The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind By Barbara Lipska

In her new book, The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind, Barbara Lipska describes surviving cancer that had spread to her brain, and how the illness changed her cognition, character and, ultimately, her understanding of the mental illnesses she studies.

One spring morning in 2015, Barbara Lipska got up as usual, dyed her hair and went for a jog in her suburban Virginia neighbourhood.

But when she returned from a much longer than expected run, her husband Mirek was completely taken aback. Read More

Training The Immune System To Fight Cancer Has 19th-Century Roots

A novel immunotherapy drug is credited for successfully treating former President Jimmy Carter’s advanced melanoma. Instead of killing cancer cells, these drugs boost the patient’s immune system, which does the job instead.

Immunotherapy is cutting-edge cancer treatment, but the idea dates back more than 100 years, to a young surgeon who was willing to think outside the box.

His name was William Coley, and in the late summer of 1890 he was getting ready to examine a new patient at his practice in New York City.

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What’s Luck Got To Do With Health Care? A Heck Of A Lot

Imagine having to take a 40-minute boat ride just to get on the road to a clinic. That’s the situation for some families in rural Guatemala.

It took more than two hours for the team of health workers to reach Antonio, a 6-month-old suffering from severe malnutrition in rural Guatemala.

The journey started on a Friday morning in May in the mountain town of Tecpán, with a harrowing hour-long drive over the hairpin turns of the Pan-American Highway. Then came a rough stretch of unpaved road to the tourist hub of Panajachel on the shores of Lake Atitlán.

In a stunning landscape surrounded by volcanoes, the team hired a boat captain to take them on the seasickness-inducing, 40-minute ride to a small village, where people spoke only Kaqchikel, an indigenous Mayan language.

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Cancer Drug Mark-Ups: Year Of Gleevec Costs $159 To Make But Sells For $106K

The rocketing cost of prescription drugs garners almost daily attention lately. Polls say it’s high on the list of Americans’ health care worries; presidential candidates are calling for sweeping reform; a storm erupts when one company jacks up the price of an HIV drug by 5000 percent.

And now, research reveals the yawning gap between the price of widely used cancer drugs and their actual cost.

The true cost – what drug makers have to spend to get those pills to your local pharmacy – is made up of the active ingredient and other chemicals, their formulation into a pill, packaging, shipping and a profit margin.

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Do No Harm By Mr Henry Marsh

donoharmNeurosurgeon, Mr Henry Marsh, has opened heads, cut into brains and performed the most delicate and risky surgeries on the part of the body that controls everything — including breathing, movement, memory and consciousness.

“What is, I think, peculiar about brain surgery is it’s so dangerous,” Marsh tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “A very small area of damage to the brain can cause catastrophic disability for the patient.”

Over the course of his career, Marsh, a consulting neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley’s/St. Read More

Carly Medosch: People With ‘Invisible Disabilities’ Fight For Understanding

Carly Medosch has conditions that cause intense fatigue and chronic pain. She took part in a 2014 Stanford Medicine X conference that included discussion of “invisible” illnesses.

Some disabilities are more obvious than others. Many are immediately apparent, especially if someone relies on a wheelchair or cane. But others — known as “invisible” disabilities — are not. People who live with them face particular challenges in the workplace and in their communities.

Carly Medosch, 33, seems like any other young professional in the Washington, D.C.

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Congress To Nutritionists: Don’t Talk About The Environment

A government-appointed group of top nutrition experts, assigned to lay the scientific groundwork for a new version of the nation’s dietary guidelines, decided earlier this year to collect data on the environmental implication of different food choices.

Congress now has slapped them down.

Lawmakers attached a list of “congressional directives” to a massive spending bill that passed both the House and the Senate in recent days. One of those directives expresses “concern” that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee “is showing an interest in incorporating agriculture production practices and environmental factors” into their recommendations, and directs the Obama administration to ignore such factors in the next revision of the guidelines, which is due out next year.

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CIA Says It Will No Longer Use Vaccine Programs As Cover

Answering health experts’ complaints that the CIA’s use of a vaccine program had hurt international efforts to fight disease, the White House says the agency will no longer use such programs for spy operations.

The CIA famously used a vaccination program as a ploy to gain information about the possible whereabouts of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. That effort didn’t succeed, and the doctor involved was sentenced to a prison term. But the revelation had immediate effects – particularly in the fight against polio.

As The New York Times reported in 2012, vaccination teams were banned in some areas.

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