Health

Going Cold Turkey
9:00 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Meds to Alleviate Stress May Help Women Smokers Quit

Javier Ignacio Acuna Ditzel Creative Commons

For the last 50 years, men have consistently had an easier time quitting smoking than women. More men go cold turkey. More men stop on nicotine blockers like gum and patches. More men succeed on medications. Sherry McKee, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, thinks she may know why.

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Where We Live
8:46 am
Tue September 2, 2014

When It Comes to Child ER Stays, How Long Is Too Long?

David Fulmer Creative Commons

As the school year gets underway, the number of child psychiatric visits generally increases. But children are facing long wait times in emergency rooms around the state, especially for those coming in with mental health emergencies. 

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Women's Health
8:57 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Researchers Take a Closer Look at Endometriosis, a Leading Cause of Infertility

Huntstock Thinkstock

Researchers in New York are taking a closer look at endometriosis. It's a disease that's not often talked about, but it affects one in ten women in the U.S., and 176 million women worldwide.

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Electronic Cigarettes
1:12 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Health Organizations Call For A Ban On E-Cigarettes Indoors

A woman smokes an electronic cigarette at a store in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 2:59 pm

Tobacco control advocates disagree on whether e-cigarettes are a useful tool to get smokers off tobacco, or just a sleeker form of one of the world's deadliest addictions.

A lot of that discord comes from the fact that there's just not enough science to know the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine in a vapor rather than through tobacco smoke. And it could take years to find out if vaping causes cancer and other deadly diseases.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Talking About Suicide

Robin Williams in a scene from the 2006 film, "The Night Listener."

The recent death of actor Robin Williams left many people shocked, and it re-started the conversation about suicide, its warning signs, and ways to get help. We revisit a show we did about the illness last year.

We also hear a moving story about depression from author Andrew Solomon, who shared it at The Connecticut Forum earlier this year.

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School Start
1:38 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Pediatricians Say School Should Start Later For Teens' Health

About 40 percent of high schools start before 8 a.m., which contributes to chronic sleep deprivation among teens, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Chris Waits/Flickr

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 9:44 am

Many parents have pushed for a later start to the school day for teenagers, with limited success. But parents just got a boost from the nation's pediatricians, who say that making middle and high schoolers start classes before 8:30 a.m. threatens children's' health, safety and academic performance.

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Consumers
3:29 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Grocers Lead Kids To Produce Aisle With Junk Food-Style Marketing

A kids healthy snacks display at Giant Eagle.
Courtesy of Giant Eagle

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 4:09 pm

Despite all the cheerleading for healthy eating, Americans still eat only about 1 serving of fruit per day, on average. And our veggie consumption, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls short, too.

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Medical Research
3:25 am
Mon August 25, 2014

People With Down Syndrome Are Pioneers In Alzheimer's Research

Justin McCowan, 39, has Down syndrome and lives at home with his parents in Santa Monica, Calif.
Benjamin B. Morris for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 8:53 am

When researchers at the University of California, San Diego wanted to study an experimental Alzheimer's drug last year, they sought help from an unlikely group: people with Down syndrome.

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Code Switch
6:24 pm
Sat August 23, 2014

For Parents Of Young Black Men With Autism, Extra Fear About Police

Police officers and other first responders attend a 2012 autism information training session in Wrentham, Mass. Several cities are working to reduce the risk of miscommunication between police officers and people with autism.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 11:51 am

Lorraine Spencer has been watching the news from Ferguson, Mo., where an unarmed black 18-year-old was shot and killed by police, and worrying about her own son's safety. Jermaine is 16 years old and bi-racial, with a dark complexion. He also has autism and wants to be more independent, especially as he nears adulthood.

"It's my worst nightmare," she says. "I have the issue with him not understanding, possibly, a command to put your hands up or to get on the ground. So, yes, it's scary."

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Rhode Island
1:49 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

CVS To Offer Overdose Antidote Narcan Without Prescription

CVS will soon provide the anti-overdose medication Narcan, to customers even without a description. Walgreens was the first nationwide pharmacy chain to provide such as service.

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 11:53 am

CVS Caremark will be joining Walgreens in allowing pharmacists to dispense a life-saving antidote for drug overdoses, without a prescription. That means that soon Narcan will be much more widely available throughout the state.

Rhode Island Hospital drug abuse epidemiologist Traci Green has been working with a statewide overdose prevention task force to get Narcan – also known as naloxone—into as many hands as possible. The drug can rescue someone who has overdosed on an opioid like heroin or prescription painkiller OxyContin.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 22, 2014

America: The "No-Vacation Nation"?

One in four Americans gets no paid time off.
Krystal International Vacation Club Creative Commons

Research shows that using your vacation time can have some major benefits. For one, it’s better for productivity, and -- as one study shows -- it can even be better for your health. But are Americans taking enough time off, or are we really a "no-vacation nation"? 

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Disease
3:29 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

The 10-Year-Old Boy Has Died, Probably Of Ebola

Saah Exco was found alone on a beach, naked and abandoned a few days ago. Neighbors were afraid to touch him; they were worried about Ebola. But someone did eventually take him to the Ebola ward at JFK hospital in Monrovia. NPR learned today that he died.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 11:04 pm

It was a photo that took the Ebola outbreak raging in West Africa and made it very personal. A little boy named Saah Exco, 10 years old, lies in a crumpled heap.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 21, 2014

This Is Your Brain on Poverty

Neil Conway Creative Commons

A recent poll from the the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that poverty leads to stress, affecting people’s ways of thinking and their overall health. In our region, researchers and doctors have found that living in poverty can actually hinder brain development.

This hour, we learn more about the psychology of poverty and find out what’s being done to combat some of the the stresses it brings on. We also talk to one researcher who has been looking at the impact of noise pollution on the brain development of children in low-income communities.

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Ebola
3:42 am
Thu August 21, 2014

How Much Bigger Is The Ebola Outbreak Than Official Reports Show?

Workers with the aid group Doctors Without Borders prepare a new Ebola treatment center near Monrovia, Liberia, on Sunday. The facility has 120 beds, making it the largest Ebola isolation clinic in history.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 3:05 pm

The latest numbers on the Ebola outbreak are grim: 2,473 people infected and 1,350 deaths.

That's the World Health Organization's official tally of confirmed, probable and suspect cases across Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. But the WHO has previously warned that its official figures may "vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak."

So how bad is it really?

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Child Health
9:52 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Federal Legislators Want Liquid Nicotine Bottles to Have Safety Caps

An assortment of liquid nicotine bottles.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / lindsay-fox

A dozen Senate Democrats are pushing federal legislation that would require child-proof bottles for the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes.

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Infant Mortality
8:28 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Connecticut Lawmaker Wants Renewed Focus on Safe Havens Law for Infants

State Rep. Pam Sawyer addresses reporters about the Safe Havens law.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

A state lawmaker is calling for renewed focus on a law that lets distressed parents of newborns leave them in the state's care. The new push comes after recent news that a baby was found dead in an East Hartford trash can. 

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Ebola
5:07 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Reporting On Ebola: An Abandoned 10-Year-Old, A Nervous Neighborhood

A 10-year-old boy suspected of being sick with Ebola was found naked on the beach by residents of West Point. They dressed him but couldn't find a clinic to take him in at first. Eventually he was was taken to JFK Hospital in Monrovia.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 11:49 am

Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, is under nighttime curfew as that country struggles to contain the Ebola epidemic. On Wednesday, an entire neighborhood in Monrovia was quarantined, sealed off from the rest of the city by the government. The neighborhood is called West Point and it's where a holding center for patients suspected of having Ebola was attacked over the weekend. Patients fled, and looters carried off bloody mattresses and other possibly infected supplies. The NPR team in Liberia visited West Point on Tuesday. We spoke to correspondent Nurith Aizenman about the experience.

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Homelessness
11:08 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Roundtable Discussion Focuses on Youth Homelessness in Connecticut

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal heard from two dozen child and homeless advocates about the issue of youth homelessness.
Ray Hardman WNPR

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal hosted a roundtable discussion Monday on the issue of youth homelessness in Connecticut.

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StoryCorps
2:31 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

After A Traffic Stop, Teen Was 'Almost Another Dead Black Male'

Alex Landau and his mother, Patsy Hathaway, on a visit to StoryCorps.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 8:33 am

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story contains graphic descriptions and offensive language.

Alex Landau, who is African-American, was adopted by a white couple as a child and grew up in largely white, middle-class suburbs of Denver.

Still, "we never talked about race growing up," Landau tells his mother, Patsy Hathaway, on a visit to StoryCorps. "I just don't think that was ever a conversation."

"I thought that love would conquer all and skin color really didn't matter," Hathaway says. "I had to learn the really hard way when they almost killed you."

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Health Care Costs
1:04 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Wide Range Of Hospital Charges For Blood Tests Called 'Irrational'

Explaining the charges for simple blood tests isn't all that simple.
David Romero Corral iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 7:47 am

One California hospital charged $10 for a blood cholesterol test, while another hospital that ran the same test charged $10,169 — over 1,000 times more.

For another common blood test called a basic metabolic panel, the average hospital charge was $371, but prices ranged from a low of $35 to a high of $7,303, more than 200 times more.

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WAMC News
11:55 am
Fri August 15, 2014

400,000 Mass. Residents Must Reapply For Health Coverage

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 9:22 am

Massachusetts is launching a major effort to reach out to almost 400,000 residents who must reapply for health insurance because they were enrolled in temporary plans after the state's health care marketplace website crashed last year.

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Ebola
10:35 am
Fri August 15, 2014

What The U.S. Health Care System Can Learn From Ebola Outbreak

Health workers at the district hospital in Biankouma, Ivory Coast, practice handling potential patients with Ebola.
Issouf Sanogo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 7:48 am

Jeanine Thomas is a well-known patient advocate and active member of ProPublica's Patient Harm Facebook Community. But this week, she contributed in another forum: the World Health Organization.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Obamacare Gets a Checkup

Deb Polun.
Chion Wolf WNPR

According to new data from Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, the state’s uninsured rate has dropped by roughly 50 percent since 2012 This decrease is due, in part, to the more than 256,000 residents who’ve signed up for health insurance and Medicaid since Access Health CT’s exchange website was launched last fall. 

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Transplants
3:35 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Who Gets First Dibs On Transplanted Liver? Rules May Change

Surgeons at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis prepare to transplant a liver in 2010.
Karen Pulfer Focht The Commercial Appeal/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 9:21 am

Vicki Hornbuckle used to play the piano at her church. But that was before her liver started failing.

"I had to give it up because I couldn't keep up," says Hornbuckle, 54, of Snellville, Georgia. "I didn't have the energy to do three services on Sunday. You're just too tired to deal with anything. And so, it's not a life that you want to live."

But Hornbuckle hasn't given up. She's fighting to stay alive long enough to get a liver transplant.

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Energy
4:06 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Federal Inspectors Cite Millstone for Three Minor Safety Violations

Millstone Power Station in Waterford.
Credit Northeast Utilities

Federal inspectors have cited Connecticut's nuclear plant for three minor safety violations, including a worker who breathed in radioactive material.

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Child Health
10:18 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Children as Young as Ten Battling Eating Disorders

Children younger than ever are struggling with eating disorders.
Wavebreakmedia Ltd. Thinkstock

Thousands of Connecticut adults and children – some as young as ten – struggle with eating disorders with many suffering secretly because the life-threatening psychiatric condition has gone undiagnosed and untreated, experts in the field report.

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Health Insurance
9:53 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Can Divorced Dad Be Forced To Cover Insurance For Adult Kids?

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 5:24 pm

When it comes to health insurance for young adults, the Affordable Care Act made it possible for kids to stay on their parents' health plans until they turn 26. It was one of the first provisions of the law to take effect and has proved popular. But what happens when the parents are divorced? Here's a look at that question and a couple of others about coverage issues.

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Addiction
12:50 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Worcester Takes Steps To Stop Spike In Fatal Drug Overdoses

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 8:21 am

In the wake of at least nine fatal drug overdoses in Worcester in less than a week, the city is taking the problem into its own hands by trying to get those struggling with addiction the help they need.

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Affordable Care Act
8:42 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Numbers Of Americans With Health Plans Way Up, But States Vary

Arkansas, Kentucky, Delaware and Colorado have all seen significant increases since 2013 in the percentage of residents who have health insurance.
Vectoraart/iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 9:47 am

A Gallup poll released Tuesday suggests the Affordable Care Act is significantly increasing the number of Americans with health insurance, especially in states that are embracing it. It echoes previous Gallup surveys, and similar findings by the Urban Institute and Rand Corp.

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Ebola
6:28 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Ebola Outbreak Is A Global Health Emergency, WHO Says

A nurse helps a health worker put on protective gear before treating Ebola patients at a clinic in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, in July.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 5:52 pm

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa won't be stopped until front-line health workers get more support, World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said Friday at a news conference in Geneva.

After a unanimous vote by a committee of public health and risk management experts, the WHO decided to declare the outbreak an international public health emergency.

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