Health

Shots - Health News
9:39 am
Wed May 14, 2014

MERS 101: What We Do (And Don't) Know About The Virus

Fear of MERS is prompting Saudis to wear mouth and nose masks, like this man on the street of the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on April 27.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 10:43 am

The virus with the mysterious name has been making headlines this spring, with a mysterious increase in cases. Here's an update on what we know about MERS.

What is it? Middle East respiratory syndrome, a new and potentially fatally virus from the same family as the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome virus (SARS).

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Shots - Health News
8:54 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Doctors Debate Whether Screening For Domestic Abuse Helps Stop It

In the U.S., doctors increasingly ask about domestic violence as a routine part of checkups.
iStockphoto

Domestic violence affects a third of women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In many cases nobody knows of the suffering, and victims aren't able to get help in time.

That's why in many countries, including the U.S., there's been a push to make screening for domestic violence a routine part of doctor visits. Last year, the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that clinicians ask all women of childbearing age whether they're being abused.

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Around the Nation
6:01 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Too Young To Smoke, But Not To Pick Tobacco

Eddie Ramirez, 15, outside his mobile home in Snow Hill, N.C. He's been working in tobacco fields during the summer for several years.
Will Michaels for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 8:30 am

Kids under 18 can't buy cigarettes in the U.S., but they can legally work in tobacco fields when they're as young as 12.

One of those kids is Eddie Ramirez, 15, who works the fields in the summer.

"It just sticks to my hand," he says of the plant. "It's really sticky, you know, and really yellow." It's nearly impossible to wash off, he says.

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Shots - Health News
2:46 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Obamacare Prompts Firm To Consider Dropping Its Health Plan

AmeriMark employees sort through return orders on the catalog company's processing floor.
Sarah Jane Tribble / WCPN

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 12:09 pm

AmeriMark Direct founded its catalog business in Cleveland in the 1960s, and for decades, everyone assumed that health insurance came with the job.

These days, the 700-employee company doesn't assume anything.

The traditional mail-order catalog company sells a broad selection of products — from magnetic "fashion bracelets" and patio dresses to sexual health aids and religious-themed blankets.

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Health Care
4:02 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

'Good Doctor' Puts Past Medical Practices Under An Ethical Microscope

byryo iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 4:49 pm

Dr. Barron Lerner is a doctor and the son of a doctor. He grew up thinking his father was a wonderful, gifted and caring physician, which he was. But after Lerner started studying bioethics, he began questioning some of his father's practices — practices which were typical of many doctors in the '60s.

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Shots - Health News
3:57 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Pub Owner Frustrated That Health Plan Prices Keep Jumping

Paul Siperke, co-owner of Cleveland brewery Fat Head's, plans to keep providing health insurance to his employees. But he's irked by the continual price fluctuations in the group's policy — this year caused partly by the Affordable Care Act.
Milan Jovanovic WCPN

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 10:28 am

Paul Siperke is the co-owner of Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon, a popular brewpub in Cleveland. He has fewer than 50 full-time employees, so he's classified under the Affordable Care Act as a small business. He doesn't have to provide health insurance to his employees, but that's what he's been doing since the bar opened in 2009, despite some pretty dramatic volatility in rates.

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Shots - Health News
3:38 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Gene Sequencing Could One Day Make Malaria Easier To Treat

A health official takes a blood sample from a child's finger for a malaria test at a clinic in Bong Ti Lang village on the Thai-Myanmar border.
Narong Sangnak EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 1:30 pm

Malaria has proved one of the hardest diseases on the planet to treat. The World Health Organization estimates there are nearly 200 million cases each year, and the parasitic infection is blamed for some 700,000 deaths annually.

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Shots - Health News
3:19 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Meds Can Help Problem Drinkers, But Many Doctors Don't Know That

Naltrexone, a prescription drug better known for treating opioid abuse, is one of four drugs that helps problem drinkers quit.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 10:11 am

If you tell your doctor you'd like to stop drinking, odds are he's not going to give you a pill. That's too bad, a study says, because there are medications that can help people with drinking problems get off the sauce.

And they're not going to make you sick like Antabuse, a medication used for decades to treat alcoholics that makes them wretchedly ill if they drink.

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Shots - Health News
2:51 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

A Spoon That Shakes To Counteract Hand Tremors

The Liftware device, shown here as an early prototype (left) and the final design, starts up automatically when it's lifted from the table. There's no "on" switch to fumble with.
Ina Jaffe NPR

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 10:43 am

Eating a bowl of cereal in the morning seems like such a simple thing, but it's close to impossible for some of the 1 million Americans who struggle with the tremors of Parkinson's disease.

There are also as many as 10 million Americans who have a disorder called essential tremor — sometimes mistaken for Parkinson's — which, when severe, also can make eating a struggle.

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Shots - Health News
10:37 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Employers May Start Paying You To Buy Health Insurance

Employees pay directly for their health insurance in "defined contribution" plans.
iStockphoto

What if employers started giving workers a chunk of cash to buy health insurance on their own instead of offering them a chance to buy into the company plan? Are workers ready to manage their own health insurance like they do a 401(k)?

The idea that employers might drop their health plans and replace them with a "defined contribution" for employees has been around for years. It's one way for employers to control their expenses in the face of the relentlessly rising costs of health care.

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