Health

Grim Reaper
3:27 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Nothing Focuses The Mind Like The Ultimate Deadline: Death

Could a countdown to death help you lead a more ecstatic life?
Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 3:38 pm

Ticktock. Ticktock. Ticktock.

The seconds left in 2013 are slipping away. And you know what else is slipping away? The seconds left in your life.

Luckily for you, there's a new product called Tikker, a wristwatch that counts down your life, so you can watch on a large, dot-matrix display as the seconds you have left on Earth disappear down a black hole.

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Science
4:30 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Mapping Emotions On The Body: Love Makes Us Warm All Over

People drew maps of body locations where they feel basic emotions (top row) and more complex ones (bottom row). Hot colors show regions that people say are stimulated during the emotion. Cool colors indicate deactivated areas.
Image courtesy of Lauri Nummenmaa, Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari, and Jari Hietanen.

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 8:08 am

Close your eyes and imagine the last time you fell in love. Maybe you were walking next to your sweetheart in a park or staring into each other's eyes over a latte.

Where did you feel the love? Perhaps you got butterflies in your stomach or your heart raced with excitement.

When a team of scientists in Finland asked people to map out where they felt different emotions on their bodies, they found that the results were surprisingly consistent, even across cultures.

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Disease
3:22 am
Mon December 30, 2013

$1,000 Pill For Hepatitis C Spurs Debate Over Drug Prices

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:43 pm

Federal regulators this month opened a new era in the treatment of a deadly liver virus that infects three to five times more people than HIV. Now the question is: Who will get access to the new drug for hepatitis C, and when?

The drug Sovaldi will cost $1,000 per pill. A typical course of treatment will last 12 weeks and run $84,000, plus the cost of necessary companion drugs. Some patients may need treatment for twice as long.

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Affordable Care Act
10:03 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Enrollment Through Federal Health Market Surges In December

Alicia Martinez tries to sign up for a health care plan at a Miami Enrollment Assistance Center on Dec. 20, in Miami, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 1:49 pm

The White House released new figures on Sunday that show a surge in the number of Americans who have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace.

According to a blog post by Marilynn Tavenner, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator, 1.1 million Americans have signed up for coverage since the marketplace opened in October.

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Brain Health
1:00 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Concussions May Increase Alzheimer's Risk, But Only For Some

Researchers have only recently been able to use brain scans to detect Alzheimer's risk factors in living people.
iStockphoto

Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.

But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.

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Fast Food
2:41 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

McDonald's Shuts Down Website That Told Workers To Avoid Fast Food

Protesters demonstrate at a McDonald's in New York on Dec. 5. Protesters staged events in cities nationwide, demanding a pay raise to $15 per hour for fast-food workers and the right for them to unionize.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 2:41 pm

McDonald's has decided to shut down a website aimed at providing work and life advice to its employees after it was reported that it had urged workers not to eat the very fast food they are hired to produce.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's said Thursday that information on its McResources Line site had been taken out of context thus generating "unwarranted scrutiny and inappropriate commentary," according to a McDonald's spokeswoman.

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Child Care
12:33 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

State’s Child Care Oversight: Minimal Monitoring, Lax Enforcement

Tumble Bugs Day School was cited multiple times for violations from 2007 to 2010.
Credit Tony Bacewicz

On its website, the Tumble Bugs Day School in Norwalk boasts a “highly experienced, nurturing” staff who serve infants and toddlers in a “stimulating setting.”

But a review of state Department of Public Health records shows the child care center has had numerous complaints and citations in recent years for lapses in supervision that have injured and traumatized young children.

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Access Health CT
4:00 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

State: Obamacare Enrollment Surging Before Deadline

Credit BrianAJackson/iStock / Thinkstock

Officials running the state's new health care exchange say thousands of people are enrolling for insurance as Monday's deadline draws near.

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Homelessness
9:27 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Homeless Youths Study Sheds Light on a "Virtually Invisible" Population in Connecticut

Homeless youth are often not connected to services that could help steer them away from the risks of poverty, crime, and addiction.
frankiefotografie/iStock Thinkstock

A study released this month explores homelessness among youths in Connecticut. The report, called “Invisible No More,” was co-authored by two researchers, Derrick Gordon and Bronwyn Hunter, of The Consultation Center at Yale University School of Medicine. They found that homeless youths are a virtually invisible population in the state, often not connected to services that could help steer them away from the risks of poverty, crime, and addiction. 

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Health
3:00 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Do Vitamin Pills Actually Do Anything?

Credit Gubcio/iStock / Thinkstock

A group of doctors in a leading medical journal are issuing a blunt warning to consumers: "stop wasting money" on vitamins. At least 50 percent of Americans use vitamins or dietary supplements, "despite sobering evidence of no benefit," according to the editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Connecticut's State Innovation Model for Health Care

Ellen Andrews, CT Health Policy Project
Chion Wolf WNPR

The last few months have seen the Affordable Care Act rollout, and the well-publicized problems with websites and signups. Connecticut’s Health Exchange has been doing much better than the rest of the country, but getting people signed up is only one part of the massive health care overhaul in the country.

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Food Assistance
3:18 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Foodshare Delivers Milk to Families in Hartford Region

Credit mangostock/iStock / Thinkstock

Foodshare distributes food to the Greater Hartford Region by partnering with local food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters. This week, its mobile truck has been delivering a product that's not usually available to families in need.

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Affordable Care Act
2:44 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Highs and Lows for Access Health CT

Kevin Counihan
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's rollout of the Affordable Care Act has gotten its share of praise. But it's had its share of challenges, too.

Kevin Counihan runs Access Health CT, the agency handling the state's implementation of the new health care law. He said of the more than 300,000 people without insurance in Connecticut, over 47,000 have enrolled for coverage since October 1.

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Food as Medicine
2:25 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away, And Statins Do, Too

Not covered by Obamacare, but still sweet.
Cristian Baitg iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:17 pm

We're all supposed to be eating right, but most of us are not doing a very good job of that.

Could you eat an apple a day?

Adding in that one piece of fruit could improve cardiovascular health on a par with prescribing of cholesterol-lowering statins for everyone over age 50, according to a report published Tuesday in BMJ.

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Medical Research
7:00 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Genetic Test Aims to Take Guesswork Out of Drug Dosing

Gualberto Ruano, director of the Genetics Research Center at Hartford Hospital, leads a study aimed at reducing the guesswork in psychiatric drug dosing.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Researchers at Hartford Hospital are looking into a gene that determines how fast the liver clears medication from the body. The goal of the five-year study is to reduce the guesswork in psychiatric drug dosing.

It's a gene with a fancy name: CYP2D6

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Advertising
4:32 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Energy Drink Companies Find Unique Ways to Market to Children

The Red Bull RC Helicopter.
Ray Hardman WNPR

In a press conference at the legislative office building in Hartford on Monday, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal called on energy drink companies to stop marketing their product to children through toys bearing the energy drink's logo.

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Ommmm
1:37 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Cognitive Control, Focus for the Young Child

Credit Tiffany Assman, Creative Commons

Daniel Goleman is a psychologist and author who may be best known for his writings on emotional intelligence, an idea that challenges the old concept of IQ as the most important measure of one’s abilities. He joined Where We Live to talk about his new book FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Daniel Goleman in Focus

Daniel Goleman
Credit danielgoleman.info

Psychologist and former New York Times reporter Daniel Goleman presented us with an important idea - “Emotional Intelligence” - it challenges the old concept of IQ as the most important measure of one’s abilities.

But his newest research might be even more important for our current world - filled with multiple screens and distractions. It’s all about “Focus.”

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Sleeping Well
2:45 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Healthful Habits Can Help Induce Sleep Without The Pills

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 3:23 pm

About one-third of American adults say they have problems falling asleep. And prescriptions for sleeping medications are on the rise, with about 4 percent of people using the drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But sleep specialists say people should exercise caution before deciding to take medication to help them sleep.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:41 am
Thu December 12, 2013

The Face of Resilience

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

From Faith Middleton: What is resilience? To my horror, I stumbled on one dictionary definition saying resilience is “returning to the original shape.” Who, I wonder, had such an idea? How many copy editors read that and agreed it made sense? Was there anyone on staff who'd been traumatized by what life can randomly dish out? Apparently it must be said that it is impossible to be the same after some events, and to expect such a recovery from ourselves or others is both ignorant and cruel. Still, resilience is possible, if by resilience we mean the ability to continue, to go on attached, even by a thread, to hope, to life itself.

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Rankings
4:29 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Connecticut is the Seventh-Healthiest State, According to Annual Report

Lake McDonough Reservoir in Connecticut, seen from the Tunxis Trail Overlook Spur in Barkhamsted.
Credit Morrowlong / Creative Commons
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Affordable Care Act
1:37 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Health Exchange Enrollment By State, In 2 Charts

HHS

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:48 pm

Numbers released by the Obama administration show enrollment in health exchanges edged up in November, but the uptake remains far short of the administration's initial targets.

Roughly 264,000 people signed up for private insurance coverage last month through the federal and state exchanges, according to data from the Health and Human Services Department. That brings the total to about 364,000 for October and November.

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Medical Marijuana
1:23 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Students Are Developing a Test to Detect Contaminants in Medical Marijuana

Students Renae Labonte and Jinyun Guat.
University of New Haven

Students at the University of New Haven are developing a DNA test that could detect contaminants in medical marijuana. Dr. Heather Coyle, a forensic botanist and associate professor at UNH, said patients using pot for medicinal purposes could be harmed by contaminants that they can't see.

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Emergency Response
11:37 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Faster Medical Response During Mass Casualty Attacks Can Save Lives

Credit Stockbyte / Stockbyte / Thinkstock

Federal officials and medical experts say when medical personnel respond more aggressively during mass casualty events, it can save lives. The Obama administration is formally recommending that emergency medical personnel be sent into so-called “warm zones” during mass attacks to try and prevent death by controlling victims’ early bleeding.

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Immigration and Health
11:51 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Undocumented Immigrants to Strain Safety-Net Hospitals

Credit WebKazoo / Connecticut Health I-Team

Undocumented immigrants are expected to make up a larger share of Connecticut’s uninsured population next year, putting new financial pressures on safety-net hospitals that provide emergency care to everyone, state and national health experts predict.

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Access Health CT
8:27 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Connecticut's Health Exchange Continues Enrollments, Seeks to Help Find "Best Value"

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

Access Health CT, the state's insurance exchange, said it has now signed up more than 23,000 people for health plans.

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Disaster Relief
11:58 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Many Still Struggling in the Philippines

Kate Dischino helps unload medical supplies for a hospital in Tacloban
Tom Turley AmeriCares

Stamford-based AmeriCares said it has shipped over $3 million in medical aid to the Philippines, with more to come. 

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Health
3:14 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Teens Who Feel Supported At Home And School Sleep Better

Solid friendships can help buffer life's stress.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:31 am

A teen's relationship — or lack of good relationship — with parents, pals or teachers may have a lot to do with why most kids aren't getting the nine to 10 hours of sleep that doctors recommend. The hormonal disruptions of puberty likely also play a role.

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Mental Health
10:43 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Rule Spells Out How Insurers Must Cover Mental Health Care

Insurance plans that offer mental health benefits have to keep them in line with the coverage for medical care.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:41 pm

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires health plans that offer benefits for mental health and substance use to cover them to the same extent that they cover medical and surgical care.

Among other things, the law prohibits treatment limits and copayments or deductibles that are more restrictive than a plan's medical coverage.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:01 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Blood Pressure is One Measure of Future Cardiovascular Disease

Dr. Paul Thompson, Chief of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital
Chion Wolf

Long before we knew how the cardiovascular worked, ancient doctors may have recognized what we call hypertension. It seemed like maybe there was too much blood, so they treated it with leeches. 

Even today, high blood pressure is a little bit mysterious. The way it's typically measured may be the wrong way. And, it's not caused by one single factor so no single drug treats all the things that cause high blood pressure. 

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