Health

2:43pm

Tue September 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Mini-Counseling Sessions Can Curb Problem Drinking

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 8:10 pm

Just 10 to 15 minutes of counseling from primary care doctors can reduce the risk of "risky" drinking, a federal task force says.
iStockphoto.com

Brief counseling from primary care doctors reduces "risky" drinking, defined as having more than four drinks a day for men, three for women, a federal task force says.

About one in three Americans misuse alcohol, the panel says, with the vast majority falling in the "risky" category.

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2:32pm

Tue September 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Branding Health Care Exchanges To Make The Sale

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

Peter Lee, executive director of the California Health Benefit Exchange, discusses California's health care plans in Sacramento in July.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

As states work to comply with the federal health care law, many are designing their insurance exchanges, where people will be able to shop for coverage.

But just the word "exchange" sounds to many like off-putting government-speak, and some states are eager to come up with a more appealing name for these new marketplaces.

Peter Lee directs California's Health Benefit Exchange. It's up for a new name, and Lee says they want it to sound fresh, dynamic and innovative.

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12:22pm

Tue September 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Korean Eunuchs Lived Long And Prospered

A mural in an ancient tomb in China shows a troupe of eunuchs. How long did they live?
Wikimedia Commons

Tell people you're doing a story about the life spans of Korean eunuchs, the typical reaction is a giggle or a cringe.

But if you can overcome your visceral response to the topic, a study scientists in Korea did is quite interesting, both for what they found, and the way they found it.

Several scientists have shown that there is a link between longevity and reproduction: the greater the fertility, the shorter the life span. This has been fairly well established in nonhuman animal species, but proving it's the case for humans has been tricky.

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9:43am

Tue September 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Insurance Picks At Work Will Cost You More

It will take a bigger money pile to pay for your health insurance again.
Andrei Tchernov iStockphoto.com

If you get health insurance at work, it's just about time to pick your plan again. The good news for this open enrollment season is that premiums aren't expected to increase quite as much for 2013 as they did this year.

The increase looks to be about 5.3 percent instead of an average 5.9 percent rise for 2012, according to Towers Watson's annual health care survey of mid- to large-size employers.

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1:19am

Tue September 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Doctors Sift Through Patients' Genomes To Solve Medical Mysteries

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 10:00 am

Sara Terry and her son, Christian, in Spring, Texas. After sequencing Christian's genome, doctors were able to diagnose him with a Noonan-like syndrome.
Eric Kayne for NPR

Sara Terry's first clue that something was wrong with her son, Christian, came just three weeks after he was born.

"We went to check on him, just like any parents go and check on their kids just to make sure they're breathing," says Terry, 34, of Spring, Texas. "And we found him in his crib, and he wasn't breathing. He was blue."

She and her husband were horrified. They rushed Christian to the hospital and learned he had several medical problems.

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