wellness

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

A Russian rocket has carried a Russian cosmonaut and an American astronaut to the International Space Station, where they will live for a full year, twice as long as people usually stay.

No American has remained in space longer than 215 days. Only a few people have ever gone on space trips lasting a year or more — the longest was 437 days — and they're all Russian cosmonauts. The last year-plus stay in space occurred nearly two decades ago.

Nepal, a country of 25 million, is struggling out of poverty after a decadelong civil war. Squabbling politicians have paralyzed government, and high unemployment means 1,500 youth leave every day for jobs in Malaysia and the Middle East.

So, as the United Nations International Day of Happiness dawns, Nepalis may seem on the surface to have reason to be unhappy.

Hospitals are one of the worst places to try to get a good night's sleep, just when you need it the most. And though many have tried to muffle the noise of beeping monitors and clattering carts, the noise remains a big problem for many patients.

But what if we looked at a night in the hospital as a long overseas flight? As you settle in, they hand out eye masks and earplugs. And you cleverly brought along melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone sold at drugstores everywhere.

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Sixty years ago, patients rarely questioned the authority of their doctors. Like the doctors portrayed on television, these older, wiser, and usually white male doctors would dispense sage advice to trusting parents desperate to make their children well in an age of polio and measles.

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The book by a contributor to The New Yorker magazine, The Big Fat Surprise, is rocking the nutrition/health world.

After nine years spent analyzing scientific papers and conducting thousands of interviews with researchers and health officials, the author reports that conclusions about what makes a healthy diet are frequently wrong. 

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A bill that would impose a tax on sugary soft drinks has passed a legislative hurdle.

The measure would assess a one-cent-per-ounce tax on carbonated soft drinks that contain a caloric sweetener. Proceeds from the tax would fund public education and outreach programs on obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

It might seem silly to miss work for a rash. But people who have eczema often have to put a lot of time and money into managing the itchy, inflamed rashes they get over and over. Lindsay Jones, who lives in Chicago, was diagnosed with eczema when she was 2 weeks old.

If you were seeking a seething mass of microbes, it'd be hard to think of a better place to look than the New York City subway system.

Scientists who descended into that subterranean maze in search of its microbial tenants wanted to find out how the 5.5 million people who use the system each weekday influence the microbes, and vice versa.

But the 18-month-long project, which sampled DNA from 466 stations, was no walk in Central Park.

D.C.'s new mayor Muriel E. Bowser surprised advocates for the homeless in the district when she filed an emergency motion late Thursday, hoping to end a mandatory demand to provide all homeless families a private room when temperatures drop below freezing.

Asthma affects children regardless of where they live and whether they are rich or poor. But scientists have long thought that living in poor urban neighborhoods adds an extra risk for this troublesome lung inflammation. A new study suggests that's not necessarily the case.

Asthma is often triggered by something in the environment, so in the 1960s, scientists started looking for places where asthma was especially bad.

Fear is one of the strongest and most basic of human emotions, and it's the focus of Fearless, the second episode of Invisibilia, NPR's new show on the invisible forces that shape human behavior.

This segment of the show explores how a man decided to conquer his fear of rejection by getting rejected every day — on purpose.

The evolution of Jason Comely, a freelance IT guy from Cambridge, Ontario, began one sad night several years ago.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration recommended a change in the discriminatory and unscientific policy that effectively prohibited men who have sex with men from donating blood for life. Those guidelines kept any man who had sex with another man — even just once — since 1977 from donating blood forever.

While gay discrimination has been reduced in so many other areas of life, up until now, there hasn't been enough medical or political will to intervene on the blood ban. That policy perpetuated stigma without improving safety.

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A study from Yale School of Medicine said a quarter of high school students in Connecticut have tried an electronic cigarette. 

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Repair and boost the bacteria in the gut with the right food, prebiotics and probiotics, and you'll feel better and lose weight. That's the theory of Dr. Raphael Kellman of New York, author of The Microbiome Diet.

It's like the start of a bad joke: a vegan, a gluten-free and a paleo walk into a bar — except it's your house, and they're gathered around your Thanksgiving table.

More and more Americans are passing on gluten — some for medical reasons, most by choice. Others are adopting diets that exclude meat, or insisting on the kinds of unprocessed foods that early man would have hunted and gathered.

All of this is a challenge to the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

To Stay Energy Efficient As You Age, Keep On Running

Nov 21, 2014

Walking is a simple thing that becomes really, really important as we age. Being able to get around on our feet for extended periods of time not only makes everyday life easier, it's linked to fewer hospitalizations and greater longevity. As we get older, though, the body takes about 15 to 20 percent more energy to cover the same terrain.

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

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Though all people and communities deserve equal opportunities to be healthy, there are many barriers to good health in communities across the U.S. Low-income communities, particularly those of color, face a disproportionate number of barriers.

St. Francis Hospital in Hartford co-hosts a town hall meeting on Tuesday titled, "Is Food Making Us Sick? A Conversation About Food and Our Health" with a panel of experts who will talk about food and health. WNPR's Diane Orson spoke with bariatric surgeon Dr. Nissin Nahmias, whose work centers on people struggling with obesity.

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Federal health and safety officials have fined Stamford about $2,700 for asbestos and water contamination at the city's police headquarters. 

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A new report from the Institute of Medicine takes a closer look at end-of-life care in the U.S. The report, called "Dying in America", shines light on the quality of care available to those nearing the end of life -- offering some recommendations on how to make care more sustainable and accessible to patients and their families. 

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According to statistics, one in every three Americans is obese and two of every three are overweight.

While we know that extra fat may set us up for heart disease, diabetes, and musculoskeletal problems, we don't really know how fat affects sex and love.

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.

Cities are increasingly getting tough on food distribution programs for the homeless. According to the Sun Sentinel, a 90-year-old activist and two pastors from two churches in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were arrested at a park on Sunday and then again on Wednesday for doing what they've been doing there for years: serving meals to the homeless.

If your little ghosts and goblins dump their candy on the living room floor tonight, go ahead: Let them at it. They can sort, then trade, and gorge on their favorites.

But if you're like many parents, by tomorrow morning you may want to get rid of some of this candy glut.

One possible solution? Check out the Halloween Candy Buyback program, which was founded by dentist Chris Kammer in Wisconsin. Kammer's office offers $1 a pound to buy back candy collected by the young trick-or-treaters in his practice.

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.

If you don't have a place to live, getting enough to eat clearly may be a struggle. And since homelessness in the U.S. isn't going away and is even rising in some cities, more charitable groups and individuals have been stepping up the past few years to share food with these vulnerable folks in their communities.

But just as more people reach out to help, cities are biting back at those hands feeding the homeless.

Did you hear the one about the McDonald's hamburger that still hadn't decomposed after 14 years?

And "pink slime" — how much goes into McDonald's beef?

Ivan Jovanovic/flickr creative commons

Good Morning Paleo is a cookbook that features breakfasts the paleo way. Plus, they're gluten-free and grain-free… breakfast burritos, Portobello bacon mushroom scramble… how about lime salmon cakes with paleo sour cream?

Sonny Abesamis/flickr creative commons

Repair and boost the bacteria in the gut with the right food, prebiotics and probiotics, and you'll feel better and lose weight. That's the theory of Dr. Raphael Kellman of New York, author of The Microbiome Diet.

Jeff Turner/flickr creative commons

Whether it's you or someone you know, why can't we be prepared to take certain actions if we're diagnosed with cancer? We prepare for retirement, for funerals, for wills—isn't it wise to have as much information as possible for ourselves and people we care about, should we face the challenge?

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