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Preventing Premature Birth, Going To "Pain School" And More: Weekly Roundup

Danielle Scott via Flickr
America's elderly homeless population is growing, presenting a challenge for social services, as the New York Times reports this week.

What we're reading and listening to this week.

To Reduce Preterm Births, Medical Group Deploys Social Workers

Risk factors like chronic unemployment, a stressful home life or depression don't show up on an ultrasound. That's why a medical group in Missouri employs social workers to check up on expectant mothers on Medicaid and connect them with services. Side Effects' Bram Sable-Smith takes us on a home visit. 

At "Pain School," Veterans Learn To Manage With Fewer Pills

Anti-inflammatory foods, weight loss, and deep breathing are among the non-pharmaceutical tools promoted at the VA's five-week course for managing pain. One goal is to help veterans reduce or stop opioid use. But across the country, programs like this are few and far between. From WBUR's Commonhealth, Martha Bebinger reports

Storing Stool To Save Lives

Fecal transplants are an effective treatment for people with the nasty gut infection C. diff, but donations can be costly and hard to come by. Enter stool banks (which come with their own safety concerns). Deanna Garcia reportsfrom WESA in Pittsburgh.

America's Aging Homeless Present Big Challenges To Social Services

Many older people now living on the streets have been there for decades - a legacy of federal housing cutbacks and the crack epidemic of the '80s. Others are newer, but the 50+ homeless population is growing, and the street ages you fast. Adam Nagourney of the New York Times spoke with baby boomers living rough and some of the people trying to help. Read more.

Prescription Opioid Fentanyl Confirmed As Cause Of Prince's Death

This AP  article (via STAT News) suggests that the singer may have had trouble getting access to the addiction treatment drug buprenorphine. Fentanyl, a painkiller 50 times more potent than heroin, is thought to be responsible for an increasing number of overdose deaths in the U.S.