Sports Commentary: Why Wimbledon Still Thrills

31 minutes ago
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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Donald Trump picked a military town, Virginia Beach, Va., to give a speech Tuesday on how he would go about reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

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The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

More than 4 in 10 working Americans say their job affects their overall health, with stress being cited most often as having a negative impact.

That's according to a new survey about the workplace and health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

While it may not sound so surprising that work affects health, when we looked more closely, we found one group was particularly affected by stress on the job: the disabled.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension.

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Second Thoughts On Pills For Babies Who Spit Up

Nov 7, 2011

Babies have been crying and spitting up since time immemorial. But these days many parents ask: Isn't there a drug for that?

"Parents come in often demanding medication," says Eric Hassall, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in San Francisco.

Prescriptions for acid-suppressing medicines for infants have increased dramatically. Hassall says some parents have picked up on the idea that heavily advertised medicines for reflux in adults can help fussy babies who spit up a lot.

He documented a 16-fold increase in prescriptions of one proton pump inhibitor, or PPI, Prevacid, which comes in a child-friendly formulation. A Food and Drug Administration review also found an 11-fold increase in number of new prescriptions dispensed between 2002 and 2009.

These medicines aren't approved for infants with reflux, or GERD. Still, some doctors have been prescribing them off-label anyway. Doctors generally agree this practice is OK when babies really need the medicine, such as when they're spitting up so much that they're not gaining weight.

"The great majority of infants spit up and cry," says Hassall. "But very, very few of them actually have reflux disease and deserve medication." Hassall has researched the effectiveness of the drugs and has received clinical study grants from AstraZeneca, the maker of the popular acid-suppressing medicine Nexium.

The results of four clinical trials show that these medicines work no better than a placebo in treating infants with reflux. "My point is that there hasn't been a sudden 16-fold increase in the incidence of reflux disease," says Hassall. "It hasn't suddenly become the scourge of otherwise healthy infants."

Hassall recommends dietary changes to the parents of inconsolable babies who spit up after feedings. This strategy has helped many of his patients, including Tara Cree of Vancouver, British Columbia, who had a rough go with her daughter.

"She was incredibly irritable," recalls Cree. "There was a lot of crying and it just didn't seem right."

The worst of it came just after breast-feedings. When she described the symptoms to Hassall, he told Cree to change her diet to remove certain proteins from her breast milk.

"I eliminated dairy, soy and wheat from my diet," Cree says. It was a radical change, since almost all processed foods include some dairy, soy or wheat. But she stuck with it because it was so effective. "By day 3 or 4 [of the diet] she was a different baby," says Cree.

Now, not every baby will get the same relief from a mother's diet change, or by switching to a nondairy baby formula. But Hassall says it's a good approach to try before turning to medication.

Specialists in pediatric gastroenterology have guidelines to help educate pediatricians and families on the treatment of reflux. "There are infants who do benefit from these drugs," says Benjamin Gold, a gastroenterologist in Atlanta, who has been a paid consultant to AstraZeneca. "It's a small proportion," he says.

But he says with all the discussion about the escalation in prescriptions, he doesn't want parents to get the wrong message. "We have to be careful that we don't swing the pendulum back the other way by saying, 'Oh, these drugs are all bad.' "

Gold says what's needed are better diagnostic tools to determine which babies truly need the medicine — and that will require more research. For now, he says, sometimes you have to try a baby on the medicine.

"The problem is we can't determine [in advance] which children are going to benefit and which are not," Gold says.

Advisers to the FDA have been looking at this issue. They say the limited data in infants suggest that the medicines are fairly safe, but there are reports of intestinal inflammation, and one study found a slightly increased risk of pneumonia.

The upshot, according to the their review, is that the medicines should be reserved for infants who've been diagnosed with serous problems, such as erosive esophagitis — a condition that afflicts relatively few babies.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.