Health & Science

Shots - Health News
3:59 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

In Massachusetts, Health Care Prices Remain Hard To Get

The price for an X-ray is murkier than the image.
Ivica Kljucar iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 7:08 pm

I threw out my back in September playing squash and went to the doctor. She sent me down the hall for X-rays. I may need more of them.

So I'm curious, how much does an X-ray cost? It sounds like a simple question. In most places, it's impossible to find out, but I live in Massachusetts, where a new state law says insurers must be able to tell members, in advance, how much a test, treatment or surgical procedure will cost.

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NPR Story
3:39 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

White House Releases Long-Awaited Rules On Mental Health

The mental health parity law passed in 2008, but it didn't cover people in smaller health plans.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 1:35 pm

The Obama administration delivered on a long-delayed health care promise when it issued rules to ensure equal health insurance treatment for people who have problems with mental health or need treatment for substance abuse.

The rules, issued Friday, require that most health insurance plans offer the same amount of coverage for mental health and substance abuse claims as they do for medical and surgical coverage.

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The Salt
3:32 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Can We Eat Our Way To A Healthier Microbiome? It's Complicated

While no one's sure which foods are good for our microbiomes, eating more veggies can't hurt.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 9:27 am

When our colleague Rob Stein got his microbiome analyzed recently in the name of science journalism, we were totally fascinated.

As Stein noted, it may be possible to cultivate a healthier community of bacteria on and inside us by modifying our diets.

Stein was advised to eat more garlic and leeks for his. But we wondered: Are there other foods that promote a healthy microbiome in most people?

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The Two-Way
3:06 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Mental Health Moves Closer To Parity In New Insurance Rules

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (left) is welcomed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, during a hearing about mental health parity rules Thursday. A new rule issued by the Obama administration aims to increase parity for how insurers handle mental health issues.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 7:28 pm

Many health insurers must treat coverage of mental health and substance abuse in the same way they handle treatments for physical illness, according to a new rule issued Friday by the Obama administration.

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Which Is It? Hurricane, Typhoon Or Tropical Cyclone?

Typhoon Bhopa scene over the Philippine island of Palawan last December.
NASA Goddard's MODIS Rapid Response Team

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 4:21 pm

What's the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon and a cyclone? Nothing more than location.

As Super Typhoon Haiyan slams into the Philippines, we here at the Two-Way found ourselves revisiting old ground about the nature of tropical storms. In case you need a refresher (as we did), here is the lowdown:

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All Tech Considered
2:11 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Tech Week: Twitter Takes Off, Audie Cornish In Silicon Valley

Will It Fly? The Twitter logo decorated a post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
Richard Drew AP

It's time for our Friday round-up of the tech and culture stories from NPR and beyond. Here we go ...

ICYMI

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Astronomers Find Bizarre 'Lawn Sprinkler' Asteroid

These NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images reveal a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt designated P/2013 P5.
NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (University of California, Los Angeles), J. Agarwal (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research), H. Weaver (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory), M. Mutchler (STScI), and S. Larson (University of Arizona)

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 4:11 pm

Astronomers using both ground- and space-based telescopes have discovered a new kind of asteroid that sports not one, but six comet-like tails, and has been described as looking something like a rotating lawn sprinkler.

P/2013 P5 was first spotted with the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope at the top of Haleakala volcano in Maui, Hawaii, in August and then followed up with more detailed observations using the Hubble Space Telescope.

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Shots - Health News
11:34 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Polio In The Middle East And Africa Could Threaten Europe

A doctor vaccinates a child against polio at a health clinic in Damascus, Syria, on Nov. 6. To stop the disease from spreading beyond Syria, health officials plan to vaccinate 20 million children in the region.
Youssef Badawi EPA /LANDOV

Polio outbreaks in the Middle East and Africa could spread to Europe if precautions aren't taken, researchers say.

The recent discovery of the poliovirus in Syria, Somalia and Israel should be a wake-up call for European health officials, according to epidemiologist Martin Eichner at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

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The Two-Way
11:32 am
Fri November 8, 2013

How Tall Is The Washington Monument? Surveyors Take To The Top

National Geodetic Survey crew members Roy Anderson, left, and Steve Breidenbach set up survey equipment used to measure the height of the Washington Monument.
National Geodetic Survey/NOAA

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 12:23 pm

The National Geodetic Survey doesn't often get the opportunity to take detailed measurements of the massive stone obelisk that sits in the middle of Washington, D.C.

But a 2011 earthquake in nearby Mineral, Va., damaged the Washington Monument enough that to repair it, the tower had to be wrapped in scaffolding. That gave surveyors access to the very top of the structure.

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Animals
11:30 am
Fri November 8, 2013

The Myth of the Woolly Bear

Legend holds that the length of a woolly bear caterpillar's color bands can be used to forecast how severe the winter weather will be. The myth dates back to colonial American folklore but was popularized by a 1948 study. SciFri finds out if there's any truth to the lore, and what the caterpillar's fuzzy bristles are really used for.

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