health

Marcie Sillman speaks to Washington state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, about powdered alcohol. The U.S. has approved its first powdered alcohol product, Palcohol.

Chikungunya is a mosquito-transmitted disease that's been rearing its head throughout Central and South America. People infected with the virus develop a fever and extreme joint pain. There's no cure, and sometimes the joint pain lasts for months or even years.

Our guest on this episode of Speakers Forum is David J. Morris, a war correspondent, former Marine and PTSD sufferer.

Morris served as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps in the 1990s, but did not see combat then. He went on to work as an embedded journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2004 he was nearly killed when a Humvee he was riding in hit an IED.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Marcie Sillman talks to Roger Roffman, University of Washington professor emeritus, about new legislation that would allow researchers in Washington state to apply for a marijuana research license.

Oregon and Washington lawmakers flinched within hours of each other Wednesday when it came to toughening mandatory vaccination requirements for schoolchildren.

Ella Barnes-Williams is dealing with a lot right now.

For starters, her government-subsidized house in Northeast Washington, D.C., leaks when it rains. She points at a big brown splotch on the ceiling.

"It's like mold, mold, mold all over," she says. "I've got to clean that now 'cause that just came back."

Barnes-Williams is 54 and lives with her 30-year-old daughter and three young grandchildren. All three grandkids have severe asthma, which makes the mold a serious problem. And she and her daughter are diabetic.

For many years, if a public school district wanted to serve students apples or milk from local farmers, it could face all kinds of hurdles. Schools were locked into strict contracts with distributors, few of whom saw any reason to start bringing in local products. Those contracts also often precluded schools from working directly with local farmers.

After a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, help poured in from the U.S. Doctors came to battle the cholera epidemic, agencies handed out food, and nonprofits provided shelter.

And then there were plumbers.

Of the million or so women who have abortions every year in the U.S., nearly a quarter end their pregnancy using medications. But just as states have been passing a record number of restrictions on surgical abortion, more are trying to limit this option as well.

One of the country's strictest laws is in Ohio. To understand it, a little history helps.

Northwest lawmakers are considering whether to make it harder for parents to opt out of immunizing their children.

We've long known about the master clock in our brains that helps us maintain a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle.

But in recent years, scientists have made a cool discovery: We have different clocks in virtually every organ of our bodies — from our pancreas to our stomach to our fat cells.

Mental health is one of the top issues in the Washington legislature this year. Several measures cleared the Washington House Monday in advance of a Wednesday cut-off deadline.

Marcie Sillman talks with KUOW Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about Joel's Law, the legislative proposal that would allow families to petition a court to have a loved one involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

Sillman also talks with David Johnson, CEO of Navos, a Seattle-based mental health service provider.

There are many reasons women need cesareans. Sometimes the situation is truly life-threatening. But often the problem is that labor simply isn't progressing. That was the case for Valerie Echo Duckett, 35, who lives in Columbus, Ohio. After receiving an epidural for pain, Duckett's contractions stopped. By late evening she was told she'd need a C-section to deliver her son, Avery. Duckett says she has vague memories of being wheeled into the operating room, strapped down and shaking from cold.

An NPR/ProPublica investigation this week found that Americans injured on the job have had their worker compensation benefits slashed over the past decade. Washington is one of just a few states that bucked a national trend to roll back workers comp. Kim Malcolm talks with Jerry Cornfield, state government reporter for the Everett Herald, about what sets Washington state's system apart.

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