Health

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In 1954, Roger Bannister did the previously unthinkable. He ran a mile in under four minutes. Six weeks later, his chief rival John Landy, did the same thing, and bettered Bannister's performance.

Thirteen months later, three other runners broke four minutes. Bear in mind that this had been considered impossible for as long as there had been time-keeping at track meets.

The Department of Defense says an attempt to ship inactive anthrax samples resulted in live samples being sent to labs in nine U.S. states and to a U.S. Air Force base in South Korea.

Fears of exposure to the potentially deadly disease prompted officials to advise four civilian workers to get preventive care; more than 20 military personnel are also being monitored. The samples were sent via commercial shipping companies, but the Pentagon says there is "no known risk to the general public."

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A Connecticut inventor has just patented a device that he hopes will help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. It’s based on a theory about radio waves.

The state senate has passed a workers compensation bill that towns and cities say would impose new "mega mandates" on them. 

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A new study shows Connecticut's seniors are the tenth healthiest in the nation.

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The City of Hartford is considering the creation of two new positions to boost participation in citywide youth sports programs.

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Most of us don’t know much about Workers’ Compensation until we need it - and your experience will depend a lot on where you live. 

Caps on benefits and higher bars to qualify as “injured” are a few of the changes made in most states beginning in the 1990’s to lower the cost of Workers’ Compensation. 

Employers say the program costs too much for them to remain competitive, and convinced legislators and unions on both sides of the aisle to reduce benefits. 

The future of Vermont’s health insurance exchange depends on the Shumlin administration’s ability to meet a looming deadline. Still unanswered, though, is the question of how to proceed if the milestone goes unmet. Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and top lawmakers think the solution might be in Connecticut.

In Pennsylvania, it's estimated opioids like heroin killed at least 1,300 people last year. In Massachusetts, more than 1,000 have died, and in Connecticut, heroin deaths jumped more than 85 percent in two years.

But figuring out the size and scope of the problem is harder than many people think.

Pennsylvania, like many states, doesn't require reporting of specific details on drug overdoses, and whatever other information is available is at least two years old.

The problem of opiate addiction in Maine is one that state Rep. Barry Hobbins knows something about. "One of my family members has been struggling with this dreaded addiction of opiates for six years," he says.

So when pharmaceutical company Pfizer — which makes opioids that have abuse-deterrent properties — asked Hobbins to sponsor a bill that would require insurance companies to cover these more expensive drugs at the same level as other opioids, he agreed.

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Scientists and thinkers from around the state will gather in Hartford next month for a panel discussion on 3D printing. The idea is to foster better conversations between researchers and the public.

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Does firefighting cause cancer? That's a question at the heart of a bill at the state legislature that would make it easier for firefighters who have certain cancers to get workers comp benefits. 

Susan Campbell

On April 23, after 20 years on the streets, Salvatore Pinna moved into a Hartford apartment. It was his first ever.

Pinna's is one of the success stories for Greater Hartford’s 100-day challenge to greatly reduce chronic homelessness.

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Rates of heavy drinking in Connecticut spiked 21.3 percent between 2005 and 2012, while binge drinking rates rose nearly 14 percent, with the largest increases among women drinkers, a new report shows.

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According to a 2014 report, more than 300,000 Connecticut households struggle to pay their energy bills. In fact, the average low-income household owes rougly $2,560 more in annual energy bills than it can actually afford.

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For one year, journalist Karen Brown set out to learn why more young doctors aren't choosing primary care. Her findings are now the subject of a new documentary, “The Path to Primary Care: Who Will Be The Next Generation of Frontline Doctors?” 

This hour, Karen joins us along with some primary care professionals to weigh in on the latest trends, and to tell us what the future of primary care looks like both here in the northeast and across America.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Officials at the UConn Health Center activated their Ebola protocols after a man who had recently returned from Liberia came to the hospital feeling ill. Late Wednesday, a test result came back negative for Ebola, but the patient tested positive for malaria.

Funkhouser Artists

New Haven's Long Wharf Theater and Yale University have teamed up for a symposium on stroke that combines medicine, history, and the arts.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Each night, the state helps pay for around 200 beds for women dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. The Tina Klem Serenity House in Bridgeport is one of them.

The politics of the Affordable Care Act in the state of Louisiana aren't subtle: The law isn't popular.

The state was part of the lawsuit to strike down Obamacare in 2012; it didn't expand Medicaid and has no plans to. Louisiana also didn't set up its own marketplace to sell health insurance.

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Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is sponsoring a bill to have the federal VA create a research center focused on the health of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were exposed to burn pits. Burn pits were used to get rid of all kinds of garbage on military bases. 

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It turns out hospital patients get woken up all night long for tests so doctors can have them in the morning at their convenience. A recent experiment at Yale New Haven Hospital, though, showed no patient appeared worse off when staff were told to let them sleep all night. That experiment was conducted at the direction of Yale's Dr. Michael Bennick, who is in charge of determining what "patient-centered care" should look like. 

On a recent sunny spring day, MIT students were lined up at a table grabbing ice cream sundaes, milk and cookies, and, if they were interested, an embrace.

“Yes, giving away ice cream and now hugs,” explained MIT parent Sonal Patel, of Cambridge, as she embraced Miguel Mendez, a native of Mexico who is doing post-doctoral research at MIT.

“It’s always good to know that people around the campus actually care about you as a person,” Mendez said. “This being an institution that expects a lot from you, it can really pass a toll on you sometimes.”

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A major insurer in the state has agreed to spend $11.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought against it by physicians organizations, including the Connecticut State Medical Society. 

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A panel of early care and education providers met on Wednesday in New Haven to discuss infant mental health with Congresswoman Rosa Delauro, who sits on the Congressional Baby Caucus.

Infant mental health focuses on the ways parents and caregivers can nurture the social and emotional development of children from birth to age three, a key time of brain development. 

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

Scientists saw the same phenomenon when the vaccine came to England and parts of Europe. And they see it today when developing countries introduce the vaccine.

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The book by a contributor to The New Yorker magazine, The Big Fat Surprise, is rocking the nutrition/health world.

After nine years spent analyzing scientific papers and conducting thousands of interviews with researchers and health officials, the author reports that conclusions about what makes a healthy diet are frequently wrong. 

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.

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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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