health

When Sean Meyers was in a car accident on a November evening three years ago, he was flown by air ambulance to the emergency department at Inova Fairfax Hospital, in Northern Virginia. With his arm broken in four places, a busted knee and severe bruising to his upper body, Meyers, 29, was admitted to the hospital. Though he was badly hurt, his injuries didn't seem life threatening.

What do large tables, large breakfasts and large servers have in common? They all affect how much you eat. This week on Hidden Brain, we look at the hidden forces that drive our diets. First we hear from Adam Brumberg at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab about how to make healthier choices more easily (hint: good habits, and pack your lunch!). Then, Senior (Svelte) Stopwatch Correspondent Daniel Pink returns for another round of Stopwatch Science to tell you about those tables, breakfasts and servers.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET.*

Dr. Henry Heimlich didn't hesitate. When a fellow diner started choking, the 96-year-old was ready to perform the maneuver that he invented.

The Food and Drug Administration seems intent on bringing sugar out of the shadows.

Not only will food companies have to reveal, right on the package, how much sugar they've added to food; they also will have to call it by its real name.

Journalist Sonia Shah at her 2013 TED talk in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Flickr Photo/Ted Conference (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/eMH3af

In a 2006 study, 90 percent of epidemiologists predicted a pandemic would kill 165 million people sometime in the next two generations.

Research published this year confirms that threat, and suggests the impacts would be greater than those caused by world war or financial crises. The study concluded that “leaders at all levels have not been giving these threats anything close to the priority they demand.”

Cover Oregon, Oregon’s failed health insurance sign-up website, continues to serve as political fodder, more than two years after state officials pulled the plug. Congressional Republicans have now asked for a federal criminal investigation into the Cover Oregon website mess.

Lead test results are in for nearly 200 people who live and work near Bullseye Glass in Southeast Portland. So far, none of them shows lead levels that would require medical care or follow-up.

"Look!" says Stefania Poggi. "They've made inflatable rafts."

Two dozen boys are splashing in a massive, muddy pool surrounded by 30-foot-tall earthen banks. They're jumping on grain sacks that they've filled with plastic bottles to make them float.

Poggi manages the Doctors Without Borders operation in the largest refugee camp in South Sudan.

The 35-year-old Italian is standing on the banks of the drainage ditch, which was bulldozed through the middle of the camp to alleviate flooding.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Dawna Hankins had a partial hysterectomy in 2008.

Before surgery her doctor offered to put in a surgical mesh to help with minor incontinence. She agreed.


News of toxic lead in the air and water have many parents on high alert. Lead poisoning in children can cause permanent brain damage.

Irvin is an undocumented immigrant, photographed here in 2013. He moved to Los Angeles in 2012. Medi-Cal covered his dialysis treatment until he turned 21.
Flickr Photo/Neon Tommy (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/e3hRBo

Carla used to get dialysis a couple of times a week at the public hospital in Indianapolis, Eskenazi Hospital. She would sit in a chair for hours as a machine took blood out of her arm, cleaned it, and pumped it back into her body.

Then one day in 2014, she was turned away.  


In his recent book, The Finest Traditions of My Calling, Dr. Abraham Nussbaum, 41, makes the case that doctors and patients alike are being shortchanged by current medical practices that emphasize population-based standards of care rather than individual patient needs and experiences.

Nussbaum, a psychiatrist, is the chief education officer at Denver Health Medical Center and works on the adult inpatient psychiatric unit there. I recently spoke with him, and this is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Lashauwn Beyond, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a finalist in RuPaul's Drag Race and the face of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau LGBT campaign, marches in the New York Gay Pride Parade in 2014.
Invision for Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau via AP/Diane Bondareff

Seven years ago, Seattle TV writer Melanie McFarland was depressed.

“It was like being under water,” McFarland said. “Or having an alien be inside my skull and pilot the meat suit.”

Antibiotics can save lives, but sometimes they can work too well.

Most antibiotics can't tell the difference between good and bad bacteria. That means the medicines kill helpful bacteria in your gut while they're obliterating the bacteria making you sick.

Since it came onto the scene in 1943, penicillin has made syphilis a thing of the past — almost. Now, the sexually transmitted disease is making a comeback in the U.S. and there's a shortage of the medication used to treat it.

Pfizer, the company that supplies it, says it's experiencing "an unanticipated manufacturing delay," and in a letter to consumers wrote that it would be providing just one-third of the usual monthly demand until July.

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