Health

Drugstores
1:13 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

By Dropping Cigarettes, CVS Gives Its Reputation A Boost

A CVS pharmacy in Orlando, Fla., is one of more than 7,600 stores where the company will stop selling tobacco products by October.
John Raoux AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 6:24 pm

When drugstore chain CVS said Wednesday that it would stop selling tobacco products by October, the company also told investors that the move would probably cost it $2 billion a year in lost sales.

CVS says it has figured out unspecified ways to help make up for the profits from cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Read more
Cigarettes
7:28 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

Read more
Affording Prescription Drugs
12:06 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Marketplace Rules Could Hurt Assistance Programs For Costly Drugs

There's confusion about whether drugmakers can provide financial assistance to patients who buy health insurance on the exchanges.
Roel Smart iStockphoto

People who need expensive drugs to treat serious medical conditions often rely on drugmakers' assistance programs for help.

But it's uncertain whether the help will be allowed for people who buy health insurance on the marketplaces established by the federal health law.

With open enrollment ending in less than two months, federal rules remain unclear, leaving patients, advocates and drug programs in limbo.

Read more
Prescription Drugs
4:09 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Over-the-Counter Drugs: A Prescription for Confusion

Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

At Able Care Pharmacy and Medical Supplies in Enfield, Ashraf Moustafa often tries to avert disasters involving drugs displayed on his store’s shelves. 

Moustafa, the pharmacy manager, recently spoke to an elderly woman seeking ways to treat dark blue patches on her arms. Instead of suggesting any remedies, he asked the woman what medicines she was taking, and discovered that she was dangerously mixing over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs with aspirin and the prescription blood thinner Plavix. He sent the woman to the hospital, fearing that she was suffering from internal bleeding.

“People have the impression that if a drug is approved for over-the-counter use, then it must be much safer than prescription medicine,” Moustafa says. “That’s when trouble happens.”

Read more
Health Insurance Costs
11:56 am
Mon February 3, 2014

10 Places Where Health Insurance Costs The Most

Health insurance premiums in Aspen, Colo., are among the highest in the country.
Andrew Wilz AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 2:12 pm

If you are buying health coverage in the Colorado ski resort towns, the Connecticut suburbs of New York City or a bunch of otherwise low-cost rural regions of Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada, you have the misfortune of living in the most expensive insurance marketplaces under the new health law.

Read more
Teen Health
3:27 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Most Teens Aren't Active Enough, And It's Not Always Their Fault

The CDC would be happy with these guys, who were playing in Birmingham, Ala., in July 2013. Teenage boys say basketball is their favorite activity.
Mark Almond AL.COM /Landov

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:43 am

Sure, you think, my kid's on a football team. That takes care of his exercise needs, right? Probably not.

"There are these bursts of activity," says Jim Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "But if you think about it, one hour of playing football out on the field means that the vast majority of that time is spent standing around waiting for the next play."

Read more
Athlete Safety
3:26 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Young Athletes Risk Back Injury By Playing Too Much

A West Coast team player kicks the ball during a match at the Adidas Challenges America's Youth Soccer Stars tournament in Venice, Calif.
Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 9:27 am

Jack Everett sat on his living room couch wearing a back brace, eyes glued to a massive TV set playing his favorite video game, NHL 2013.

"I'm the Boston Bruins," the 10-year-old said as he deftly worked the video controls. "The guy that just shot was Milan Lucic. He's a really good guy on our team."

Whether at home or during recess at his elementary school in suburban Los Angeles, Jack's young life now is about sitting still.

"Well, I can eat lunch with friends, and I play cards," Jack says. But his classmates are out running and jumping outside.

Read more
Housing
1:31 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

State Cuts Funding for Agencies That Provide Housing Support for the Severely Mentally Ill

Housing in Stamford.
Credit Carmine Salvatore/iStock / Thinkstock

The state has made a funding cut to housing that supports those with severe mental illness. Agencies that serve these clients said they'll have to look for creative ways to make up the difference.

Read more
Heart Health
10:13 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Popular Testosterone Therapy May Raise Risk Of Heart Attack

Some men take testosterone hoping to boost energy and libido, or to build strength. But at what risk?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 12:06 pm

There's new evidence that widely prescribed testosterone drugs — touted for men with flagging libidos and general listlessness — might increase the risk of heart attacks.

A study of more than 55,000 men found a doubling of heart attack risk among testosterone users older than 65, compared with men who didn't take the drug.

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Delivering by C-Section

Theresa Morris is a professor of Sociology at Trinity College and the author of "Cut It Out: The C-Section Epidemic in America"
Chion Wolf WNPR

Over 30 percent of women deliver their babies by Caesarean section in the United States, a significant increase over the five percent of women undergoing the surgical procedure in 1970, and a change that, overall, has not improved the health of newborns.

Read more
Child Victims
8:32 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Sex Trafficking Isn't Just an Overseas Problem

Audrey Morrissey, DMST Expert, Associate Director of My Life My Choice.
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

A woman who was was forced into prostitution as a teenager spoke at the state's first conference on domestic sex trafficking. 

Audrey Morrissey, 51, is a Massachusetts resident who detailed how she was forced into prostitution after suffering from low self-esteem and lack of nurturing at home. She eventually turned her life around, and now counsels young girls through the initiative, My Life My Choice

Read more
Health Research
5:39 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Video Games Aim to Reduce Risky Behavior Among Teens, Young Adults

Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

Women’s health is the next frontier for a team of medical researchers at Yale who believe video games can be powerful tools in the fight against HIV and other serious diseases.

For the last several years, Yale’s Play2Prevent lab has been a hub of collaboration between doctors and computer programmers testing the capacity of games to educate users and, perhaps, even change risky behavior. Their work is part of a fast-growing movement in public health to better understand how virtual gaming environments can improve players’ lives in the real world.

Read more
This is your brain on music!
10:50 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Watkinson Extended Play: Using Music as Medicine

The crowd at Watkinson School.
Chion Wolf WNPR

There is nothing particularly new about the idea that music can be a palliative or a distraction from pain or physical discomfort associated with illness. But over the last 25 years or so, we’ve seen a rising tide of interest in some that lies well beyond that -- a frontier where music’s actual therapeutic and even, curative powers can be discovered.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
10:45 am
Wed January 29, 2014

The Healing Power of Music: Colin McEnroe at Watkinson School

Kate Callahan and her band play at Watkinson School.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A lot of interconnected things were happening in the 1990s, an oncologist and hematologist  named Mitchell Gaynor discovered trough a Tibetan monk, the so-called singing bowls and began incorporating them into the guided meditation and breathing work he did with his patients.

Read more
Kids and Guns
2:08 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Yale Study Examines Rate Youth Are Hospitalized for Gun Injuries

In 2009, 7,391 young people were hospitalized for gun injuries.
Spotmatik/iStock Thinkstock

Firearm injuries are the second leading cause of death among children in the U.S., but there has been scarce information available about the number of young people nationwide who are hospitalized because of gun injuries. 

Now Yale researchers have analyzed hospital data, and their study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. 

Read more
Vaccines
1:12 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

How Vaccine Fears Fueled The Resurgence Of Preventable Diseases

Council on Foreign Relations

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 7:41 am

For most of us, measles and whooping cough are diseases of the past. You get a few shots as a kid and then hardly think about them again.

But that's not the case in all parts of the world — not even parts of the U.S.

As an interactive map from the Council on Foreign Relations illustrates, several diseases that are easily prevented with vaccines have made a comeback in the past few years. Their resurgence coincides with changes in perceptions about vaccine safety.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
10:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Talking About HIV/AIDS in 2014

AIDS medications that Karina Danvers takes.
Chion Wolf WNPR

"Dallas Buyer's Club" covers a lot of the same ground as an Oscar-nominated documentary about AIDS from last year, "How To Survive A Plague." Each film covers the time from mid-to-late 1980s when the disease struck, when there was no accepted or effective medical treatment, when the patients themselves had to push for better research and faster tracks to bring drugs to market.

Read more
Emergency Care
8:52 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Connecticut's Emergency Rooms Earn a C Grade in New Study

Credit Stockbyte / Stockbyte / Thinkstock

A new study of emergency medicine ranks Connecticut 15th overall. One of the biggest concerns is wait time.

The study, by the American College of Emergency Physicians, gives Connecticut an average grade of C, saying the state has a low rate of fatal injury and its residents have generally good health. 

Read more
Polar Vortex
4:36 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

How A Little Chill In The Air Could Help You Lose Weight

Researchers say that setting your thermostat a little lower can help you burn more calories.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 8:11 am

When it comes to tackling obesity, eating right and staying active are usually the way to go. But a research team in the Netherlands says there's an environmental factor that might help and that is often overlooked: the cold.

We're not talking bone-chilling temperatures that'll make you shiver endlessly, but a milder cold between 62 and 77 degrees.

Read more
Medicine
7:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

New Anxiety Research Targets Brain Using Magnets

New research underway at Hartford Hospital is using targeted magnetic pulses and MRI imaging to treat generalized anxiety disorder.
Credit Digital Vision / Thinkstock

Patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder usually have two treatment options: medication or counseling. But new research underway at Hartford Hospital is looking to add a third choice -- magnets.

Read more
Stereotypes
1:55 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

New Study Suggests Exposure to Weight Stigma is Unhealthy

Credit Alliance/iStock / Thinkstock

Exposure to weight stigma actually causes physiological stress in women, according to a new Yale University study published in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Read more
Latinos and Health
8:08 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Diabetes, Cost Of Care Top Health Concerns For U.S. Latinos

A customer buys produce at the Euclid Market in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles in December. The market was reopened in 2013 as part of a project to promote healthy eating among the city's Hispanic population.
Courtesy of UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:57 pm

Latino immigrants in the U.S. say the quality and affordability of health care is better in the U.S. than in the countries they came from, according to the latest survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. But many report having health care problems.

Read more
Obesity
3:37 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Cash Or Credit? How Kids Pay For School Lunch Matters For Health

Lunch at the West Salem School District in Wisconsin.
Michelle Kloser for NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:39 pm

American kids have a problem with obesity, according to the most recent studies. In fact, the closest thing we have to good news about childhood obesity is that kids are not gaining weight as rapidly as they were some years ago.

Researchers may have identified one surprising new factor in why kids are overeating.

Read more
Epic Epidemiology
4:23 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

How Do Scientists Track Connecticut Flu Outbreaks?

Officials from the Connecticut Department of Public Health say there have been 1,029 influenza reports so far this season.
Credit Stacey Newman/iStock / Thinkstock

Getting an accurate count on flu numbers can be tricky. More than 1,000 cases of flu have been reported in Connecticut this season, but how does the Connecticut Department of Public Health arrive at that number?

Read more
Obamacare
3:30 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

State Health Coverage Sign-Ups Paint A Complex Obamacare Picture

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, unveils a marketing campaign for the exchange in Los Angeles late last year.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Obamacare enrollment surged in December, and the administration's report on the numbers made headlines early this week.

But the national figures tend to obscure the differences from state to state.

Read more
Drugs
3:00 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

FDA Asks Doctors To Stop Prescribing High-Dose Acetaminophen

The prescription painkiller sold under the brand-name Vicodin contains hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. To reduce the risk of liver damage, the Food and Drug Administration is moving to limit the amount of acetaminophen allowed in prescription medicines.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 11:17 am

The pain reliever acetaminophen is easy on the stomach. But at high doses, the drug can be hell on the liver.

Now the Food and Drug Administration is asking doctors to refrain from prescribing drugs that contain high doses of acetaminophen to minimize the risk of liver damage.

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in nonprescription Tylenol. But it's also inside quite a few prescription pain pills, including Vicodin and Percocet.

Read more
Affordable Care Act
9:27 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Anthem Customers Await Health Care Confirmations

Credit vichie81/iStock / Thinkstock

Health insurer Anthem is still playing catch up on issuing enrollment confirmation to Connecticut consumers who’ve signed up for coverage through the state’s health care exchange.

Read more
Health Exchange
9:19 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Access Health CT Board Meets

Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT.
Credit CT-N

The board of directors of Access Health CT met on Thursday morning to hear an update on operations, information technology, and marketing and sales, among other topics. Catch up on the minutes of prior meetings here

Read more
Where We Live
8:16 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Mean Girls... and Boys

Credit Noah Strycker/iStock / Thinkstock

Rosalind Wiseman's book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, became a bestseller and was inspiration for the popular movie "Mean Girls." While the movie was hilarious and painful to watch, the book took a more serious look at new ways to understand girls’ social dynamics. 

Read more

Pages