Health

When 47-year-old Edward Vega arrived in jail, he couldn't quiet the voices in his head. He felt paranoid, as though he was losing control. "I knew if I didn't get my medication, I was going to hurt someone," says Vega.

He was right. A week after being arrested for alleged drug possession, Vega says, he assaulted a fellow inmate and ended up in isolation, which only made him feel worse.

Finally, a doctor prescribed drugs that Vega says helped. He had been taking them on the outside but ran out just before he was arrested.

One July evening a few years ago, Carol Harnett was in a crosswalk in downtown Portland, Ore., when a driver made an illegal turn and hit her.

Transported by ambulance to a hospital, Harnett, who is president of the nonprofit Council for Disability Awareness, was diagnosed with a severely sprained right ankle and left wrist, as well as a concussion.

At the emergency room, doctors gave her steel-reinforced braces for her wrist and ankle and told her she was free to go.

To the untrained, the evidence looks promising for a new medical device to ease opioid withdrawal. A small study shows that people feel better when the device, an electronic nerve stimulator called the Bridge, is placed behind their ear.

The company that markets the Bridge is using the study results to promote its use to anyone who will listen: policymakers, criminal justice officials and health care providers.

The message is working.

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday sent warning letters to 13 manufacturers, distributors and retailers of e-cigarette liquids. In a phone briefing for reporters, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the companies are endangering kids by marketing the products to resemble juice boxes, cookies or candy.

"You look at the lollipop for example. I don't see how my 4- or 5-year-old doesn't just look at that and see a lollipop. It's a lollipop," he said.

An engineer in California has an invention that she hopes will someday help people with damaged lungs breathe easier.

Stanford University's Annelise Baron has developed a synthetic version of something called lung surfactant. Lung surfactant coats the tiny air sacs in the lung. Without it, every breath would be a struggle, like blowing up millions of little balloons. With surfactant, breathing is as easy as blowing soap bubbles.

When an inmate needs to see a medical specialist, getting that care can be complicated.

Prisons are often located in rural areas far from medical centers that have experts in cancer, heart and other disease treatments. Even if the visit just involves a trip to a hospital across town, the inmate must be transported under guard, often in shackles.

The whole process is expensive for the correctional facility and time-consuming for the patient.

Loneliness isn't just a fleeting feeling, leaving us sad for a few hours to a few days. Research in recent years suggests that for many people, loneliness is more like a chronic ache, affecting their daily lives and sense of well-being.

Now a nationwide survey by the health insurer Cigna underscores that. It finds that loneliness is widespread in America, with nearly 50 percent of respondents reporting that they feel alone or left out always or sometimes.

Military personnel may be endangering their own brains when they operate certain shoulder-fired weapons, according to an Army-commissioned report released Monday.

The report, from the Center for a New American Security, says these bazooka-like weapons pose a hazard because they are powered by an explosion just inches from the operator's head.

A viral video from Baltimore is drawing attention to a crisis that's unfolding in emergency rooms across the country: Surging numbers of patients with psychiatric conditions aren't receiving the care they need.

On a cold night in January, a man walking by a downtown Baltimore hospital saw something that shocked him. He started recording the incident on his phone.

For today, there are no doctor's visits. No long afternoons with nothing to do. No struggles over bathing.

At the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., a group of older adults — some in wheelchairs, some with Alzheimer's — sit with their caregivers in a semicircle around a haunting portrait of a woman in white.

Drew was in his early 30s. His medical history included alcohol abuse, but he had been sober for several months when he became my patient.

His previous doctor had given him a prescription for Ativan, or lorazepam, which is frequently used to allay tremors and seizures from alcohol withdrawal.

In jails and prisons across the United States, mental illness is prevalent and psychiatric disorders often worsen because inmates don't get the treatment they need, says journalist Alisa Roth.

In her new book Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness, Roth investigates the widespread incarceration of the mentally ill in the U.S., and what she sees as impossible burdens placed on correctional officers to act as mental health providers when they're not adequately trained.

Bits of human brain tissue no larger than a pea are forcing scientists to think about questions as large as the nature of consciousness.

These clusters of living brain cells are popularly known as minibrains, though scientists prefer to call them cerebral organoids. At the moment, they remain extremely rudimentary versions of an actual human brain and are used primarily to study brain development and disorders like autism.

Updated at 1:54 p.m.

A prescription painkiller that has been under a cloud for more than a decade is apparently safer than previously believed, a Food and Drug Administration panel concluded Wednesday.

There already have been more than a dozen reasons U.S. consumers can use to avoid paying the penalty for not having health insurance. Now the federal government has added four more.

These "hardship exemptions" let people off the hook if they can't find a marketplace plan that meets not only their coverage needs but also reflects their view if they are opposed to abortion.

Pages