Health

Health
9:00 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Getting Sour on Sugar

This most ubiquitous and irresistible of foods has also been called addictive and toxic and has been linked with obesity, diabetes, and, recently, memory loss. Some are calling for regulating sugar  as if it were tobacco. But others say it is intrinsic to our very survival as a species, found even in breast milk and that demonizing or shunning sugar is the wrong course. 

Guests

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Health
1:43 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Baby Steps For Naturopathic Doctors In New Hampshire

Ingredients for Elderberry Syrup

Although Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) undergo virtually the same training as medical doctors, their services have hitherto not been covered by insurance companies in the state of New Hampshire. Two and a half years ago ND Bert Mathieson, frustrated by what struck him as “discrimination flat out,” got a sponsor for a bill that would change N.H. law. HB351 would require insurers in the state to reimburse naturopathic doctors, who emphasize illness prevention and lifestyle guidance rather than pharmaceutical or surgical procedures in their practice.

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Health
4:47 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Health Law's Downfall Could Put GOP In Odd Spot

Attorneys general leave the U.S. Supreme Court on March 28, the last of three days of oral arguments on the health care law.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 9:37 pm

The Supreme Court will rule in the coming weeks on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — the health care law that has been a flashpoint of partisan acrimony and debate since its beginning.

Much of that debate has been philosophical. But now that the law is under review by the country's highest court, politicians have to plan for the real implications of the court's decision. That's proving particularly difficult for congressional Republicans.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
12:48 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

America's First Locavores

Photo by Whatsername, via Flickr Creative Commons

Widespread obesity among Native Americans has led to spiking diabetes rates among young people in the current generation. The phenomenon partially blamed on the lack of access to healthy food on reservations. Edible Idaho’s Guy Hand recently looked at what a food coalition on the coeur d'alene reservation of North Idaho is doing to connect the people there to better eating, starting with their nutrient-rich roots. 

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Series: Shifting the Balance
12:28 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Obesity Game-Changer

Photo credit SteFou, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Today’s report from the USDA’s economic research service upends the notion that healthy food options are more expensive for consumers than sweet and fatty junk-foods. The report points out that price depends on how you measure it. When factored by calorie, a chocolate doughnut will often cost more than a tomato.

Price is the chief concern of Hank Cardello

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Series: Shifting the Balance
5:45 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Bodegas Become Frontlines Against Obesity

Health Options at Tropical Food Market

Most people know how we should be eating: more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, fewer candies, fats, and calories. But putting that into practice can be tough.

When you walk into the convenience store and a bag of potatoes chips is a dollar, and a salad is six, which are you going to buy?

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Shifting the Balance
5:40 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Can Healthy Food Make It As Snack Food?

feck_aRt_Post via Flickr/Creative Commons

You’re at the gym, working up a sweat, burning some calories, getting that metabolism in gear… and then the workout ends and you’re looking for quick refreshment. Grabbing a candy bar or a sugary soda from the vending machine can feel like you’re undoing all your exercise.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
9:13 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Pudgy Kids, Anemic Policies

Photo by melt alaska, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

A new investigative report from Reuters says that the White House has fallen woefully short in the battle against childhood bulge.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:14 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

A Step Forward For Gene Therapy To Treat HIV

HIV particles assemble at the surface of a white blood cell called a macrophage.
PLoS Biology

Millions of people around the world are living with HIV, thanks to drug regimens that suppress the virus. Now there's a new push to eliminate HIV from patients' bodies altogether. That would be a true cure.

We're not there yet. But a report in Science Translational Medicine is an encouraging signpost that scientists may be headed in the right direction.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
11:22 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Gastrointestinal Intrigue

Photo by steaktaco, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The new concerns over the prolific use of antibiotics and their connection to the obesity epidemic. New research from New York University indicates that over-prescription of antibiotics could harm communities of bacteria that keep digestive systems healthy and help the body fight fat.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
11:16 am
Tue April 10, 2012

When Things go KaBOOM!

Photo by S e e n e, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Our series, Shifting the Balance, is focused on exploring the positive impact environmental and policy changes can make on the fight against obesity. For those of us who struggle to carve out an a few hours a week for the gym, healthy living can seem out of reach– but for kids, it’s often less about finding time to play than finding a place to play.

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The Salt
5:11 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Now On The Menu For Hungry Kids: Supper At School

Students at Garfield Elementary School eat dinner as part of an after-school program in Kansas City, Mo. In the past few years, a federally subsidized school dinner program has spread from six to all 50 states.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 1:34 pm

Not long after the start of the school year, Monique Sanders, a teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Manchester, Conn., realized many of her students were going to bed hungry.

"It was very bad. I had parents calling me several times a week, asking did I know of any other way that they could get food because they had already gone to a food pantry," Sanders says. "The food pantry only allows you to go twice per month, so if you are running low on your food stamps or you didn't get what you needed and you're not able to feed your family, that's very stressful."

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Series: Shifting the Balance
11:09 am
Mon April 9, 2012

At Google, well-fed employees are a solid investment

(Photo by Kenn Wilson via Flickr Creative Commons)

Think about the workplace perks that keep you a contented employee. Maybe there's free coffee in the kitchen, or, perhaps, your pooch is allowed to wander among the cubicles. 

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Health
7:20 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Senate Begins Battle Over Abortion Funding

Thursday, members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee considered a bill that would ban public funding of facilities that provide abortion. Opponents of the bill, which has already been approved by the House, say it could jeopardize $700 million in federal Medicaid funds. The bill's sponsor, Republican of Rochester Warren Groen, says preventing the state from funding abortion is a smarter way to use scare with public dollars.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
10:01 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Calories, Consumption, and the Key to Capitalism

Any idea how many calories are in a 64-ounce double gulp soda from a convenience store? 800, how about one of those big cookies? For a society fixated on weight-loss, very few of us know how many calories we’re taking in and what is a calorie, after all? You can’t see taste, or smell them, but they are everywhere. Your brain knows if you’re getting too much or too little. And the more you take in, the more the food industry makes.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
11:00 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Adjusting to the shift...at home

Photo by Zophos via Flickr Creative Commons

Holyoke, Massachusetts has a rate of childhood obesity much higher than the national average, especially within its considerable Puerto Rican community.

Karen Brown reports on how a community center is enacting change for this population in a three part series. In this story, a 9 year-old finds herself in a house now full of healthy food and surrounded by adults encouraging her to ride her bike instead of watching TV. But with a lack of sidewalks, a high rate of neighborhood crime, and the odds seemingly stacked against her, can the balance truly be shifted in her favor?

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Health
6:06 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

NH House Approves 24 Hour Wait For Abortion

The NH house has voted to require women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. 

The so-called women’s right to know bill had to be pared back to win final house passage. Penalties for doctors were stripped, as was the  requirements that abortion providers give women seeking an abortion specific information about abortion risks, including a contested claim linking aborts to breast cancer.  According to the final amendments lead author Republican Tammy Simmons of Manchester, limiting the proposal to a simple 24 waiting period is a common sense compromise.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
9:34 am
Wed March 28, 2012

A Community Approach to a Growing Epidemic

Photo by acastrodad25, Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Childhood obesity has become a public health crisis in America – and one of first lady Michelle Obama’s main causes. More than thirty percent of all children in America -- about 11 million -- are considered clinically overweight or obese. In Holyoke, Massachusetts, which has many Puerto Rican and low-income residents, the problem is even worse than the national average. In the first of a series, Karen Brown reports how one community health center is trying to reverse this trend.

 

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Series: Shifting the Balance
12:40 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Web only: Standing in the place where I work

Today, the Boston Globe reported on the growing trend of employees abandoning their chairs and standing up at their workstations. It's become a pretty popular topic since we first started talking about it nearly a year ago, and a popular topic around these parts, too, in no small part because I am still the only standing employee in my workspace. The good news?

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Series: Shifting the Balance
10:31 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Stand in the Place Where You Work

Photo by Chotda via Flickr Creative Commons

Are you sitting down? Well, listen up: research shows that sitting too much shaves years off of your life. In 2011, a study in the emerging field of Inactivity Studies found that each hour of sitting per day increases a person’s risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases by 18 percent. It turns out that eating well and getting plenty of exercise do not offset the detriments of couch potato time as much as living and working in an environment where standing is the default option. As part of our continuing series Shifting the Balance, we spoke with Dr.

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TB
12:50 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

TB Scare At Concord Elementary School

Public health officials have confirmed a case of tuberculosis at Dane Elementary School.

Director of Public Health, Dr. Jose Montero, says the infected child, a kindergarten student, likely contracted the illness from an adult who was exposed to the dangerous bacteria abroad. Most TB is treatable and is spread through the air. Montero says the adult was treated effectively.

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Health
5:40 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Specialty Hospitals Pass House

In a 198 to 161 vote, house members passed a bill that would allow for-profit specialty hospitals to avoid going through the certificate of need regulatory process. The bill also exempts these hospitals, most of which do not take Medicaid patients, from paying the state's Medicaid Enhancement Tax.

Opponents say the bill gives an unfair advantage to these for-profit specialty hospitals. Cancer Treatment Centers of America is eyeing New Hampshire as a location for a facility in the Northeast.

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Series: Shifting the Balance
1:43 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

The Comfort Food Conundrum

Photo by songpd, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

In gentile Savannah, Georgia, traditional southern food remains a somewhat sacred rite. That devotion has made Mrs. Wilkes dining room a place of worship. The former boarding house, now restaurant, offers a relaxed atmosphere and an   abundance of home-cooked pleasure.  But,as Emily Corwin reports for our Shifting the Balance series, the way the food is served can make the difference between over-indulgence, and a satisfying, healthy intake.  

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Series: Shifting the Balance
3:06 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

A School Bus of a Different Sort

Photo by Sam Warren via Wordpress

In rural towns, getting to school isn't always as easy as the walks I used to take in suburban Long Island. Small towns rely heavily on parents to give kids rides, and on kids taking lengthy bus rides...not exactly the healthiest option at a time when childhood obesity rates are climbing exponentially.

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Shots - Health Blog
8:58 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Mississippi Builds Insurance Exchange, Even As It Fights Health Law

Mississippi, unlike some of its neighbors, is moving ahead with an insurance exchange.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 9:24 am

Mississippi, a deeply red Southern state that is part of the Supreme Court case against the health law, is moving full speed ahead with one of the key provisions of that law: an online health insurance exchange.

Unlike Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and other conservative states in the South, Mississippi is well on its way to having an insurance exchange ready for operation by the 2014 deadline laid out by the health overhaul law.

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Health
3:08 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

House Votes To Dismantle Certificate Of Need Board

The Certificate of Need Board approves new hospitals and expansions of existing medical centers in the state. Wednesday the house voted 166-140 to get rid of the board entirely. The House rejected an amendment which would have overhauled the existing board and phase it out over five years. The idea was to reconfigure the board with non-stakeholders, such as not allowing hospital representatives to serve.

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The Salt
5:15 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Death By Bacon? Study Finds Eating Meat Is Risky

This would be considered a "once in a while" food.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:14 pm

Bacon has been called the gateway meat, luring vegetarians back to meat. And hot dogs are a staple at many a backyard BBQ.

But a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that daily consumption of red meat — particularly processed meat — may be riskier than carnivores realize.

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Health
5:22 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits New Hampshire

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Penacook Community Center
Josh Rogers, NHPR

First Lady Michelle Obama brought her "Let's Move!'' health and fitness initiative to New Hampshire on Friday.

Mrs. Obama visited the Penacook Community Center, a neighborhood nonprofit group in Concord.

It has a child care center that helps children exercise before and after school and teaches them about healthy eating through the use of a garden.     

Mrs. Obama was joined by New Hampshire First Lady Susan Lynch, a pediatrician who has worked to increase awareness about childhood obesity.

Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Forget The Robots: Venture Capitalists Change Their Health Care Investments

Surgical robots like this one are wildly expensive. Before the economic troubles began, investment in such high-tech medical devices was plentiful. Now, hospitals are looking for comparatively simple solutions to cut costs: streamline medical billing and even investing in $1 catheters that can save upwards of $50,000.
Frank Perry AFP/Getty Images

It wasn't that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices.

Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn't an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients.

But after the Great Recession hit and the 2010 health law passed, the financiers behind the medical arms race started to rethink their investment calculus.

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Health
4:13 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

House Votes Against State Run Health Insurance Exchange

A bill which prevents the state from creating its own exchange passed overwhelmingly in the house on Thursday

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