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anatomy

Lifelikeapps / Creative Commons

This is a rebroadcast of our February 17, 2016 show on hearts. February is heart awareness month.

Heart disease is still the biggest killer in the United States, even though fewer people die from from heart attack and cardiac arrest than ever before.

From the book The Human Body and Health Revised by Alvin Davison, 1908 / Public Domain

As many young people try out the new headphones and earbuds they received as holiday gifts, doctors have a warning: they pose a potential health hazard. Studies show hearing loss among kids and teens is up about 30 percent higher than it was in the '80s and '90s. 

On the final day of June 2015, Colin LePage rode waves of hope and despair. It started when LePage found his 30-year-old son, Chris, at home after an apparent overdose. Paramedics rushed Chris by helicopter to one of Boston's flagship medical centers.

Doctors revived Chris' heart, but struggled to stabilize his temperature and blood pressure. At some point, a doctor or nurse mentioned to LePage that his son had agreed to be an organ donor.

"There was no urgency or, 'Hey, you need to do this.' I could see genuine concern and sadness." LePage says, his voice quavering.

Specially trained dogs have been known to sniff out explosives, drugs, missing persons and certain cancer cells, but author Alexandra Horowitz tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that extraordinary olfactory abilities aren't just the domain of working dogs.

Werner Shutz / Creative Commons

Marie Antoinette's breasts were believed to inspire the design of the shallow French champagne coupes we see on the shelves of the local Pottery Barn. Mae West noted in her 1959 memoir, Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It, that she regularly rubbed cocoa butter on her breasts and spritzed them with cold water.

Six years of your life. Or 2,190 days. That's about how long the average woman will spend having her periods.

For some women, that's too many days, too many periods.

More women in their 20s and 30s are choosing contraception that may suppress their menstrual cycles, says Dr. Elizabeth Micks, who runs an OB-GYN clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle. "In general, I think views are changing really rapidly," Micks says. "That need to have regular periods is not just in our society anymore."

Ugly Dolls / Flickr Creative Commons

What does it mean to say that someone, or something, is ugly? For a label that gets tossed around so often, its meaning is hard to pin down. Perhaps that's because, throughout history and around the world, our notions of ugliness have shifted considerably.

When a Connecticut woman who was HIV-positive died earlier this month, her family decided to donate her organs to others who needed them.

Doctors in Maryland announced Wednesday that they performed two landmark, successful surgeries with her kidney and liver — transplanting the organs to HIV-positive patients.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Heart disease is still the biggest killer in the United States, even though fewer people die from from heart attack and cardiac arrest than ever before.

Ugly Dolls / Flickr

What does it mean to say that someone, or something is ugly? For a label that gets tossed around so often, its meaning is hard to pin down. Perhaps that's because, throughout history and around the world, our notions of ugliness have shifted considerably.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

 A group of doctors, scientists, and engineers announced an ambitious new medical goal this week in Hartford: they'll attempt to re-generate a human knee and a human limb. 

Peter D / Creative Commons

It's not uncommon to see someone wearing a prosthesis, especially after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sent many veterans home minus a limb. While losing a limb is a life-changing event, a good prosthetist can "carve" a prosthesis with just the right fit. It's a long process that can take years to perfect. 

Limbs today vary from simple body-powered prostheses moved by cables to a "fully robotic arm that has 26 joints, can curl 45 pounds and is controlled by the wearer's mind." As the stigma of a prosthesis lessens, amputees are seeking enhancement over replacement, opting for limbs that transcend what's biologically possible, even if lacking the aesthetic of a natural limb.

Eric Fischer/flickr creative commons

The congenial New York foot specialist Dr. Rock Positano is known nationally for helping patients avoid foot and ankle surgery. Which explains why he was featured on the front page of The New York Times expressing dismay at those women who choose cosmetic foot surgery to force their feet into high-end designer shoes. It happens regularly, says Positano, and then the same women seek his help to repair the damage done. "Sadly, I can't do a thing for them," he says. "It's too late."

The Science of Snake Oil

Apr 22, 2015
Dave Baker / Flickr Creative Commons

We like to think of health care as an exact science: established guidelines, uniform practices, rigorously tested treatments vetted through extensive lab trials. Unfortunately this was neither the case  in the early days of medicine, nor is it the case today. It's shame that nearly 2500 years after the writing of Hippocrates' famous oath we'd still be wrestling with the ethics of best practice.

c-hit.org

New research out of Yale says doctors should accept more types of kidneys for organ transplant. The study comes at a time when there's a growing need for kidneys.

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