Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 7:09 pm
Obesity used to be an issue primarily in well-off countries. It was one of those things flippantly dismissed as a "first-world problem." Now people are packing on the pounds all over the planet. In some fast-growing cities in China, for example, half the people are now overweight.
Since Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill in 1997, more than 700 people have taken their lives with prescribed medication — including Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with an incurable brain tumor, who ended her life earlier this month.
The White House acknowledged today that it overreported the number of signups under the Affordable Care Act by nearly 400,000 people.
Some people with separate medical and dental plans were counted twice, leading the administration to state erroneously that more than 7 million had enrolled in coverage under ACA, instead of the correct figure of about 6.7 million.
Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 1:04 pm
Diabetes is an expensive disease to treat, costing the United States $244 billion in 2012, according to an analysis of the disease's economic burden.
When the loss of productivity due to illness and disability is added in, the bill comes to $322 billion, or $1,000 a year for each American, including those without diabetes. That's 48 percent higher than the same benchmark in 2007; not a healthy trend.
The increase is being driven by a growing and aging population, the report finds, as well as more common risk factors like obesity, and higher medical costs.
Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 3:12 pm
"Text neck," the posture formed by leaning over a cellphone while reading and texting, is a big problem, according to the author of a newly published study in the National Library of Medicine.
Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, says the bad posture can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on the upper spine — sometimes for several hours a day, depending on how often people look at their devices.
Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:32 pm
It's a question we've all wrestled with: Which emails should be saved and which ones should be deleted?
The Central Intelligence Agency thinks it's found the answer, at least as far as its thousands of employees and contractors are concerned: Sooner or later, the spy agency would destroy every email except those in the accounts of its top 22 officials.
It's now up to the National Archives — the ultimate repository of all the records preserved by federal agencies — to sign off on the CIA's proposal.
Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 7:21 am
When you open up your Skype app to make a call, it's probably no surprise that it's accessing your phone's call history. But would you expect your Nike+ Running app to collect that information too?
If you're like most people, the answer is no.
That's why the Nike+ Running app gets a B on PrivacyGrade, a site for people to figure out what information their apps might be collecting. Right now it only looks at Android apps, but the site already lists hundreds of them from Google Maps to Instagram to WebMD.
Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 2:06 pm
While beverage companies have cut their marketing of unhealthy drinks to children on TV and websites overall, they have ramped up marketing to black and Latino kids and teens, who have higher rates of obesity than white youth, a study finds.
Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 1:01 pm
When it comes to health records, how concerned are Americans about what happens to their personal information?
We asked in the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll. And, in a bit of surprise to me, the responses showed that, in general, worries don't run very high.
First, we learned that nearly three-quarters of people see doctors who use electronic medical records. So the chances are good that your medical information is being kept digitally and that it can be served up to lots of people inside your doctor's office and elsewhere.
Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 12:06 pm
Her eyes met the camera. She was there. And yet she wasn't there.
That's how NPR photographer David Gilkey remembers the moment last Saturday when he took a picture of Baby Sesay, a 45-year-old traditional healer in the village of Royail in Sierra Leone.
Sesay had tried to cure a sick little boy. The boy died, likely of Ebola. Then Sesay herself fell ill. She had come to a community care center a few hours earlier, walking in under her own power, to be tested for the virus.