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.

Helicopters from the power company buzz across the skies of this picturesque valley, ferrying electrical poles on long wires to workmen standing on steep hillsides.

The people of Castañer, an isolated village in Puerto Rico's central mountains, view the repairs to the electrical grid warily. Crews have come and gone, and people living along the mountain roads don't expect to get power until late summer, if ever. Power finally started flowing to the center of town last month, but the grid remains unstable, and the hospital continues to rely on its own generator.

Updated on April 19 at 3 p.m. ET

Maile Pearl Bowlsbey is just over a week old and already is helping force more change in the Senate than most seasoned lawmakers can even dream. On Thursday she joined her mother, Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, on the Senate floor for a vote.

The newborn's appearance was made possible by a unanimous decision by the Senate on Wednesday evening to change its rules, which typically allow only senators and a handful of staff into the Senate chamber during votes. Now, lawmakers can bring along children under 1.

Editor's note: Since this story was first posted, we have received word that Destini Johnson is regaining consciousness and is out of intensive care.

Last August, Destini Johnson practically danced out of jail, after landing there for two months on drug charges. She bubbled with excitement about her new freedom and returning home to her parents in Muncie, Ind. She even talked about plans to find a job.

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There are both federal and state laws requiring insurance providers cover not only physical health issues, but also mental health. Illinois has strict laws, but some argue they’re not properly enforced and those with mental health or addiction issues don’t always understand what’s covered with insurance. 

They made children wear socks until they got good and smelly.

Later on, they decapitated mosquitoes.

Those were two steps in an ... unusual ... study to learn why female mosquitoes (males don't bite) are more likely to feed on people with malaria than non-infected people.

But scientists haven't known exactly how the parasite that causes malaria, called Plasmodium, pulls off this manipulation

Predicting how climate change will alter the weather is becoming a flourishing business.

The consumers are property owners and businesses that fear a rise in extreme weather — hurricanes, floods or heat waves, for example. Last year set a record for U.S. losses at over $300 billion.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

Starbucks is closing thousands of stores across the U.S. on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct "racial-bias education geared toward preventing discrimination in our stores," the company said in a statement.

In the mountains of eastern Armenia, about 75 miles north of the capital Yerevan, motal means change.

"Motal cheese is like a business card for our region," says Arpine Gyuluman, who owns Getik Bed and Breakfast in Gegharkunik. "[Because of it], we're seeing more and more visitors annually."

States are continuing to do battle with budget-busting prices of prescription drugs. But a recent federal court decision could limit the tools available to them — underscoring the challenge states face as, in the absence of federal action, they attempt on their own to take on the powerful drug industry.

Falls are a leading cause of injury and death among older adults. In 2014, about 1 in 3 adults aged 65 and older reported falling, and falls were linked to 33,000 deaths.

If you want to reduce the risk of falling, regular exercise may be your best bet, according to the latest recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Trevor Noah isn't the only South African comic on The Daily Show roster.

This year, Comedy Central named some foreign correspondents to contribute to overseas versions of the show. And one of them is Loyiso Madinga, a 31-year-old stand-up comedian.

In E.B. White's classic children's story Stuart Little, the eponymous mouse lives happily with a New York City family.

But Dr. Ian Lipkin wanted to know whether cohabiting with a mouse may be hazardous to one's health.

So Lipkin and his colleagues at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health spent a year collecting mice from throughout New York City to see whether they carry any dangerous germs.

In late March, a project in eastern North Carolina revealed the potential to turn every hog farm in the state into a source of renewable natural gas, or what's known as swine biogas.

Biogas typically refers to methane created by the breakdown of organic matter. It can be made from food scraps, decomposing plants and animal waste. Swine biogas is methane that comes from hog waste.

The woman arrived at the emergency department gasping for air, her severe emphysema causing such shortness of breath that the physician who examined her immediately put her on a ventilator to help her breathe.

The patient lived across the street from that suburban Denver ER. The facility wasn't physically located at a hospital, says Dr. David Friedenson, the physician who took care of her that day. But it was affiliated with a hospital several miles away — North Suburban Medical Center.

A new national poll finds a growing divide between younger and older Americans on abortion and reproductive health care — a shift that may be driven in large part by changing attitudes toward religion.

pills pouring from bottle into palm
frankieleon / Flickr- 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The opioid epidemic continues to hurt communities across the state. But for Illinois’ youth, it’s not the illicit drugs, it’s the prescription pain pills that can too often be easily accessed from their home medicine cabinet.

The Environmental Protection Agency has removed a toxic waste site flooded by Hurricane Harvey from a special list of contaminated sites that require the personal attention of the agency's leader, because it says there's been significant progress on a cleanup plan.

There's encouraging news for cancer treatments that stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells. A widely used immunotherapy drug appears to be useful in a greater number of patients with lung cancer.

The drug called Keytruda, or pembrolizumab, is already prescribed to a group of patients who have a type of malignancy called non-small cell lung cancer. It's the principal form of lung cancer and found most commonly in people who have smoked.

Activists Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms have noticed that as the world changes, the idea of power is shifting. They argue that the forces behind this shift are either “wildly romanticized or dangerously underestimated.”

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

Where might you find a city that uses only renewable energy?

Try Georgetown, Texas — a red town in a red state that’s going green.

Georgetown’s power company is owned by the city. And that allowed Mayor Dale Ross, who is described as “something of a libertarian at heart,” to make the move away from fossil fuels.

As Smithsonian Magazine reports:

Any dumpster diver can tell you: Grocery stores throw away a lot of food.

But food discarded off the shelf is just one way that grub gets trashed. There's other waste along a grocery store's supply chain —rejected crops at farms, for example — that's often overlooked. So The Center for Biological Diversity and The "Ugly" Fruit and Veg Campaign recently asked the 10 largest U.S. supermarkets how they handle food waste, and gave each store's efforts a letter grade.

The Rose Acre Farms company is voluntarily recalling 206,749,248 eggs in a total of nine states, saying they "have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella braenderup" — which can sicken healthy adults and have serious and possibly fatal effects for young children and the elderly.

The eggs came from a farm in Hyde County, N.C., and have been labeled under a number of brands, including Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, the Food Lion store brand, Crystal Farms, Great Value and Sunshine Farms. Some were sold to restaurants, including Waffle House.

There's an irony at the heart of the treatment of high blood pressure. The malady itself often has no symptoms, yet the medicines to treat it — and to prevent a stroke or heart attack later — can make people feel crummy.

"It's not that you don't want to take it, because you know it's going to help you. But it's the getting used to it," says Sharon Fulson, a customer service representative from Nashville, Tenn., who is trying to monitor and control her hypertension.

Doctors encounter all nature of odd things in their daily lives. Sometimes the stories end up as more than coffee-room chatter. Consider a case that spills over from the clinical to the culinary: the hot pepper and the horrible headache.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

With the Syrian conflict now in its eighth year, many of the millions of Syrians living as refugees in Turkey have long since realized they're unlikely to make it home anytime soon. But a group of women is refusing to sit at home and wait for peace. Instead, these women are turning their knowledge of Syrian cooking into a business.

The "Women's Solidarity Kitchen," is a former Istanbul textile factory converted into a commercial kitchen. A knot of Syrian children plays in one corner, separated from the cooking area by a small fence.

Nawaf Ashur Haskan says his brother always knew which family in their northern Iraqi village was making tashrib for the Yazidi New Year. He would arrive at that house at 11:30 a.m. knowing he would be urged to stay for lunch. Tashrib, a dish of long-simmered lamb, chickpeas and spices poured over flatbread, is served at holidays, weddings and funerals. Nawaf says it's also a great hangover cure.

She was 8 years old and wearing a purple salwar kameez when she disappeared on Jan. 10.

A week later, on Jan. 17, her mutilated and lifeless body was found in a forest near Kathua in the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir. It was a mile away from Rasana, the village where her family was currently living.

An Atlantic Ocean current that helps regulate the global climate has reached an 1,000-year low, according to two new studies in the journal Nature.

While scientists disagree about what's behind the sluggish ocean current, the shift could mean bad news for the climate. The Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation [AMOC] – often called the conveyor belt of the ocean – exchanges warm water from the equator with cold water in the Arctic.

Will people drink less sugary soda if the price goes up? A new study suggests the answer is ... yes.

Researchers at Drexel University surveyed residents of Philadelphia both before and after a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened drinks took effect. They also surveyed people in three other cities that don't have a beverage tax. The researchers found Philadelphians were about 40 percent less likely to drink sweetened beverages daily after the tax went into effect, compared with people in the other cities.

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