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.

Butterfly beak. Moth mouthpiece. Lepidoptera lips.

Call it whatever you want, the proboscis is a big deal. It's a defining feature of many moths and butterflies – the long, flexible mouthpiece that dips into flowers and draws out nectar.

Alfonso Verdis' first job was selling vegetables on the streets of Tlapa in Guerrero, Mexico. He was 9 years old, trying to support himself after his mother's death.

"It was hard for me," he recalls. "I decided to come to [America] for that reason. I didn't want to be doing that my whole life." Six years later, at age 15, Verdis arrived in New York City, but food remained his livelihood.

At first the only people he knew were his two sisters, but they were busy supporting their own young families. Eventually a friend's brother found him a job in a restaurant.

Editor's note: This post is an update of an earlier story, from the Invisibilia podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

In what countries are women and men on the most equal footing?

A Twitter battle over the size of each "nuclear button" possessed by President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un has triggered a surge in sales of a drug that protects against radiation poisoning.

Troy Jones, who runs the website www.nukepills.com, said demand for potassium iodide soared last week, after Trump tweeted that he had a "much bigger & more powerful" button than Kim – a statement that raised new fears about an escalating threat of nuclear war.

Top Philadelphia officials are advocating that the city become the first in the U.S. to open a supervised injection site, where people suffering from heroin or opioid addiction could use the drugs under medical supervision.

But the controversial proposal aimed at addressing the city's deadly drug crisis must first overcome resistance from top city police officials, community residents and the federal government.

A week after announcing a dramatic expansion of offshore drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the Trump administration will grant an exception for the state of Florida.

A ban on the manufacture of microbeads, those tiny bits of plastic used in some exfoliating cosmetic products, took effect Tuesday in the U.K. The move bars manufacturers from putting them in skin lotions, toothpastes or any other items intended to be rinsed off — and it presages a ban on the sale of such products that will take effect there in July.

The great mystery behind what hurt two dozen U.S. diplomatic personnel in Cuba remains unsolved, according to a Senate hearing on Tuesday. But an FBI investigation is casting doubt on a once-popular theory: that embassy staff were the victims of "sonic attacks."

According to a report seen by the Associated Press, an FBI investigation has turned up no evidence that sound waves harmed American diplomats in Havana.

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

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Doctors at some of the country's largest hospital chains admit they went overboard with opioids to make people as pain-free as possible.

Now the doctors shoulder part of the blame for the country's opioid crisis. In an effort to be part of the cure, they've begun to issue an uncomfortable warning to patients: You're going to feel some pain.

Many immigrants from El Salvador are in a state of shock. On Monday, the Trump Administration announced that it will soon be ending a humanitarian program that has allowed nearly 200,000 of them to live and work in the U.S. since 2001, after two earthquakes devastated their country. Now they worry for their future.

But the potential pain is likely to prove just as acute in El Salvador. That's because nearly all these Salvadoran immigrants work — and a huge share of them regularly send a portion of their earnings to family in El Salvador.

Tuesday's Google Doodle honors Har Gobind Khorana. He would have turned 96 on this day according to legal documentation, though nobody knows the exact date the Nobel Prize-winning scientist was born. Khorana was from a small village of roughly 100 in what is now Raipur, Pakistan, but was part of India in 1922.

Aja C. Holmes planned to go to work last week, but her flu symptoms — a cough, fever and severe body aches that worsened overnight — had other ideas.

"It felt like somebody took a bat and beat my body up and down," said Holmes, 39, who works as a residential life director at California State University, Sacramento. "I couldn't get out of bed."

The nation is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad flu season.

Where you live — in a city versus a rural area — could make a difference in how old you tend to be when you first have sex, what type of birth control you use and how many children you have.

These are the findings from federal data collected using the National Survey of Family Growth, which analyzed responses from in-person interviews with more than 10,000 U.S. women, ages 18 to 44, between 2011 and 2015.

Pope Francis has some surprising things to say about the state of the world.

On Monday, Pope Francis delivered his annual address to his diplomatic corps, ambassadors from 183 nations to the Holy See. The speech outlined a bold vision for a peaceful, free and just world. The pontiff touched on themes that have been in the headlines, like the Syrian war and the Rohingya refugee crisis.

With guest host John Donvan.

Here are some facts about octopuses:

• They’re venemous

• They taste with their skin

They use tools

They can solve puzzles

• They can change color and texture

The United States Of Alcohol Abuse

Jan 9, 2018

With guest host John Donvan.

Alcohol is a unique legalized drug in American culture. It’s not a crime to consume in all states (unlike marijuana). There is little stigma attached to having a drink (unlike cigarettes). And it can be abused somewhat openly, even in the company of your co-workers (unlike opioids).

Happy hour, anyone?

Americans are drinking more than we used to. Much more.

For a few fleeting hours Sunday, people perched in the arid heights of northwest Algeria caught sight of something rarely seen: the Sahara Desert, shrouded in white. Residents of Ain Sefra, a small town surrounded by the Atlas Mountains of Northern Africa, walked outside to find a dusting of snow underfoot — and more than a foot of it crowding the town's outer boundaries.

Maybe you've bought 7-day pill boxes, some with digital reminders, others that talk to you ... not to mention apps that nag you to take your daily dose.

And still you forget your pills.

A federal energy regulator has rejected a proposed rule that would have subsidized nuclear and coal plants, helping those fuel sources compete with cheaper natural gas and renewables.

The rule was described by the Department of Energy as a way to promote the resilience of the electric grid — that is, its ability to provide reliable energy in the face of disruptive events like bad weather.

Inside a bustling market in the north coast town of Tavua on Fiji's largest island, farmer Adi Alesi Nacoba stacks her produce of the day. She carefully lays out eggplants, chilies, and papayas at her newspaper-lined table.

Bad weather is hampering efforts to contain a fire and oil spill off the coast of Shanghai three days after a collision between an Iranian-owned oil tanker and a Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier in the East China Sea.

In places where the unemployment rate is well below the national average — states like Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa — one would think it’d be easier for communities to recruit new residents to fill open jobs.

But the housing market works against rural towns and cities where jobs often stay open because there are too few affordable homes and apartments to buy or rent, or the ones that are affordable need lots of TLC. It’s a situation that threatens to turn low unemployment from an advantage into a liability.

Quick, think of a physicist.

If you're anything like me, you probably didn't have to think very hard before the names Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton popped up.

But what if I asked you to think of a female physicist? What about a black, female physicist?

You may have to think a bit harder about that. For years, mainstream accounts of history have largely ignored or forgotten the scientific contributions of women and people of color.

In this new year, beer brewers are enjoying a temporary excise tax break that was signed into federal law as 2017 was winding down.

Editor's note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of sexual assault.

In the sex education class for adults with intellectual disabilities, the material is not watered down. The dozen women and men in a large room full of windows and light in Casco, Maine, take on complex issues, such as how to break up or how you know you're in an abusive relationship. And the most difficult of those issues is sexual assault.

"Don't ask, don't tell" is how many veterans have approached health care conversations about marijuana use with the doctors they see from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Worried that owning up to using the drug could jeopardize their VA benefits — even if they're participating in a medical marijuana program approved by their state — veterans have often kept mum. That may be changing under a new directive from the Veterans Health Administration urging vets and their physicians to open up on the subject.

Before it got cold this winter, it was warm. Very warm. In fact, new data out Monday shows 2017 was the third warmest year recorded in the lower 48 states.

And it was also a smackdown year for weather disasters: 16 weather events each broke the billion-dollar barrier.

First, the heat. Last year was 2.6 degrees F warmer than the average year during the 20th century.

The expansion of Medicaid helps rural hospitals stay afloat in states like Colorado, which added 400,000 people to the health insurance program under the Affordable Care Act.

Hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid were about 6 times less likely to close than hospitals in non-expansion states, according to a study by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

The study was published Monday in the January edition of the journal Health Affairs.

Updated at 4:45 pm ET

President Trump thanked America's farmers for their political support on Monday and unveiled a plan designed to help revive fortunes in struggling rural areas. At the same time, the president is pursuing trade and immigration policies that could be harmful to farmers' bottom lines.

Pages