Health & Science

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On Thursday, the City of Milwaukee announced the first-ever Drug Mail Back Program. It will allow you to easily dispose of unused or unwanted prescription drugs stashed in your medicine cabinet. At select CVS pharmacies, you will find envelopes addressed to the police department. In them, you can pour unwanted medicines and drop the envelopes in the mail. “While in one way, it is just a small initiative, it is certainly a vital one to stemming this growing crisis,” says Milwaukee Alderman Jim...

Joint replacements. Cardiac care. Chemotherapy. What do those things have to do with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act? Well, an often overlooked part of Obamacare is a test kitchen within the Department of Health and Human Services that experiments with new ways for the government to pay for some expensive and frequently used health care services, including those three. But with the Affordable Care Act up for potential repeal, will Congress preserve the Center for Medicare & Medicaid...

A nonprofit research group is giving scientists a new way to study the secret lives of human cells. On Wednesday, the Allen Institute for Cell Science provided access to a collection of living stem cells that have been genetically altered to make internal structures like the nucleus and mitochondria glow. "What makes these cells special is that they are normal, healthy cells that we can spy on and see what the cell does when it's left alone," says Susanne Rafelski, director of assay...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: We have a story this morning about unintended consequences, the unintended consequences of government policies. Quite a few studies have found that when you enact one kind of government policy, something else may happen that you never expected. And we do have research of one particular effect from NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, who's here. Hi, Shankar. SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Steve....

The number of people who have trouble paying their medical bills has plummeted in the past five years as more people have gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act and gotten jobs as the economy has improved.

A report from the National Center for Health Statistics released Wednesday shows that the number of people whose families are struggling to pay medical bills fell by 22 percent, or 13 million people, in the past five years. And that's good news, according to...

It's Never Too Late To Quit Smoking, Even In Your 60s

Nov 29, 2016

Older people who smoke may think there's no reason to give up the habit. After all, hasn't the damage to their bodies already been done? But it turns out there's a benefit to quitting even later in life. Research published Wednesday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that older adults who quit smoking in their 60s had a lower chance of dying in the years that followed than contemporaries who kept smoking. "It's never too late," says Sarah Nash, an epidemiologist and one of...

President-elect Donald Trump unveiled two big health care decisions Tuesday. He picked Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services and tapped Seema Verma, a health care consultant, to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That's the part of HHS that oversees Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program and has a budget of just under a trillion dollars in 2016. Verma comes to the job with extensive Medicaid experience. Her consulting firm,...

Part 3 of our series " Unlocking Dyslexia ." A mother, who spent years coaching and encouraging her dyslexic son, recalls his childhood with one pervasive feeling: "It was really scary." One father told me his home life was ruined. Trying to do homework with his struggling daughter, he says, felt like "a nightmare every night." Optimism and determination would inevitably descend into tears and anxiety. The culprit: dyslexia. Yet another mom — whose son and daughter both have dyslexia —...

Updated Dec. 1, 9:05 a.m.: The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to approve the 21st Century Cures Act, a sprawling bill to fund medical research and revamp how drugs and medical devices are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The bill passed on a vote of 392-26. The Senate could vote on the bill early next week. It has garnered support from a wide variety of advocacy groups, industry lobbyists and the Obama administration . One notable dissident is Sen....

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Time now for short answers to big questions. A while back, we asked you to challenge astrophysicist and NPR blogger Adam Frank with your questions about physics, astronomy or science in general. You did. And Adam Frank is here with some answers. Hi, there. ADAM FRANK, BYLINE: Great to be back. SHAPIRO: All right. Today's question comes from Randall Russell (ph). He tweeted to ask how the search for dark matter is...

Some women have been worried that they will lose insurance coverage for contraception under the Trump administration, but coverage for other women's health benefits could also be at risk. At or near the top of the list is guaranteed coverage of maternity services on the individual insurance market. Before the health law, it was unusual for plans purchased by individuals to cover prenatal care and childbirth. But the Affordable Care Act requires that maternity care be included as one of 10...

Georgia Rep. Tom Price has been a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act and a leading advocate of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law. Price, an orthopedic surgeon from the suburbs of Atlanta, introduced his own legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare in the current Congress and the three previous sessions. Price's plan, known as the Empowering Patients First Act, was the basis for a subsequent health care proposal unveiled by House Speaker Paul Ryan, with Price's...

The number of new Zika cases in Puerto Rico has dropped dramatically in recent weeks, yet health officials worry the full effect of the outbreak on the island may not be known for months or years to come. Puerto Rico has confirmed more than 34,000 Zika infections since the virus was first detected on the island in November 2015. Tyler M. Sharp, acting head of epidemiology at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Dengue Branch in San Juan, says the outbreak peaked during the summer. ...

Part of our ongoing series exploring how the U.S. can educate the nearly 5 million students who are learning English. Brains, brains, brains. One thing we've learned at NPR Ed is that people are fascinated by brain research. And yet it can be hard to point to places where our education system is really making use of the latest neuroscience findings. But there is one happy nexus where research is meeting practice: bilingual education. "In the last 20 years or so, there's been a virtual...

Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, is President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services. He is currently chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. Price, an orthopedic surgeon for nearly 20 years before coming to Congress, has represented the northern Atlanta suburbs in the House of Representatives since 2005. If confirmed by the Senate, Price would likely have a central role in the Republicans' stated plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and...

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