Health

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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Health Insurance
10:27 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Employer Health Costs Are Expected To Rise In 2015

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:40 am

Increases in health costs will accelerate next year, but changes in how people buy care will help keep the hikes from reaching the speed seen several years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers says.

The prediction, based on interviews and modeling, splits the difference between hopes that costs will stay tame and fears that they're off to the races after having been slow since the 2008 financial crisis.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue June 24, 2014

How Healthy Is Connecticut?

Our third Health Equity panel discussions was held at CPBN's Chase Family studios.
Steve Honigfeld

Our third Health Equity Forum is a project we’ve been working on for a few years now with our partners at Connecticut Health Foundation, exploring the idea of health equity in Connecticut. How do we make sure that everyone has the best possible health outcomes regardless of race, regardless of how much money you have?

It’s a tricky issue for policy makers, which is why we’re so glad to have as the basis for our conversation a new set of information called the Connecticut Health Care Survey. Six organizations came together to put out this report, which is drawn from some 5400 households interviewed. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Once Thought to Be Caused By Demons, What Do We Know About Epilepsy Today?

The CDC says often, it can be difficult to find a definite cause of epilepsy.
Saad Faruque Creative Commons

Historically, people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed by demons. Research has come a long way since then, but epilepsy remains mysterious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lives. Annually, it costs more than $15 billion in medical costs and reduced work production.

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Domestic Violence
12:12 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Blumenthal Proposal Aims to Fix Loophole in Restraining Order Law

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced the Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act.
Office of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal has introduced legislation aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence who obtain a temporary restraining order against their abuser.

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Gaming
4:04 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

In War Against AIDS, a New Potential Weapon: Video Games

Designers are working to build a video game that helps educate men in Mexico City about treatment options for HIV.
Credit L.Bö / Flickr Creative Commons

It's not something you'd immediately associate with staying healthy: video games. A professor at Quinnipiac University is exploring whether or not digital avatars can encourage gay men in Mexico City to get tested regularly for HIV. 

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Lyme Disease
11:29 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Investigative Report Reveals Not All Lyme Disease Tests Are Accurate

An FDA loophole allows for-profit laboratories to sell Lyme disease tests without actually proving they work.
Credit Jerry Kirkhart / Creative Commons

A new investigative report calls into question thousands of diagnostic tests for Lyme disease.

Lyme is a problematic disease. It can be tough to treat, and even tougher to diagnose. The Food and Drug Administration recommends a test that works fairly well. It identifies about 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease a year, mostly in the northeast. 

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Emergency Care
2:58 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Some Paramedics Doing Less Transport, More Treatment At Scene

Speeding to a house call? Training paramedics to do more treatment at the scene can be pricey, critics say.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 7:42 am

It's being called the house call of the future: Ambulance crews rush when you call 911, but instead of taking you to the emergency room, they treat you at home.

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Pregnancy
1:20 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Early Pregnancy Blood Test Reducing Need For Amniocentesis

Credit C-HIT

A simple blood test is transforming the world of prenatal screening, offering women a risk-free way to learn about fetal abnormalities early in pregnancy.

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:43 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Choose the Life You Want

Credit mendhak/flickr creative commons

In his New York Times bestseller Happier, positive psychology expert Tal Ben-Shahar taught us how to become happier through simple exercises. Now, in Choose the Life You Want, he has a new, life-changing lesson to share.

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Head Injuries
5:34 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Head Injury Risk Rose In Cities After Bike-Sharing Rolled Out

John Rose NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 12:20 pm

Editors' Note: This post has been revised to clarify and correct reporting on the findings of the bike helmet study. The researchers looked at head injuries, not just brain injuries, so the descriptions have been changed to head injuries throughout. The lead researcher said in response to follow-up questions that the study was designed to look at the risk of head injuries as a proportion of all injuries related to bicycling, so the headline and descriptions of the work have been changed to reflect that distinction.

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Teens and Tobacco
1:14 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Teen Smoking Hits A 22-Year Low, But Other Tobacco Uses Rise

A teenager finishes her cigarette in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Cigarette smoking among U.S. high school students has dropped to the lowest level in 22 years, federal health officials reported Thursday.

The percentage of students who reported smoking a cigarette at least one day in the last 30 days fell to 15.7 percent in 2013, according to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a large federal survey that has been tracking youth smoking since 1991.

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Affordable Care Act
7:08 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Health Care Can Be Key To A Better Life For Former Inmates

Juanita Alvarado (right), a community health worker at the Transitions Clinic in San Francisco, helps a patient.
courtesy of Transitions Clinic

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 9:41 am

A San Francisco law now permits the sheriff's department to enroll inmates in health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act — policies designed to cover medical care after a prisoner's release. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi believes that making sure people have health coverage when they leave jail will help keep them from committing another crime and coming back.

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Men's Health
3:23 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

National Men's Health Week Turns 20

Men can avoid illnesses like diabetes and heart disease by eating right, regular exercise, and getting plenty of sleep.
Ozan Hatipoglu Creative Commons

This is National Men's Health Week, an awareness campaign to encourage men to take simple steps to improve their health.

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Aging
3:37 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Actress Speaks About Her Mother's Dementia

Actor, Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Credit Laura Goodwin

You probably recognize actor Kimberly Williams-Paisley. She got her start in the Steve Martin movie, "Father of the Bride," and has starred in multiple TV sitcoms, including "Two and A Half Men" and "Nashville."

Williams-Paisley is a writer, too, and she recently shared the challenges her family faced after her mother was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia in 2005.

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Food in Space
12:04 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

The Salad Frontier: Why Astronauts Need To Grow Lettuce In Space

Astronaut Steve "Swanny" Swanson tends to lettuce plants growing at the International Space Station that may one day make it into his salad.
Courtesy of NASA

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 3:14 pm

Have you ever craved a salad, I mean really craved a salad because you've been eating a lot of freeze-dried meat and beans?

Astronauts who spend months on end in space sure do miss their greens. That's why NASA is embarking on a program to get astronauts growing their own food. First stop is the International Space Station and a vegetable production system called Veg-01, or "Veggie."

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Caring for Those on the Autism Spectrum

Dr. John Molteni.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A new report from the CDC suggests that Autism Spectrum Disorder may be even more prevalent than we thought. The report estimates that roughly one in 68 children born in the U.S. has autism -- a 30 percent increase since 2012.

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Driving Safety
11:37 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Crackdown On Danbury-Area Distracted Drivers

Police want drivers to remember, "Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other."
dolgachov/iStock Thinkstock

The fourth and final crackdown on distracted drivers is being held in the Danbury area. 

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Wine
3:29 am
Thu June 5, 2014

The Secret's In The Sugar: Lower-Alcohol Wines Are Taking Off

A selection of low-alcohol wines, including a Riesling from Germany, a Vinho Verde from Portugal and a Txakoli from the Basque region of Spain.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:18 am

Big, bold wines have their fans. But with the arrival of summer, make room for a bumper crop of lighter, more subtle wines.

"Low-alcohol wines are super hot right now," says wine writer Katherine Cole.

There's Txakoli, or Txakolina, wines from the Basque region of Spain, Rieslings from Germany and New York state, and Vinho Verde from Portugal, to name a few.

These wines typically hover in the 9 percent to 11 percent alcohol range. This compares to about 13 percent to 14 percent in a typical California chardonnay.

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Veterans
4:31 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

VA Health Care's Chronic Ailments: Long Waits And Red Tape

Soldiers returning from the Pacific wave from the deck of the USS General Mitchell on Dec. 11, 1945. Much of the health care demand in the VA system is from veterans of earlier wars.
AP

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 5:40 pm

More than 2.5 million veterans served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they qualify for health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. These recent vets have been putting in for more service-related conditions than previous generations, for everything from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury to the bad knees, bad backs and bad hearing that nearly every new vet seems to have.

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UV Rays
8:20 am
Wed June 4, 2014

What Can a Tanning Bed Do to Your Brain?

Endorphins are released when you're in a tanning booth.
g-stockstudio/iStock Thinkstock

The Food and Drug Administration will now require tanning beds carry a warning label saying they shouldn't be used by persons under the age of 18. Tanning beds emit UV radiation that may cause skin cancer. But the beds may also cause changes to the brain.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:16 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Connecticut Is the Land of Plenty, for Some

Lucy Nolan is the Executive Director of EndHungerCT
Chion Wolf

If you're like me, you'll have a lot of thoughts about food today but they won't be about how to get some. It will be about what you want for lunch and what you feel like having for dinner.

You might have an argument with yourself about whether you can afford to eat a snack or dessert, but to you the word "afford" has to do with your weight and your waistline.

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Mental Health
9:50 am
Mon June 2, 2014

State Restrains Psychiatric Patients at High Rate

Connecticut Health I-Team

As the state works to improve its mental health system, new federal data shows that hospitals in Connecticut restrain psychiatric patients at more than double the average national rate, with elderly patients facing restraint at a rate seven times the national average.

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Office Design
2:05 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How a Well-Designed Doctor's Office Could Help Patients

Will doctor's offices look more like this in the near future? Some say the natural design elements can help patients.
John Bartelstone Jeffrey Berman Architect

Doctor's offices and hospitals may not always be stunning examples of architecture, but both architects and doctors are thinking of how designs can put patients at ease and help them heal.

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Drug Addiction
10:04 am
Fri May 30, 2014

In Connecticut, a Summit to Explore, and Maybe Expand Narcan Use

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a rare memo calling on more first responders to carry Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of opiate overdoses. Connecticut held its first-ever "overdose prevention summit" on Thursday to explore ways to expand Narcan's reach. 

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Antibiotic overuse
4:11 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Connecticut Doctors Urged to Be Prudent When Prescribing Antibiotics

The state Department of Health is urging health care providers to initiate an antimicrobial stewardship program to cut down on the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
Credit rltherichman / Creative Commons

Connecticut officials are urging hospitals and health care providers to curb the overuse of antibiotics. The proliferation of antibiotics has dramatically increased the number of infections resistant to the drug. 

In April, the World Health Organization announced that these strains of bacteria can be found in every part of the world, and pose a serious health threat. 

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Addiction
4:08 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Today's Heroin Addict Is Young, White And Suburban

A heroin user in St. Johnsbury, Vt., prepares to shoot up.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 2:50 pm

Heroin was once the scourge of the urban poor, but today the typical user is a young, white suburbanite, a study finds. And the path to addiction usually starts with prescription painkillers.

A survey of 9,000 patients at treatment centers around the country found that 90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young — their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.

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Veterans Affairs
2:50 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Report Finds Evidence Of Secret Wait Lists At VA Hospital

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Phoenix, where the VA's inspector general says numerous problems with scheduling practices were uncovered.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 2:12 pm

The inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs has affirmed that some 1,700 patients at the Phoenix VA hospital were put on unofficial wait lists and subjected to treatment delays of up to 115 days.

In an interim report released Wednesday, the inspector general's office reported it had "substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively impacted the quality of care" at Phoenix HCS.

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Health Insurance
3:28 am
Wed May 28, 2014

How To Shop For Long-Term Care Insurance

The first lesson of long-term care insurance: Shopping before health problems set in improves your chances of being accepted while tempering lifetime premium payments.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:57 pm

One of the toughest money decisions Americans face as they age is whether to buy long-term care insurance. Many people don't realize that Medicare usually doesn't cover long-term care, yet lengthy assisted-living or nursing home stays can decimate even the best-laid retirement plan.

Long-term care insurance is a complex product that requires a long-term commitment if you're buying it. So how can you tell if this insurance is right for you?

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