1. Photo: Jonathan Steinberg/NPR
"Evidence On Marijuana’s Health Effects Is Crazy At Best"
Colorado opened its first pot stores in January, and adults in Washington state will be able to walk into a store and buy marijuana this summer. But this legalization of recreational marijuana is taking place without much information on the possible health effects. View in High-Res

    Photo: Jonathan Steinberg/NPR

    "Evidence On Marijuana’s Health Effects Is Crazy At Best"

    Colorado opened its first pot stores in January, and adults in Washington state will be able to walk into a store and buy marijuana this summer. But this legalization of recreational marijuana is taking place without much information on the possible health effects.

  2. Marijuana

    Health

  1. Posted on 22 January, 2014

    540 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from theatlantic

    theatlantic:

Newly Insured Americans Don’t Understand Basic Healthcare Terms

An estimated 14 percent of English-speaking adults in the United States have below-basic literacy, or an inability to perform simple reading tasks. But 35 percent have only basic or below-basic health literacy. That means more than 77 million people have difficulty with common health-related reading tasks.
Health literacy involves the ability to obtain, process, and understand the health information necessary to make appropriate decisions, and it’s clearly essential to selecting health insurance. More Americans are enrolling in federal and state-based marketplaces, but being insured is only the beginning when it comes to reducing health disparities related to literacy.
Low health literacy disproportionately affects vulnerable populations that include individuals now eligible for new health insurance options: those with lower socioeconomic status and education, or disabilities; non-white racial and ethnic groups; the elderly.
Many of these Americans are now contending with unfamiliar insurance terms and are at risk of making uninformed choices that they may regret. This matters because those with low health literacy already tend to experience poorer health and to generate increased costs, estimated by some to amount to more than $100 billion annually.
Read more. [Image: Joe Elswick/AP]

View in High-Res

    theatlantic:

    Newly Insured Americans Don’t Understand Basic Healthcare Terms

    An estimated 14 percent of English-speaking adults in the United States have below-basic literacy, or an inability to perform simple reading tasks. But 35 percent have only basic or below-basic health literacy. That means more than 77 million people have difficulty with common health-related reading tasks.

    Health literacy involves the ability to obtain, process, and understand the health information necessary to make appropriate decisions, and it’s clearly essential to selecting health insurance. More Americans are enrolling in federal and state-based marketplaces, but being insured is only the beginning when it comes to reducing health disparities related to literacy.

    Low health literacy disproportionately affects vulnerable populations that include individuals now eligible for new health insurance options: those with lower socioeconomic status and education, or disabilities; non-white racial and ethnic groups; the elderly.

    Many of these Americans are now contending with unfamiliar insurance terms and are at risk of making uninformed choices that they may regret. This matters because those with low health literacy already tend to experience poorer health and to generate increased costs, estimated by some to amount to more than $100 billion annually.

    Read more. [Image: Joe Elswick/AP]

  2. health

    business

    healthcare

    literacy

  1. Posted on 13 January, 2014

    853 notes | Permalink

    Reblogged from theatlantic

    theatlantic:

Study: Caffeine Can Improve Memory

Caffeine can improve attention and focus, we’ve known for a while. It also enhances working memory (short term, in the moment). Caffeine’s effects on long-term memory, though, if any, aren’t well established.
A study published yesterday in the journal Nature Neuroscience gets into that in a unique way, looking at caffeine’s effect on memory consolidation.
Read more. [Image: RaghavanPrabhu/Flickr]

View in High-Res

    theatlantic:

    Study: Caffeine Can Improve Memory

    Caffeine can improve attention and focus, we’ve known for a while. It also enhances working memory (short term, in the moment). Caffeine’s effects on long-term memory, though, if any, aren’t well established.

    A study published yesterday in the journal Nature Neuroscience gets into that in a unique way, looking at caffeine’s effect on memory consolidation.

    Read more. [Image: RaghavanPrabhu/Flickr]

  2. health

    caffeine

    memory

    science

  1. nprglobalhealth:

5 Simple Habits Can Help Doctors Connect With Patients
I pulled back the curtain, ready to meet the next patient on my hospital rounds.
"Why are you standing there?" she asked me. "Come, have a seat, let’s talk."
Lenore could have been my grandmother. She was 77 years old, and all of 93 pounds. What she lacked in girth, she more than made up for in chutzpah. She was one of the patients from intern year who I’ll never forget.
After four years of medical school, I could recite biochemical pathways, genetic mutations and the ways all sorts of drugs work. But all the cramming suppressed most of my common sense. Perhaps manners, too.
Lenore was offering me a refresher course. How could I refuse her polite but firm invitation?
I’d never been encouraged to sit at a patient’s bedside — to stop hurrying for even a moment.
Our medical teachers put a premium on accuracy and efficiency, which became conflated with speed. Everything had to be fast.
In 2014, doctors still value speed and technical accuracy, but we also do more to consider the quality of care we give and whether patients are satisfied with it. Those goals aren’t just the right thing to do. There are often financial strings attached to getting them right.
Even so, interns today don’t sit much more often than they did back in my day.
In a recent study, Johns Hopkins researchers followed two groups of medical interns for a month and found they sat down at the bedside only 9 percent of the time.
Sitting down, which would seem like one of the simplest things to do, is the least practiced of five communication skills for doctors that Lenore would have endorsed and that research has shown can make a big difference in patient satisfaction.
The others include introducing oneself to the patient and explaining your role in the patient’s care. Touching the patient — whether it’s a handshake, a gesture of comfort or part of a physical exam — makes a difference, too.
And the old art of good conversation never goes out of style: Ask open-ended questions, like, “How are you feeling today?”
Medical educators should be role models for these common courtesies, says Dr. Leonard Feldman, the senior author of the study and director of an urban health residency program at Hopkins.
"Trainees take their cues from us," he tells Shots. "These behaviors are what constitute ‘bedside manner.’ " More than that, he says, sitting at the bedside projects body language that tells a patient, "I’m here for you. How can I be of service?"
Feldman prizes these basic but often overlooked human interactions in his trainees. He suggests simple solutions like making sure there’s a chair available next to every hospital bed.
During my own intern refresher course with Lenore those many years ago, I tried to sit in the chair next to her bed. She’d have none of it. “Here,” she said, patting the mattress and telling me where to park it. “Now, how is your day going?” she asked. An open-ended question. What a pro she was.
Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR.
View in High-Res

    nprglobalhealth:

    5 Simple Habits Can Help Doctors Connect With Patients

    I pulled back the curtain, ready to meet the next patient on my hospital rounds.

    "Why are you standing there?" she asked me. "Come, have a seat, let’s talk."

    Lenore could have been my grandmother. She was 77 years old, and all of 93 pounds. What she lacked in girth, she more than made up for in chutzpah. She was one of the patients from intern year who I’ll never forget.

    After four years of medical school, I could recite biochemical pathways, genetic mutations and the ways all sorts of drugs work. But all the cramming suppressed most of my common sense. Perhaps manners, too.

    Lenore was offering me a refresher course. How could I refuse her polite but firm invitation?

    I’d never been encouraged to sit at a patient’s bedside — to stop hurrying for even a moment.

    Our medical teachers put a premium on accuracy and efficiency, which became conflated with speed. Everything had to be fast.

    In 2014, doctors still value speed and technical accuracy, but we also do more to consider the quality of care we give and whether patients are satisfied with it. Those goals aren’t just the right thing to do. There are often financial strings attached to getting them right.

    Even so, interns today don’t sit much more often than they did back in my day.

    In a recent study, Johns Hopkins researchers followed two groups of medical interns for a month and found they sat down at the bedside only 9 percent of the time.

    Sitting down, which would seem like one of the simplest things to do, is the least practiced of five communication skills for doctors that Lenore would have endorsed and that research has shown can make a big difference in patient satisfaction.

    The others include introducing oneself to the patient and explaining your role in the patient’s care. Touching the patient — whether it’s a handshake, a gesture of comfort or part of a physical exam — makes a difference, too.

    And the old art of good conversation never goes out of style: Ask open-ended questions, like, “How are you feeling today?”

    Medical educators should be role models for these common courtesies, says Dr. Leonard Feldman, the senior author of the study and director of an urban health residency program at Hopkins.

    "Trainees take their cues from us," he tells Shots. "These behaviors are what constitute ‘bedside manner.’ " More than that, he says, sitting at the bedside projects body language that tells a patient, "I’m here for you. How can I be of service?"

    Feldman prizes these basic but often overlooked human interactions in his trainees. He suggests simple solutions like making sure there’s a chair available next to every hospital bed.

    During my own intern refresher course with Lenore those many years ago, I tried to sit in the chair next to her bed. She’d have none of it. “Here,” she said, patting the mattress and telling me where to park it. “Now, how is your day going?” she asked. An open-ended question. What a pro she was.

    Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR.

  2. medicine

    doctors

    health

  1. Earlier this year, premenstural dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, became a recognized mental disorder. But not everyone is convinced that’s a good idea. Some researchers worry that medicalizing this extreme form of PMS could be used against women, even though only a small percentage of women meet the criteria. (Full article here)

    Earlier this year, premenstural dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, became a recognized mental disorder. But not everyone is convinced that’s a good idea. Some researchers worry that medicalizing this extreme form of PMS could be used against women, even though only a small percentage of women meet the criteria. (Full article here)

  2. pmdd

    premenstural dysphoric disorder

    health

  1. Men are more likely to initiate kissing before sex, when it might be used for arousal purposes, whereas women are more likely to initiate kissing after sex, where it might better serve a relationship maintenance function.

    — What Humans Can Learn from a Simple Kiss

  2. health

    kissing

    k-i-s-s-i-n-g

  1. nprglobalhealth:

    Herbs And Empires: A Brief, Animated History Of Malaria Drugs

    It’s a story of geopolitical struggles, traditional medicine, and above all, a war of escalation between scientists and a tiny parasite. Malaria has proved to be a wily foe: Every time we think we have it backed into a corner, it somehow escapes.

    Over the next several days, NPR’s Shots blog will be sharing stories about malaria. We’ll hear about drug resistance cropping up on Thailand’s border, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s antimalarial efforts here in the United States, and a woman who raises mosquitoes on her own blood.

    But for now, take a look at our video (which is made entirely with historical photos and illustrations). You’ll travel from inside the human body to 17th-century Peru to the battlefields of the Vietnam War — in under three minutes!

  2. malaria drugs

    malaria

    science

    health

  1. Ado Ibrahim carries his son Aminu through a village in northern Nigeria. Aminu was paralyzed by polio in August. Photo: David Gilkey / NPR
At Polio’s Epicenter, Vaccinators Battle Chaos And Indifference : Shots - Health News 
Northern Nigeria is the only region in the world where the number of polio cases is on the rise. International groups have poured money and volunteers into the area to combat the disease. But vaccinators face daunting challenges — from security threats like terrorist bombings to a lack of basic resources like electricity. View in High-Res

    Ado Ibrahim carries his son Aminu through a village in northern Nigeria. Aminu was paralyzed by polio in August. Photo: David Gilkey / NPR

    At Polio’s Epicenter, Vaccinators Battle Chaos And Indifference : Shots - Health News

    Northern Nigeria is the only region in the world where the number of polio cases is on the rise. International groups have poured money and volunteers into the area to combat the disease. But vaccinators face daunting challenges — from security threats like terrorist bombings to a lack of basic resources like electricity.

  2. polio

    health

    science

  1. In the same vein of black-and-white, 1950s-era photos, here’s one that doesn’t inspire quite as many laughs as Lucy (see below). During the early 20th century, polio killed thousands of American children each summer and paralyzed many more. NPR’s health blog Shots takes a look back at how the polio vaccine came to be and how it’s being used to eradicate the disease globally.
Want more photos? Check out our slideshow and read the full story here: http://n.pr/R7gIZ6
Photo: Boston Children’s Hospital
— rachel

    In the same vein of black-and-white, 1950s-era photos, here’s one that doesn’t inspire quite as many laughs as Lucy (see below). During the early 20th century, polio killed thousands of American children each summer and paralyzed many more. NPR’s health blog Shots takes a look back at how the polio vaccine came to be and how it’s being used to eradicate the disease globally.

    Want more photos? Check out our slideshow and read the full story here: http://n.pr/R7gIZ6

    Photo: Boston Children’s Hospital

    — rachel

  2. NPR

    polio

    health

  1. Lead, leaching from illegal gold mines, has led to death and illness among children in parts of Nigeria. The extent of the contamination is unknown and has become a “long-term crisis,” says Ivan Gayton of Doctors Without Borders.

    NPR’s Jason Beaubien is just back from Nigeria, and you can chat with him about this story on Twitter tomorrow at 12:00 PM EST. For more details, follow @NPRGlobalHealth 

    — rachel

  2. NPR

    Nigeria

    gold mines

    health