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.

On grief and oysters: a reading by Alicia Kennedy

Mar 13, 2018

Writer Alicia Kennedy was a die-hard vegan until, as a result of a family tragedy, she found solace and comfort in a half shell. She shared her story with The Splendid Table.

I’ve been eating oysters. Now, this wouldn’t be news, but I’ve been vegan for five years. I’m a vegan food writer, and I depend on my nut-cheese diet. And I’ve abandoned it for mid-day lunches that I can’t share on Instagram.

Do Backyard Chickens Need More Rules?

Mar 12, 2018

Last September, a cappuccino-colored stray chicken appeared in Katherine Rae Mondo's neighborhood in Oakland, Calif. After it hung around the same intersection for a couple of days, Mondo took it in — her house had a coop, and she was already caring for a housemate's three-chicken flock.

She named the stray chicken Terribad, since, unlike most hens, "she was kind of a wild woman who didn't obey the rules, and she could fly," Mondo says.

A San Francisco fertility clinic says that a problem with the liquid nitrogen in one of its storage tanks may have damaged thousands of frozen eggs and embryos, triggering calls and letters to more than 400 concerned patients of the Pacific Fertility Center.

While the orcas of Puget Sound are sliding toward extinction, orcas farther north have been expanding their numbers. Their burgeoning hunger for big fish may be causing the killer whales' main prey, chinook salmon, to shrink up and down the West Coast.

Chinook salmon are also known as kings: the biggest of all salmon. They used to grow so enormous that it's hard now to believe the old photos in which fishermen stand next to chinooks almost as tall as they are, sometimes weighing 100 pounds or more.

Eventually it happens to everyone. As we age, even if we're healthy, the heart becomes less flexible, more stiff and just isn't as efficient in processing oxygen as it used to be. In most people the first signs show up in the 50s or early 60s. And among people who don't exercise, the underlying changes can start even sooner.

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

NOEL KING, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It seems every mother has a tale of discovering she was pregnant. Samantha Blackwell was working her way through a master's degree at Cleveland State, and she'd be the first to say her reaction may not be what you'd expect.

When I was growing up in a village in India's then-smallest state, Goa, my family had a Sunday tradition. We love to eat and we have the hips to show for it.

Located on India's west coast, Goa is known for its sun, sand and beaches. A typical Goan meal is xitt-koddi-nustem (rice, curry and fish). A long coastline meant a lot of wealth came from the sea; an easy availability of coconuts meant they often found their way into the food – which, like all aspects of Goan life, is heavily imprinted by four-and-a-half centuries of Portuguese rule.

The Tsimane people are among the most isolated people in Bolivia. They number about 16,000 and live in 80 mostly riverbank villages of 50 to several hundred people scattered across about 3,000 square miles of Amazon jungle. They are forager-farmers who fish, hunt, cut down jungle trees with machetes and produce an average of nine children per family, says Michael Gurven, chair of the Integrated Anthropological Sciences Unit at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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It all began with a single X-ray.

It was 1974, and surgeons had been doing total hip replacements for a dozen years.

One shred of solace that surfaced as hurricanes and tropical storms pummeled Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico last fall was the opportunity to see drones realize some of their life-saving potential.

In 2005, Francis Brauner was a quarter of the way through a 20-year prison sentence at Dixon Correctional Institute in Louisiana, when he had an accident.

Brauner was imprisoned for a rape conviction, which he maintains was wrongful and part of a setup by a corrupt judge.

His sentence involved hard labor, and one day he was out in the fields, cutting the grass and he bent over to pick something up from the ground. He felt a sharp pain in his back.

When photographer Lorenzo Vitturi first visited Lagos, in 2014, he expected to find the same sort of gentrification he'd seen happening around him in London, where he's based. He imagined he'd find colorful neighborhoods being dismantled, razed and replaced with sterile skyscrapers. He anticipated chain stores and shopping malls where there were once mom-and-pop shops.

No, you can't.

That's what federal officials told Idaho regulators and the state's governor late Thursday regarding the state's plan to allow insurers to sell health plans that fall short of the Affordable Care Act's requirements.

Millions of Americans use opioids to relieve pain. But many also struggle with addiction.

This week, a report in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, found that nonopioid painkillers — like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — were as effective as opioids at treating chronic back, hip and knee pain, and with fewer side effects.

In light of a new study that finds non-opioid painkillers are just as effective as opioids in treating certain types of chronic pain, Dr. Ajay Wasan, professor and vice chair for pain medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, answers questions from listeners about opioids and chronic pain.

A growing shortage of psychiatrists across the U.S. is making it harder for people who struggle with mental illness to get the care they need — and the lack of federal funding for mental health services may be to blame.

When you talk about traditional Scandinavian foods, you end up talking about porridge. In a cold climate, only certain grains could thrive — namely barley and oats. Their warm mush was a building block of early Nordic foodways, and is still a staple.

Now, an everyday bowl of plain old grain mush hardly sounds controversial. But in the middle of the 19th century, Norway was gripped with a series of public debates that later became known as the Norwegian Porridge Feud. Really.

Adam Frank is a co-founder of the 13.7 blog, an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester and author of the upcoming book Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth. His scientific studies are funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Education.

"India is the diabetes capital of the world!"

That was a headline two years ago in the Times of India. And that's not a case of media hype. India has a huge diabetes problem: nearly 70 million people are grappling with the disease.

Scoot over, cans; cartons are moving in on your shelf space. Specifically, the soft, light rectangular containers commonly associated with juice boxes — "aseptic cartons" to the carton literati.

"They're growing in popularity," says Jason Pelz, vice president of recycling projects for the Carton Council, an industry group. "Broth is predominantly in aseptic packaging now, and you see a lot of coconut water in it."

Welcome to Invisibilia Season 4! The NPR program and podcast explores the invisible forces that shape human behavior, and we here at Shots are joining in to probe the often tenuous line between perception and reality. Here's a personal essay by the host that expands on Episode 1.

Michael Robertson was on his summer vacation a few years ago and had just proposed to the woman who would become his wife when he decided he needed to see a doctor.

"I'd been having symptoms for a few months but it was during an intense work period, drinking too much coffee, not getting enough sleep, so I kind of chalked it up to that," Robertson says. Unfortunately, the doctor had a more dire diagnosis: stage 4 rectal cancer.

Right now, Florida first responders can get medical coverage under workers' compensation, but not lost wages, if they are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder on the job. The Florida Senate approved a bill last weekend that would cover lost wages for first responders with PTSD, and the House followed suit on Monday.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is now saying he will sign the bill.

Mississippi's Legislature has passed a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, one of the most restrictive limitations on abortion in the country.

The measure, which is poised to become law once signed by the governor, allows for exceptions only in a "medical emergency and in cases of severe fetal abnormality." It does not allow abortion in cases involving rape or incest. Fifteen weeks is calculated from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period.

March 8 is Agnes Igoye's birthday, and she spent it mentoring high schools girls in Kampala, Uganda, in honor of International Women's Day. Igoye serves as Uganda's deputy National Coordinator for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and heads its Immigration Training Academy. She spoke to me about how she overcame the prejudice she faced from the day she was born — the family really wanted a son, not another daughter — and the signs of progress she sees.

We just marked International Women's Day. How is it celebrated in Uganda?

Last Saturday, while I was visiting Fatty's Tattoos and Piercings, a college-aged woman in a hoodie walked in and asked for a tattoo, her first, right on the spot.

"I want a red-tailed hawk feather," she told the artist on duty at the Washington, D.C., tattoo parlor.

He peppered her with questions: How big? What style? She alternated between a blank stare and a furrowed brow: "I ... have a photo on my phone of the feather that I like, I could show you that?"

New Hampshire doesn't have a signature drink, unless you like your maple syrup served neat.

But in recent years, sales of one particular brand of cognac have surged at state-run liquor stores. So much Hennessy is being sold, in fact, that one New Hampshire official is asking state Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to investigate whether the Liquor Commission is turning a blind eye to bootlegging and money-laundering activities.

As congressional Republicans and the Trump administration keep chipping away at the Affordable Care Act, a number of states are enacting laws that aim to safeguard its central provisions.

The GOP tax plan approved by Congress in the last days of 2017 repealed the ACA penalty for people who fail to carry health insurance, a provision called the individual mandate.

But before that federal change happens next year, some states are working to preserve the effects of the mandate by creating their own versions of it.

Over the past few years, I've spent many hours reading up on — and a morning observing — the smart, sassy behavior of octopuses.

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