Health

Heroin
11:35 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Senators Blumenthal and Murphy Outline Plan to Combat Heroin Epidemic

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy joined health advocates, law enforcement, and local service providers today to talk about the growing heroin problem in Connecticut. 

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Congress
6:03 am
Sat March 15, 2014

House Passes Payment Fix For Medicare Docs, But At What Cost?

Medicare's payments to doctors will likely be slashed April 1, unless the U.S. Senate can quickly get a derailed compromise back on track.
iStockphoto

Bipartisan support dissolved this week for compromise legislation that would have fixed a longstanding problem with the way Medicare pays physicians. Though the bill passed the House of Representatives Friday, it now contains a provision almost certain to invite veto unless a Senate version can quickly nudge the ultimate bill back toward compromise.

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Patient Care
10:04 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Hospitals Plead for Tax Phase-Out

Hospitals said in the coming year, the tax will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.
Credit DigiDreamGrafix.com / Creative Commons

Hospital executives and employees spoke out at a legislative hearing about the imposition of a tax that they said has had a detrimental effect on patient care in recent years.

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Health Care
9:25 am
Fri March 14, 2014

State Lawmakers Consider Requiring Providers to Offer Some Hepatitis C Screenings

Credit Stockbyte / Thinkstock

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill on Friday that would require primary health care providers to offer baby boomers a screening test for Hepatitis C, a contagious liver disease. The proposed legislation would affect patients born between 1945 and 1965.

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Lowering Cholesterol
12:00 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Statins Might Not Cause Aching Muscles, But Diabetes Risk Is Real

Statins are widely prescribed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but we may not be getting a clear picture of side effect risks.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:22 pm

People taking cholesterol-lowering statins often report having muscle pain and other side effects. Many quit taking the pills as a result.

But the statins aren't to blame, according to an analysis that found muscle problems no more likely with statins than with a placebo pill.

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Nutrition
10:47 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Advice For Eating Well On A Tight Budget, From A Mom Who's Been There

JuJu Harris is the author of The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook. A former recipient of government food assistance, she now teaches healthy eating skills to low-income families in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of Molly M. Peterson

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:47 pm

JuJu Harris didn't set out to write a cookbook, but then again, she didn't set out to accept public assistance to feed her son, either. Harris always wanted to work with nature.

"My dream job was, I was going to grow up and be a national park ranger," she says. It didn't quite work out that way. She drifted from job to job in Oakland, Calif., where she was born. At 32, she joined the Peace Corps, traveling to Paraguay to help local farmers improve their crops.

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Medication
2:24 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Healthier Patients May Have To Wait For Costly Hepatitis C Drugs

Sovaldi, a daily oral treatment for hepatitis C, costs $1,000 a pill.
Courtesy of Gilead Sciences

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 5:43 pm

Expensive new drugs for hepatitis C may work better than older treatments, but their high cost undermines their value, a panel of experts said Monday during a daylong forum in San Francisco.

"The price makes it very hard for the health care system," said Steve Pearson, who oversaw the meeting for the California Technology Assessment Forum, a group affiliated with health insurers that holds public meetings to weigh evidence on new treatments.

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Infectious Disease
7:13 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Measles Is Back in Connecticut, New York and Other States

Credit RidvanArda/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut's Department of Public Health reported two cases of measles in Fairfield County on Tuesday. This follows several cases in New York City, and a spike in the number of cases last year, even though the disease has already been virtually eliminated from the U.S. since 2000.

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Addiction
3:32 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

U.S. Attorney General Suggests Police Carry Narcan

Credit Bludgeoner86 on Flickr Creative Commons

There's widespread attention on an increase in heroin overdoses nationwide. On Monday, U.S Attorney General Eric Holder called it an "urgent public health crisis" and suggested law enforcement carry Narcan or naloxone, a drug that can reverse opiate overdoses. 

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Influences Online
2:57 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Of Cigs And Selfies: Teens Imitate Risky Behavior Shared Online

High school students whose friends posted photos of drinking and smoking were about 20 percent more likely to become drinkers or smokers themselves.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:59 am

Teenagers put a lot of stock in what their peers are doing, and parents are forever trying to push back against that influence. But with the advent of social media, hanging out with the wrong crowd can include not just classmates, but teenagers thousands of miles away on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

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Teen Homelessness
7:37 am
Fri March 7, 2014

A Homeless Teen Finds Solace In A Teacher And A Recording

Celeste Davis-Carr, a high school English teacher in Chicago, learned her student Aaron was homeless from a recording for the StoryCorpsU program.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

Aaron didn't intend to tell his classmates that he was homeless. But when he recorded his own story with StoryCorpsU — a project designed to help kids in high-needs schools build stronger relationships with their teachers — he says, it just came out.

"I felt ... like a big load was let off," Aaron explains. (NPR has withheld Aaron's last name, at the request of his foster care agency, to protect his privacy.) "I don't know what made me say it, but I'm like, 'Let me just be honest and just get it out.' "

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Eat Fresh?
6:34 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Almost 500 Foods Contain The 'Yoga Mat' Compound. Should We Care?

Going, going, gone. You won't find azodicarbonamide in Nature's Own products. And Subway is phasing it out, too. But lots of manufacturers are still using the additive.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 12:55 pm

That compound found in commercially baked bread — yep, the one that's in yoga mats, too — is in the news again.

A report from the Environmental Working Group finds that the compound, azodicarbonamide, is found in close to 500 food products, from Pillsbury Dinner Rolls to Little Debbie products to Wonder Bread.

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Legislative Session
6:20 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Poll Shows Support for Bill to Aid Suicide for Terminally Ill

Credit photonewman/iStock / Thinkstock

A new poll shows Connecticut voters strongly support legislation allowing doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

What's In A Name?

Credit kaatjevevoort / Flickr Creative Commons

Just last week, a Tennessee judge ruled that the parents of a baby boy they named “Messiah,” must change his name to Martin.

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Clean Water
4:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick

Current water-filtering technology is costly, but MIT scientists are testing a simpler and cheaper method that uses wood from white pine trees.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:25 pm

Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.

The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.

Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.

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Understanding Death
3:10 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Remembering Dr. Sherwin Nuland, Author of "How We Die"

Dr. Sherwin Nuland.

Best-selling author Dr. Sherwin Nuland has died. His 1994 book, How We Die, took on the medical establishment and its unwinnable fight with death. 

How We Die describes the messy, often harrowing process of dying. 

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Spider Venom
11:43 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Could Tarantula Venom Cure Your Aches and Pains?

Researchers at Yale have identified what they say is a more efficient way to screen thousands of spider neurotoxins against different pain receptors in the body. Above, the Peruvian Green Velvet tarantula.
Credit Yale University

Spider venom could be the next big thing to cure pain, according to research reported in the March issue of Current Biology from Yale University.

There are a lot of different components in venom. And here’s a cheery thought: not every part is out to kill you. 

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Maternity Care
1:03 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Health Law Provides No Guarantees Of Access To Birthing Centers

Nurse midwife Danielle Kraessig seen meeting with Yakini Branch at the PCC South Family Health Center in Berwyn, Ill., in early 2013. While the federal law requires insurers to cover maternity services, birthing centers and midwifery services aren't always included.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:48 pm

Insurance coverage for maternity care is required in most individual and small group plans under the federal health law, extending such coverage to plans where it used to be rare. But for women who prefer services provided by midwives and birthing centers, there are no coverage guarantees, despite the law's provisions that prohibit insurers from discriminating against licensed medical providers.

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Decibels
12:36 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Should Noise in Connecticut Movie Theaters Be Regulated?

Credit Kenneth Lu / Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a proposal that would establish a maximum decibel level at movie theaters across the state. The General Assembly's Public Safety and Security Committee heard testimony during a public hearing on Tuesday, including from Joseph Masher, the chief operating officer of Bow Tie Cinemas.

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Health Equity
9:18 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Hypertension: Disparities Widen for Black Women

Blood pressure screenings are part of a long-term solution to hypertension among black women, according to experts.
Credit College of DuPage

Hypertension rates among women in all eight Connecticut counties increased from 2001 to 2009, with disparities widening for African American women compared to whites and Hispanics, according to a C-HIT analysis of data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

In fact, nearly one out of every two African American women living in Connecticut suffers from hypertension, a life-threatening condition that can lead to heart attack, stroke and kidney disease, research shows.

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Radiation
6:22 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

Potassium Iodide Pills to Be Distributed Near Millstone Nuclear Plant

Potassium iodide tablets.
Credit stripes.com

Connecticut is about to receive about 1.3 million potassium iodide pills to be distributed to towns in a ten-mile emergency planning zone around Millstone Power Station in Waterford. The pills protect against radiation in a severe nuclear plant accident.

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Access Health CT
7:31 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Connecticut Looks To Sell Its Obamacare Exchange To Other States

Kevin Counihan, CEO of Connecticut's health insurance exchange, hopes to be able to market their expertise.
Jeff Cohen/NPR

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 11:14 am

Kevin Counihan, the CEO of Access Health CT, is walking through the 15th floor of a downtown Hartford office building that houses Connecticut's health insurance marketplace. He passes the legal department, the IT folks and the consultants, then stops in front of three large, wall-mounted computer screens.

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For Your Health!
11:55 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Dr. Yogi: Physicians Integrate Yoga Into Medical Practice

Yoga may be more than just an exercise. In Maryland, doctors are learning how to use yoga instead of drugs to treat various medical problems.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 7:50 am

Rajan Narayanan isn't your average yoga instructor. During his classes, he uses words like "neuroplasticity," avoids Sanskrit terms and sometimes shows up to teach in a suit and tie.

And often, as was the case on a recent Monday at a Maryland conference center, most of his students are doctors and nurses.

Stretched out on orange and green yoga mats for a weekend-long workshop, the 30 students learned breathing techniques, lifestyle tips and research findings that support the health benefits of yoga.

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Health Care
4:20 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Massachusetts Launches Health Care Shopping Experiment

Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts signed the law enacting the state's latest phase of health care on August 6, 2012.
Eric Haynes/Governor Deval Patrick's Office

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:08 pm

To shop for health care, it would help to know what childbirth or a CT scan will cost ahead of time. But is it possible to actually list prices for medical procedures? And will patients armed with the information look for bargains when they seek care?

Massachusetts is trying to find out. Since Jan. 1, hospitals and doctors there have been required to tell patients how much things cost, if they ask. It's part of the state's health care cost control law. We set out to run a test.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:00 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Broccoli is Best!

Credit whologwy, Flickr Creative Commons

Somehow, kale has become trendy in the last few years, although its moment in the sun seems to be almost over. How did a thing like that happen? Would it be possible to infuse an old standby like broccoli with a similar hip panache? Broccoli is the warmest vegetable, and the coolest.

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Prison Health Care
3:46 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Connecticut Parolees May Receive Easier Access to Health Care

A new budget proposal could allow certain parolees to sidestep a federal law and access health care in the community.
Credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images News / Thinkstock

When Milton Vereen got out of jail, he went to a halfway house. The idea was simple. He'd find a job. He'd look for housing. He'd reintegrate into his New Haven neighborhood and cut his ties to prison.

Except one tie was holding him back: his medical care.

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Health Marketplace
4:12 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Bill Could Allow Access Health CT to Negotiate Prices

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

A legislative committee wants to delay for a year when the state's insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, could begin negotiating prices with the insurance companies selling products through the exchange. 

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Food Moods
7:55 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Sriracha Chemistry: How Hot Sauces Perk Up Your Food And Your Mood

Can you name the five main ingredients in Sriracha?
Reactions YouTube

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 11:33 am

Anyone who has ever drizzled, doused or — heck — drenched their food with Sriracha knows the hot sauce can make almost any dish taste better.

But could these spicy condiments also make us a little happier?

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Screenings
3:46 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Mammogram Uncertainty Gives Patients, Doctors More Reason To Talk

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 7:46 am

I am 51 years old and have had a yearly mammogram, more or less, since the age of 40.

I got them despite the fact that there is no history of breast cancer in my family. I did it because that was what my doctor and others, including the American Cancer Society, recommended.

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in situ breast cancer after a screening mammogram. I underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy. The doctors say my prognosis is good.

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Affordable Care Act
11:34 am
Mon February 24, 2014

State's Obamacare Website Now Up In Spanish

Credit Access Health CT

We recently told you about the challenge of getting a Spanish language enrollment website up and running for the state’s Obamacare agency, Access Health CT. Now, it appears that site is live

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