Health

Affordable Care Act
4:44 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Federal Courts Weigh in on Obamacare Subsidies

Credit jwblinn/iStock / Thinkstock

Should the federal government help Americans pay for their new health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act? That's a question being tackled in courts across the country. Two of them have issued very different rulings. 

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Education and Health
5:18 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

High-Performing Charter Schools May Improve Students' Health

Researchers are just starting to look at how school choice affects health.
romester/iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 4:47 pm

Many people are intensely interested in how publicly funded charter schools affect children, and that includes not just their academic achievement but their health.

Researchers from UCLA and the Rand Corp. wanted to know whether attending a high-performing charter school reduced the rates of risky health behaviors among low-income minority teenagers.

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Vaccinations
11:27 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Vaccines Stored at Improper Temperatures Across Connecticut

The affected vaccines were stored in a malfunctioning refrigerator.
Credit Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

The Hartford HealthCare Medical Group is contacting patients who may have received vaccines that were not stored at the proper temperature.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri July 18, 2014

The Modern Age of Science; Connecticut Bull Osborndale Ivanhoe

Horia Varlan
Creative Commons

Back in March, a team of Harvard scientists claimed to have found the first direct evidence of gravity waves from the Big Bang. Within a matter of hours, their story had made its way around the Internet, spreading across blogs, news sites, and social media.

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Laboratories
3:36 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Head Scientist At CDC Weighs Costs Of Recent Lab Safety Breaches

The CDC's director, Tom Frieden, testified before a congressional subcommittee Wednesday regarding a recent anthrax incident and lab safety improvements he is instituting.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 10:40 am

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is on the hot seat.

It all started in mid-June, when the CDC announced that dozens of its scientists might have accidentally been exposed to anthrax.

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Transgender Teen
8:54 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Transgender Community Watching Connecticut's Jane Doe Case

Supporters of Jane Doe rallied in Hartford last spring.
Lucy Nalpathanchil WNPR

The transgender community has been watching Connecticut and its handling of a 16-year-old transgender girl, who's in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families.

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Medicine
3:17 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Medical Marijuana to Become Available Later This Summer

Various strains of medical marijuana.
Credit AudioVision / Creative Commons

Later this summer, medical marijuana will become legally available to patients in Connecticut.  

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Health Insurance
10:35 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Most Employers See A Benefit In Covering Contraceptives

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:32 am

Despite questions raised by the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, women in most health plans will still be able to get their birth control covered with no out-of-pocket expenses.

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Mental Health
3:30 am
Tue July 15, 2014

When Work Becomes A Haven From Stress At Home

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 11:13 am

In the land that came up with the phrase "Thank God it's Friday," and a restaurant chain to capitalize on the sense of relief many feel as the work week ends, researchers made an unusual finding in 2012.

Moms who worked full time reported significantly better physical and mental health than moms who worked part time, research involving more than 2,500 mothers found. And mothers who worked part time reported better health than moms who didn't work at all.

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Juvenile Justice
3:06 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Transgender Girl Moved to Male Facility in Middletown

A Connecticut juvenile detention facility.
Credit State of Connecticut

The attorneys for a transgender teen in the custody of Connecticut's Department of Children and Families want a judge to oversee her care. This comes after DCF moved her to an all-boys facility after she allegedly assaulted a youth and staff member over the weekend.

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Kids and Medicine
2:36 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Why A Spoonful Of Medicine Can Be A Big Safety Risk For Kids

Ordinary spoons vary widely in size and shape. Confusing regular spoons for accurate measurements of teaspoons and tablespoons can lead to accidental overdoses.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 5:15 pm

We've all done it. The bottle of Pepto-Bismol says to take two tablespoons, so you grab the nearest spoon from the silverware drawer and drink down two of those. It's probably pretty close, right?

Maybe not. With all the different sizes and shapes of spoons out there — soup spoons, dessert spoons, grapefruit spoons and coffee spoons, to name just a few — who knows if the spoon you chose is actually close to a tablespoon.

And when it comes to children, that lack of precision can be dangerous.

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Contraceptive Coverage
10:20 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Blumenthal Calls on Hobby Lobby to Adhere to Connecticut Law

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in a WNPR file folder.
Av Harris WNPR

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal released a letter on Monday to the CEO of Hobby Lobby calling on the company to follow Connecticut law and offer its employees in East Haven and Manchester full contraceptive coverage.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Connecticut Prepares for Sale of Medical Marijuana

Later this summer, certain patients will be able to legally purchase medical marijuana in Connecticut.
Credit Rusty Blazenhoff / Creative Commons

Approved patients will soon be able to obtain medical marijuana…legally. The marijuana producers who were approved by the state earlier this year will start to get their product out to dispensaries later this summer.

We talk with Commissioner William Rubenstein from the Department of Consumer Protection about the state’s medical marijuana program. 

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Free Food
5:58 am
Sat July 12, 2014

Hartford Delivers Summer Meals to Kids in Libraries

Inside the Barbour Street branch of the Hartford Public Library.
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

All children look forward to summer vacation, but when they're not in class, some of these kids also miss out on free meals and snacks. To feed more children, Hartford Public Schools has expanded its summer food program to libraries.

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Nutrition
6:56 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Combining Food Stamps and Job Training in Connecticut

Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield.
Credit Asnuntuck Community College

One of Connecticut's community colleges has received additional funding to help food stamp recipients get jobs. 

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Health care innovation
11:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Forum Explores Innovation as a Way to Improve Nation's Health Care System

The speed of sequencing genes has increased by six orders of magnitude in the last 25 years, according to Dr. Edison Liu.
Credit The Jackson Laboratory

Connecticut Congressman John Larson sponsored a health care forum on Monday at the legislative office building in Hartford. 

"Improving Our Health Care System Through Science and Innovation" was a chance for a panel of prominent health care leaders to tout how innovations in their area of expertise are saving lives and pulling down the cost of health care.

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Good Kind of Stress
3:32 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Like All Animals, We Need Stress. Just Not Too Much

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:09 pm

Ask somebody about stress, and you're likely to hear an outpouring about all the bad things that cause it — and the bad things that result. But if you ask a biologist, you'll hear that stress can be good.

In fact, it's essential.

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Disease
1:41 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab

Not something you'd want to find: Smallpox viruses infect a cell.
Science Source

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:10 pm

Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox.

Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly virus: one at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and another at a similar facility in Russia.

The CDC swooped in to collect the vials and carted them off to a secure lab at its Atlanta headquarters.

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War Wounds
8:41 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Years Home, Female Iraq Vets Endure the Wounds of War

After work, Eunice Ramirez finds comfort in a walk at Walnut Beach, Milford.
Tony Bacewicz Connecticut Health I-Team

It’s been nine years since Eunice Ramirez served in Iraq, but she still suffers from war wounds: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, respiratory problems, and frequent crying triggered by her memories.

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Lifestyle
3:37 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Stress Causes Health Problems, Which Then Cause More Stress

Staci Moritz and her son Aidan, 11, play at a park in their neighborhood in Portland, Ore. Caring for three children and her injured husband exacerbated her health problems.
Beth Nakamura for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 12:38 pm

Stress is bad for your health. And bad health causes a lot of stress.

Poor health and disability are common among people who say they suffer from a lot of stress, according to a national poll by NPR, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

And it's not just those whose own health is poor. Serious illness and injury often impose enormous stress on entire families.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:51 am
Mon July 7, 2014

ADHD and Managing Emotions

Credit FutUndBeidl/flickr creative commons

We focus this hour on one of the nation's most respected clinicians and researchers working with teens and adults who have ADHD. Dr. Thomas E. Brown is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders. (There is sometimes a link between ADHD and autism.)

Dr. Brown's new book, Smart but Stuck, looks at how managing emotions plays a key role in the lives of those with ADHD, including those who have high I.Q. scores.

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RX: Take a Chill Pill
7:07 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Stressed Out: Americans Tell Us About Stress In Their Lives

Aly Hurt/NPR

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 7:57 am

Everyone seems to talk about feeling stressed out. But what's the reality of stress in America these days?

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a nationwide poll in March and early April to find out.

Our questions zeroed in on the effect of stress in Americans' lives. We asked about people's personal experiences with stress in the preceding month and year. We also asked about how they perceived the effects of stress, how they cope with stress and their attitudes about it.

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Supreme Court Ruling
4:42 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Sorting Through the Hobby Lobby Decision

Customers enter a Hobby Lobby store in Antioch, Calif., this past spring.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

In a five-to-four decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requiring so-called closely-held, for-profit corporations to pay for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act, violates a federal law that protects religious freedom. 

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How Affordable Is The ACA?
7:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Obamacare Agency Changes Course, Releases Public Information

Some of the responses to our Freedom of Information request.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

One dollar and 22 cents. That's how much Access Health CT, the state's health insurance marketplace, pays its call center operator for each minute it spends on the phone helping someone navigate the Affordable Care Act.

It's also a number that Maximus, the call center operator, has tried to keep from public disclosure for months.

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Kid Whiz
3:26 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Preschoolers Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadgets

If you've noticed that kids seem to be better at figuring out these things, you're not alone.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 1:32 pm

Ever wonder why children can so easily figure out how to work the TV remote? Or why they "totally get" apps on your smartphone faster than you? It turns out that young children may be more open-minded than adults when it comes to solving problems.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri June 27, 2014

The Modern Age of Science; Connecticut Bull Osborndale Ivanhoe

Horia Varlan
Creative Commons

Back in March, a team of Harvard scientists claimed to have found the first direct evidence of gravity waves from the Big Bang. Within a matter of hours, their story had made its way around the Internet, spreading across blogs, news sites, and social media.

Read more
Cancer Prevention
2:54 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Low-Dose Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Some Cancers

Credit Photodisc / Thinkstock

What if an aspirin a day could keep cancer away? A growing body of scientific research suggests that aspirin can prevent some cancers of the digestive system, and maybe even breast and prostate, too.

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Alcohol
1:59 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Excessive Drinking Causes 10 Percent Of Deaths In Working-Age Adults

One in 6 adults binge drinks, and that plays a role in most alcohol-related deaths.
IntangibleArts/Flickr

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:47 am

Think about people dying from drinking too much, and you probably think of the classic disease of alcoholics, cirrhosis of the liver. Or perhaps an alcohol-fueled car crash. But there are many more ways to kill yourself with alcohol, unfortunately, and they account for 1 in 10 deaths in working-age adults, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Regulating Drugs
5:05 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Pharmacists to Play Key Role Dispensing Medical Marijuana in Connecticut

Credit Gordon Swanson/Hemera / Thinkstock

About 200 pharmacists and physicians gathered on Wednesday in Southington for the first Medical Cannabis Symposium in Connecticut.

Connecticut is only the state in the country with legalized medical marijuana laws that requires an on-site pharmacist to dispense the drug.

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Misleading Labels
5:49 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

'Natural' Food Sounds Good But Doesn't Mean Much

Advocates say consumers may assume that the "natural" label is the same as "organic."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 9:50 am

Some people have had it with "natural" food.

For fifteen years, Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety and sustainability for Consumer Reports, has been pointing out that "natural" is just about the most misleading label that you'll ever see on a food package. Yet consumers still look for that word, food companies still love to use it and the Food and Drug Administration can't or won't define it.

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