WNPR

Health

Catie Talarski

We know that music, pets, and exercise make us feel good - but did you know they can also make our aging brains stronger? 

It used to be that getting older meant forgetting more, slowing down, and acting more and more like our grandparents. But no more. We can add years to our lives and boost our brain power by learning to play an instrument, jog around the block, or even bond with our dog.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has promised to move more than 5,000 poor and disabled patients out of nursing homes in five years.  But he says there's an obstacle -- a state law that says only nurses can give medications to people in the Medicaid system living at home. The governor's plan has faced some opposition in the legislature.

Flickr Creative Commons, Jay Erickson

Three former prisoners at Niantic's York Correctional Institution are staging a play mixing Dante’s Inferno with real life prison stories. WNPR’s Patrick Skahill has more.

When Lynda Gardner was sent to jail for larceny in 2005, she didn't think she'd be reciting lines from Dante's Inferno.  She just thought she was in hell.

"I woke up in York and decided for the first six months I was going to kill myself," Gardner said. " I felt dead."

Smaller Hospitals Struggle With Deficits

Apr 17, 2012

Eight of Connecticut’s 30 acute-care hospitals ended the last fiscal year in the red—double the number that reported financial losses the year before, according to a new state report.

The data filed with the state Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) is a mixed bag of news about the financial health of the state’s hospitals. It shows that only six hospitals had operating losses in the 2011 fiscal year in contrast with nine that did not break even on operations in 2010. But when non-operating gains and losses are included, eight had negative total margins, or deficits.

Uma Ramiah

INTRO: As the New England Journal of Medicine celebrates its 200th anniversary, a national debate has been brewing about the close relationship between money and medicine. In the first of a 2-part series, the Connecticut Mirror’s Neena Satija examines how researchers come under fire for taking industry money, yet can’t survive without it.

Rusty Clark/flickr creative commons

Does what we eat control our thoughts and feelings? After many studies, a neuroscientist says it's true.

JeffreyTurner, Creative Commons

The housing crisis that has cost millions of Americans their homes.  In fact, banks have foreclosed on more than 4 million homes since the crisis began in 2007. Almost 6 million are still in danger of foreclosure, and some analysts say 2012 could be the worst year yet.

Athletes over Fifty

Apr 3, 2012
Providenz

Today's show was the brainchild of producer Betsy Kaplan, but it seems like something I might have thought up, just to deal with some (de)pressing problems in my life. I'm 57. I have arthritis in both knees. One of the magazines I write for wants me to do, this fall, a Gran Fondo, a bike ride of more than 100 miles with a significant elevation change.

I'm literally not sure I can.

But all around me are examples of athletes over 50 doing remarkable things.

For the health policy world, the Supreme Court's tough questioning of the individual mandate last week was a seismic event.

But in Hartford, Conn., the city sometimes called the epicenter of the insurance industry, David Cordani isn't quaking.

Cordani is the CEO of Cigna, the nation's fourth-largest health insurer. He says the insurance industry started changing itself before the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. And the changes will continue regardless of what happens at the high court.

Where We Live: Greg Tate Kicks Cancer's...

Apr 2, 2012
Chion Wolf

Greg Tate of the HartBeat Ensemble has been an important part of Hartford’s artistic community. They create original plays based on the place where they live...and work with school systems to create student theater works.

Tate has been diagnosed with lung cancer - and has been sharing intimate details of his treatment on a simple blog called “Greg Tate Updates.”

Losing Your Voice

Mar 28, 2012
thekeithhall, creativecommons

John Mayer, Adele and Keith Urban have all had to cancel shows in past months because of vocal problems.

But pop singers aren’t the only ones who find their careers in jeopardy because they’ve lost their voice.

Our NPR colleague Diane Rehm has struggled for years with a condition called “spasmodic dysphonia” - which causes spasms in the vocal cords.

It’s a condition very similar to the one that knocked me off the air for nearly a year in the late 1990s.

Traumatic brain injury or TBI has been called the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Defense Department data indicates more than 233,000 veterans have been diagnosed with at least a mild brain injury. But the number is even higher because not all veterans seek help. A non-profit and the VA have partnered to offer support to these servicemembers in Connecticut.

Could 'Contagion' Strike Connecticut?

Mar 22, 2012
Flickr Creative Commons, blmurch

Which is a worse way to die: the Spanish influenza that nearly killed off Elizabeth McGovern in Downton Abbey, or the respiratory virus that took out Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie Contagion?

Flickr Creative Commons, EssjayNZ

If I tell you that today's show looks into the near future and sees a wave of new drugs and other therapies that can enhance moral behavior, maybe you'll tell me: enough with the science fiction. But in some ways, the drugs are already here.

Oxytocin, sometimes known as the love hormone, increases empathy and social bonding.  And oxytocin can already be taken -- for other reasons -- in nasal spray form.

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