Health

Health
3:14 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Teens Who Feel Supported At Home And School Sleep Better

Solid friendships can help buffer life's stress.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:31 am

A teen's relationship — or lack of good relationship — with parents, pals or teachers may have a lot to do with why most kids aren't getting the nine to 10 hours of sleep that doctors recommend. The hormonal disruptions of puberty likely also play a role.

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Mental Health
10:43 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Rule Spells Out How Insurers Must Cover Mental Health Care

Insurance plans that offer mental health benefits have to keep them in line with the coverage for medical care.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:41 pm

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires health plans that offer benefits for mental health and substance use to cover them to the same extent that they cover medical and surgical care.

Among other things, the law prohibits treatment limits and copayments or deductibles that are more restrictive than a plan's medical coverage.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:01 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Blood Pressure is One Measure of Future Cardiovascular Disease

Dr. Paul Thompson, Chief of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital
Chion Wolf

Long before we knew how the cardiovascular worked, ancient doctors may have recognized what we call hypertension. It seemed like maybe there was too much blood, so they treated it with leeches. 

Even today, high blood pressure is a little bit mysterious. The way it's typically measured may be the wrong way. And, it's not caused by one single factor so no single drug treats all the things that cause high blood pressure. 

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Child Health
9:34 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Sandy Hook Mother Talks About Trauma in Children

The mother of a child killed in the Newtown school shootings spoke to staff at Connecticut Children's Medical Center Tuesday morning. Nelba Marquez-Greene was a featured speaker during a lecture on child traumatic stress and PTSD.

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Autism
4:56 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

New Yale Study Looks at Oxytocin and the Autistic Brain

smithereen 11 creative commons

A new Yale study offers hope for parents who have children with autism spectrum disorders. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the double-blind, placebo-controlled study consisted of 17 children and adolescents considered to have moderate- to high-functioning autism. 

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The Faith Middleton Show
11:21 am
Tue December 3, 2013

The Trauma of Everyday Life

Credit shaire productions/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: I'm featuring New York psychiatrist Dr. Mark Epstein's fascinating new book, The Trauma of Everyday Life, because it explains the big pay-off for learning to notice the small and big traumas we all experience daily in an unpredictable world. By comprehending these traumas, he says, we permit their release, which leads to less stress and a greater sense of feeling fully alive. Dr. Epstein is a Harvard trained psychiatrist with a private practice in New York City. He's interested in the interface of psychotherapy and Buddhist philosophy.

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Courts
2:47 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

N.H. Hospital Lab Tech Gets 39 Years In Hepatitis C Case

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 7:58 pm

A former lab technician at a New Hampshire hospital, who prosecutors say infected at least 46 people in four states with hepatitis C, was sentenced to 39 years in prison on Monday.

As NPR reported back in July, David Kwiatkowski crisscrossed the country as a medical technician and landed at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital.

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Children
9:38 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Toy Safety a Concern as Holiday Shopping Gets Underway

ConnPIRG's annual survey of toy safety warns that not all toys comply with stricter new laws.
Credit polica/iStockphoto / ConnPIRG

With the holiday shopping season underway, the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group has released its annual report on toy safety. Director Abe Scarr cautioned that parents and guardians need to watch out for toys with toxic chemicals on store shelves.

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Affordable Care Act
10:19 am
Sun December 1, 2013

HealthCare.gov Is Now Working Smoothly, White House Says

The HealthCare.gov website.
Jon Elswick ap

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 11:07 am

White House officials say the government's health insurance website, which has been plagued with problems ever since it launched in October, is now working smoothly for most users.

"The site is now stable and operating at its intended capacity with greatly improved performance," Jeffrey Zients, the president's appointee to fix the site, said during a telephone conference with reporters on Sunday. The bottom line, said Zients, is that Healthcare.gov is "night and day" from what it was at launch.

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Where We Live
3:00 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Organ Donation: Providing Life After Death

Caitlyn Bernabucci, LifeChoice Donor Services
Chion Wolf WNPR

Every day, around 80 people receive organ transplants in the U.S. But an average of 18 people die daily due to a shortage of much-needed organs, like kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs, even corneas.

One body donor can impact the lives of more than 50 people.

This hour, a conversation on organ donation and transplantation. Do you have personal experience with organ donation? Are you a donor or recipient? Why did you choose to be a donor? 

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Health
11:31 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Why We Give Thanks For The Health Benefits Of Cranberries

Zac Visco for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 9:08 pm

Many of us sitting down for Thanksgiving feasts today have made cranberries a part of our holiday table. And from a health perspective, those bitter, bright red berries should be on your list of things to be thankful for.

As my colleague Allison Aubrey has previously reported, the Pilgrims believed that cranberries could cure scurvy. They were wrong on their reasoning but right on the cure: The berries are packed with vitamin C.

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Affordable Care Act
4:30 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Small-Business Access To Online Health Exchanges Delayed Again

Small employers can still enroll in Affordable Care Act coverage through insurers or brokers, but not through the online exchanges.
iStockphoto

The Obama administration is delaying yet again online signup for small businesses through the Affordable Care Act. The program was intended to make it easier for small employers to provide health insurance to their workers on a more equal footing with big business.

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Memory
1:35 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Middle-Age "Senior Moments" Just Part of Aging

Credit Jordan Harrison Graphic / Connecticut Health I-Team

Everyone occasionally struggles to remember a name, blanks out on an appointment or forgets why they walked into the other room. But somewhere around age 40, those “senior moments” start to take on a new seriousness. They suddenly seem like scary signs of aging, perhaps harbingers of major memory loss to come.

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:03 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Tips on Animal Care

Credit Yukari/flickr creative commons

Today's show originally aired October 28, 2013.

Barking, fleas, Lyme disease, pet food, biting, housebreaking, shyness, pet insurance, animal rescue. Top flight advice from vet Dr. Todd Friedland. Don't miss his adventures with animals of all kinds.

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Fairfield
10:12 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Happy Anniversary! 81 Years And Counting For Conn. Couple

John Betar, 102, and his wife Ann, 98, at their home in Fairfield, Conn. They eloped on Nov. 25, 1932.
Michelle McLoughlin Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 10:02 am

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Medication
6:03 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

More Children Are Being Medicated For ADHD Than Before

iStockphoto

The number of children being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And families increasingly are opting for medications to treat kids. Two-thirds of children with a current diagnosis are being medicated — a jump of 28 percent from 2007 to 2011.

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Affordable Care Act
12:23 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Connecticut Rejects Individual Health Policy Fix

Governor Dannel Malloy extended the health care enrollment deadline to December 22.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy said he will not allow insurance companies to renew non-compliant health plans in Connecticut, rejecting President Obama's fix announced last week. The President left it to states to decide whether to adopt his change, which was a response to news that hundreds of thousands of people across the country had received insurance cancelation notices. 

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Disaster Relief
1:25 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

AmeriCares Ships $1 Million in Medical Aid to the Philippines

To date, Americares has delivered $1 miilion in medical aid to the Phillipines. The challenge for Amerciares, and other relief organizations is distributing the aid to the hardest hit areas.
Matthew McDermott Americares

Nearly two weeks ago Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the strongest storm on record, ravaged the Philippines. Survivors in the hardest-hit parts of that island nation are still in need of the most basic supplies, like food, water and shelter. On Wednesday, Philippine officials estimated the death toll from the storm at 4,000.

Stamford, Connecticut-based AmeriCares has been in the Philippines since the day after the typhoon, delivering medical supplies, and helping to rebuild hospitals.

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Survival
1:35 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

How To Prepare For Climate Disasters? Artist Says Dehydrate Food

Fan raises egg-laying hens in the yard behind his studio on Staten Island.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 5:59 pm

Emergency aid workers are rushing this week to get food aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines — just the latest reminder of how vulnerable the food supply can be when disaster hits.

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Gun Violence
6:14 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Study Suggests Social Networks Predict Victims of Gun Homicide

In the highest-crime area of Chicago, six percent of the population was involved in 70 percent of the murders, according to the Yale University study.
Credit supafly / Creative Commons

A new Yale University study suggests that social interactions are a key predictor of who becomes a victim of gun violence. According to the study, published in The American Journal of Public Health, who you hang out with may be more important than other factors like race and socioeconomic status.

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Emergency Care
1:32 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Over Half of Connecticut's Emergency Rooms Keep You Waiting Longer Than the National Average

Hartford Hospital claims a shorter ER wait time than the federal data shows.
Elipongo Creative Commons

In more than half of Connecticut’s emergency rooms, the waiting time to see a health-care provider exceeds the national average of 28 minutes – a problem that experts say could get worse, as thousands more residents obtain health insurance.

The average wait can stretch to an hour or more at Rockville General, Manchester Memorial, Bridgeport, Waterbury and Hartford hospitals, according to a C-HIT review of federal data. The statewide average waiting time is 30 minutes.

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Home Cooking
11:57 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Coffee Maker Cooking: Brew Up Your Next Dinner

Parallel processing: Couscous cooks in the coffee maker's carafe while broccoli and cauliflower steam in the basket.
Morgan Walker/ NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 7:36 pm

A few months ago, we introduced you to the wild world of dishwasher cooking. Poach salmon while cleaning dirty plates? No problem.

But some of you expressed concerns about having your sockeye sit so close to soapy water and the high energy cost of running a dishwasher.

Well, we've stumbled upon another wacky cooking method that may overcome these issues: using your coffee maker.

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Microbes
3:07 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Gut Bacteria Might Guide The Workings Of Our Minds

Illustration by Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:58 pm

Could the microbes that inhabit our guts help explain that old idea of "gut feelings?" There's growing evidence that gut bacteria really might influence our minds.

"I'm always by profession a skeptic," says Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. "But I do believe that our gut microbes affect what goes on in our brains."

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New Jersey
12:47 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

Princeton Meningitis Cases Spur Emergency Import Of Vaccine

Princeton University's Nassau Hall.
DANIEL HULSHIZER AP

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 3:48 pm

A seventh case since March of bacterial meningitis among students at New Jersey's Princeton University has federal health officials considering the use of "an emergency vaccine," The Star-Ledger writes.

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Connecticut Hospitals Take a Hit
3:32 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Medicare Penalizes Nearly 1,500 Hospitals For Poor Quality Scores

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 10:49 am

While the health law's insurance markets are still struggling to get off the ground, the Obama administration is moving ahead with its second year of meting out bonuses and penalties to hospitals based on the quality of their care. This year, there are more losers than winners.

Medicare has raised payment rates to 1,231 hospitals based on two-dozen quality measurements, including surveys of patient satisfaction and — for the first time — death rates. Another 1,451 hospitals are being paid less for each Medicare patient they treat for the year that began Oct. 1.

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Health Care
5:37 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Insurers Aren't Keen On Obama's Pledge To Extend Coverage

In a White House news conference Thursday, President Obama said he had thought that "98 percent" of policyholders would see no change in their current policies, or get a better deal.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:53 am

Remember when President Obama said, "If you like your health plan you can keep it?" Now it's more like, "If you like your health plan you can keep it — for another year, and only if your insurance company says it's OK."

It's not clear whether the administration's proposal to let insurers extend the policies they've been canceling for the past couple of months will solve the president's political problem. But it's sure not going over very well with the insurance industry.

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Technology
6:34 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

'Holy Cow' And 'Kangaroo Court': Panel Grills HealthCare.gov Officials

Todd Park, U.S. chief technology officer, answers questions in a House Oversight Committee hearing about problems with the federal HealthCare.gov site. One Democrat on the committee called the hearing "a kangaroo court."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:46 pm

A House oversight hearing examining the troubled start of HealthCare.gov was contentious from the start Wednesday, as Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sought to cut short the opening remarks of one of the first officials to speak, Frank Baitman, the deputy assistant secretary for Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, asked Baitman to conclude his statement, noting that the panel's time was short. The interruption came as Baitman discussed the work of his agency to save taxpayers money.

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Health Care
10:34 am
Wed November 13, 2013

More People Enroll in Private Insurance Than in Medicaid in Connecticut

Connecticut is the only state in the country to have enrolled more people in private insurance than Medicaid. Above is a picture of the Access Health CT Enrollment Center in New Britain.
Credit CT Mirror

Connecticut is the only state that has so far enrolled more people in private insurance plans than Medicaid since open enrollment began on October 1. Access Health CT has signed up about 6,000 people in private plans, and about 4,700 in government-funded Medicaid coverage, according to the Associated Press.

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:00 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Do Dogs Love Us the Way We Love Them?

Credit saxcubano/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: A neuroscientist has been working on decoding the canine brain, to answer the question of what dogs are thinking and feeling. So, do they love us the way we love them? Does a rescued dog understand you have rescued it, and feel grateful in a specific sense?

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Where We Live
8:00 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Access and Equity: Can We Get Affordable Care to All of Connecticut?

Last week we recorded the 2nd Health Equity Forum in the CPTV studios.
Credit Catie Talarski / WNPR

Last week, we recorded our second “Health Equity Forum” in collaboration with the Connecticut Health Foundation. In our first of these town halls, we began with these sobering statistics: In Connecticut, pregnant black women are 2x more likely to deliver a smaller baby early, black men are 2x more likely to die of prostate cancer than white men, with overall life expectancy for black men significantly shorter than for their white peers.

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