Health

Lately, Californians have been focused on a measles outbreak that got its start at Disneyland. But in the past five years, state health officials have declared epidemics of whooping cough twice — in 2010 and in 2014, when 11,000 people were sickened and three infants died.

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This hour I talk with Dr. Reza Yavari, a metabolic doctor and endocrinologist with offices in Madison and Trumbull, Conn. Yavari, affiliated with Yale University, has coached countless clients, many with health issues like diabetes or obesity, to stay motivated and at a stable weight. He shares his tips in this conversation.

Mindaugas Danys / Creative Commons

About half of all children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, also have serious behavioral problems, such as irritability, aggression, and non-compliance. A new study by Yale University and a consortium of five other universities shows that parents who are given a set of specific strategies and techniques can reduce disruptive behavior in their autistic child.

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David McCullough is an iconic two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian whose work encompasses notable people from John Adams to his latest work on the Wright Brothers. We spend a few minutes with him this morning in anticipation of his appearance with author Stacy Schiff at The Connecticut Forum, this Saturday, May 9, at 8:00 pm at the Bushnell.

But first, we talk about a Connecticut program that helps families learn to develop resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity -- known as “toxic stress” -- that is often associated with poverty, and is particularly hard on kids.

Looking for new growth and promising better restaurant experiences for customers, McDonald's President and CEO Steve Easterbrook is changing how the chain manages global markets and plans to boost the number of franchised restaurants.

"The reality is, our recent performance has been poor," Easterbrook said in a video released Monday. "The numbers don't lie. Which is why, as we celebrate 60 years of McDonald's, I will not shy away from resetting this business."

Is Fast Food Going Out of Style?

May 4, 2015
Corna. QTR ♥ أستغفر الله / Creative Commons

McDonald’s has more or less dominated the world of fast food since its debut in 1955, but not anymore. The franchise has struggled over the past several years, leading to the termination of its CEO. 

Ameetav Nangrani / Creative Commons

When was the last time you enjoyed a sugary soft drink? If it's been a while, it may be because health movements have begun to turn consumers away from sodas.

But the sugar content in juices, iced teas, and energy drinks is also very high. It begs the question: why are some connoisseurs now trying to break only their soda habits, and what makes others remain dedicated to their favorite carbonated drink?

U.S. Marines

Connecticut's Department of Children and Families has been under a federal court monitor for almost 24 years. In the latest quarterly report, the monitor found DCF was meeting the basic needs of children in its care half of the time, a four-year low. 

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Connecticut staked its claim as a leader in the field of stem cell research this week, as it hosted StemConn, a conference bringing together the latest discoveries in the field. 

CT State Democrats

A bill before lawmakers would require certain health care workers to undergo training related to the mental health issues veterans and their family members face. Some providers say the bill is an unnecessary mandate. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Once upon a time Nancy Butler lived in the Beltway and used her MBA to secure a high paying job with a defense contractor.  But Butler had considered herself a devout Christian since the age of 9, and something about a job with a company that made torpedoes started to bother her. So she left and embarked on a journey that included mission work in Asia and enrollment at Yale Divinity School.

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Could the future of heart health be centered on gene therapy?

Today we talk about heart research and how to prevent heart disease, the leading killer of women and men in the U.S.

Federal health officials Monday changed the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water for the first time since 1962, cutting by almost half the maximum amount of fluoride that should be added to drinking supplies.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommended 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water instead of the long-standing range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams.

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Despite laws in many states that protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke, exposure remains especially high for children ages three to eleven, African-Americans, and those who live in poverty or rental housing, according to a recent report.

A healthy diet is good for everyone. But as people get older, cooking nutritious food can become difficult and sometimes physically impossible. A pot of soup can be too heavy to lift. And there's all that time standing on your feet. It's one of the reasons that people move into assisted living facilities.

But a company called Chefs for Seniors has an alternative: They send professional cooks into seniors' homes. In a couple of hours they can whip up meals for the week.

You can take your drinks outside on Bourbon Street, but you can no longer bring your smokes indoors.

Effective Wednesday, New Orleans has banned smoking in bars, restaurants and casinos.

The New York Times published an intriguing look at the city's nightlife spots as the ban went into effect.

Here's an excerpt:

The Science of Snake Oil

Apr 22, 2015
Dave Baker / Flickr Creative Commons

We like to think of health care as an exact science: established guidelines, uniform practices, rigorously tested treatments vetted through extensive lab trials. Unfortunately this was neither the case  in the early days of medicine, nor is it the case today. It's shame that nearly 2500 years after the writing of Hippocrates' famous oath we'd still be wrestling with the ethics of best practice.

Kidney Health

Apr 22, 2015

Sleep

Apr 22, 2015

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. To help coax people to buy a health plan, the federal government now subsidizes premiums for millions of Americans.

peterspiro/iStock / Thinkstock

Mental disorders surpassed respiratory problems and all other ailments as the leading cause of hospitalization in Connecticut in 2012 for children ages five to 14, teenagers, and younger adults, according to a new state health department report.

Sal Pinna Finally Finds a Home

Apr 16, 2015
Susan Campbell / WNPR

I didn’t think the story would end this way.

Sal Pinna has been homeless for 20 years, since he came to Connecticut from his native Long Island to enroll in a substance abuse program. 

Pinna is a 52-year-old man who loves the Mets, Batman, and Dean Martin. He wants a home, but the myriad forms and appointments that are required have proven to be beyond him. Pinna has diabetes, and he’s been diagnosed with depression, and a few years ago, bipolar disorder. 

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In his new book, Ending Back Pain, New York spine neurosurgeon Jack Stern says there are five actions to take to treat an ailing back or keep your back in better shape, to avoid surgery.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

A Manchester social service agency will close its 40-bed homeless shelter July 1 rather than comply with a state order to admit homeless people who abuse alcohol and drugs. 

Allan Foster / Creative Commons

A bill that would give terminally ill patients the right to try experimental drugs and treatments currently not approved by the Food and Drug Administration is working its way through the state legislature. 

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No surgery. No medication. No drastic measures. Just healthy joints — for life!

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

The federal VA is trying to cut down the amount of time veterans are left waiting for care by hiring more health care professionals. For former service members, working at the VA may not be a tough sell.

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Thai basil chicken… joyful chocolate almond bars… no-bake cake… sweet potato and ground turkey shepherd's pie… it's all in the new book The Science of Skinny Cookbook, produced by the scientist Dee McCaffrey, who eliminated synthetic chemicals from her diet and went from obese to slender. Now she offers the recipes that have made her plan a success…

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The State Department of Public Health has just released 2013 data on Health Risk Behaviors in Connecticut’s High School Age Youth. This week, WNPR is focusing on one particularly troubling condition described in the report: self injury.

On Wednesday, we learned about how one Connecticut school district is trying to cope with a substantial rise in the number of high school students who are cutting themselves.

In part two, we bring you the story of a Connecticut man’s journey through mental illness and self-injury to recovery. 

Emad Ghazipura / Creative Commons

A new report compiled data from all traffic stops in Connecticut concludes that minority drivers are statistically more likely to be stopped by law enforcement than white drivers. 

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