Health

11:47am

Thu May 23, 2013
The Two-Way

Teen Pregnancies Continue To Decline, New Report Shows

New government figures add to evidence of a decline in teen pregnancies across the nation and point to a notably large drop in births among Hispanic teens, NPR's Jennifer Ludden tells our Newscast Desk.

She reports that the overall birth rate among teens is now half what it was at its peak, two decades ago, and that a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows:

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7:32am

Thu May 23, 2013
Shots - Health News

Antidepressant May Protect The Heart Against Mental Stress

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 12:12 pm

Researchers tested the antidepressant Lexapro, or escitalopram generically, to see if it would protect the heart against mental stress.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Stress can be a bummer for your heart. And, it seems, antidepressants may help some people with heart disease better weather that stress.

That's the intriguing suggestion from a study that tested how people with heart disease reacted when faced with challenging mental and social tests.

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5:47pm

Wed May 22, 2013
Shots - Health News

Scientific Tooth Fairies Investigate Neanderthal Breast-Feeding

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 10:54 am

This model of a molar shows color-coded barium banding patterns that reveal weaning age.
Ian Harrowell, Christine Austin, Manish Arora Harvard School of Public Health

When it comes to weaning, humans are weird.

Our closest relatives, chimpanzees and gorillas, breast-feed their offspring for several years. Some baby orangutans nurse until they are 7 years old.

But modern humans wean much earlier. In preindustrial societies, babies stop nursing after about two years. Which raises the question: How did we get that way? When did we make the evolutionary shift from apelike parenting to the short breast-feeding period of humans?

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1:14pm

Wed May 22, 2013
Shots - Health News

Polio Outbreak In Kenya: A Threat To Global Eradication

A baby receives a polio vaccine at the Medina Maternal Child Health center in Mogadishu, Somalia. The country has one of the lowest immunization rates in the world.
Ben Curtis AP

Kenya has recorded its first case of polio in two years, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

A 4-month-old girl came down with paralysis on April 30, and then two healthy kids nearby also tested positive for the virus.

But this handful of infections with poliovirus has the potential to set back global efforts to eradicate polio, WHO spokeswoman Sona Bari tells Shots.

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11:18am

Wed May 22, 2013
Shots - Health News

Research Reveals Yeasty Beasts Living On Our Skin

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 9:20 am

Fungi (cyan) surround a human hair within the skin. A study in the journal Nature shows the population of fungi on human skin is more diverse that previously thought.
Alex Valm, Ph.D.

Scientists have completed an unusual survey: a census of the fungi that inhabit different places on our skin. It's part of a big scientific push to better understand the microbes that live in and on our bodies.

"This is the first study of our fungi, which are yeast and other molds that live on the human body," says Julie Segre, of the National Human Genome Research Institute, who led the survey.

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