When he killed himself at 50, former NFL player Dave Duerson’s brain showed serious damage, likely from hits during his football career. His son now questions the gamble of playing the game.
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed into law a requirement that nearly all children be vaccinated in order to attend school.
With the stroke of a pen, California went from being a state with relatively lax vaccination rules to one of the most strict in the country — joining Mississippi and West Virginia as states where even exemptions for religious beliefs are not allowed.
As the bill worked its way through the legislative process, it faced strong, consistent, vocal opposition from some parents, including a small group of protesters who stood vigil outside the Capitol in Sacramento for days before it was clear Brown would sign the bill.
The protesters are passionate, inflamed mainly by discredited beliefs that vaccines are linked to autism. But opposition to vaccines is far from new. Continue reading
By Rachel Dornhelm, KQED
Diane Schoenfeld comes every Friday to the Chaparral House nursing home in Berkeley, Calif. to spend time with her aunt, Lillie Manger.
“Hi Aunt Lill!” she says, squatting down next to her aunt’s wheelchair, meeting her at eye level.
Manger is 97. She has straight white hair pulled back in a neat bun today. It’s tied with a green scarf, a stylish reminder of the dancer she used to be.
They go together to the dining room to look over family pictures. Manger needs to be reminded who is in them. Including one of herself. “That’s me?” she asks. “That’s you,” her niece confirms.
“Am I supposed to remember?” says Manger.
Schoenfeld smiles at her encouragingly: “I don’t know if you’re supposed to. It’s OK either way.”
Manger has dementia. Schoenfeld is her “surrogate decision maker” meaning that legally, she is the person who makes decisions about Manger’s health care. Continue reading
U.S. spending on prescription medicines jumped 13 percent to $374 billion in 2014, the biggest percentage increase since 2001, as demand surged for expensive new breakthrough hepatitis C treatments, a report released on Tuesday showed.
Demand for newer cancer and multiple sclerosis treatments, price increases on branded medicines, particularly insulin products for diabetes, and the entry of few new generic versions of big-selling drugs also contributed to the double-digit spending rise in 2014, the report by IMS Health Holdings Inc found.
Commonly found in pain relievers, acetaminophen gets rid of more than just physical agony – it also diminishes emotions.
“Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever,” lead researcher said in a news release.
By Jenny Gold
By law, many U.S. insurance providers that offer mental health care are required to cover it just as they would cancer or diabetes treatment.
But advocates say achieving this mental health parity can be a challenge.
Jenny Gold of Kaiser Health News spoke with NPR’s Arun Rath over the weekend about the issue.
Rath noted that many patients have trouble getting their mental health care covered, and she outlined some of the issues confronting both patients and the insurance industry. Here is an edited transcript of her comments.
Where does parity stand?
It’s been a mixed bag so far. Insurance companies often used to have a separate deductible or a higher copay for mental health and substance abuse visits. Right now, that usually isn’t the case. In that way, insurers really have complied. Continue reading
The vast majority of clinical trials involving fish oil have found no evidence that it lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Many Americans would not have quick access to the best healthcare options during a stroke, even under the most ideal circumstances, according to a new computer model.
In a hypothetical model, if each state had up to 20 hospitals providing the best possible care for people having strokes – which is not the current reality – more than a third of Americans would still be more than a 60-minute ambulance ride away from one of those medical centers.
By Roni Caryn Rabin
When my mother, Pauline, was 70, she lost her sense of balance. She started walking with an odd shuffling gait, taking short steps and barely lifting her feet off the ground. She often took my hand, holding it and squeezing my fingers.
Her decline was precipitous. She fell repeatedly. She stopped driving and she could no longer ride her bike in a straight line along the C& O Canal. The woman who taught me the sidestroke couldn’t even stand in the shallow end of the pool. “I feel like I’m drowning,” she’d say.
A retired psychiatrist, my mother had numerous advantages — education, resources and insurance — but still, getting the right diagnosis took nearly 10 years. Each expert saw the problem through the narrow prism of their own specialty. Surgeons recommended surgery. Neurologists screened for common incurable conditions.
The answer was under their noses, in my mother’s hunches and her family history. But it took a long time before someone connected the dots. My mother was using a walker by the time she was told she had a rare condition that causes gait problems and cognitive loss, and is one of the few treatable forms of dementia.
“This should be one of the first things physicians look for in an older person,” my mother said recently. “You can actually do something about it.” Continue reading
From WBUR’s CommonHealth:
A new Brigham and Women’s Hospital study finds that we may not need quite as much genetic counseling as we’d thought. Particularly on relatively cut-and-dried findings, like test results on a common gene that raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Listen to WBUR host Anthony Brooks speak with Dr. Robert C. Green:
In the U.S., one in five children struggles with a learning and/or attention issue. That’s 15 million kids ages 3–20, and many of their issues go undiagnosed.
The adults in their lives often have a hard time understanding their issues due to misconceptions and a lack of information and resources.
As a result, these children often face both academic and social challenges.
However, with the right strategies and support, they can succeed in the classroom—and outside of it, too.
This campaign stems from the idea that parents can sense when their children are struggling but may not know why. Or what to do.
By demonstrating the realities that children with learning and attention issues face daily, the campaign aims to increase the number of parents who are actively helping and seeking help for their kids.
Parents are encouraged to visit Understood.org, a comprehensive free online resource that empowers parents through personalized support, daily access to experts and specially designed tools to help the millions of children with learning and attention issues go from simply coping to truly thriving.
It’s getting easier for parents of young children with autism to get insurers to cover a pricey treatment called applied behavioral analysis.
Once kids turn 21, however, it’s a different ballgame entirely. Continue reading