Medicine

Finding the right treatment for depression can be a struggle. People find relief with the first treatment only 40 percent of the time. Trying different antidepressants or therapies can take months, which means months of suffering.

Scientists are trying to better the odds by searching for signals in the body or in behavior that could be signposts to the right treatment. Researchers at Emory University say that PET scans of the brain may help predict which people do better on SSRI antidepressants, and which would benefit most from cognitive behavioral therapy instead.

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If you have high-deductible health insurance – possibly paying $2,000 or more out of pocket – the price of every test or procedure matters a lot. In theory, you should shop around.

But, that’s easier said than done, as Seattle real estate broker Steven Wayne discovered: He ran through his $3,800 deductible, pretty quickly, after a recent series of fainting spells.

Now, new online tools can help you compare real costs.

Where you live definitely affects the quality of your health care. That’s clear in a new report comparing communities across the country. Western Washington is divided into three zones and they all score above average – but not in the top 10 percent.

The best score goes to the Everett/Snohomish/Skagit area.

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

King County Executive Dow Constantine says he’ll be able to preserve as many as a dozen sheriff’s deputies and 20 public health nurses. That’s because King County employees have been improving their health – and saving taxpayers about $23 million this year.

The savings go back into the county’s budget, and will mean fewer cuts next year.

Update 3:58 p.m.: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director for the division of foodborne, bacterial and mycotic diseases, tells NPR's Richard Harris the bacterium seen in the European outbreak isn't brand new. Tauze identified it as E. coli O104:H4. "This organism that's been isolated from the sick people in Germany has been seen before," he says.

If you've had arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis, maybe you shouldn't have.  And if you've tried any of these treatments, there are questions, too, about whether it was worth it:

King County's major medical centers continue jockeying for position in the emerging new health-care world. 

U.W. Medicine and Valley Medical Center proposed this week what they call a "strategic alliance." Valley wants to retain its name, although the news release says Valley would become "part of U.W. Medicine."

Earlier this year, U.W. Medicine took over running Northwest Hospital (in north Seattle), without actually owning the hospital. 

Surgery at U.W. Medical Center
Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

If you ever need elective surgery, more websites keep appearing to help you pick the safest hospital.  Now, you can compare all the hospitals in Washington based on their infection rates following some common surgeries.