Health & Science

Hand dryers are ubiquitous in public restrooms, but according to research recently published in the Canadian journal Paediatrics & Child Health, the noise they make may be harmful to children's ears.

And the study's author can speak from personal experience.

"Sometimes after using hand dryers my ears would start ringing," 13-year-old Nora Keegan from Calgary, Canada, tells NPR. "I also noticed that children would not want to use hand dryers, and they'd be covering their ears."

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, from 2017-2018, tobacco use among American youths rose by almost 40 percent. The culprit? E-cigarettes. Health reporter Kara Lofton takes a look at how vaping is reversing West Virginia’s slow progress toward fewer tobacco users.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in nearly one third of Ohio Valley counties, low-income residents are paying 20 percent or more of their income in utility bills. Energy costs are making housing harder to afford in some rural places where incomes are not keeping pace with rising costs. As part of a series on rural housing, Ohio Valley ReSource reporter Sydney Boles takes us to eastern Kentucky, where the cost burden is among the highest. She found a community working to keep their old Kentucky homes affordable.

Marshall Health & the Bernard McDonough Foundation

A recent report explores the variety of methods and programs implemented in Huntington to fight substance use disorder. Organizations who created the document hope to share ideas throughout the state.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia’s film tax credit was eliminated by the West Virginia Legislature in 2018 after a legislative audit report deemed the credit as providing only “minimal economic impact.” But people who work in the film industry don’t agree. An attempt to resurrect the credit failed this past legislative session, but Liz McCormick reports supporters are hopeful it will make it through next year’s session.

Anyone who has tried to shop around for hospital services knows this: It's hard to get prices in advance.

President Trump signed an executive order Monday that he says would make such comparisons easier, and make the pricing process more transparent.

Rural Homelessness, Made Worse By Opioid Crisis, Presents Special Challenges

Jun 24, 2019
Charles “Country” Bowers revisits the wooded patches where he once lived.
Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

Charles “Country” Bowers takes long, quick strides down a worn dirt path and is soon in front of a thicket of bushes made deep and tall by spring rains.

He’s leading me on a tour of camps made by homeless people in wooded corners of Fayette County, Kentucky. He stops and lifts a hand to signal that he’s spied something.

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Not everyone looks at the increased availability of alcoholic beverages quite the same way. Some people struggle with it. Alcohol is, after all, a socially acceptable, legal drug.

An X-ray image of an Appalachian coal miner with black lung lesions.
Adelina Lancianese / NPR

Nearly $2 million in federal funds will be awarded to West Virginia to help support the state’s black lung clinics.

Doctor, Health, Doctor with tablet, Doctor with iPad
Public Domain Pictures

An initiative to combat the rise of hepatitis C infections has launched in West Virginia.

News outlets report a five-year program called HepConnect launched Wednesday at West Virginia University. It was created by California-based biotech company Gilead Sciences.

Roger Cisco is a fairly new patient in the Williamson Health & Wellness Center’s community health program, which serves some of the clinic’s most high-risk patients for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Anna Patrick / 100 Days in Appalachia

Kelly Browning doesn’t wait for Lyle Marcum to come to the door. She knocks and then pushes the glass door open, like she’s been there many times before.

Lyle stays where he is, sitting on a brown love seat, the TV on, and he calls for his dog, Lyla. “Get over here!” She’s running, excited, back and forth, her collar jingling until Kelly finds a leash, connects it to Lyla and slides the rope’s handle over a closet door knob. 

A handful of health science students from across West Virginia are receiving help to pay for their final year in graduate education.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the days get longer, a familiar sight has returned to the skies at dusk: bats. Bats help farmers -- and the rest of us -- by eating about a million bugs a year, per bat. But because of white nose syndrome, there are fewer bats these days. In Pennsylvania, the disease has pushed some species to the statewide endangered list. As the Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier of  reports, scientists are testing a new method to try to save these animals.

Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

West Virginia officials say the state’s passion for sports can be used to influence young people to learn about opioid use disorder and help prevent the next generation from entering the epidemic. 

That’s according to the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission, which on Tuesday announced the upcoming WVSSAC-MVB Bank Opioid Awareness Summit.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, data on the Ohio Valley’s addiction crisis show that the problem is often more profound and persistent in communities that are economically distressed. As part of the Ohio Valley ReSource series, “Working Toward Recovery,” Aaron Payne visited an Ohio community tackling both problems.

Adobe Stock

West Virginia has the third-highest rate of African American homicide victims in the nation, according to a study by the Violence Policy Center


Clients waiting for addiction treatment services in Berkeley County, W.Va.
Rebecca Kiger / Ohio Valley ReSource file photo

A Washington Post investigation finds the Ohio Valley is suffering the most from the surge in overdose deaths due to synthetic opioids, even as deaths from other substances are falling.

The Post analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and found the region has the nation’s highest rates of death due to fentanyl.

A dozen new hypodermic needles are given to a man who disposed of 12 used needles at a clinic, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012.
Robert F. Bukaty / AP file photo

“They made me feel like I was a person.”

That’s what a 40-year-old man told researchers from Johns Hopkins University about a now-closed syringe services program in the heart of central Appalachia.

Poll: Addiction, Affordability and Access Top Health Concerns in Rural America

May 22, 2019
Dr. Albert Warren consults with a patient and records the patient’s symptoms on an electronic tablet in Hawkinsville, Georgia.
Bob Nichols / USDA

More than four in 10 adults living in rural Appalachia cite drug abuse as the biggest issue facing their communities, according to “Life in Rural America: Part II,” a report released this week by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health from a telephone survey of 1,405 adults living in the rural U.S.

Polling by NPR finds that while rural Americans are mostly satisfied with life, there is a strong undercurrent of financial insecurity that can create very serious problems for many people living in rural communities.

The findings come from two surveys NPR has done with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on day-to-day life and health in rural America.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working to clean up a former mining equipment operation in Fayette County, known as the Shaffer site. The agency announced this week it has added Minden to its national priorities list of superfund sites and hosted a community conversation around their next steps. Roxy Todd was there and has this report.

Slick-o-bot / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia has agreed to expand mental health services for children after a federal investigation found the state unnecessarily institutionalized kids with emotional or behavioral disorders.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, following an investigation started five years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice determined West Virginia is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. That’s because it has too many children with serious emotional or behavioral disorders in out-of-state residential facilities. As Kara Lofton reports, the Justice Department and the state have agreed to a plan to bring West Virginia into compliance with that law within five years.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, two years ago, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources published a report stating that much of the state is at risk of outbreaks of bloodborne diseases such as HIV, and hepatitis C. The agency concluded that one of the most effective means of preventing the spread of these diseases is through harm reduction programs. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, science can be a hard subject to understand, especially upper-level higher-ed science courses. A professor in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle is creatively cracking the code to help his students understand tricky topics. Corey Knollinger has more.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A group of community members in the Northern Panhandle want to address gaps in the mental health care system. Residents met at West Virginia Northern Community College Thursday to learn about mental illness and discuss an unconventional plan to help those suffering in their community.


An exterior view of prescription drug distributor McKesson Corp. headquarters in San Francisco, in this May 3, 2006 file photo.
Paul Sakuma / AP Photo

West Virginia has reached a $37 million settlement with the drug distributor McKesson in a lawsuit accusing the company of shipping millions of suspicious orders for painkillers to the state as it was being ravaged by the opioid epidemic.

Do More Than 20 Veterans Die by Suicide Every Day?

May 2, 2019
AP Photo

Do 20 veterans die every day by suicide? Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., cited that figure in a recent press release that accompanied a veterans mental health and suicide prevention bill he introduced.

A boy protests the Rockwool company with his family on Aug. 2, 2018 in Charles Town, W.Va.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This summer will mark one year since thousands of residents in Jefferson County, West Virginia started a movement to rally against a Denmark-based company called Rockwool. The company’s proposed West Virginia plant would manufacture stone wool insulation across the street from an elementary school. The issue has sparked contention throughout the region. The voices from those against Rockwool have grown louder, but so too have those who do want Rockwool in West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, this summer will mark one year since thousands of residents in Jefferson County started a movement to rally against a Denmark-based company called Rockwool. The company’s proposed West Virginia plant would manufacture stone wool insulation across the street from an elementary school. The issue has sparked contention throughout the region. As Liz McCormick reports, the voices from those against Rockwool have grown louder, but so too have those who do want Rockwool in West Virginia.

Pages