medicine

Cancer doctors want the best, most effective treatment for their patients. But it turns out many aren't paying attention to evidence that older women with early stage breast cancer may be enduring the pain, fatigue and cost of radiation treatment although it doesn't increase life expectancy.

It's one of the worst fears we have for our parents or for ourselves: that we, or they, will end up in a nursing home, drugged into a stupor. And that fear is not entirely unreasonable. Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugs, usually to suppress the anxiety or aggression that can go with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia.

Chion Wolf / WNPR - Connecticut Public Radio

Earlier this week, countries marked World AIDS Day. In the U.S., 1.2 million people are estimated to be HIV-positive.

We may be in for a nasty flu season. That's the warning out today from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is worried because the most common strain of flu virus circulating in the United States is one called H3N2. In previous years, H3N2 strains have tended to send more people to the hospital than other strains — and cause more deaths, especially among the elderly, children and people with other health problems.

The Food and Drug Administration is considering revising a ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men.

An FDA advisory committee Tuesday mulled the issues raised by changing the policy, which has been in effect since the early 1980s.

Phalinn Ooi / Creative Commons

State health inspectors visiting Stamford Hospital in late 2012 turned up several infection-control violations, including the improper drying and storage of endoscopes, instruments used to look inside the body.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a heart stent implanted Wednesday to clear a blocked right coronary artery, but she was expected to be back on the bench when the court reconvenes on Monday.

It's now Goliath versus Goliath in the quest for an Ebola vaccine.

Until now, the two leading candidates for a vaccine to protect against the Ebola virus were being led by global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline on the one hand, and a tiny company in Ames, Iowa, that was virtually unknown, on the other.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, the Swiss-born researcher who gained international recognition for discovering the origins of Lyme disease, has died.

iStock / Thinkstock

Absenteeism among obese workers is costing the nation billions in lost productivity, according to a new study.

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center/flickr creative commons

Reportedly, younger women of child-bearing age are paying $10,000 to freeze their eggs, hoping to preserve their viability until the women find mates, or their careers and finances allow them to become pregnant. That's just one issue addressed by Faith's guests, regular contributor Dr. Mary Jane Minkin and new guests Dr. Erin Wysong Hofstatter and Dr. Elena Ratner, all affiliated with Yale's School of Medicine.

Yale School of Medicine

The New York Times reports that Yale Medical School has removed the director of its Cardiovascular Research Center, Dr. Michael Simons, after a university committee found he had sexually harassed a postdoctoral researcher. 

Simons was the former chief of cardiology at the Yale School of Medicine. 

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Pfizer has signed a major cancer drug deal with German firm Merck. The news dampens speculation that Pfizer is still interested in a renewed bid for British drug maker AstraZeneca. 

Lots of things can trigger an asthma attack, but one of the most common causes is odor — anything from the heavy scent of perfume to a household cleaner.

Anthony Quintano / Creative Commons

One of the biggest American myths is limitlessness. You'd think by now we'd understand our own limitations but the American myth - and you can hear it on Rush Limbaugh every day - is one where the horizon goes on forever and more growth is always possible and any failure from Vietnam to the 2008 crash that we've ever had is just a case of failing to fully exert our exceptional American qualities. 

Stamford Hospital

Medicare-funded breast cancer screenings jumped 44 percent from $666 million to $962 million from 2001 to 2009, yet those added costs did not improve early detection rates among the 65 and older Medicare population, according to a Yale School of Medicine study published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Yale University

A Yale researcher says the current panic over Ebola in the U.S. brings back some bad memories.

The symptoms of the flu are familiar: fever, chills, cough, congestion, feeling very, very tired. If you're a healthy adult under 65, you'll most likely recover in a week or two.

But for those older than 65, things can get worse fast, says Dr. H. Keipp Talbot, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. ET

A judge in Maine has turned down a request by state officials seeking authority to compel nurse Kaci Hickox to remain in her home for the duration of a 21-day incubation for Ebola. Since returning from West Africa, where she treated Ebola patients, Hickox has refused to accept a voluntary quarantine.

People living in the United States have little to no reason to fear contracting Ebola, a deadly viral illness causing an epidemic in West Africa. Yet on Friday night, some Americans will dress up in hazmat suits akin to what health workers wear when treating an Ebola patient.

And, of course, there's even a "sexy" version.

The world is facing a double-barreled pandemic reminiscent of the dual epidemic of tuberculosis and HIV that emerged in the 1980s – only potentially much bigger.

It's a "co-epidemic" of TB and diabetes that's beginning to affect many countries around the globe — poor, middle-income and even rich nations.

Chion Wolf

The dream to live forever has captivated mankind since the beginning. We see this in religion, literature, art, and present day pop-culture in a myriad of ways. But all along, the possibility that we'd actually achieve such a thing never quite seemed real. Now science, through a variety of medical and technological advances the likes of which seem as far fetched as immortality itself, is close to turning that dream into a reality.

This hour we talk with experts who are on the cutting edge of this research about the science and implications of ending aging.

Within hours of Superstorm Sandy slamming the East Coast two years ago, Americans opened their wallets to help — donating millions to the first charity that came to mind: the American Red Cross.

President Obama, like most elected officials and celebrities, vouched for the organization, encouraging people to give.

Holly Dawson believes her job is a calling.

She is one of about 2 million home care workers in the country. The jobs come with long hours and low pay.

Each workday, Dawson drives through the Cleveland suburbs to help people take their medicines, bathe and do the dishes. She also takes time to lend a sympathetic ear.

At the Ebola treatment center in Foya, Liberia, there's one thought on every American volunteer's mind: 21 days of isolation.

The threat of quarantines for health care workers coming back from West Africa cropped up in nearly every conversation I had on Saturday with doctors and nurses at the clinic run by Doctors Without Borders.

Everyone was worried, especially a nurse from New York City. Some states, like New York, New Jersey and Illinois, are already requiring 21-day quarantines, possibly in hospitals, for all medical staff coming home. Others might follow.

Office of Gov. Malloy

Connecticut officials are joining counterparts in other states in defending and detailing quarantine powers they've enacted as a precaution against Ebola.

A little-seen force has fanned out across New York City intent on stopping the spread of Ebola virus – disease detectives go looking for contacts who might be infected.

"They're just really good at finding people," says Denis Nash. He worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York City Health Department, tracing the spread of HIV and West Nile virus. He says these trained applied epidemiologists are experts at finding almost anybody, with only a vague description.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations has arrived in Sierra Leone on her multi-nation swing through Ebola-stricken West Africa

Samantha Power, who arrived in the capital Freetown after visiting neighboring Guinea, has said Washington wants to help the region fight the deadly virus.

Translating from one language to another is a tricky business, and when it comes to interpreting between a doctor and patient, the stakes are even higher.

Consider the story of 18-year-old baseball player Willie Ramirez.

Gov. Chris Christie says that a new rule requiring a 21-day quarantine for people who've been in contact with Ebola patients is necessary to protect the public in New Jersey and other states — and that the CDC "eventually will come around to our point of view on this."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, leader of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, disagrees, saying the quarantine could hamper efforts to combat the deadly outbreak in West Africa.

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