Health

Health Care
5:35 am
Sun September 29, 2013

Insurance Exchanges Will Open To Scrutiny, Curiosity, Confusion

Workers at a Minnesota health care exchange prepare for opening day on Tuesday.
Jim Mone AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 11:51 am

Tuesday is a big day for the White House. That's when new health insurance exchanges open in every state, where people can buy the insurance the Affordable Care Act requires next year. They will also see if they qualify for new subsidies to help them afford it.

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Health Care Overhaul
9:36 am
Fri September 27, 2013

With Obamacare, Not Everything Is Public Information

A redacted contractual document from Access Health CT, obscuring information about how much contractor Maximus is paid.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The nation's new health care law rolls out next week. One essential part of that is a call center to both field questions and enroll people. But it's not clear how much the private company taking these calls, Maximus Health Services, is actually charging taxpayers. 

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Food
6:20 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Doctors Say Changes In Wheat Do Not Explain Rise Of Celiac Disease

About 40 years ago wheat breeders introduced new varieties of wheat that helped farmers increase their grain yields. But scientists say those varieties aren't linked to the rise in celiac disease.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 12:09 pm

Wheat has been getting a bad rap lately.

Many folks are experimenting with the gluten-free diet, and a best-selling book called Wheat Belly has helped drive a lot of the interest.

"Wheat is the most destructive thing you could put on your plate, no question," says William Davis, a cardiologist in Milwaukee, Wis., who authored the book.

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Medicine
3:34 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Big Pharma And Meth Cooks Agree: Keep Cold Meds Over The Counter

Key methamphetamine ingredient pseudoephedrine is most easily found in cold and allergy medicines.
Ann Heisenfelt AP

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:11 pm

Millions of Americans have seen the fictional world of meth use and production in AMC's Breaking Bad, but journalist Jonah Engle has spent a lot of time in the real world of meth.

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Obamacare Calculator
12:50 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

The Affordable Care Act: How is Your Health Care Affected?

Credit Darnyi Zsóka / Creative Commons

Connecticut is launching a new online health exchange, Access Health CT, where residents can shop for and purchase health insurance. The unemployed or uninsured may be able to receive health insurance under the new federal law. To see how it affects you, and whether you can take advantage of the health exchange, try the helpful tools below.

Obamacare's Bad Rap
9:28 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Changes are Coming to Health Care, But That Doesn't Mean People Like It

A national survey by UConn showed an unfavorable view of the Affordable Care Act.
Credit UConn

Most Americans don't like the new federal health care law that begins enrollment next week, according to a new national poll from the University of Connecticut. It's not that Americans don't want the government to help cover the uninsured. It's that they specifically don't like this law: the Affordable Care Act.

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Synthetic Recreation
12:13 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Meet 2C-P, a New Designer Amphetamine

Designer amphetamines like 2C-P and ecstacy, pictured, can cause an elevated temperature, which can damage organs like the brain and the heart.
Credit Drug Enforcement Agency

Last Saturday night, seven people overdosed at a dance music show at Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury. It’s believed they were taking a powerful hallucinogenic drug called 2C-P. Four people collapsed at nearly the same time. By the time police arrived, one 19-year-old had stopped breathing. Officers used CPR and a defibrillator to treat him. The victims were hospitalized and have been released.

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E-Cigarettes
9:45 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Jepsen Targets Electronic Cigarettes Sales to Minors

Credit Michael Dorausch / Creative Commons

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, together with more than 35 attorneys general from other states, wants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate the advertising and sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. There are currently no federal age restrictions on the sale of e-cigarrettes, which have become very popular, very quickly.

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Science
5:01 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Could Detectives Use Microbes To Solve Murders?

Knight (left) and Bucheli take soil samples from beneath one of the decomposing bodies.
Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 1:30 pm

In the woods outside Huntsville, Texas, scientists are trying to determine whether they can use the microbes that live on the human body as microscopic witnesses that could help catch criminals.

It's a strange scene at the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility. At first, it's easy to miss the human bodies scattered among the tall pines, wild grass and weeds.

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Epigenetics
3:37 am
Mon September 23, 2013

How A Pregnant Woman's Choices Could Shape A Child's Health

Does a glass or two of wine during pregnancy really increase the child's health risks? Epigenetics may help scientists figure that out.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 8:58 am

Pregnant women hear a lot about things they should avoid: alcohol, tobacco, chemical exposures, stress. All of those have the potential to affect a developing fetus. And now scientists are beginning to understand why.

One important factor, they say, is something called epigenetics, which involves the mechanisms that turn individual genes on and off in a cell.

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Families
10:02 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Dads Matter Too! Aims To Strengthen Families

Credit Emily Bell / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Department of Children and Families has organized an event this Sunday in Waterbury called Dads Matter Too!, an opportunity for fathers to enjoy a fun day with their children, and a chance to celebrate the role dads play in their child's life.

The day starts with a 5k road race at 9:10 am, followed by a fun run for the kids, and at 11:00 am, a one mile father/child walk.

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Fighting Crime
12:02 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

A Hospital Tells Police Where Fights Happen, And Crime Drops

An ambulance makes its way through revelers in Cardiff city center in Wales in 2010. New measures in the city have reduced injuries caused by violence.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 3:25 pm

On Saturday night, the emergency room staff knows all too well what's coming — people showing up with a broken jaw, a knife wound or a bashed-in face, often after too many hours in a pub. Doctors at the emergency department in Cardiff, Wales, realized that many of the people who were injured in fights never reported it to the police. That realization led to a simple program that has radically reduced the toll of violence.

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Health Care
9:08 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Health Care Costs Are Projected To Outpace Economic Growth

Increased use of generic drugs caused a slight drop in the price of prescription drugs in 2012.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 9:43 am

The nation's health spending will bump up next year as the Affordable Care Act expands insurance coverage to more Americans, and then will grow by an average of 6.2 percent a year over the next decade, according to projections by government actuaries.

That estimate is lower than the typical annual increases before the recession hit. Still, the actuaries forecast that in a decade the health care segment of the nation's economy will be larger than it is today, amounting to a fifth of the gross domestic product in 2022.

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Health Care
12:20 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

New Haven Offers Free Prescription Discount Card to Residents

The Prescription Discount Card program is administered by ProAct, Inc., which negotiates discount rates with participating pharmacies.
Credit Oaktree b / Wikimedia Commons

New Haven is now the largest city in Connecticut to offer residents a Prescription Discount Card. Mayor John DeStefano introduced the benefit for city residents yesterday. (Click here for a list of all participating towns and cities.)

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Gun Policy
11:39 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Around The World, Gun Ownership And Firearms Deaths Go Together

Flags fly at half-staff Tuesday after the deadly shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 12:25 pm

A study on guns, violence and mental health, long scheduled to be published this week, finds that gun ownership is a bigger factor than mental illness when it comes to firearms deaths. But the data suggest that both play roles.

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Cancer Care and Research
11:14 am
Wed September 18, 2013

New Alliance Will Be A Boon For Connecticut Cancer Patients

(From left) Andrew Salner, Director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center; José Baselga, Physician-in-Chief, Memorial Hospital; Craig Thompson, President and CEO, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and Elliot Joseph, President and CEO, Hartford Healthcare gathered on September 16 in Hartford to mark the establishment of the MSK Cancer Alliance.
Credit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center announced a major partnership Tuesday with Hartford Healthcare Medical Group. Hartford Healthcare will be the first member of Memorial Sloan-Kettering's new Cancer Alliance. The alliance will bring the expertise of MSK's physicians and research team to oncology providers in the Hartford Healthcare system.

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Teen Driver Laws
5:03 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Should Connecticut's Teen Driver Laws Be More Restrictive?

Credit Liftarn / Wikimedia Commons

New restrictions on teen drivers in other states, like New Jersey, are provoking debate in Connecticut, where tightened laws appear to have had a positive effect. In 2008, driving laws changed in response to a spate of crashes.

The laws prevented new drivers from carrying passengers, enforced a tough curfew, and mandated parent and teen instruction.

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Bullying
1:26 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Why Spying On Our Kids To Solve Cyberbullying Might Not Work

Cyberbullies can reach victims around the clock – before school, during school, even while lying in bed at night. And in public online spaces, everybody else finds out about it.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:43 pm

A school district in Southern California has hired a private firm to comb through the cyber lives of its 14,000 middle- and high-school students, looking for signs of trouble.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Glendale Unified School District is spending $40,000 to have the firm monitor social media use among the district's students. School officials want to know if the kids are posting suicidal thoughts, obscenities or comments intended to bully fellow students.

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Longevity
12:39 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Healthful Living May Lengthen Telomeres And Lifespans

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:22 pm

Scientists claim they have evidence that explains why lifestyle changes known to be good for you — low-fat diets, exercise, reducing stress — can lengthen your life.

Based on a small, exploratory study, researchers say these good habits work by preventing chromosomes in our cells from unraveling. Basically, they assert that healthy living can reverse the effects of aging at a genetic level.

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Teen Health
12:11 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

15-Plus Drinks A Night: Teenagers Binge At Dangerous Heights

Beer pong and other drinking games are popular among teenagers, and play a role in binge drinking.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 1:31 pm

When teenagers drink, it's all too often all out, downing five or more beers in a session. But some teenagers are drinking even more, a study finds, boosting the upper limits of binge drinking to 15 drinks or more.

In a poll of high school seniors, 20 percent said they'd had five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks. That's what health officials consider binge drinking.

But 10 percent said they'd had 10 or more drinks at a time, and 5.6 percent said they'd had 15 or more drinks.

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Where We Live
10:38 am
Tue September 17, 2013

The Dangers of Driving in the Teenage Years

Tim Hollister, environmental and land use lawyer and author
Chion Wolf

After a series of fatal accidents a few years ago, Connecticut passed distracted driving laws aimed at keeping teen drivers safe. Since the first kid got behind the wheel of a car, it’s been a challenge for parents and law enforcement.

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Health Care
10:17 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Laid Off And Looking For Health Insurance? Beware Of COBRA

After losing a job, figuring out health insurance may be the smartest first step.
Franck Camhi iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 2:14 pm

People who lose their jobs and the health insurance tied to them will have new coverage options when the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces open in October.

But consumer advocates are concerned many of these unemployed people may not realize this and lock themselves into pricier coverage than they need.

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Insurance
3:21 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Getting Personal With Your Health Insurance Exchange Questions

The final countdown: It's time to figure out how insurance through the health exchanges will work for you.
Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 11:15 am

With the launch of new health insurance exchanges just about two weeks away, many of the questions in this month's mailbag focused less on the big picture and more on exactly how the law will operate for individuals.

We can't answer every question we get. But here is a sampling of questions that were really popular, or that would apply to a lot of people.

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Mental Health
7:08 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

What Is The Role Of Jails In Treating The Mentally Ill?

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Twin Towers Correctional Facility is part of the largest municipal jail system in the United States. Many of its nearly 4,000 inmates are deemed mentally ill.
Damian Dovarganes AP

The county's Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles is a hulking, massive concrete structure. It is also part of the largest municipal jail system in the United States.

On a recent day, four men enter handcuffed with a police escort. The sheriff's deputies assign them cells, and for the duration of their sentences, this is home. The men wear bright blue pants and neon yellow shirts to set them apart from other inmates.

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What's in the Water?
8:02 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Deadly Amoeba Found For First Time In Municipal Water Supply

Kali Hardig, 12, was released from a hospital in Little Rock, Ark., on Sept. 11 after surviving a brain infection caused by amoebas.
Danny Johnston Associated Press

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 10:32 am

A 4-year-old child who died of a rare brain infection in early August has led Louisiana health officials to discover that the cause is lurking in the water pipes of St. Bernard Parish, southeast of New Orleans.

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Uconn Health Minutes
3:35 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Sports Injuries and Concussions

Health Care
6:05 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Connecticut Takes Obamacare To The People

Outreach worker Emanuela Cebert (right) talks to Papilon Ferreiras about health insurance outside a rap concert.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 8:12 am

All across Connecticut, you can see billboards and TV ads, hear radio spots and get pamphlets about how to get insurance under the new health care law starting Oct. 1.

But the state is also using less traditional, and more expensive, ways to get the word out.

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Infectious Disease
1:14 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Big Measles Outbreaks Worry Federal Health Officials

The Eagle Mountain Church in Newark, Texas, was linked to at least 21 cases of measles this year, mostly in children.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 2:06 pm

Federal health officials are worried about an unusually high number of measles cases occurring in the United States this year.

There have been at least eight outbreaks so far this year involving 159 cases, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Health Care
10:28 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Why More Expensive Insurance Can Pay Off

Hey, put that away. You've got the platinum plan.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 1:26 pm

One of the most far-reaching provisions of the federal health overhaul prohibits insurers from refusing to cover people who are sick or charging them more for policies.

Still, for people with serious medical conditions, the online health insurance marketplaces present new wrinkles that could have significant financial impact.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:08 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

How Asexuals View The World

Kathy Way is a self-identified asexual. It's estimated roughly one percent of the American population is asexual.
Credit Chion Wolf

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, asexuals seem like brothers and sisters from a distant solar system. 

Western societies are gradually growing accustomed -- with varying degrees of comfort -- to the initials in LGBT, but what about A? On our show today we explored the idea that some people have no sexual orientation -- not because of a hormonal deficiency or a position on the autism spectrum or some buried childhood sexual trauma -- but because they don't have a discernable sex drive.

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