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.

Sometimes 11-year-old B. comes home from school in tears. Maybe she was taunted about her weight that day, called "ugly." Or her so-called friends blocked her on their phones. Some nights she is too anxious to sleep alone and climbs into her mother's bed. It's just the two of them at home, ever since her father was deported back to West Africa when she was a toddler.

Update: The measure unanimously passed both chambers and now heads to the Governor's desk. 

The State Department said that a U.S. government employee assigned to Guangzhou, China, has reported experiencing "vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that "the medical indications are very similar and entirely consistent" with the symptoms reported by Americans working at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. "We have medical teams that are moving to be on the ground there. We are working to figure out what took place both in Havana, and now in China, as well."

Though Americans spend an estimated $80 billion to $100 billion each year in hopes of easing their aching backs, the evidence is mounting that many pricey standard treatments — including surgery and spinal injections — are often ineffective and can even worsen and prolong the problem.

Missouri is at the vanguard of defining what meat is, thanks to legislation awaiting the governor's signature.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Covered California, the state's health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, has devised what could be a powerful new way to hold hospitals accountable for the quality of their care.

Starting in less than two years, if the hospitals haven't met certain designated targets for safety and quality, they'll risk being excluded from the "in-network" designation of health plans sold on the state's insurance exchange.

Legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to get access to experimental drugs is headed to the president's desk.

The House on Tuesday passed a "right-to-try" bill that was approved by the Senate in 2017.

"People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to find a cure," said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, on the House floor Tuesday.

The bill, which President Trump is expected to sign, has patient advocates divided.

More coal miners in central Appalachia have suffered the advanced stages of the deadly disease black lung than previous government research has found, and more miners working in the region today have earlier stages of the disease.

Those are two of the findings in a bundle of studies released Tuesday and expected to be released soon, which focus on the epidemic of black lung disease first reported by NPR in 2016.

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The teenager who threw fireworks into a canyon last year, starting a fire in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge that burned nearly 47,000 acres, has been ordered to pay $36.6 million in restitution — although the judge acknowledges that the boy won't be able to pay it in full.

The teen, whose name has not been released, was 15 at the time he threw the fireworks. Oregon's juvenile delinquency statute calls for restitution that equals the full amount of the victims' injury, loss or damage as determined by the court.

Updated at 5:27 p.m. ET

In the weeks since the Kilauea volcano began belching lava into Hawaii's residential areas, the fiery flow has destroyed dozens of structures and covered scores of acres on the Big Island. But authorities fear its destructive reach could ravage at least two more cornerstones of the state: its power supply and, a little less tangibly, its all-important tourism industry.

Every month, about 300 refugees apply for asylum in Denmark, seeking shelter from conflicts and persecution in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere. And many of them need help beyond finding a new home.

A 2013 study calculated that 30 percent of refugees in high-income host countries have experienced torture; about 150 refugees seek treatment at the Danish Institute Against Torture every year.

For the first time, scientists have videotaped sharks traveling a 500-mile-long "shark highway" in the Pacific, and they plan to turn it into a protected wildlife corridor in the ocean.

At least 10 deaths in the southern Indian state of Kerala are being blamed on an outbreak of the Nipah virus – a disease thought to be transmitted by bats and other animals.

Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shylaja told reporters Tuesday that two other people are in critical condition from Nipah, which has a mortality rate ranging from 40 to 70 percent. There is no vaccine for the disease, which was first seen in Southeast Asia in 1998.

As Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has moved to roll back a sweeping array of Obama-era regulations he's relentlessly cited his goal of providing "regulatory certainty."

In his first address to career employees last year he told the gathered room at the EPA, "Regulators exist to give certainty to those that they regulate. Those that we regulate ought to know what we expect of them, so that they can plan and allocate resources to comply."

If you have a genetic mutation that increases your risk for a treatable medical condition, would you want to know? For many people the answer is yes. But typically such information has not been a part of routine primary care.

For patients at Geisinger Health System, that could soon change. Starting in the next month or so, the Pennsylvania-based system will offer DNA sequencing to 1,000 patients, with the goal of eventually extending the offer to all 3 million Geisinger patients.

If you've avoided romaine lettuce because of the E. coli outbreak, you can start buying it again.

After weeks of warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to toss out romaine grown in the Yuma, Ariz., region, the CDC says there are no longer any greens coming from this region.

The romaine that's for sale now in restaurants and supermarkets nationwide is coming from California's Salinas Valley.

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One patient's death changed the course of Dr. Lilia Cervantes' career. The patient, Cervantes says, was a woman from Mexico with kidney failure who repeatedly visited the emergency room for more than three years. In that time, her heart had stopped more than once, and her ribs were fractured from CPR. The woman finally decided to stop treatment because the stress was too much for her and her two young children. Cervantes says she died soon after.

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Health workers have unsheathed their experimental new weapon against the Ebola virus in the northwest reaches of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On Monday, the World Health Organization, together with local and international partners, began administering Ebola vaccinations in the region, where at least 49 suspected cases have been reported since early April and at least 26 people are believed to have died.

There's going to be a changing of the guard in space. On Tuesday, NASA is launching two new satellites, collectively called GRACE, to replace two that have been retired after 16 years in orbit.

New research suggests that no-till farming could help mitigate climate change.

"Does this bread taste the same as it would taste as if a Pole had baked it?" asks Salam Salti. He is wearing a white apron and a baker's cap with his name on it.

Lava from the Kilauea volcano is pouring into the Pacific Ocean off of Hawaii's Big Island, generating a plume of "laze" – which Hawaii County officials describe as hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles — into the air. Officials say it's one more reason to avoid the area.

"Health hazards of laze include lung damage, and eye and skin irritation," says the Hawaii County Civil Defense agency. "Be aware that the laze plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning."

Floods on the Mississippi River are getting more frequent and more severe. But scientists warn that the infrastructure meant to protect towns and farms against flood waters is making the problem worse.

A series of analyses have helped confirm what engineers have posited for more than a century: that earthen levees built along the river are increasing flood risk for everyone, and especially hurting those who live across from them.

Six months ago, Melissa Nichols brought her baby girl, Arlo, home from the hospital. And she immediately had a secret.

"I just felt guilty and like I didn't want to tell anyone," says Nichols, who lives in San Francisco. "It feels like you're a bad mom. The mom guilt starts early, I guess."

Across town, first-time mom Candyce Hubbell has the same secret — and she hides it from her pediatrician. "I don't really want to be lectured," she says. "I know what her stance will be on it."

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California Game Warden Pat Freeling got the first tip off that something was wrong in Mendocino county back in mid-December, when he received an anonymous call from a disgruntled postal patron.

The tipster told Freeling that she'd gotten stuck in the post office line behind a man, shipping dozens of large cardboard boxes to east Asia. When asked what he was shipping, the man apparently told the caller that it was something very valuable, and gestured toward the coastline.

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