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Sandra Lopez (left) and her dog, Coco, greet hospice nurse Heather Meyerend last fall. In the weeks before Lopez died, Meyerend stopped by weekly to check her physical health, pain levels and medications. Amy Pearl/WNYC hide caption

itoggle caption Amy Pearl/WNYC

Number of providers by state who wrote at least 3,000 prescriptions for Schedule 2 controlled substances in 2012 in Medicare Part D. ProPublica/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption ProPublica/NPR

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Radiation therapy is effective in treating breast cancer but typically requires dozens of visits over five to seven weeks. A newer protocol takes just three weeks. Antonia Reeve/Science Source hide caption

itoggle caption Antonia Reeve/Science Source

Marian Grunwald (from left), Earl Elfstrom and Verna Matheson bounced a balloon back and forth with nursing assistant Rick Pavlisich on Dec. 13, 2013, at an Ecumen nursing home in Chisago City, Minn. Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune, Minneapolis St. Paul hide caption

itoggle caption Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune, Minneapolis St. Paul

Georgetown's Robert Clark says it's very difficult to say precisely how many experiments have been spoiled by contaminated cell lines. Phil Humnicky/Courtesy of Georgetown University hide caption

itoggle caption Phil Humnicky/Courtesy of Georgetown University

NPR's analysis of government data found that harsh penalties are almost never used when nursing home residents get unnecessary drugs of any kind. Owen Franken/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Owen Franken/Corbis

Antipsychotic drugs aren't necessary in the vast majority of dementia cases, gerontologists say. The pills can be stupefying and greatly raise the risk of falls — and hip fracture. iStockphoto hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto

In the documentary Remote Area Medical, a boy chooses a new pair of glasses after receiving an eye exam. Remote Area Medical/Courtesy of Cinedigm hide caption

itoggle caption Remote Area Medical/Courtesy of Cinedigm

By increasing the amount of serotonin in the spinal cord, an experimental drug helps nerve connections work better. Bee Smith/Ocean/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Bee Smith/Ocean/Corbis

A turkey vulture makes quick work of a dead rabbit at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline park in Oakland, Calif. Sebastian Kennerknecht/Minden/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Sebastian Kennerknecht/Minden/Corbis

In sighted people, the part of the brain that recognizes faces is linked to the brain's visual system. But in blind people it seems wired to circuits that process sound. Tina Zellmer/Ikon Images/Corbis hide caption

itoggle caption Tina Zellmer/Ikon Images/Corbis