Health

The Jackson Laboratory

The Jackson Laboratory is partnering with UConn to found a new center that will focus on what’s called single cell genomics. 

If you've ever had surgery, you may have been given an analgesic named fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a favored painkiller because it acts fast. But it's also 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The powerful drug has made its way to the streets and increasingly is being used to cut heroin — resulting in a deadly combination.

iStock/C-HIT

All but one of Connecticut’s acute-care hospitals will lose Medicare reimbursement in 2015-16 as a penalty for high readmissions of discharged patients, new federal data show.

The blue-green algae blooms invading Lake Champlain this summer can cause nasty stomach problems and skin irritation  and even liver damage in people who accidentally swallow the water. But researchers say there might be longer-term health consequences for people who come into contact with the blooms. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

For nearly three decades across the U.S., toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were widely used in school construction and renovation work. A WNPR investigation has found that two-thirds of schools in Connecticut could be contaminated.

Despite a 1979 ban on PCBs -- a synthetic chemical -- and their classification as a known human carcinogen by the World Health Organization, there’s no state or federal law that requires testing for the presence of PCBs in schools.

FrankieLeon / Creative Commons

Opioid overuse is America’s “silent epidemic,” affecting far too many of the roughly eight million people on opioid painkillers.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC says overprescribing is to blame.  "Every single day, 46 Americans die from an overdose of prescription opioid painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycontin or Methadone," he said. "These drugs are commonly prescribed in every community, and a surge in prescriptions has been the main force of this epidemic."

Eight months after homelessness hit a record in New York City, you can still see the need of the city's most vulnerable in Tompkins Square Park.

"Good morning! Two pieces?" asks Mario Cornejo, as he places slices of frosted banana bread on paper towels for a long line of hungry people.

"It used to be just a small pot before," explains Cornejo, a volunteer with a New York group called Food for Life since 2008. "Now it's a big pot and bigger salad containers, more trays of cake."

Chion Wolf/ / WNPR

Last month brought big news from major health insurers in the United States.

In early July, Aetna announced it will acquire Humana in a $37 billion deal. Just three weeks later, Anthem and Cigna announced their intention to merge in a $48 billion deal. This effectively reduces the big players in the health insurance market from five down to three.

Lee Morley / Creative Commons

Bartlomiej Palosz, 15, committed suicide in 2013, on the first day of his sophomore year in high school. Now his parents are suing the town of Greenwich and its school board, claiming that not enough was done to address the years of bullying that their son endured. 

The Complex and Fascinating Sense of Touch

Aug 17, 2015
Stefano Mortellaro/flickr creative commons

Deprive a newborn baby of loving touch and the consequences are dramatic. In fact, touch deprivation can lead to a broad range of developmental problems that, if left uncorrected, will most likely carryover into adulthood. Neuroscientist David Linden tells us touch is not optional for human development.

Morgan / Creative Commons

The high cost of infertility treatments for some people over 40 in Connecticut may soon covered by their insurance company.

The Department of Insurance has determined a 2006 state law mandating coverage for medically appropriate fertility treatments for men and women is discriminatory because it sets an age limit of 40.

Intropin / Creative Commons

Last month, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared heroin use a national public health crisis. Connecticut, like much of the rest of country, is grappling with an alarming rise in heroin and opiate painkiller addiction and overdose. 

United Nations Photo / Creative Commons

Officials in Sierra Leone are continuing to abuse aid money sent there to combat Ebola, according to audit reports and a Quinnipiac University political science professor who just returned home from a trip there. 

Chion Wolf

  Our guest this hour, DCF Commissioner Joette Katz, was at the center of a public hearing this week at the state capitol in the wake of two reports critical of the state’s juvenile detention facilities.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

No one is saying that Connecticut is suffering from a housing crisis, but consider this: The state has far too few rental properties, which means those that exist cost more than many residents can afford.

Meanwhile, a giant portion of the state’s work force is at or near retirement, with expected drops in income.

U.S. Department of Justice

A federal appeals court has reinstated a brutality lawsuit against Hartford police by a man whose back and a rib were broken during a drug arrest in 2009.

Tobacco — and that long trail of brown spit — has long been seen as part of baseball. It was tobacco companies that created the first baseball trading cards, which came in cigarette packs.

"I looked at a newspaper in 1933 where R.J. Reynolds touted the fact that 21 of 23 of the world champion New York Giants smoked Camel," says Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Phalinn Ool / Creative Commons

There are lots of tools to help us gauge the quality of nearly any product or service we wish to buy, from cars to computers to restaurants. Yet there's no easy way to assess the quality of the doctors who take care of what's most important to us -- our health. 

Connecticut DCF

Connecticut lawmakers are preparing to learn more about the conditions and practices at the state's juvenile detention facilities.

Newport Hospital has opened a new center for Lyme disease. Most doctors can treat Lyme with antibiotics, but the new clinic aims to help patients with lingering symptoms.

"If a kid is in first period when they should still be asleep, how much are they really learning?"

eskaylim/iStock / Thinkstock

The legislature recently made it harder for parents to stay on Husky, Connecticut's version of Medicaid. The state said that around 1,200 people risk losing their insurance coverage at the end of the month if they take no action.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

    

An invention to treat Alzheimer’s Disease, patented by a Connecticut entrepreneur, could now be in human clinical trials before the end of this year. The development comes just months after the launch of the technology.

New data shows the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts is worse than public health officials feared.

The number of opioid deaths in 2014 totaled 1,256 according to revised numbers released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.   Initial estimates had 1,008 people dying of drug overdoses last year. 

And, the epidemic shows no signs of lettering up.  An estimated 312 people are thought to have died of an overdose in the first three months of this year. 

Spinal Problems

Aug 4, 2015

Critical Care

Aug 4, 2015

Bone Health

Aug 4, 2015
unWillington.com

Residents of Willington, Connecticut meet Tuesday to discuss the proposed relocation of a large state police firearms training facility to the small New England town.  

Natasia Causse/flickr creative commons

This hour I talk with Dr. Reza Yavari, a metabolic doctor and endocrinologist with offices in Madison and Trumbull, Conn. Yavari, affiliated with Yale University, has coached countless clients, many with health issues like diabetes or obesity, to stay motivated and at a stable weight. He shares his tips in this conversation.

In a development that could change the way the deadly Ebola disease is fought, researchers have announced promising results of a new vaccine's trial in Guinea, one of several countries affected by a historic outbreak in West Africa.

"The estimated vaccine efficacy was 100 percent," a team of researchers say.

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