Health

Oregon's troubled health insurance exchange is one step closer to being dismantled.

Soon after giving birth to a baby girl, Jennifer McMullen noticed that one of her daughter's ears looked a little different.

"She had a condition called lidding, where the top part of the cartilage in the ear is basically folded over so the top ridge is kind of rounded over," McMullen tells Shots. Her daughter could hear just fine, but McMullen worried about bullying when she got older. "She's a beautiful baby girl," she says. "If she plays sports, I don't want her to be self-conscious pulling her hair back or anything like that."

The Affordable Care Act is once again before the Supreme Court.

Dr. Atul Gawande
Flickr Photo/Center for American Progress (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The United States is experiencing a pendulum swing in end-of-life care.

In 1945 the average American died at home. By the late 1990s, 83 percent were dying in institutions. Now in recent years, 45 percent are dying with hospice care.

For Whitney Bischoff, high school was tough. On the first day of her freshman year, a childhood friend committed suicide. Things weren't any better at home — her father died when she was 7 and her mom was an alcoholic with an abusive boyfriend.

She had a hard time making friends.

And when all the stress threatened to overwhelm her, she, too, considered suicide.

"I thought family was everything," Bischoff says. "I thought, if I didn't have family support – what am I going to do? Suicide seemed like the only way out."

Each year more than 15,000 women under the age of 55 die of heart disease in the United States. And younger women are twice as likely to die after being hospitalized for a heart attack as men in the same age group.

It doesn't help that women tend to delay seeking emergency care for symptoms of a heart attack such as pain and dizziness, says Judith Lichtman, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. "We've known that for a while," she says.

Babies at high risk for becoming allergic to peanuts are much less likely to develop the allergy if they are regularly fed foods containing the legumes starting in their first year of life.

That's according to a big new study released Monday involving hundreds of British babies. The researchers found that those who consumed the equivalent of about 4 heaping teaspoons of peanut butter each week, starting when they were between 4 and 11 months old, were about 80 percent less likely to develop a peanut allergy by their fifth birthday.

Dr. Stephen Tilles, the principle investigator for the peanut patch study in Seattle, with David Baty and his son Spencer, who suffers from a peanut allergy.
KUOW Photo/Amina al-Sadi

David Baty can remember the first time his son Spencer, then three years old, ate peanuts. He took the peanuts his dad gave him, and then he asked his dad for an ice pack. Spencer put it on his tongue as his cheeks started to get red.

If you have siblings, you probably think that your parents liked one kid best — and you're probably right. Scientists say the family pecking order does affect children, but not always in the way you might think.

The vast majority of parents do have favorite child, according to research — about 80 percent. But that number sounds pretty darned high. So I decided to ask some kids in my neighborhood in Bethesda, Md., what they think happens in their families.

Could using a dishwashing machine increase the chances your child will develop allergies? That's what some provocative new research suggests — but don't tear out your machine just yet.

The study involved 1,029 Swedish children (ages 7 or 8) and found that those whose parents said they mostly wash the family's dishes by hand were significantly less likely to develop eczema, and somewhat less likely to develop allergic asthma and hay fever.

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

Ross Reynolds talks with state Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, about a bill he has introduced that would add PTSD to the list of conditions that could be treated by medical marijuana.

Reynolds also talks with Harborview Medical Center psychiatrist Dr. Doug Zatzick about marijuana as a treatment for PTSD.

A new study finds a disturbing trend in the battle against malaria. There are highly effective drugs called artemisinins — and now resistant malaria is turning up in parts of Myanmar, the reclusive country also known as Burma, where it hadn't been seen before.

The ACLU of Washington has filed a lawsuit against Skagit Regional Health. It claims the public hospital’s policies create illegal barriers to abortion. Hospitals say they are required to offer abortions, but can’t make employees perform them.    

A highly contagious disease was sweeping across the United States. Thousands of children were sick and some were dying. In the midst of this outbreak, health officials did something that experts say had never been done before and hasn't been done since: They forced parents to vaccinate their children.

It sounds like something that would have happened 100 years ago. But this was 1991 — and the disease was measles.

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