Health+Harvest

NPR Illinois Community Advisory Board identified the subject of food and health as important subjects for coverage in 2012. Health+Harvest provides for community engagement on health and food issues along with reporting on farm, field and fuel.  From seed to plate, from farmer's markets to GMOs, central Illinoisans need to know how to stay healthy and what they are eating.  In 2013, NPR Illinois joined a consortium of public media in the Harvest Public Media network.  The network provides broader coverage to Midwest food issues.

By examining these local, regional and national issues and their implications with in-depth and unbiased reporting, Health+Harvest fills a critical information void.

Support for Health+Harvest coverage comes from Central Illinois Farm Bureaus and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  If you'd like to support this initiative, please contact Nice Bogdanovich at 217-206-9847.

A few days ago, my dad gave me a call. "When we land in D.C., it's going to be Eid al-Adha," he said. "You know, the one where we eat kharouf."

No, I did not know. I had never observed the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Although my father is a Muslim, my mother is Filipino and a strict Catholic. My parents divorced when I was a child. For most of my life, my dad lived in Cairo while I grew up in Southern California. I'd visit him in the summertime. But the trips never intersected with an Eid celebration.

Like any good story about a scientific discovery, Walter A. Brown's account of the history of lithium features plenty of improvisation, conjecture and straight-up kismet.

Unlike many such stories, though, it also features a fair share of personal bias, senseless puttering and random speculation — on part of these scientific researchers.

The first time Lori Tipton tried MDMA, she was skeptical it would make a difference.

"I really was, at the beginning, very nervous," Tipton remembers.

MDMA is the main ingredient in club drugs ecstasy or molly. But Tipton wasn't taking pills sold on the street to get high at a party.

She was trying to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder, with the help of licensed therapists.

Tipton was given a dose of pure MDMA. Then she lay down in a quiet room with two specially-trained psychotherapists, one woman and one man.

"Water, water everywhere." That line from poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge could be the mantra for rain-weary residents across the country. Some regions have seen record amounts of rain since early spring. The Mississippi River and tributaries spent months above flood stage, while all of the Great Lakes are nearly at or above historic highs.

Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit, says data show that the Great Lakes have been on the rise for several years, especially in recent months.

The politics of health care are changing. And one of the most controversial parts of the Affordable Care Act — the so-called "Cadillac tax" — may be about to change with it.

The Cadillac tax is a 40% tax on the most generous employer-provided health insurance plans — those that cost more than $11,200 per year for an individual policy or $30,150 for family coverage. It was a tax on employers and was supposed to take effect in 2018, but Congress has delayed implementation twice.

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Lead contamination in the drinking water in Newark, N.J., is not a new problem, but the city's fleeting solution has become newly problematic.

Officials in Newark, the state's largest city, which supplies water to some 280,000 people, began to hand out bottled water Monday.

That's because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concerns about water filters that the city distributed to residents.

Emphysema is considered a smoker's disease. But it turns out, exposure to air pollution may lead to the same changes in the lung that give rise to emphysema.

Many major cities in Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America are falling dangerously behind in their efforts to provide residents with reliable and affordable access to clean water, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute. The data in the report offer a stark new account of the scale of the threat posed by unsafe and unaffordable water to public health and the economy in the Global South's quickly-expanding urban centers.

Officials said disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide on Saturday morning. Epstein was being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

Boys played amid stinky puddles and dodged trash sludge oozing from plastic bags carpeting a muddy riverbed in Saidpur, a village that connects to Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, by a narrow road. "God forgive us," says a woman watching nearby, referring to the trash.

Munira recalls the river stones glinting under fresh water when she was a child. Now, "there's so much trash," says the 65-year-old, who has only one name.

South Korea is one of the most wired countries in the world. But that level of connectivity is a double-edged sword in a society that some experts say is becoming increasingly addicted to the Internet and where 95% of adults own a smartphone.

Until she came to the U.S. this summer, Wendy Beatriz Caishpal Jaco had never been able to board a bus.

Jaco, 29, uses a wheelchair, which buses aren't able to accommodate in her hometown of Ahuachapán in El Salvador. She finally got on a bus that could handle a wheelchair while attending a program called WILD — the Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability, held this summer in Eugene, Ore.

For the environmentally minded carnivore, meat poses a culinary conundrum. Producing it requires a great deal of land and water resources, and ruminants such as cows and sheep are responsible for half of all greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture, according to the World Resources Institute.

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Louis Morano knows what he needs, and he knows where to get it.

Morano, 29, has done seven stints in rehab for opioid addiction in the past 15 years. So, he has come to a mobile medical clinic parked on a corner of Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood, in the geographical heart of the city's overdose crisis. People call the mobile clinic the "bupe bus."

The summer is flying by. And while we can’t slow down time, we can take full advantage of summer vegetables in their full glory. Hetty McKinnon is an Australian cook and food writer with a passion for vegetables. She’s written a new book on the subject; it’s called Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day.

In a move that critics say will hurt plants, animals and other species as they face mounting threats, the Trump administration is making major changes to how the Endangered Species Act is implemented. The U.S. Department of Interior on Monday announced a suite of long-anticipated revisions to the nation's premier wildlife conservation law, which is credited with bringing back the bald eagle and grizzly bears, among other species.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois’ medical marijuana program is getting a second wind. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a pair of bills on Monday expanding who can get a medical card, and when they can use it.


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Researchers say they have identified the first clearly effective treatments for Ebola, a deadly disease that continues to spread in central Africa. The experimental drugs will be made widely available in the centers that have already treated thousands of patients.

This achievement is particularly notable given the extraordinary circumstances: Scientists in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been running a study in the midst of a deadly epidemic and in the face of armed assaults on doctors.

With antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise, scientists are urgently trying to find drugs that will work against persistent infections. But coming up with new ones does not have to be the only strategy.

A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that they can repurpose bithionol — a drug formerly used to treat parasitic infections in horses — to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA, a common hospital-acquired infection.

More than 70 percent of American adults drink alcohol.

It’s a rite of passage that can become a life-long habit. And even for those who choose not to imbibe, drinking can feel like a quintessential part of adulthood.

But for some Americans, those habits can slip from occasional and innocuous to frequent and potentially fatal.

Is The Food Renaissance About To End?

Aug 11, 2019

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Could it happen here? It's a question a lot of people ask in the wake of a traumatic event.

Even if you're not directly connected to the events in El Paso, Gilroy or Dayton, chances are you've felt the weight of them.

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There's a summer camp for kids with disabilities in Nashville that does things a little differently. Instead of accommodating the campers' physical challenges, therapists make life a bit tougher, in hopes of ultimately strengthening the kids' ability to navigate the world.

Federal agents carried out one of the largest immigration raids in recent history this week, arresting nearly 700 workers at chicken processing plants in Mississippi.

But you can still buy a rotisserie bird at your local supermarket tonight for less than $10.

So far, the government crackdown has had little effect on the wider food processing industry, a dangerous business that is heavily reliant on immigrant labor.

Ten years ago, Renee Bach left her home in Virginia to set up a charity to help children in Uganda. One of her first moves was to start a blog chronicling her experiences.

Among the most momentous: On a Sunday morning in October 2011, a couple from a village some distance away showed up at Bach's center carrying a small bundle.

"When I pulled the covering back my eyes widened," Bach wrote in the blog. "For under the blanket lay a small, but very, very swollen, pale baby girl. Her breaths were frighteningly slow. ... The baby's name is Patricia. She is 9 months old."

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