health

In their book published this month, In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, journalists John Donvan and Caren Zucker delve into the history of the good and bad intentions, sometimes wrongheaded science and shifting definitions that can cloud our understanding of what has come to be called the autism spectrum.

Last Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the end to two horrific years of the West African Ebola epidemic.

Later on the same day, the Ministry of Health in Sierra Leone announced that a patient with Ebola died in the Tonkilli region of that country.

Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of the new case in Sierra Leone was not that it occurred so soon after WHO's proclamation, but that Ebola wasn't diagnosed until after the patient died.

Butte is an old mining town, tucked away in the southwest corner of Montana with a population of about 34,000. Locals enjoy many things you can't find elsewhere — campgrounds a quick drive from downtown and gorgeous mountain ranges nearby. But in Butte, as in much of rural America, advanced medical care is absent.

People in Butte who experience serious trauma or need specialty care rely on air ambulance flights to get them the help they need.

When Cathy Fields was in her late 50s, she noticed she was having trouble following conversations with friends.

"I could sense something was wrong with me," she says. "I couldn't focus. I could not follow."

Fields was worried she had suffered a stroke or was showing signs of early dementia. Instead she found out she had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Virginia Mason hospital in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Rob Ketcherside (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The company behind a medical device that has caused deadly bacterial infections in Seattle will voluntarily recall its scopes.

A global outbreak of infections linked to scopes built by Olympus America started as early 2012. In the U.S., more than 140 patients have been infected. At Seattle's Virginia Mason, at least 39 people were infected and 18 died.

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Heidi Levine

The first time I met Dr. Zoi Livaditou she had just finished examining a busload of Syrian refugees who had been rescued by the Greek Coast Guard.

It was a cool evening in fall at the port of Mytilene, the capital of the Greek island of Lesbos, and Livaditou was dressed in cargo pants and a heavy fleece jacket with a stethoscope dangling around her neck. The refugees in the bus were wet and cold, she told me, puffing on her cigarette, but fortunately everyone was OK. 

“But last night 12 people drowned.” she said.

One day after the West Africa region that suffered a two-year Ebola epidemic was declared free of the deadly disease, Sierra Leone has confirmed another death from Ebola. The World Health Organization says there's still a risk of more flare-ups.

Officials are now trying to trace any contacts the person who died may have had, in a desperate attempt to cut short a potential new chain of transmission.

Bill Radke talks to JoNel Aleccia, Seattle Times health reporter, about the investigation into scopes used by doctors that were found to sometimes have a deadly infection on them. At Seattle's Virginia Mason Medical Center, 18 people died and at least 39 got sick due to contaminated medical scopes. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering a travel warning for countries where Zika virus is circulating. The reason: growing concern among researchers that the virus could be causing babies in Brazil to be born with brain damage.

The Zika virus is named after the Zika forest in Uganda, where it was first identified in the 1940s. For decades it was a rare disease, primarily popping up in Africa and occasionally in Southeast Asia. In 2007, there was a major Zika outbreak in Micronesia. Then in May of 2015 the virus turned up in Brazil.

Many women in the U.S. are waiting longer than ever to have their first child.

Fifteen years ago, the mean age of a woman when she first gave birth was 24.9 years old. In 2014, that age had risen to 26.3.

Officers of 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 'Ready First' 1st Armored Division, participate in an urban combat exercise at a training facility on Fort Bliss, Texas in 2011.
Flickr Photo/DVIDSHUB (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1njNs6z

William Kerby was exposed to repeated blasts when he was deployed to Iraq as a Marine infantryman.

“For instance, we were setting off a charge on a door or a gate to blow it open, and there’s nowhere really to go, so you basically turn away from it within a few feet,” Kerby said. “You can feel that kind of concussion, that shockwave, as it goes through your body.”

The nation's veterans are being asked to contribute DNA for the largest genetic research project in history.

A growing number of primary care doctors, spurred by frustration with insurance requirements, are bringing "health care for billionaires" to the masses, including people on Medicare and Medicaid, and state employees.

Oregon is the only Northwest state that doesn't require businesses selling tobacco products to be licensed. One lawmaker is introducing a bill that would change that.

Every year some 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and 23,000 of them die from these superbugs.

Superbugs are mostly a hospital problem: They're where these pathogens are often born and spread, and where the infected come for help. But hospitals are not where the majority of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used.

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