Health

12:33pm

Wed April 17, 2013
Shots - Health News

As Bird Flu Spreads In China, The Source Remains A Mystery

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 1:19 pm

A vendor weighs a live chicken at the Kowloon City Market in Hong Kong Friday. Health authorities there have stepped up the testing of live poultry from China to include a rapid test for the H7N9 bird virus.
Lam Yik Fei Getty Images

The new bird flu in China has come with a long list of questions.

Are the 82 cases reported so far just the tip of a larger outbreak? Why does the virus cause mild symptoms in some people and severe pneumonia in others?

Perhaps the most critical question is also the simplest: How do people catch the bug?

The H7N9 virus clearly infects birds. Health workers have detected it in chickens, ducks and pigeons.

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8:18am

Wed April 17, 2013
Shots - Health News

Boston Blasts Remind Us Of Fragility Of Life

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:33 pm

Jillian Blenis, 30, of Boston reacts while stopping at a makeshift memorial to marathon bombing victims Wednesday.
Julio Cortez AP

From the first explosion in Boston on Monday to the second, just 15 seconds elapsed. And in those 15 seconds, three people were mortally wounded, including an 8-year-old boy. The number of injured topped 100, and for those of us watching, it was a profound reminder of a reality we'd prefer to ignore.

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4:59am

Wed April 17, 2013
Shots - Health News

For Those About To Rock, We Salute Your Ears

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:33 pm

Musician Jake Orrall performs onstage at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on April 14. Temporary hearing loss following concerts and other loud events may protect our ears from more permanent damage.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images for Coachella

If you went to Coachella last weekend, you probably had a ball. But will your ears pay the price?

While short-term hearing loss caused by loud noise can be unnerving, it may not be an automatic sign of permanent damage.

Temporary hearing loss may actually be the ear's way of protecting itself from lasting damage, suggests a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Well, if you're a mouse, at any rate.

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2:04pm

Tue April 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

Quality Conundrum: Complications Boost Hospital Profits

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:35 pm

If he messes up, should the hospital profit?
iStockphoto.com

Hospitals can make much more money when surgery goes wrong than in cases that go without a hitch.

And that presents a problem for patients. The financial incentives don't favor better care.

"The magnitude of the numbers was eye-popping," says Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and an author of the study, which was just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. "It was much larger than we expected."

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8:35am

Tue April 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

How To Avoid A Colonoscopy Billing Kerfuffle

Before your doctor gets to this, make sure he'll bill the colonoscopy as a screening test rather than a diagnostic one.
Sebastian Schroeder iStockphoto.com

Where preventive health care is concerned, a colonoscopy is one of the pricier screening tests, with a cost that often exceeds $1,000.

But under the health care overhaul, most health insurance plans have to cover the test for colorectal cancer without billing patients a dime, even if a polyp is found and removed.

Yet the way your doctor categorizes the test can make all the difference.

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