Health

Facebook Photo/Fight Fistula

Ross Reynolds interviews Carolyn Anderman, director of international programs for One By One, a Seattle-based group helping women in Africa recover from a devastating birth complication called obstetric fistula.  Affected women are often shunned in their communities for a condition that can be fixed with a $500 operation.

Poet Heather McHugh.
Courtesy of the University of Washington

Ross Reynolds speaks with Seattle poet Heather McHugh, who is the author of eight volumes of poetry and numerous works of translation. She won a  MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called genius award, in 2009. Since her retirement as a professor of creative writing at the University of Washington this year, she has been working full time on a non-profit organization called Caregifted, which provides relief for family caregivers of  severely disabled people.

There's a project in the neighborhood of Harlem in New York that has a through-the-looking-glass quality. An organization called City Health Works is trying to bring an African model of health care delivery to the United States. Usually it works the other way around.

If City Health Works' approach is successful, it could help change the way chronic diseases are managed in poverty-stricken communities, where people suffer disproportionately from HIV/AIDS, obesity and diabetes.

Wencke Petersen came to Liberia in late August to do what she normally does for Doctors Without Borders in hotspots all over the world — manage supplies.

But the supplies she was meant to organize hadn't arrived yet. So she was asked to help with another job: standing at the main gate of the walled-in compound, turning people away when the unit was full.

For five weeks, she gave people the bad news.

"Text neck," the posture formed by leaning over a cellphone while reading and texting, is a big problem, according to the author of a newly published study in the National Library of Medicine.

Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, says the bad posture can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on the upper spine — sometimes for several hours a day, depending on how often people look at their devices.

Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington have been complaining of vapors from radioactive sludge for decades.

If you're reading this after a night of inadequate sleep, or disrupted sleep, you have company. The National Sleep Foundation reports that over half the people in their survey experienced at least one symptom of insomnia "at least a few nights per week" over a year's period.

Roosevelt High School, Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND)

After 13 students at Roosevelt High School in Seattle came down with whooping cough, Seattle Public Schools looked at their records and saw they had all been immunized against the highly contagious, bacterial illness.

If they were vaccinated, how did they contract whooping cough, or pertussis?

China Warns Of Cancer Epidemic

Nov 19, 2014

Cancer rates may be falling in many Western countries, but they are rising steadily in China. The country’s top health officials have issued a strong warning about the spread of cancer.

All types of the disease are, it seems, becoming increasingly common. Blame the effects of pollution and unhealthy habits.

The BBC’s Celia Hatton traveled to the coastal city of Tianjin to see how Asia’s largest cancer treatment center is handling the onslaught.

What if, the next time you went to the doctor, instead of a prescription for blood thinners you got one for cash? What if you walked out the door with $1,000 in your pocket instead of paying a copay?

The headlines circulating on the Web Tuesday may have given you pause: "India's First Ebola Patient Has Been Quarantined," Time Magazine wrote on its website. "Man tests positive for Ebola, kept under isolation," Press Trust of India declared.

But those headlines don't tell the full story.

For more than two decades, Lucy Barh has been helping women deliver babies. Even during Liberia's violent civil war, when other midwives left, Barh stuck around.

But none of this prepared her for a patient she saw a few months ago.

"I was on duty that day when the patient came in," says Barh, at the headquarters of the Liberian Midwives' Association in Monrovia. "We did the examination. She was not in labor."

Measles might be preparing for a comeback tour.

Unlike Ebola, measles easily leaps between people. Virus-filled droplets linger, floating in the air or coating a coffee table for up to two hours after a contagious person coughs or sneezes. If you're susceptible to the disease and you breathe that air or touch a contaminated surface and then rub your eyes, you're screwed. Measles infects 90 percent of those who are not immune.

What's In His Kiss? 80 Million Bacteria

Nov 18, 2014

If your partner's kiss is on your lips, his microbes are, too.

A passionate kiss that lasts more than 10 seconds transfers about 80 million bacteria, researchers say. The evidence, published Sunday in the journal Microbiome, comes from 21 couples, ages 17 to 45, who made out for science. (Tough gig.)

Each couple had their mouths swabbed and spit to measure the bacteria in their mouths. Even before kissing, the couples had similar mouth bacteria.

Flickr Photo/cursedthing (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks with Pat Justis, rural health manager at the Washington State Department of Health, about the myriad of health issues facing rural areas.

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