Treatments

Who's Protecting Whom From Deadly Toxin?

Last year a scientist said he'd found a new form of botulinum toxin, and was keeping details secret to keep the recipe from terrorists. But other science and public health labs were shut out, too.

Botulism bacteria, or Clostridium botulinum, grow in poorly preserved canned foods, especially meat and fish. The microbe's toxin could be lethal as a bioweapon.

Public Health

Sharp Rise In MERS Cases May Mean The Virus Is Evolving

A rash of infections in Saudi Arabia could be a warning signal that the deadly virus has reached a tipping point and is ready to spread out of the Middle East, scientists worry.

An Egyptian Muslim prays during a ritual in Mina, Saudi Arabia, October 2013. Some people wore masks during the hajj pilgrimage last year to protect against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Public Health

Tennessee Bill Could Send Addicted Moms To Jail

WPLNThe proposal awaiting the governor's signature has bipartisan support, despite doctors' opposition. Critics say it could deter expectant mothers from seeking help, or even encourage more abortions.

The number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome is rising in Tennessee, and lawmakers want to try a punitive approach.

Public Health

Lead Poisoning Nightmare In Nigeria May Be Easing

Four years ago, hundreds of children died, exposed to lead dust that was everywhere, created in a rush to process ore for gold. Nigeria is finding its own path to curb that dust — and save kids.

Gado Labbo holds her 5-year-old son, Yusuf, at a clinic in Dareta, Nigeria. In 2010, when Yusuf first entered the clinic, he had a blood lead level 30 times higher than the amount the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers dangerous.

For The Children's Sake, Put Down That Smartphone

When adults are absorbed in their mobile devices, the consequences for children are not good. Research shows kids act out more if they are competing with a mobile device for their parent's attention.

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Health Inc.

Scribes Are Back, Helping Doctors Tackle Electronic Medical Records

In ancient times scribes were used to record everything from prayers to legal transactions. Now they're making a comeback in the doctor's office, easing the transition to electronic medical records.

Medical scribe Connie Gayton keeps the electronic records, allowing orthopedic surgeon Devesh Ramnath to focus on his patients.

Public Health

Mental And Physical Toll Of Bullying Persists For Decades

From increased depression and suicidal thoughts to social isolation and lower socioeconomic status, the negative consequences of being bullied can last well into middle age, a large study suggests.

The longitudinal British study checked in with 8,000 families across 40 years to trace the trajectory of a bullied child.

Public Health

Fake Morning-After Pills Found In Peru May Hint At Bigger Problem

Researchers tested samples of emergency contraceptives from pharmacies across Peru's capital city. More than a quarter of the pills wouldn't have worked or contained the wrong drug.

Fake morning-after pills are often indistinguishable from the real ones.

Treatments

One Scientist's Quest To Vanquish Epileptic Seizures

Ivan Soltesz studies epilepsy in mice, but says children with chronic seizures are his inspiration. He's closing in on a way to quell the seizures with light — and without drugs' side effects.

The dream of epilepsy research, says neurobiologist Ivan Soltesz, is to stop seizures by manipulating only some brain cells, not all.

Public Health

Pot Smoke And Mirrors: Vaporizer Pens Hide Marijuana Use

Discreet and almost odorless, vaporizer pens for pot are growing in popularity. But the devices are a nightmare for parents because they make it hard to know if kids are using marijuana.

Vaporizer pens look like the e-cigarettes that dispense nicotine. But these devices are optimized for a potent marijuana resin with high concentrations of THC.