NPR Blogs

Can Poetry Keep You Young? Science Is Still Out, But The Heart Says Yes

NPR Health Blog - 1 hour 7 min ago

Scientific evidence showing health benefits from engaging in the arts is still weak. But Los Angeles students in their 80s say their poetry class gives them joy, solace, community and a voice.

(Image credit: Maria Fabrizio for NPR)

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Got Back Pain? Try Yoga Or Massage Before Reaching For The Pills

NPR Health Blog - 1 hour 8 min ago

New guidelines encourage doctors to tell patients to try non-drug therapies for acute lower back pain first.

(Image credit: Hero Images/Getty Images)

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Can Changing When And What We Eat Help Outwit Disease?

NPR Health Blog - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 5:00am

I'm fasting intermittently as part of a research study, to see if changing my gut microbiome affects my multiple sclerosis. But maybe living on Peanut Chews isn't the best strategy.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Brandi Jefferson)

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GOP Leaders Urge Return To 'High-Risk Insurance Pools' That Critics Call Costly

NPR Health Blog - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 6:43am

Some Republicans in Congress say they could partly fix the federal health law by again separating people who buy insurance into two categories — sick and healthy. Critics say it won't save money.

(Image credit: Mark Zdehchlik / MPR News)

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Why Oh Why Is There Phlegm?

NPR Health Blog - Sat, 02/18/2017 - 5:00am

Having a cold or a flu is unpleasant enough without suffering the indignity of phlegm. But those gobs of goo are there for a reason.

(Image credit: Alex Reynolds / NPR)

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How Hermann Rorschach's 'Inkblots' Took On A Life Of Their Own

NPR Health Blog - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 4:05pm

These days, you're more likely to come across the concept of a Rorschach test in a cultural context than a clinical one. In a new book, author Damion Searls traces the history of the famous inkblots.

(Image credit: Archiv und Sammlung Hermann Rorschach, University Library of Bern)

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As Presidents Live Longer, Doctors Debate Whether To Test For Dementia

NPR Health Blog - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 5:05am

The true health of politicians has likely been cloaked in secrecy since the days of Mesopotamian kings, but definitely since the Wilson administration. Has the time come to test presidents' cognition?

(Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

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Republican Health Care Proposal Would Cover Fewer Low-Income Families

NPR Health Blog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 4:36pm

The plan that House Republicans discussed Thursday would replace Affordable Care Act subsidies with tax credits and cut Medicaid funds to the states.

(Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Is That A Brown Recluse Spider Bite Or Skin Cancer?

NPR Health Blog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 2:57pm

Skin lesions are often misdiagnosed as a brown recluse spider bite when they're actually a tick bite or MRSA or even skin cancer. Here's how to tell the difference.

(Image credit: Rosa Pineda/Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History/Flickr)

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A Bit More Vitamin D Might Help Prevent Colds And Flu

NPR Health Blog - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 4:31am

An analysis finds that if you're deficient in vitamin D, taking a supplement might cut your risk of respiratory infections. But there's disagreement on what's considered deficient.

(Image credit: essgee51/Flickr)

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Broad Institute Wins Big Battle Over CRISPR Gene-Editing Patent

NPR Health Blog - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 7:31pm

CRISPR technology is already worth billions of dollars, investors say. This ruling seems to affirm the biggest piece of the pie goes to the Broad, over patent rival University of California, Berkeley.

(Image credit: Susan Walsh/AP)

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Shorter Enrollment Period For Obamacare Proposed By Administration

NPR Health Blog - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 5:01pm

The White House is proposing changes to the Affordable Care Act to stabilize the insurance market as Congress moves to repeal and replace the sweeping health care law.

(Image credit: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc.)

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Another Big Health Insurer Loosens Rules For Covering Addiction Treatment

NPR Health Blog - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 1:35pm

Doctors treating people addicted to opioids often need approval from insurers before giving drugs that ease withdrawal. The delay can be risky for patients. Insurers are starting to come around.

(Image credit: Suzanne Kreiter/Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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Feeling Way More Stressed Out? You're Not Alone

NPR Health Blog - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 11:36am

A January poll finds that people's stress levels have spiked since August, with two-thirds of people saying they're worried about the future of the nation.

(Image credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Perplexing Psychology Of Saving For Health Care

NPR Health Blog - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 5:00am

Even many people eligible for a health savings account who have extra cash to contribute to one don't do it. Therapists say that's partly because nobody wants to admit they will get old or sick.

(Image credit: Oivind Hovland/Ikon Images/Getty Images)

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Duchenne Drug Delayed After Outrage Over Price

NPR Health Blog - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 2:15pm

Many Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients in the U.S. have imported a medicine called deflazacort for about $1,200 a year. A brand-name version just approved for sale in America costs $89,000.

(Image credit: Business Wire)

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Scientific Panel Says Editing Heritable Human Genes Could Be OK In The Future

NPR Health Blog - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 12:01pm

The National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences say a long-standing taboo on editing human genes could be lifted — even if the changes can be carried through to future generations.

(Image credit: Claude Edelmann/Science Source)

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Cooling Cap May Limit Chemo Hair Loss In Women With Breast Cancer

NPR Health Blog - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 11:05am

Cooling caps haven't been studied much in the U.S., and only one is approved by the FDA. Studies of two different caps show they can reduce hair loss by half in many women undergoing chemo.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Baylor College of Medicine)

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Texas Judge Upends Effort To Limit Charity Funding For Kidney Care

NPR Health Blog - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 5:00am

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction barring the government from enforcing a rule allowing insurers to refuse to insure dialysis patients who get financial assistance from charity groups.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Early)

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A Brain Tweak Lets Mice Abstain From Cocaine

NPR Health Blog - Mon, 02/13/2017 - 12:47pm

Scientists have created addiction-resistant mice by altering the reward system in their brains. The findings shed light on the biochemistry of addiction.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

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