Health

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."

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.

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.

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.

Environmental groups in New Hampshire and Maine want the EPA to investigate sulfur dioxide emissions at a power plant in Portsmouth.

Sierra Club chapters in the two states are mounting a petition drive.

It asks the EPA to look into the possible effect of the emissions on asthma cases in the Seacoast regions of the two states.

The groups contend that sulfur dioxide emitted by the Schiller Plant could be adding to respiratory illnesses, especially in Maine.

But Martin Murray, spokesman for PSNH says that an examination of the plant isn't necessary.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrd00dman/2358726807/">MrdOOdman</a> / Flickr

A new nationwide study released today/Tuesday ranks Coos County as the least healthy county in the state. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

Adjusting to the shift...at home

Apr 2, 2012
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?

Obama’s war on Alzheimer’s, last year, the president signed the national Alzheimer’s project act – which set in motion a plan to combat the degenerative disease that currently affects more than 5 million Americans, and costs more than two-hundred billion dollars in health-care costs.  Going forward, the financial stakes are even higher: the Alzheimer’s association projects the disease will cost the US over one-trillion dollars by the year 2050.   Now, a final draft of the Alzheimer’s initiative aims to curb those costs with ambitious benchmarks, which is making waves in the medical communit

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.

 

Surgical procedures that are commonly used to help obese people lose weight can also dramatically improve — even reverse — diabetes, according to two studies released Monday.

Tim Ferree of Macedonia, Ohio, struggled with his weight for years. He knew his out-of-control blood sugar would eventually cause serious problems.

"You're looking at losing your vision, losing your feet, having problems with your kidneys, going blind — you know, heart disease, strokes," Ferree said.

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?

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.

In June of 2009, a committee met at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to do a routine safety review of proposed research projects.

One of those projects involved genetically modifying flu viruses. And during the review, the committee brought up the idea of "dual-use" research. "Dual use" means legitimate scientific work that's intended to advance science or medicine, but that also might be misused with the intent to do harm.

TB Scare At Concord Elementary School

Mar 23, 2012

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.

The sweeping health overhaul law turns 2 years old this Friday. And as it heads toward a constitutional showdown at the Supreme Court next week, the debate over the measure remains almost as heated as the day President Obama signed it into law.

The Comfort Food Conundrum

Mar 21, 2012

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.  

This is the one union that will kick you out if you pass a drug test. Jesse McKinley wrote about the evolution and demands of the San Francisco drug users union for The New York Time.

New York Times Article  

Last weekend, English soccer fans were looking forward to a sporting feast. They ended up taking part in a nationwide communal vigil, focused on an African player's fight for life.

Something extraordinary is happening here.

It started in a sports stadium in London on Saturday. A big crowd had gathered there to watch two English teams, Tottenham and Bolton, do battle in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case testing whether children conceived through in vitro fertilization after the death of a parent are eligible for Social Security survivors benefits.

The case before the court began in 2001 when Robert Capato was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Before beginning treatments, he deposited sperm at a fertility clinic, and after he died, his wife, Karen, carried out the couple's plan to conceive using Robert's sperm.

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Dear EarthTalk: I can’t seem to find any natural bug repellents that really work so I end up using the harsh, chemical varieties. Are there any really effective bug repellants that aren’t chemically based, or other strategies we can use to keep bugs at bay?                  -- Melissa Armantine, New Paltz, NY

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has weighed in on the use of so-called pink slime in beef served in the government's free and reduced-price school lunch program.

Women should get screened for cervical cancer far less frequently than doctors have long recommended, according to new guidelines released Wednesday.

More than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the United States, and more than 4,000 die from the disease.

For years, doctors have recommended that women start getting Pap smears every year or two to try to catch signs of cancer early, when it's easiest to prevent and treat.

Los Angeles has become the nation's first city to require male adult film actors to wear condoms. The city council's new ordinance has riled the region's billion-dollar-plus porn industry. Filmmakers are warning that the measure will harm the local economy and threaten the health of industry performers.

Condoms are now required on all film shoots that receive a city permit, but the law does not apply to adult films shot in studios. Those don't require city permitting in the first place. But a proposed ballot measure in November looks to extend the law throughout the county.

Connecticut, like every state trying to reduce health care spending, is looking closely at how it cares for people with chronic conditions.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has promised to move more than 5,000 poor and disabled patients out of nursing homes in five years.

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.

Here's another good reason to lose weight: It might benefit your friends, family and co-workers. Such altruism might be just the final "nudge" some of us need.

Researchers are finding that the friends and family of obese and overweight individuals who lose weight lost weight themselves, and sometimes a lot of it. Dr. John Morton, who directs Bariatric Surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, calls obesity a "family disease."

Dr. Adam Wolfberg had two daughters and another on the way when his wife, Kelly, went into labor. But this joyous occasion had come much too soon — Kelly was three months away from her due date. After just 26 weeks in the womb, their baby daughter Larissa entered the world by emergency cesarean section and was whisked into the neonatal intensive care unit of a Boston hospital. It was the same hospital where Wolfberg was doing his residency in obstetrics and gynecology, and his medical background turned out to be a mixed blessing.

Federal health officials Tuesday called on hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and doctors' offices to work harder to fight the spread of a dangerous bacterial infection that can cause life-threatening diarrhea and other complications.

While other health-care related infections have been decreasing in recent years, cases of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, continue rising, according to Clifford McDonald of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Zumba isn't just a fitness craze; it's an international business with more than 12 million enthusiasts in its classes. You can buy Zumba CDs, a Zumba video game and Zumba clothes. For many students — who show up in spandex to body-roll, fist-pump and booty-shake — it's their first taste of Latin music and dance steps. Now, some Latin dancers are trying to make more of a distinction between their art — and what happens in a Zumba class.

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