health care

It came as a surprise this June when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against using the nasal flu vaccine for the 2016-2017 flu season, citing a lack of evidence that it works.

Michal Kranz/WLRN

Everyone knows that being in the great outdoors is good for you, but could nature be prescribed just like medicine? Absolutely, say some doctors in South Florida. One study is doing just that to find out how time spent in nature affects patients.

Barbara Licari, a retiree living in Broward County, says she frequently takes walks in her local park with her grandchildren. She says she feels better after even a short nature stroll.

 

“It’s preferable to medications,” she said.

Florida Department of Health

The Zika virus is likely being transmitted by mosquitoes in a one-square-mile area just north of downtown Miami, the Florida Department of Health said Friday.

Several times a month, Jessica Wen, a pediatrician specializing in liver diseases, has a teenager show up at her clinic at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with an unexpected diagnosis: hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C virus, or HCV, is the most common bloodborne infection in the U.S. and a leading cause of liver failure and cancer. Injection drug use is a common risk factor, as is receiving a blood transfusion before 1992. But some of the teens Wen sees picked up the illness another way: at birth, from their mothers.

Scientists have tried all sorts of strategies for stopping the blacklegged tick, the carrier of Lyme disease, from biting us.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that affects an estimated 300,000 people in the United States each year, primarily in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

It's summertime, and to Sandra Gompf, that means 'amoeba season'. 

Seven years ago, her 10-year old son Philip went swimming in a lake in Auburndale. About a week later, he died from a brain-eating amoeba that lives in freshwater and enters the body when water is forced up the nose.

Both of Philip's parents are doctors. And since their son's death, they've been educating the public -- including posting a series of billboards along Interstate 4 through August. Sandra Gompf recently spoke with WUSF News about her son, and the awareness campaign. 

Eyeing fast-growing urban and suburban markets where demand for health care services is outstripping supply, some health care systems are opening tiny, full-service hospitals with comprehensive emergency services but often fewer than a dozen inpatient beds.

It used to be that if you wanted to watch a surgery, you had to sit in a gallery behind a glass panel. And even then, you usually had to be a medical student. The surgeon performed on the other side, but there was no interaction between the doctor and spectators.

How FluMist Slipped From Preferred To Passe

Jun 27, 2016

What led to the abrupt fall of FluMist — the nasal spray version of influenza vaccine — which until recently was considered the first choice for younger children?

On Wednesday, an advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the spray version was so ineffective, it shouldn't be used by anyone during the 2016-2017 flu season.

When Greg Burel tells people he's in charge of some secret government warehouses, he often gets asked if they're like the one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the Ark of the Covenant gets packed away in a crate and hidden forever.

Tracy Solomon Clark is outgoing and energetic — a former fundraiser for big companies and big causes. As she charged through her 40s she had "no clue," she says, that there might be a problem with her heart.

It was about six years ago — when she was 44 — that she first suffered severe shortness of breath, along with dizziness. She figured she was overweight and overworked, but never considered heart disease.

"That was the furthest thing from my mind," Solomon Clark says. "I was young!"

The dictionary defines ageism as the "tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment." But research indicates that ageism may not just be ill-informed or hurtful. It may also be a matter of life and death.

Not that it's literally killing people. Researcher Becca Levy, a professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health, says it depends on how much a given individual takes those negative ideas to heart.

Court: Only One Parent Needs To Sign Off On Surgery

May 25, 2016

In what could be first-of-its-kind case in Florida, an appeals court Wednesday rejected arguments that both parents need to sign off before a child can undergo surgery.

In his recent book, The Finest Traditions of My Calling, Dr. Abraham Nussbaum, 41, makes the case that doctors and patients alike are being shortchanged by current medical practices that emphasize population-based standards of care rather than individual patient needs and experiences.

Nussbaum, a psychiatrist, is the chief education officer at Denver Health Medical Center and works on the adult inpatient psychiatric unit there. I recently spoke with him, and this is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Claudia Muñoz/WLRN

Beginning in July, if you have health insurance and go to an in-network hospital but a doctor who is not in your insurance plan’s network helps you, you aren’t supposed to get a surprise bill. The law is designed to stop what’s called balanced billing - the practice of charging a patient for medical care delivered by doctors outside their insurance network even when the the care was performed at an in-network facility.

 

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