Goats and Soda
5:19 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

A Man Said To Be Ebola-Free Could Still Infect A Partner During Sex

There's a new concern to add to possible means of transmitting Ebola: unprotected sex with a male survivor of the virus.
Abbas Dulleh AP

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 7:26 pm

For the first time since the Ebola virus was discovered in 1976, a woman has been found to have very likely contracted the virus through unprotected sex with a man who survived the disease.

A 44-year-old woman in Monrovia developed symptoms on March 14; Ebola was confirmed on March 20. Medical investigators ruled out all the usual transmission suspects: travel to or interaction with visitors from countries with Ebola; attending the funeral of a victim; or contact with people with symptoms.

Read more
The Salt
3:37 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

'Into The Wild' Author Tries Science To Solve Toxic Seed Mystery

Once the roots of the Eskimo potato got too tough to eat, Christopher McCandless started collecting the seeds in a plastic bag, says author Jon Krakauer.
Photo courtesy of McCandless family

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 2:06 pm

In August 1992, Christopher McCandless died in an abandoned bus in the Alaska wilderness after living mostly on squirrels, birds, roots and seeds for 113 days. Hunters found his body months later. Alaska state coroners declared starvation as the cause of death.

But a mystery lingered: What exactly did him in? A scientific paper published this spring by the journalist who'd been doggedly following the story offers another big clue.

Read more
Shots - Health News
1:30 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Urine For A Surprise: Your Pee Might Reveal Your Risk For Obesity


Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 3:38 pm

You might think it's easy to guess if a person is at risk of becoming overweight or developing diabetes. The behavioral traits are pretty clear – that person might exercise less or eat more. He or she might have high blood pressure, or might have gained weight.

But now there's another place to find evidence of those risk factors: in a person's pee.

Researchers are finding clues about the metabolism in human urine – most recently in more than 2,000 samples kept frozen in the basement of Imperial College, in London.

Read more
Shots - Health News
9:55 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Walking 2 Minutes An Hour Boosts Health, But It's No Panacea

Skopein Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 7:19 am

We know that sitting all day is hazardous to our health, increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, inflammation and atherosclerosis. It all sounds pretty dismal, since many of today's jobs require us to be nearly glued to our computer screens. But a tiny two-minute break may help offset that hazard, researchers say.

People who got up and moved around for at least two minutes every hour had a 33 percent lower risk of dying, according to researchers the University Of Utah School Of Medicine.

Read more
Shots - Health News
8:55 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Brand-Name Medicines Dominate Medicare's $103 Billion Drug Bill

AstraZeneca's Nexium was the top drug in Medicare Part D's spending on prescription medicines.
Daniel Acker Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 7:18 am

Brand-name drugs to treat heartburn, diabetes, depression and other common afflictions of the elderly were among the most expensive drains on the federal government's Medicare prescription benefit, costing more than $1 billion each in 2013, newly released data show.

The federal government popped the cap off drug spending on Thursday, detailing doctor-by-doctor and drug-by-drug how Medicare and its beneficiaries spent $103 billion on pharmaceuticals in 2013.

Read more
NPR Story
4:20 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Indiana Struggles To Control HIV Outbreak Linked To Injected Drug Use

Austin, Indiana's needle exchange program is open for business this week, but health workers worry the program will be tough to quickly replicate in other counties.
Darron Cummings AP

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 7:51 pm

In hopes of quelling an HIV outbreak in rural Indiana, the state's legislature this week voted to let any county that can prove it is experiencing a drug-linked outbreak of HIV or Hepatitis C to set up a needle exchange program. Indiana's governor, Mike Pence, says he is "looking forward to signing it into law."

But critics say the measure that passed Wednesday is watered down, and too limited. It also includes so much red tape that counties may have a tough time complying.

Read more
6:17 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Western Hemisphere Wipes Out Its Third Virus

Health worker Jackie Carnegie delivers a rubella vaccine in Colorado in 1972.
Ira Gay Sealy Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 10:39 am

It took 15 years and hundreds of millions of vaccines. But North America and South America have officially eradicated rubella, health authorities said Wednesday. Rubella is only the third virus eradicated from people in the Western Hemisphere.

Also known as German measles, rubella causes only a mild illness in children, with a rash and sometimes a fever.

Read more
5:05 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

He Carried His Mom On His Back For 5 Hours En Route To Medical Care

Amar Baramu carried his 70-year-old mother on his back for five hours, then rode with her on a bus for 12 more, to get her to a hospital for the head wound she suffered during the earthquake.
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 10:42 am

He carried his 70-year-old mother on his back for five hours.

Then he traveled with her by bus for 12 more.

She suffered a severe head injury when the earthquake rumbled through her village of Thumi. He was trying to get her to a hospital in the Gorkha district in northern-central Nepal.

Read more
All Tech Considered
3:53 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

The Doctor Will Video Chat With You Now: Insurer Covers Virtual Visits

UnitedHealthcare says it will cover doctors' visits by live video on smartphones, tablets and computers.
Doctor On Demand

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 7:19 pm

If you can live stream movies, why not live stream medical care?

Insurance company UnitedHealthcare will start covering visits to the doctor's office — via video chat. Patients and physicians talk live online — on smartphones, tablets or home computer — to get to a clinical diagnosis. This move to cybermedicine could save insurers a ton of money — or have unintended consequences.

Read more
Shots - Health News
2:21 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Health System Took Control To Make Joint Replacement More Profitable

Northeast Baptist Hospital, one of five hospitals within the Baptist Health System in San Antonio.
Courtesy of Baptist Health System

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 1:13 pm

To understand how the health law is supposed to fix the mediocre, overpriced, absurd medical system, you could read wonky research papers on bundled payments and accountable care organizations.

Or you could look at what's going on at Baptist Health System in San Antonio.

Under the potent lure of profit, doctors, nurses and managers at Baptist's five hospitals have joined forces to cut costs for hip and knee replacements, getting patients on their feet sooner and saving taxpayers money.

Read more