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World's Most Popular Painkiller Raises Heart Attack Risk

Diclofenac — sold under the brand names Voltaren, Cambia, Cataflam and Zipsor — raises the risk of a heart attack by about 40 percent. But that hasn't prevented the drug from becoming the world's most popular painkiller in its class. Now researchers are calling on the World Health Organization to remove it from a list of so-called "essential medicines."

Cost Of Medical Procedures Varies Widely Across U.S.

Across the country, the price of a gallon of milk from market to market is fairly constant. The same goes for cars and most other consumer products. But what about medical procedures? A team out of the University of Iowa called 120 hospitals across the country to compare the cost of a hip replacement paid out of pocket — and found wild variation in price. Robert Siegel talks with two members of the research team, Peter Cram and Jamie Rosenthal, about their findings.

Folic Acid For Pregnant Mothers Cuts Kids' Autism Risk

A study of more than 85,000 women in Norway found that those who started taking a folic acid supplement four weeks before getting pregnant were about 40 percent less likely to have a child who developed the disorder. Mothers had to continue taking the supplement during the first eight weeks of pregnancy to get the full benefit.
WAMU 88.5

Smoking Ban Passes In Montgomery County

An expansion of the smoking ban to all Montgomery County-owned properties passed without much fanfare.


Hospital Observation Units Fill Gaps, But Patients May Foot The Bill

In some cases, "observation" may be no more than a billing designation that allows hospitals to move patients out of crowded emergency departments. Hospitals also may use them to avoid potential insurance reimbursement problems.