Colin Dunn via flickr Creative Commons /

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years. But today vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. On today’s show, we’ll look at the history and science behind a largely unregulated market. Plus, a new hotline for emotionally distressed teens aims to help teens by communicating in a space where they feel comfortable – via text message.     

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

VCU Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections /

An overwhelming majority of medical researchers and pediatricians advocate for vaccinating kids. Vocal anti-vaxxers include celebrities Jenny McCarthy and Rob Schneider. On today’s show we’ll find out why women are more likely to distrust doctors and go anti-vax.

Plus, we’ll bust some of the myths behind anti-oxidant rich super foods, and find out how advertisers turned Listerine into a cure-all – and virtually created the concept of bad breath.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

VCU Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections /

  Malaria threatens more than half the world’s people. Yet there is still no way to immunize against it. On today’s show, why a promising vaccine developed by an upstart in the biotech scene is not getting funded. 

Plus, Levi Strauss started making jeans during the gold rush, introducing the  most iconic symbol of American style. Today’s Good Gig profiles the Levi’s in-house historian who sifts through mine shafts and dusty attics to find the stories behind every crease. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Julian via Flickr CC

Officials in Newport, New Hampshire, say they need to focus on their own residents first when it comes to ambulance service.

The Valley News reports that starting June 30, Newport will no longer provide backup ambulance service to Lempster, New London, Newbury, Springfield, Grantham and half of Sunapee. It will continue to provide service to other towns that have contracts with Newport Ambulance, and mutual aid agreements will not be affected.

Families First Health & Support Center

The state of New Hampshire is receiving nearly $4.8 million in grant money to support home wellness visits for young children and pregnant women.  Federal Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the grant Thursday as part of $386 million awarded nationwide to support home visitation programs.  Burwell says the grant gives New Hampshire the flexibility to tailor its home visit programs to address the needs of the communities they serve.  The national Home Visiting Program currently serves about one-third of the counties in the country with high rates of low birth weights

Iowa Digital Library via flickr Creative Commons /

While the U.S. leads the world in dental innovation, many Americans are unable to afford basic dental care, and as a result, suffer from health and psychological consequences. On today’s show: the high price of poor teeth.

Then, stretching your artistic muscles has been shown to reduce stress and increase positive thinking, but for many people, being more creative sounds like an arduous task. We’ll talk to an artist who makes a bold case for dropping the excuses, and picking up the sketchpad.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The owner of the state’s largest chain of pain clinics would be forced to forfeit his financial interest in the practice if legislation pending in the House becomes law.

House Bill 517 would require physicians who lose their licenses to practice to cut their ownership ties to any health-care facilities.

The lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Don Leeman of Rochester, said the bill is aimed at one of the state’s most visible medical practices: Dr. O’Connell’s Pain Care Centers, Inc.

Jon Ovington

Today a house committee considered a bill that would prohibit Medicaid from funding circumcisions of newborn baby boys.

Bedford Republican Keith Murphy sponsored this bill. He firmly believes circumcision is dangerous – potentially, very dangerous.

"One hundred and seventeen children a year, on average, die from circumcision complications. In fact it’s one of the leading causes of neonatal male deaths," says Murphy.

University of New Hamshire

  Researchers at the University of New Hampshire say it’s not just bad diets and little exercise causing rising rates of obesity and diabetes.    In fact, synthetic chemicals used in household items like couches and carpet padding may play a part in both of those conditions.

When Nutritional Scientist Gale Carey at UNH exposed healthy rats to high doses of flame retardant chemicals, and then inspected their fat tissue, she found that "metabolically, chemically, it behaves like it's from an animal that is obese. But the animal is not obese."

Adam McCune

From the time he was born until the age of three, Isak McCune of Goffstown was a healthy, smart, sweet little boy.

And then his mother says her little boy just changed. He started having tantrums. Really big ones.

"We called it being held hostage," says Robin McCune. "He would go on and on for hours. We couldn’t leave the house. And then when they finally got to the point where he was just exhausted, then he would come to me and be held. Most of them were four to six hours. They were long."


A massive cyber-attack has exposed the personal information of tens of millions of Anthem members, including in New Hampshire.

Right now Anthem is assessing the damage. The company is cooperating with the FBI, notifying members, and it has hired an independent firm to investigate the hack, which hit as many as 80 million members in 14 states.

Hackers took Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses, email, income and employment information. The company says no medical or credit card data was taken.

Best Of 2014 - Stressed Out: Who, Why, And How

Dec 29, 2014
Marsmettnn Tallahassee / Flickr/CC

This week, The Exchange will play the five best shows of 2014, as voted by you. Here's a July program on stress: From major challenges like chronic illness or financial problems to minor annoyances like traffic jams or inconsiderate neighbors, stress affects us all.  For some, it can be overwhelming, while others find ways to cope and even use it to their advantage. In connection with the NPR series on this topic, we’re exploring the latest thinking on stress.

This program was originally broadcast on July 17, 2014.


Amy via flickr Creative Commons

Sometimes considering radical medical treatments require getting over the ick factor. On today’s show, how transplanting fecal matter from one person to another has saved lives, especially for those with antibiotic resistant digestive disorders, such as clostridium difficile, or C-Diff.

Then, Christmas is next week, a festival of lights, decorated trees, parties, and for some parents, the Santa conundrum…from to elf on a shelf to carrots for Rudolph, we’ll navigate the magical world of Santa.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Kelsey Ohman via flickr Creative Commons

In New Hampshire, skiing is one of winter’s biggest perks and the best cure for cabin fever. The first skiers put two planks on their feet and slid down a mountain, not as a past time but as a way to hunt. On today’s show, a National Geographic reporter sets out on the trail of the earliest skiers in human history and finds himself elk hunting in the far reaches of western China where he witnesses a skiing tradition thousands of years old.

Also, a couple embarks on a medical odyssey to find relief from a devastating illness. And talking to strangers may be good for your health. The psychology behind interacting with people you don't know.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Ebola Response In N.H.: Facts, Fears, And Policy

Nov 13, 2014
Army Medicine / Flickr/CC

Since a handful of Ebola cases have made their way to the U.S., officials have mobilized to deal with the threat, sometimes seeming to add to confusion around this illness. And while the risk of contracting Ebola in New Hampshire remains extremely low, the state has issued a set of guidelines, ranging from symptom monitoring, to, more controversially, quarantine. We’re sorting out the facts, fears, and policies.


Todd Bookman / NHPR

With a Maine nurse threatening not to comply with a state-mandated quarantine, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan says officials here are prepared to take action should a similar situation occur.

Related: listen to NHPR's full interview with Dr. Jose Montero on quarantine enforcement here. See CDC Guidance for states here.

Nicole McCracken

State health officials say a survey shows there’s progress being made in the battle against childhood obesity in New Hampshire.

A statewide survey that tracked the actual weights of third-graders finds obesity rates have dropped by a whopping 30 percent since 2008.

Director of Public Health José Montero says when he saw the numbers, he recalculated them all himself to make sure there wasn’t a mistake.

He says they’re correct, and mark a tremendous step forward in childhood health.

St. Joseph Hosptial, Nashua

One in five Medicare patients treated for a list of common conditions - like pneumonia and heart failure -  are readmitted to the hospitals that treated them within a month.

One way the federal government is trying to improve that is by penalizing hospitals based on their readmission rates. It’s a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will hit 2,610 hospitals across the country next year, including nine in New Hampshire.

Phalinn Ooi via flickr Creative Commons

Surgery requires years of education, steady hands, extreme confidence, and…kindness? On today's show we ask: when it comes to being a good surgeon, does bedside manner matter? We'll also look into the growing digital house key market and the complicated math behind queue design.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Jack Rodolico

The number of urgent care clinics in New Hampshire has almost doubled since 2012. And in the next year, three such clinics will open their doors in the City of Keene. That will mean more choices for patients in the Monadnock Region - and stiff competition for the clinics.

Urgent care clinics are often called retail healthcare. You’ll see the clinics in strip malls. The idea is you can walk in without an appointment, be treated by a doctor for anything from a bad cut to a broken finger to a sore throat, and get out -- quickly.

Jack Rodolico

New immigrants often face an unexpected challenge: how to navigate away from an American diet that takes a toll on your health? That’s becoming easier in New Hampshire due to a network of markets and farms that carry familiar foods for the state’s foreign residents.

New Hampshire is home to a small but growing immigrant population; about one in 20 Granite Staters are foreign born. And there’s an experience that unites many of them: that bewildering first visit to an American grocery store.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

NASCAR drivers can reach speeds of 200 plus miles per hour. Remarkably, when wrecks occur, drivers overwhelmingly survive the accidents, but they don’t always walk away unscathed. On today’s show: concussions in NASCAR, and the challenges drivers face after the smoke clears. We'll also talk to a futurist about ectogenesis, or artificial wombs. Often referenced in science fiction, the idea of children being grown outside of a mother's body is inching closer to reality. Plus, earlier this year, the New York Daily News reported that the U.S. is in grave danger of a clown shortage. We head to a clown convention to find out why membership is down, but why clowns are unlikely to completely disappear. 

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

More Ticks Means More Concern About Lyme Disease

Aug 18, 2014
beeldmark / Flickr/CC

Lyme disease: caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, and transmitted by the tiny black-legged tick, it’s an infection that first causes fever, chills and flu-like symptoms.

Nico Nelson via Flickr CC

What do you really know about placentas? If you’re like the majority of people, the "tree of life" is probably pretty mysterious. Despite being vital to both maternal and fetal health, the National Institute of Child Health and Development says that the placenta is the “least understood human organ.” That’s starting to change as more scientists study the invasive organ, a pattern Denise Grady wrote about for the New York Times, but outside the laboratories people are taking the placenta into their own hands. Literally. So we asked: what are some of the most popular and strange things people are doing with their placenta?

Internet Archive Book Images via flickr Creative Commons

In the last decade, cosmetic procedures performed on Asian-Americans, Hispanics and African-Americans have far outpaced those among the white population. The goal? Westernizing ethnic features.  Today we put ethnic plastic surgery on the examination table. Then, scientists are demystifying what may be the least understood human organ: the placenta. Plus, we share some personal stories from the delivery room.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Ale Viyie via Flickr Creative Commons

The rewards card is everywhere these days. It usually works like this: the more consumers buy, the more incentives and discounts stores hand out.

phalinn via Flickr Creative Commons

Surgery requires years of education, steady hands, extreme confidence, and…kindness? Today we ask: when it comes to being a good surgeon, does bedside manner matter? Then, we head into the OR to find out what some surgeons listen to while their patients are under the knife. Plus, how some European hospitals are harnessing beagles’ sense of smell to detect superbugs. And, one game designer has come up with a simulator which allows players to experience what it’s like coming out to your parents.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Joel Christian Gill

Whether it’s a catchy theme song, or a single image - think Mary Tyler Moore tossing her cap into the air – some TV credit sequences are etched in our minds. Today we listen for the greatest TV opening sequences of all time. Plus, a look at a graphic novel that reveals the untold stories of African-American history…including that of Richard Potter, for whom the New Hampshire town of Potter Place is named. Then, tis the season for mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks. How are you preventing pesky bites? We sample the rainbow of bug repellant…from witch hazel to DEET.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

New Hampshire has increased the amount of Medicaid funding it devotes to home-based care for the disabled since a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling gave people a choice to live outside institutions.

By 2012, according to data provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the state was providing 50.3 percent of Medicaid long-term care money for disabled people living in home- or community-based settings. That compares to 40.3 percent in 2002.

When I Walk: Talking with filmmaker Jason DaSilva

Jun 20, 2014
zeevveez via Flickr Creative Commons

On today’s show we talked to documentary filmmaker Jason DaSilva. In 2005 Jason was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He was only twenty five years old, but had more films and praise under his belt than most twice his age. Two years later, when he was on a beach vacation with his family, his brother caught a moment on tape which changed the course of his life. He fell, and for the first time since his diagnosis, was unable to get up by himself. It was from this painful and significant moment that his most recent film, When I Walk, was born.