Health

We all hope for a little peace at the end of life, for ourselves and for our loved ones. Hospice services can play a big role, relieving pain and providing spiritual and emotional support. But a federal report published Tuesday synthesized patient and Medicare payment data going back to 2005 and found that, as the hospice industry expands, some hospice providers are bilking Medicare and neglecting patients.

Was it hard to concentrate during that long meeting? Does the crossword seem a little tougher? You could be mildly dehydrated.

A growing body of evidence finds that being just a little dehydrated is tied to a range of subtle effects — from mood changes to muddled thinking.

Questions Rise About Shortcomings Of DNA Tests For Dogs

Jul 28, 2018

Sign up for the CommonHealth newsletter to receive a weekly digest of WBUR's best health, medicine and science coverage.

In response to a joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and NPR into the influence of the drug industry on Medicaid, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey made changes to the state's Medicaid program Friday, including adding new transparency rules and kicking a doctor off a state committee.

Read these sentences aloud:

I never said she stole my money.

I never said she stole my money.

I never said she stole my money.

Emphasizing any one of the words over the others makes the string of words mean something completely different. "Pitch change" — the vocal quality we use to emphasize words — is a crucial part of human communication, whether spoken or sung.

The Trump administration announced a plan Friday that would affect about 40 percent of the payments physicians receive from Medicare. Not everybody's pleased.

Wren Vetens thought she'd done everything possible to prepare for her surgery.

Chris Ferrari was just 18 the first time he balanced a rocket launcher on his right shoulder and aimed it at a practice target.

"Your adrenaline's going and you're trying to focus on getting that round to hit, and then you go to squeeze that trigger and, you know."

Boom!

The report is loud enough to burst the eardrums of anyone not wearing military-grade hearing protection. And the blast wave from the weapon is so powerful it feels like a whole-body punch.

Editor's note: This story was updated on July 25 to include additional information about the length of time a tick must be attached to transmit Lyme disease bacteria.

So you've found a tick, and it's sucking your blood.

After an initial wave of revulsion, you carefully remove it with a pair of tweezers. Now you're probably wondering: What's the chance I have Lyme disease?

Hospitals Gear Up For New Diagnosis: Human Trafficking

Jul 24, 2018

The woman arrived at the emergency department at Huntington Hospital on New York's Long Island after she was hit by her boyfriend during an argument. Her situation raised concerns among the medical staff, which had recently been trained to be on the lookout for signs of sex trafficking.

There's new evidence that a woman's levels of female sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, can influence her risk of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

Women are less likely to develop dementia later in life if they begin to menstruate earlier, go through menopause later, and have more than one child, researchers reported Monday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Chicago.

If you're in the hospital or a doctor's office with a painful problem, you'll likely be asked to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10 – with 0 meaning no pain at all and 10 indicating the worst pain you can imagine. But many doctors and nurses say this rating system isn't working and they're trying a new approach.

Jose Belardo of Lansing, Kansas, spent most of his career in the U.S. Public Health Service. He worked on the frontlines of disasters in places like Haiti, Colombia, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. At home with his three kids and wife, Elaine, he'd always been unfailingly reliable, so when he forgot their wedding anniversary two years in a row, they both started to worry.

"We recognized something wasn't right and pretty much attributed it to being overworked and tired," Elaine says.

In 1998, 25 weeks into her pregnancy, Sara Arey's cervix dilated and her amniotic sac started to descend into the birth canal. She was rushed to a hospital an hour and a half away from her home near Hickory, N.C., where she stayed for more than a week before her baby was born via emergency C-section. The baby, a girl, died 12 hours later in the hospital.

Growing up in Washington, D.C.'s Columbia Heights neighborhood, Rebecca Lemos-Otero says her first experience with nature came in her late teens when her mother started a community garden.

"I was really surprised and quickly fell in love," she recalls. The garden was peaceful, and a "respite" from the neighborhood, which had high crime rates, abandoned lots and buildings, she says.

Pages