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.

In a refrigerator in the coroner's office in Marion County, Ind., rows of vials await testing. They contain blood, urine and vitreous, the fluid collected from inside a human eye.

In overdose cases, the fluids may contain clues for investigators.

"We send that off to a toxicology lab to be tested for what we call drugs of abuse," said Alfie Ballew, deputy coroner. The results often include drugs such as cocaine, heroin, fentanyl or prescription pharmaceuticals.

Welcome to a new season of Invisibilia! The NPR program and podcast explores the invisible forces that shape human behavior. Episode 3 involves two brothers who are happy about the polite, helpful tenant who moves into their mother's house, until they start to suspect he has sinister motives.

The Trump administration named HIV expert Dr. Robert Redfield to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ignoring complaints that he botched high-profile vaccine research more than 20 years ago.

The Army in 1994 acknowledged accuracy issues with HIV vaccine clinical trials led by Redfield, but concluded at the time that the data errors did not constitute misconduct.

A federal regulator has cited a Baltimore hospital for breaches of federal regulatory requirements, after a passerby shot a video of a confused patient in a hospital gown being taken by guards to a bus stop on a cold night in January.

The disturbing video prompted broader questions about the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus's treatment of emergency room patients.

In the sunny colonial city of Oaxaca, Mexico, diners at the upscale restaurant Los Danzantes might notice their fellow patrons drinking a brown, carbonated soda. It looks like Coca-Cola and it tastes — almost — like Coca-Cola. But Coca-Cola it is not.

It's a drink called Zega-Cola, an all-natural substitute to the ubiquitous soft drink. It's made in the nearby village Santa Ana Zegache, and these days, many Oaxacans are clamoring for it. Its creator, a carpenter named Antonio Ambrosio Salvador, sold more Zega-Cola last month than in his entire first year of production.

Scratch another Guinea worm hot spot off the list.

One of the countries hardest hit with the parasite — South Sudan — has finally stopped transmission, the Carter Center announced Wednesday.

The country reported zero cases in 2017 and hasn't had a case in 15 months. There are also no signs Guinea worm is circulating in dogs in South Sudan, as it is in Chad and Mali.

Scientific advancement: It's all in the wiggle.

When Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler announced that scientists had discovered the virus that caused AIDS at a press conference in 1984, the disease was still mysterious and invariably fatal.

Standing in Times Square in front of street performers dressed up as the Statue of Liberty, the two teenage girls look like typical tourists. They're grinning and posing on their first visit to New York City.

March 21 Is The Busiest Day On The U.N. Calendar

Mar 21, 2018

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on March 21, 2016 and has been updated.

March 21 is making headlines for its fierce spring snowstorm. But that's not the only distinction on this day. It's also the busiest spot on the United Nations' calendar of international observances, with five different U.N.-declared "Days." Here's a rundown:

Derek Klingenberg is kind of a farmer celebrity.

His YouTube channel draws more than 70,000 subscribers for ag-themed pop-music parodies, trombone covers and, more recently, cow art made with satellites.

The Affordable Care Act very nearly failed to become law back in 2010 because of a dispute among Democrats over how to handle abortion in the bill.

Now a similar argument between Democrats and Republicans is slowing progress on a bill that could help cut soaring premiums and help stabilize the ACA.

At issue is the extent to which the Hyde Amendment — language commonly used by Congress to prohibit most federal abortion funding — should be incorporated into any new legislation affecting the health law.

Talking About Periods in Public

Mar 20, 2018

"Shark week," "Aunt Flo," "Carrie at the prom" — these are a few common nicknames for periods, according to Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, author of Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity. But the list is far from exhaustive: "There are something like 5,000 euphemisms for periods," she says.

When Roger Severino tells his story, discrimination is at its heart.

"I did experience discrimination as a child. And that leaves a lasting impression," he tells me.

Severino directs the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When I meet with him at his office in the shadow of the Capitol, he talks about his childhood as the son of Colombian immigrants growing up in Los Angeles.

Robots have taken over many of America's factories. They can explore the depths of the ocean, and other planets. They can play ping-pong.

But can they pick a strawberry?

"You kind of learn, when you get into this — it's really hard to match what humans can do," says Bob Pitzer, an expert on robots and co-founder of a company called Harvest CROO Robotics. (CROO is an acronym. It stands for Computerized Robotic Optimized Obtainer.)

It was November 2014, and I was working on a feature story about a hot new blood-testing company in Silicon Valley that promised to "disrupt" the lab industry with new technology.

The company, Theranos, claimed its new finger-prick test would be a cheap and less painful way to run tests with just a few drops of blood. Old-fashioned venous blood draws, where the patient watches as vial after vial of blood is collected, would quickly become obsolete, Theranos promised.

In Robin Dando's lab, several mice chowed down on a specialized diet designed to make them as fat as possible. "I can say the mice are happy. They love this unhealthy diet, and pretty fast they get pretty overweight," says Dando, an assistant professor of food science at Cornell University.

But the mice were not long for this world. Eight weeks after they started their delicious nosh, they were euthanized and their tongues were excised for direct comparison against their skinnier brethren.

Usually the image of a pub is one of welcome, a cozy place where neighbors gather to share friendship and a pint or two. But Dan Margulis, an advertising professional with a personal interest in immigration issues, decided to use the concept for a kind of social experiment along Detroit's St. Patrick's Day Parade route — and there was no friendly welcome involved.

This year's World Happiness Report doesn't have too many surprises — Scandinavian countries occupy many of the smiliest slots. But there's a West African country that's getting rave reviews for its happiness. Togo, which ranked at the very bottom of the 2015 World Happiness Report, comes in this year as the "biggest gainer," the report says. That means Togo is the country with the most-improved level of happiness in the world.

WATCH: How A Tick Digs Its Hooks Into You

Mar 20, 2018

Spring is here. Unfortunately for hikers and picnickers enjoying the warmer weather, the new season is prime time for ticks, which can transmit bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

How they latch on — and stay on — is a feat of engineering that scientists have been piecing together. Once you know how a tick's mouth works, you understand why it's impossible to simply flick a tick.

Tom Wrasse is at his hunting shack alone. Light pours into the small room from a window framed by antlers, harvested from the surrounding central Wisconsin woods. On the opposite wall is a collage of fading photos, showing how big the hunting parties out here used to be.

Federal officials have recommended a vaccine against shingles that is more effective than an earlier version at protecting older adults from the painful rash. But persuading many adults to get this and other recommended shots continues to be an uphill battle, health providers say.

Updated on March 21 at 7:35 p.m. ET

Supreme Court justices on both sides of the ideological spectrum expressed skepticism Tuesday about California's "truth-in-advertising" law requiring anti-abortion clinics to more fully disclose what they are.

The anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy centers" objected to the law on free-speech grounds.

While some more liberal justices appeared receptive to the state's case initially, doubt about the law seemed to increase as the argument progressed.

When Paul Kugelman was a kid, he had no shortage of friends. But as he grew older and entered middle age, his social world narrowed.

"It was a very lonely time. I did go to work and I did have interactions at work, and I cherished those," he says. "But you know, at the end of the day it was just me."

Kugelman's story isn't unusual: researchers say it can be difficult for men to hold on to friendships as they age. And the problem may begin in adolescence.

In his State of the State Address in 2014, Gov. Phil Bryant announced a goal: "to end abortion in Mississippi."

President Trump outlined a wide-ranging plan to combat the opioid epidemic on Monday, including an ad campaign to discourage drug use, expand addiction treatment and pursue a get-tough approach to law enforcement.

"Whether you are a dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer, if you break the law and illegally peddle these deadly poisons, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable," Trump told an audience in Manchester, N.H.

"Failure is not an option," he added. "Addiction is not our future."

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

If you want to cut your risk of catching the flu on your next flight, pick a window seat and stay put.

That's a key take-home message of a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sherry Alvarez says she knew there was something different about her son since he was about 9 months old. Back then Sherry says his pediatrician told her there was nothing to worry about, " 'Boys are a little slower than girls, so let's just wait until his second birthday.' " We aren't using Sherry's son's name to protect his privacy.

By her son's second birthday, Sherry says she was getting desperate. She didn't know why he wasn't talking yet or showing affection like other kids. At 2 1/2, he was referred to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Pages