Health

Shots - Health Blog
3:01 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

With Cancer Care, The U.S. Spends More, But Gets More

Newer cancer treatment drugs have raised the cost of treatment even more.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 3:03 pm

By now it's hardly news that the U.S. spends more than every other industrialized country on health care. But a new study suggests that at least when it comes to cancer care, Americans may actually be getting decent value.

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Central Standard
1:09 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Happiness Is An Inside Job

shoot head flickr

What’s the key to happiness? Is it money? Status? Your own lake house with jet skis?

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The Salt
12:42 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Fast Food Chains In Cafeterias Put Hospitals In A Bind

The McDonald's inside the Cleveland Clinic, 2004, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Thu April 12, 2012 10:07 am

On one side of a wall inside the Truman Medical Center cafeteria in Kansas City, Missouri, the menu features low-calorie, low-fat and low-sodium meals. On the other side of the wall is a McDonald's, featuring hamburgers and french fries.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:34 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Wider Use Of Breast Cancer Radiation Technique Raises Concern

This illustration shows a device made by MammoSite used to deliver targeted doses of radiation as part of brachytherapy.
Courtesy Radiological Society of North America

When Lisa Galloway was trying to decide what kind of radiation treatment to undergo after surgery for early breast cancer, she jumped at the chance to get a newer, quicker approach.

Instead of dragging on for weeks, the newer form of radiation, called brachytherapy, only takes five days.

"Five days compared to 33 days, I was like, 'Yay!' " says Galloway, 53, of Silver Spring, Md. "So I wanted it so badly. I got it — I got my wish."

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Shots - Health Blog
11:08 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Study Warns Of Autism Risk For Children Of Obese Mothers

A pregnant woman measures her stomach.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 8:18 am

Scientists have found one more reason that pregnancy and obesity can be a bad combination.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests that moms who are obese or have diabetes are more likely to have a child with autism or another developmental problem.

The finding is "worrisome in light of this rather striking epidemic of obesity" in the U.S., says Irva Hertz-Picciotto from the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, one of the study's authors.

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Health
8:27 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Residents Raise Money For Contraceptives After County Votes Down Funding

In response to leaders of Miami County voting against drawing down federal funds for a program that has long provided birth control to low income families, a group of area residents has raised the money.

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Health
4:31 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Cochlear Implants Redefine What It Means To Be Deaf

A schoolboy with a cochlear implant listens to his teacher during lessons at a school for the hearing impaired in Germany. The implants have dramatically changed the way deaf children learn and transition out of schools for the deaf and into classrooms with non-disabled students.
Eckehard Schulz AP

Originally published on Sun April 8, 2012 4:32 pm

There was a time when a child born deaf had few choices. For more than a century, the only option for parents was to send their son or daughter away to a boarding school for the deaf. There, the children and the schools thrived in the shadows, embracing a distinct culture of silent communication.

Recent advances in medicine and technology are now reshaping what it means to be deaf in America. Children who could never hear a sound are now adults who can hear everything. That's having a dramatic impact on the nation's historic deaf schools as well as the lives of people.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:19 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Spotting Dyslexia May Be Possible Even Before Kids Learn To Read

How to test reading ability in children who can't read has been a problem for researchers.
f_ iStockphoto.com

For people with dyslexia, problems recognizing words can make life difficult. Children usually aren't diagnosed until elementary school, when it becomes clear they're struggling with reading. But scientists say it could be possible to diagnose and help kids much earlier by identifying problems with visual attention — long before they learn to read.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:18 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Fox In Socks! Dartmouth Names Its Medical School After Dr. Seuss

An imagined new facade for Dartmouth's school of medicine (with apologies to Dr. Seuss).
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 4:04 pm

At the college of Dartmouth, in the year '24
There lived a young humorist named Theodor.
Though boozing was banned as a crime and a sin,
Theo hosted a party with plenty of gin.
But then in through the door without even a knock
Burst the grinch who stole gin-mas: Dean Craven Laycock.

The dean started shouting. His face turned bright red.
"Put down your tumbler and listen up, Ted!
I'm kicking you out of those clubs that you're in.
Your work won't be published at Dartmouth again!"

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Shots - Health Blog
1:17 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Across America, The Grip of Prescription Painkillers Tightens

Hydrocodone is a key ingredient in the prescription painkiller Vicodin.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 7:58 am

Tens of millions of Americans turn to powerful painkillers to ease their sufferings. But an analysis on the sales of two prescription drugs over a decade is particularly worrisome.

Check out The Associated Press' interactive map at the end of this post. It uses data from the Drug Enforcement Agency to show how sales of oxycodone and hydrocodone ballooned from 2000-10.

You can click on individual states to see which areas had the biggest increases.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:31 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Cancer Diagnosis Raises Risk Of Death From Heart Attack, Suicide

The danger of death by heart attack or suicide is greatest in the first week after a cancer diagnosis.
Max Delson Martins Santos iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 9:51 am

Finding out that you have cancer greatly increases the risk of death by heart attack or suicide, according to a new study. That risk is especially big in the first week after getting the bad news.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:51 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Drug Spending Levels Off, But Not For The Usual Reasons

The one group for whom prescription drug spending rose last year was young adults ages 19 to 25.
Roel Smart iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 5:10 pm

U.S. spending on prescription drugs grew just barely in 2011, according to the annual report from IMS Health, which keeps track of these things.

But the reason for the barely discernible increase of 0.5 percent, to $320 billion, was not the expected one.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:50 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Speaking Multiple Languages May Help Delay Dementia Symptoms

Because these Chicago second-graders are bilingual, they may be better protected later in life against the ravages of dementia.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

The brains of people who grow up speaking two languages are wired differently, and those differences protect them from dementia as they age.

That's the news from two studies out this month from a scientist in Canada who has spent decades trying to figure out whether being bilingual is bad or good. "I've been doing this for 25 years," Ellen Bialystok, a distinguished research professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, tells Shots. "Suddenly people are interested. I figure it's because everybody's scared about dementia."

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Shots - Health Blog
2:22 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

More Fake Cancer Drugs Found In The U.S.

The FDA says so far it hasn't gotten any reports of patients receiving the fake Altuzan.
U.S. Food And Drug Administration

Another batch of phony cancer drugs has made its way into the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says.

U.S.-based medical practices purchased vials of counterfeit medicine labeled as Altuzan from a foreign supplier, FDA spokesperson Shelly Burgess tells Shots. She said the agency doesn't have any reports of patients having received the counterfeit drugs.

Altuzan is the Turkish brand name for Avastin, the FDA-approved blockbuster cancer drug from Swiss drugmaker Roche's Genentech unit. Altuzan is approved for use in Turkey — but not in the U.S.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:45 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Doctors Urge Their Colleagues To Quit Doing Worthless Tests

Doctors, don't order that CT scan when a less-expensive ultrasound would work just as well, the Choosing Wisely campaign advises.
Catherine Yeulet iStockphoto.com

Nine national medical groups are launching a campaign called Choosing Wisely to get U.S. doctors to back off on 45 diagnostic tests, procedures and treatments that often may do patients no good.

Many involve imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs and X-rays. Stop doing them, the groups say, for most cases of back pain, or on patients who come into the emergency room with a headache or after a fainting spell, or just because somebody's about to undergo surgery.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:50 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

FDA To Fund Controversial Research Foundation

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says there is a desperate need to have the Reagan-Udall Foundation up and running.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 10:05 pm

A nonprofit foundation set up to support scientific research of interest to the Food and Drug Administration is finally starting to take off after years of struggling financially — and it's about to get some long-promised funding from the FDA.

But some critics worry that this foundation, which will also raise money from private sources including industry, could provide a way for the food and medical industries to sway FDA decisions.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:00 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

New Rankings Are County-By-County Health Snapshot

County Health Rankings

How healthy is your county?

To see how the place where you live stacks up against the rest of the U.S., check out the latest County Health Rankings, an annual report comparing health trends for more than 3,000 counties, plus the District of Columbia.

The rankings are produced by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. You can drill down to look at, among other things, which areas have the highest and lowest education rates and income levels as well access to medical care and healthful foods.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:48 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Mammograms May Lead To Breast Cancer 'Over-Diagnosis,' Study Finds

The problem of breast cancer overdiagnosis with mammograms is similar to the dilemma faced by men diagnosed with prostate cancer because of a PSA test.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Norwegian scientists say as many as 1 in every 4 cases of breast cancer doesn't need to be found because it would never have caused the woman any problem.

It's a startling idea for laypeople (and many doctors) thoroughly indoctrinated with the notion that any breast cancer is medically urgent — and should be found at the earliest possible moment.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:46 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Medicare Boosting Coverage For Mental Health Issues

Medicare coverage for mental health services will reach 80 percent in 2014.
DElight iStockphoto.com

Medicare coverage for people with depression used to be, well, depressing. But that's starting to change.

In October, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began covering screening for depression without any cost-sharing when Medicare beneficiaries visit their primary care doctor.

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KC Currents
12:46 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

New Report Sheds Light On Missouri Women's Health

Back in 2004, the health and economic status of Missouri women was rated a C- by Women's Policy Research. Have we made progress since then?

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Up to Date
1:16 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Parents, Teens & Technology

Your son wants to hang out at a friend’s house: he calls your cell to cell to ask.  Your daughter is staying late at school: she sends you a text.

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Health
7:18 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Discarded Abortion Records Prompt Investigation, Chargeable Violations Unclear

The discovery of hundreds of private abortion records near a school in Overland Park, Kan. has prompted a police investigation.

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Health
6:36 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Hundreds Rally At Missouri Capitol, Contraception Bill Moves Forward In Senate

Two rallies in Jefferson City today each called for the repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and for employers to have the right to not provide coverage for birth control. 

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Health
3:46 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Feds Deem Health Insurance Rate Hike Unreasonable

Six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services began reviewing proposed rate increases by health insurance plans, it’s deemed its first rate hike in Missouri to be unreasonable.

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Health
3:23 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Nixon Calls For Restored Funding Of Services For Visually Impaired

Governor Nxion meets with people outside Services for Independent Living in Columbia, Missouri.
Jacob Fenston KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon is calling on the Missouri House to restore health care funding for blind people after a committee voted last week to cut the program from next year’s budget.

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Central Standard
9:42 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Economic Dignity, Health Screenings

Pastor DeForest “Buster” Soaries

Today on Central Standard, a look at the role of faith based organizing in restoring economic dignity to the neighborhoods that need it most.

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Health, Influenza, Flu
10:44 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Flu Season Picks Up, Vaccine Still Available

The nation's midsection is a hot spot for influenza right now, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says there’s still time to be protected by a flu shot.

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Health
12:28 am
Thu March 8, 2012

How Fast Food Found A Home In One Hospital

McDonalds at Truman Medical Center
Elana Gordon KCUR

Truman Medical Center is on the front lines of health care in Kansas City.  The safety-net hospital treated nearly 100,000 patients last year.  But lately, hospital leaders have been trying to figure out ways to prevent people from getting sick and becoming patients in the first place.  CEO John Bluford has been waging a wellness campaign, promoting better nutrition and battling junk food. 

So what’s a McDonald's doing right inside a main hospital entrance?

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Central Standard
1:22 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Ego & Self-Esteem

How did you develop a clearly defined sense of yourself?
thezartorialist flickr

On this Central Standard, we get to know a hungry ghost with a gigantic tummy: your ego.

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Up to Date
12:51 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

When Someone You Love Has A Chronic Illness

Every individual will face it at one time or another during their lifetime: a chronic illness affecting them, a family member or a close friend.

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