreds more children who have been sickened by the rare virus.

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