Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

Would you eat venison if there was a chance it could slowly eat away at your brain?

If there's a slight possibility, it doesn't bother Patrick States. On the menu this evening for his wife and two daughters at their Northglenn, Colo., home are pan-seared venison steaks with mashed potatoes and a whiskey cream sauce.

"We each have our specialty, actually," says States as the steak sizzles. "The girls made elk tamales this morning, but we use [venison or elk] in spaghetti, chili, soup, whatever."

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Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Nearly all of the seats on the U.S. National Park Service advisory board are vacant following a mass resignation Monday night, with ex-members citing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's unwillingness to meet with them.

Colin Campbell needs help dressing, bathing and moving between his bed and his wheelchair. He has a feeding tube because his partially paralyzed tongue makes swallowing "almost impossible," he says.

Campbell, 58, spends $4,000 a month on home health care services so he can continue to live in his home just outside Los Angeles. Eight years ago, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, which relentlessly attacks the nerve cells in his brain and spinal cord and has no cure.

Accidental deaths in the United States rose significantly in 2016, becoming the third-leading cause of fatalities for the first time in more than a century – a trend fueled by the steep rise in opioid overdoses, the National Safety Council reports.

Accidents — defined by the council as unintentional, preventable injuries — claimed a record 161,374 lives in 2016, a 10 percent increase over 2015. They include motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, choking and poisoning, a category that encompasses accidental overdoses.

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson has served with Navy bomb disposal units and instructed underwater salvage teams.

His latest assignment: defusing doubts about the health and mental fitness of the nation's 71-year-old president.

Now, there is ample reason for you to cover your nose when you sneeze. It's flu season, after all, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made it quite clear it doesn't want you spreading your germs with reckless abandon.

But let's not go overboard here, people.

Glenford Turner had surgery in 2013 at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Connecticut. Four years later, according to a new lawsuit, doctors discovered that a sharp metal surgical instrument had been accidentally left inside the Army veteran's body.

"It's perplexing to me how they could be so incompetent that a scalpel that really should only be on the exterior of your body not only goes into the body but then is sewn into the body," Turner's lawyer, Joel Faxon, tells NPR. "It's a level of incompetence that's almost incomprehensible."

This year, trucks and other heavy-duty motors in America will burn some 3 billion gallons of diesel fuel that was made from soybean oil. They're doing it, though, not because it's cheaper or better, but because they're required to, by law.

The law is the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. For some, especially Midwestern farmers, it's the key to creating clean energy from American soil and sun. For others — like many economists — it's a wasteful misuse of resources.

President Trump is in excellent health with "no indication" of "any cognitive issues" — but he could afford to lose a few pounds and start exercising over the coming year, according to the president's physician.

On Friday, we posed this question to our audience: What do you think of the way poor countries are portrayed by aid groups and the media?

The question came in light of President Donald Trump's reported description of El Salvador, Haiti and nations in Africa as "shithole countries" last week.

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About six years ago, Johnathon Shillings was in jail waiting for trial. He was looking at up to 30 years of prison time if he got convicted. And he called home.

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About six years ago, Johnathon Shillings was in jail waiting for trial. He was looking at up to 30 years of prison time if he got convicted. And he called home.

Where alcohol is eschewed in most places of employment, it's a constant in restaurants. And the late night culture means that most socializing happens at bars after work hours. "We're an industry that's a little bit different," says Mickey Bakst, general manager of Charleston Grill in South Carolina. But this also means restaurant employees are at serious risk for problems with substance abuse.

When You Need A Mammogram, Should You Get One In '3-D'?

Jan 16, 2018

When I went to the imaging center for my regular mammogram last year, the woman behind the desk asked me if I'd like to get a "3-D" mammogram instead of the standard test I'd had in the past.

"It's more accurate," she said.

What do you say to that? "No, thanks, I'd rather have the test that gets it wrong?" Of course, I agreed.

Officials in the central Japanese city of Gamagori are warning residents not to eat blowfish purchased from a local supermarket after potentially deadly parts of the fish were inadvertently sold.

The market sold five packages of fish without removing their livers, which can contain a potent neurotoxin. Three of the packages of fish have been recovered by authorities, but two others remain at large.

In the coming months, Congress will map out how it’ll spend upwards of $500 billion on food and farm programs over the next five years.

The massive piece of legislation known as the farm bill affects all taxpayers — whether they know it or not — and runs the gamut from farm safety net and conservation programs to food stamps and loan guarantees for rural hospitals. Since the bill hasn’t been introduced yet, now is the time when interest groups, farmers and others clamor to ensure their desires will be heard.

Food Stamp Program Makes Fresh Produce More Affordable

Jan 16, 2018

Rebeca Gonzalez grew up eating artichokes from her grandmother's farm in the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala. But for years after emigrating to the U.S., she did not feed them to her own kids because the spiky, fibrous vegetables were too expensive on this side of the border.

When she prepared meals at her family's home in Garden Grove, Calif., Gonzalez would also omit avocados, a staple of Mexican cuisine that are often costly here.

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Welcome to the ice box of the nation. These words are on three different wooden signs around the United States, and they're referring to towns.

PHILIP VANDERNAIL: The image of the ice box and pretty iconic.

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The Personal Toll Of Civil Rights Activism

Jan 15, 2018

The fight for civil rights has always been hard work. It takes a toll on the mind and the body.

And the struggle continues today, 50 years after the death of Martin Luther King Jr.

Every generation has their crusaders: the big names we know, and untold thousands of others whose support makes these movements possible. Who exactly are the new activists and what battles are they fighting? And how do they stay in the fight?

GUESTS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has postponed a planned Tuesday session on nuclear attack preparedness, deciding instead to focus the workshop on influenza.

The agency announced the switch in topics late Friday, citing the spike in flu cases as the reason for the pivot.

Altering A Species: Darwin's Shopping List

Jan 15, 2018

By genetically modifying organisms, we can now create glow-in-the-dark cats and fish, mice with singing voices, less flatulent cows, carbon-capturing plants,

In 1545, people in the Mexican highlands starting dying in enormous numbers. People infected with the disease bled and vomited before they died. Many had red spots on their skin.

It was one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. The 1545 outbreak, and a second wave in 1576, killed an estimated 7 million to 17 million people and contributed to the destruction of the Aztec Empire.

But identifying the pathogen responsible for the carnage has been difficult for scientists because infectious diseases leave behind very little archaeological evidence.

In December 1955, after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other black ministers and community leaders organized a citywide bus boycott in protest. That part is well known.

Less well-known is the story of Georgia Gilmore, the Montgomery cook, midwife and activist whose secret kitchen fed the civil rights movement.

People diagnosed with cancer understandably reach for the very best that medical science has to offer. That motivation is increasingly driving people to ask to have the DNA of their tumors sequenced. And while that's useful for some malignancies, the hype of precision medicine for cancer is getting far ahead of the facts.

It's easy to understand why that's the case. When you hear stories about the use of DNA sequencing to create individualized cancer treatment, chances are they are uplifting stories. Like that of Ben Stern.

The Call-In: The Nursing Industry

Jan 14, 2018

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When it comes to tourism, Ireland punches well above its weight.

A Mom Fights To Get An Education For Her Deaf Daughters

Jan 14, 2018

In a country with over 28 national languages, Jhoti Prajapati did not speak at all. Her family, who lived in an Indian village in Maharashtra, was worried. When the child turned 3, her mother Rima took her to a doctor and got an explanation for the silence: Jhoti was born deaf.

The diagnosis spurred Rima into action. For two years, she says, she worked diligently to acquire the disability certificate needed for Jhoti's admission to a school for the deaf. There are only 388 such schools in India, and none near her village. So at age 5, Jhoti moved with her mother to Mumbai.

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