health

Health
4:53 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

After January Surge, 3.3 Million Have Enrolled In Obamacare

Insurance guides work the phone bank at MnSure, Minnesota's health exchange, in St. Paul, Minn., in December.
Jim Mone AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:46 pm

January was a miserable month for weather, but the wintry blasts in much of the country weren't enough to stop people from shopping for health insurance.

More than 1.1 million people signed up for coverage through state and federal health exchanges in January, according to a just-released report, bringing the total to just shy of 3.3 million people.

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Health
9:25 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Bluegrass Poll: Over Half of Kentuckians Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana

A new Bluegrass Poll shows a majority of Kentuckians are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

According to the poll, 52 percent of those surveyed favor legalizing medical marijuana in the commonwealth, while 37 percent are opposed.

It’s the second year in a row a Bluegrass Poll has shown strong support for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Last year’s poll asked Kentuckians if they supported “prescribed” medical marijuana, and 60 percent responded favorably. This year’s poll dropped the word “prescribed.”

Medical marijuana proponents in Kentucky say the poll shows the effort is gaining momentum, though changes to state law seem unlikely during this year’s General Assembly.

The Bluegrass Poll was conducted January 30 through February 3 by SurveyUSA, and included the responses of 1,082 Kentuckians. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

Health
8:46 am
Sun February 9, 2014

Birth Control And Blood Clots: Women Still Weighing The Risks

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 3:28 pm

The drug company Merck, maker of the NuvaRing contraceptive, says it will pay out $100 million to settle thousands of liability lawsuits from women who say they were harmed by using the product.

These women say that the birth control method put them at greater risk of life-threatening blood clots, and that they were not adequately warned of that risk.

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Health
9:17 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Kentucky Lawmaker Hopes Cannabis Oil Could One Day Help the Sick

Sen. Julie Denton (R-Louisville)
Credit Kentucky LRC

A bill that would permit Kentucky universities to study and develop treatments using cannabis oil has been filed in the state Senate.

Senate Bill 124 is an effort by Republican Sen. Julie Denton to one day permit doctors to prescribe the oil to treat certain neurological disorders, including epilepsy.

Denton says the anecdotal evidence of the drug’s positive effects on children suffering from chronic seizures are too great to ignore.

“So these are children who will either die because of their seizure disorder, or they will be so developmentally disabled that they will have no quality of life," the Louisville Republican said. "So this will allow our two research hospitals, U of L and UK, to use this as a treatment for patients of those two institutions, or through an FDA clinical trial.”

The primary ingredient in the oil is a compound called cannabidiol, and contains extremely low amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.

Denton says that by avoiding broader language to include medical marijuana, the proposal has a better chance of passing in her chamber.

Health
12:20 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Our Brains Rewrite Our Memories, Putting Present In The Past

The brain edits memories of the past, updating them with new information. Scientists say this may help us function better in the present. But don't throw those photos away.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:04 am

Think about your fifth-birthday party. Maybe your mom carried the cake. What did her face look like? If you have a hard time imagining the way she looked then rather than how she looks now, you're not alone.

The brain edits memories relentlessly, updating the past with new information. Scientists say that this isn't a question of having a bad memory. Instead, they think the brain updates memories to make them more relevant and useful now — even if they're not a true representation of the past.

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Health
6:46 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

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NPR News
6:00 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Small Cuts To Food Stamps Add Up To Big Pains For Many Recipients

The farm bill proposes a $1 billion cut to food stamps, which would affect nearly 850,000 struggling families who already depend on food banks like the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, Calif.
Antonio Mena Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:00 pm

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives Wednesday approved a massive five-year farm bill that costs nearly half a trillion dollars.

The bill includes some reductions to food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, to the tune of nearly $1 billion a year. It's far less than what many Republicans had wanted. But the cuts are large enough to worry some Democrats and many food stamp recipients.

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Health
11:23 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Your Nose Knows Which Foods Are Fattiest

Charles, Prince of Wales, smells before tasting some ice cream during a visit to Gloucestershire. Maybe he was sniffing for fat?
Barry Batchelor/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 10:11 am

A lot of us can agree that low-fat ice cream is a sad substitute for the real deal. It's not as creamy, and it just doesn't taste as good.

Now researchers are saying it may even smell different.

Researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center have found that people can actually smell differences in dietary fat in food.

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Health
2:17 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Kentucky Hospital Settles Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Case

St. Joseph Hospital in London, Ky

A southern Kentucky hospital will pay $16.5 million to the federal government to settle claims that it submitted false or fraudulent Medicare and Kentucky Medicaid claims for a variety of unnecessary heart procedures.

The agreement covers a period from Jan. 1, 2008 through Aug. 31, 2011 at St. Joseph Health System, which runs St. Joseph London Hospital.

Federal prosecutors say several doctors at the Laurel County facility placed unneeded coronary stents and pacemakers in patients and performed unnecessary  diagnostic catheterizations, then billed the federal programs.

Hospitals generally receive between $10,000 and $15,000 for medical procedures such as heart stents.

A spokesman for the University of Louisville Hospital, which runs St. Joseph, said a statement on the matter would be released later Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said a related whistleblower lawsuit and a criminal investigation are continuing.

Health
9:47 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Bowling Green Woman Credits Dramatic Weight Loss to Employer

Jacinda Jones

At 170 pounds, Jacinda Jones is half the woman she used to be.

“I’d managed to get up to 350, actually I don’t know the exact weight because my scale would not measure my weight," said Jones.

Two years ago, this Bowling Green wife and mother was a size 28.  She lived on fast food and was an admitted couch potato.

“I ate out a lot and it would be a salad, bread, the entrée, and dessert.  It would be all of it," Jones confessed.  "When I got fast food, it would be chicken fingers and fries.  It was just a free for all.  There was no exercise.”

Jacinda had experienced weight problems since her youth, but her life changing moment came on an airplane in 2010.

“I had went to Vegas, and the seat belt buckle wouldn’t and I was too embarrassed to ask for the extender," she said.

Following the trip, she began thinking about gastric bypass surgery.

“My mom told me I needed to have the surgery, and I was so scared of surgery, I told her to give me one more shot to do this, and I told her if it fails this time, I will have the surgery," remarked Jones.

At 32 years old, Jacinda was obese and pre-diabetic. She had high blood pressure and no energy. 

“I also developed what’s called benign intracranial hypertension.  It’s where my body either doesn’t get rid of or makes too much spinal fluid because of my weight," she explained.  "It would give me headaches because I had too much pressure on my spine, and it also pushed on my optic nerves and I could have gone blind.  I went to an opthamologist and he said you’ve got to lose weight.”

And then she turned to an unexpected place: her job.  Jacinda works as a claims specialist for Progressive Insurance in the company’s Bowling Green office.  She began taking advantage of the company’s employee wellness program called Healthy U. 

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