SARAH FENTEM | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Medical foods are vital for a rare disease. Why doesn’t insurance cover them?

Every day, Amanda Moller scoops powdered formula out of a can and shakes it up with water from her kitchen sink in University City, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. “It's like mixing a cocktail,” she said, "but not that much fun."

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On The Front Lines Of A Drug Crisis: A New Video Series

On The Front Lines Of A Drug Crisis: A New Video Series

The opioid addiction crisis is often reported on in desperate terms. But, to the people working on the frontlines of the problem, there are known and proven approaches that can help.

Jake Harper / Side Effects Public Media

Alaska plans to use federal grant money to purchase a controversial device used in opioid addiction treatment.

Last week, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced it will use part of a $1.3 million federal grant to purchase the Bridge device, which is made in Indiana. The Bridge is a nerve stimulator that attaches around a patient's ear to reduce nausea, aches and other symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.

Products Of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Metabolism Show Anti-Cancer Properties In Mice

Jul 19, 2018
audrey_sel/Flickr

New research from the University of Illinois finds products of omega-3 fatty acid metabolism show anti-cancer properties in mice.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain development. When the body metabolizes these fats, it creates a class of compounds that help reduce pain and inflammation. Known as endocannabinoids, the molecules behave similarly to compounds in marijuana, but without the psychotropic effects.

Creative Commons/Pixabay

Dr. Elliot Tapper has treated a lot of patients, but this one stood out.

"His whole body was yellow," Tapper remembers. "He could hardly move. It was difficult for him to breathe, and he wasn't eating anything."

The patient was suffering from chronic liver disease. After years of alcohol use, his liver had stopped filtering his blood. Bilirubin, a yellowish waste compound, was building up in his body and changing his skin color.

Disturbing to Tapper, the man was only in his mid-30s – much younger than most liver disease patients.

ALEX SMITH / KCUR 89.3

When Cody Goodwin, of Independence, Missouri, was 24, he had already been hooked on opioids, including heroin, for years. His sister decided jail was the only way he could be cut off from drugs, so she reported him to the police. 

“I was mad at my sister at first, boy, you know, she got me locked up. I was upset. But now I look back and it saved my life,” Goodwin says.

When he got out, he found a methadone clinic where he could get medication-assisted treatment, but there was a catch that made him leery. If he wanted methadone, he’d have to do talk therapy as well.

Lauren Bavis/Side Effects Public Media

On a sunny Saturday morning, Samantha Wilmot helped a customer pick a fresh cantaloupe the best way she knows how, by smell. Satisfied, she accepted a few dollar bills from the man who stopped by her booth at the Columbus Farmers Market.

Creative Commons/Pixabay

To an outsider, the fancy booths at last month’s health insurance industry gathering in San Diego aren’t very compelling. A handful of companies pitching “lifestyle” data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like “social determinants of health.”

But dig deeper and the implications of what they’re selling might give many patients pause: A future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance.

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Can't cool off this summer? Heat waves can slow us down in ways we may not realize.

New research suggests heat stress can muddle our thinking, making simple math a little harder to do.

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When you go to your doctor's office, sometimes it seems the caregivers spend more time gathering data about you than treating you as a patient.

Electronic medical records are everywhere – annoying to doctors and intrusive to patients.

But now researchers are looking to see if they can plow through the vast amount of data that's gathered in those records, along with insurance billing information, to tease out the bits that could be useful in refining treatments and identifying new uses for drugs.

Johnson & Johnson Hit With $4.69 Billion Loss in Baby Powder-Ovarian Cancer Case

Jul 13, 2018
Austin Kirk/Flickr

The legal assault on Johnson & Johnson and its signature baby powder reached new heights today, when a state court jury in Missouri found the company responsible for the ovarian cancers of 22 women, and ordered the drug and consumer products giant to pay $4.69 billion in compensatory and punitive damages to the cancer victims or their survivors.

The verdict by the jury of six men and six women in St. Louis Circuit Court was by far the largest yet in the mushrooming baby powder litigation.

Outrageous Or Overblown? HHS Announces Another Round Of ACA Navigator Funding Cuts

Jul 13, 2018
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The Trump administration’s decision Tuesday to slash funding to nonprofit groups that help Americans buy individual health insurance coverage sparked outrage from advocates of the Affordable Care Act. Using words like “immoral” and “cold-hearted,” they saw it as the Republicans’ latest act of sabotage against the sweeping health law.

But as the ACA’s sixth open-enrollment period under the health law approaches in November, the lack of in-person assistance is unlikely to be a disaster for people seeking coverage, insurance and health experts say.

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The Workaround

The Workaround: A New Podcast From Side Effects Public Media

These are stories of the difficult and sometimes shocking things people do to work around the American healthcare system.

Side Effects, Indiana

Public health news focused on Indiana

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