Grandkids Could Be One Reason Humans Live Long Lives

Dec 3, 2015

For humans, life isn't nearly as short as it is for other primates, whose minds and bodies start to deteriorate around the time they reach the end of their reproductive years. Once an animal has created offspring, it has done the heavy lifting of evolution.

We, on the other hand, can continue on well past the time when the kids have flown the coop and sometimes celebrate birthdays measured in triple digits. So why do our bodies bother holding themselves together when we're no longer passing on our genes?

Ryan Delaney/WFYI

Where the Monon Trail hits 126th Street in Carmel, Ind., it’s crowded with bikers and joggers. There’s a shopping center with a yoga studio and some restaurants, and two different theaters are in view.

A few hundred yards away, a jazz band plays right off the trail. There are hundreds of people out for the show, and some of them dance. Further down, there’s a community center, complete with a skate park.

Players warm up before a game at a rink on the roof of an apartment building in the Englewood neighborhood of IndIanapolis.
Emily Metheney

Looking across four lanes of traffic on Washington Street in Indianapolis, community planner Brent Aldrich steels himself for a difficult crossing.  “When we do this we're going to have to run, or kind of frogger it across,” he says. Frogger? “You stand in one lane, you wait for the car to go past, and you hope it's not game over.”

Medical School Hopefuls Grapple With Overhauled Entrance Exam

Jun 30, 2015

It's T minus four days until exam day, and Travis Driscoll is practically living at his desk.

"Each day, I'm easily here for five hours," he says. "I haven't done much of anything else but studying for the last two months."

Driscoll is one of 13,000 medical school applicants across the U.S. taking the new Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT. He's got stacks of science books on his desk to help him prepare and a rainbow of biochemistry charts pasted to the walls: glycolysis, citric acid cycle, electron transport chain, mitosis, meiosis and DNA replication.

California Sees Housing As Significant Investment In Health Care

Jun 4, 2015
The Star Apartments owned by the Skid Row Housing Trust is on Maple Avenue and 6th Street in Los Angeles, Calif.
Heidi de Marco / KHN

LOS ANGELES — Will Nebbitt lives on the 5th floor of a new downtown apartment building. From his window, he has a panoramic view of the Los Angeles skyline. He can also see Skid Row, where he spent decades sleeping on the ground.

Nebbitt, 58, says his body can’t handle life outside anymore. He has a seizure disorder, heart disease and depression. He’s had four operations, including bypass surgery on his leg in March.

“I am too old and sick to be back out there on the streets,” he said. “It kind of takes a toll on a person.”

Does Your Neighborhood Doom You To An Early Death?

Jun 1, 2015

For almost a decade I worked as a nurse home visitor in Philadelphia with a well-regarded program that pairs nurses with first-time moms. In the morning I would put on my backpack full of child-development accoutrements, grab my baby scale and jump on the 23 bus.

In the Center City/downtown area where I lived, life expectancy was 78 to 80 years. When I got off the 23 bus less than 15 minutes later in lower North Philadelphia, it was less than 70 years.

Would Doctors Be Better If They Didn't Have To Memorize?

Apr 27, 2015

Poor old Dr. Krebs. His painstaking Nobel-winning work on cellular metabolism, called the Krebs cycle, has made him the symbol for what's ailing medical education.

"Why do I need to know this stuff?" medical students ask me.

"How many times have you used the Krebs Cycle lately?" senior doctors jokingly reminisce.

Why I Left The ER To Run Baltimore's Health Department

Jan 15, 2015

When I was just beginning my third year as a medical student, I learned an important lesson about what matters most in health.

It was a typical summer afternoon in St. Louis, with the temperature and humidity both approaching 100. My patient was a woman in her 40s who was being admitted to the hospital because her lungs were filling with fluid, a complication of kidney failure. She had missed all three dialysis appointments that week.

Gambling With Your Health

Jun 2, 2014

Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas boasts a menu of fries cooked in lard and a 10,000 calorie burger. Jon Basso, owner of Heart Attack Grill, say that people come to Las Vegas to gamble, why not gamble with their health? Susan Albers, Psy.D., encourages patrons to stay away and gamble with something other than their life expectancy.