Health

When I first met Shaun Tullar, he was locked up in the Vista Detention Facility in San Diego County, Calif.

He was being held in what the jail calls the vets pod — a ring of cells for veterans to live together like a military unit. We met in a room that felt like a school classroom, but with military flags on the walls, and guards at the door.

Yale University

Getting an autism diagnosis can take months, even years of doctor's visits, and the diagnosis depends largely on watching a child play. As a result, who gets put on the spectrum and who doesn't can depend on who and where the doctor is.

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Access to health care has improved significantly since Obamacare, with big gains for previously uninsured minorities who were unable to gain access before the law took effect. But insurance isn’t the only barrier to overcome. Entrenched cultural beliefs and the way we deliver care can also limit access.

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People quarantined in the United States of America for suspicion of Ebola had their rights violated for reasons that weren't medically justified. That's the conclusion of a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union and Yale University.

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Lung cancer survivor Phyllis Medvedow has continued to remain positive throughout her diagnosis and treatment, a mindset she believes has made all the difference.

The shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., was the 355th mass shooting in the U.S. this year — or more than one per day on average so far in 2015 — according to groups monitoring such attacks in recent years.

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Connecticut's hospitals are threatening to take the state to court over a hefty tax that amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars this year alone, and it's part of an ongoing  tension between the hospitals and Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy.

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Black women with breast cancer fare worse than other women when treated with early chemotherapy, according to new research from the Yale Cancer Center.

The Placebo Effect

Dec 1, 2015
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Placebo treatments have been making people feel better for a long time. They've been working since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight, after all hope for a medical cure had been lost.  

Doctors have long dismissed the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments that sometimes fail where placebo works well, including in surgical procedures like arthroscopy, a popular procedure that relieves the pain of arthritic knees. 

Artie Aiken used to have stomach problems. During World War II, he served on bases in Connecticut and Texas instead of going overseas. When he got back to Vermont, a doctor prescribed goat milk – and things were never the same.

Urban foraging might call to mind images of hipsters picking food out of the trash.

But one group in Massachusetts eats only the finest, freshest produce. The League of Urban Canners harvests fruit from trees in Cambridge and Somerville and turns it into jam.

Sam Christy, a local high school teacher, started the league four years ago.

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In the weeks following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, Hartford Hospital trauma surgeon Dr. Lenworth Jacobs took a close look at patterns of injury the victims suffered. Using lessons learned from the military in Iraq and Afghanistan, he and a group of medical experts, law enforcement, and fire and rescue professionals helped to develop a new national protocol  for medical first responders  in active shooter and mass casualty events.

Now, Jacobs is advocating for a next step: preparing immediate responders. 

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Connecticut had one of the highest rates in the nation of motor vehicle fatalities in which drivers were alcohol impaired in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available -- 41 percent, compared to the national average of 31 percent, according to federal estimates.

Many Health Co-Ops Fold, Others Survive Startup Struggles

Nov 26, 2015

Thousands of Americans are again searching for health insurance after losing it for 2016. That's partly because some large, low-cost insurers — health cooperatives, set up under the Affordable Care Act — are folding in a dozen states.

Consumers seeking health policies with the most freedom in choosing doctors and hospitals are finding far fewer of those plans on the insurance marketplaces. And the premiums are rising faster than for other types of coverage.

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Mike Boyle was diagnosed with a rare form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 19.

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A nationwide shortage of saline solution, a fluid commonly used in I.V. bags in hospitals, is prompting response from the U.S. Senate. 

Saline solution is, essentially, sterile salt water. It's used in hospitals to hydrate patients and to mix and dilute medication.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

On Friday, an interfaith coalition gathered at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to condemn terrorism and Islamophobia after last weekend's Paris attacks. 

Aliyya Swaby / New Haven Independent

A young Syrian family is now living in New Haven after Indiana officials objected to plans for the refugees to resettle in their state. Local officials scrambled to accommodate the family of three. 

Neva Caldwell On Facing Cancer Without Fear

Nov 19, 2015
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Neva Caldwell is a 15-year lymphoma survivor who found that positive thinking  decreased her stress and lessened her fears.

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The civil war in Syria has claimed thousands of lives and led millions of Syrians to seek refuge in other countries, including the U.S. Federal officials said just 2,100 of them have been resettled in the U.S. so far.

In Connecticut, there's been a developing grassroots effort over the last several months to help Syrian refugees.

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When it comes to giving birth, white women have better health care outcomes than black and Hispanic women. That's according to a new study, which examined hospital re-admission rates following delivery in Connecticut. 

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NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock said law enforcement and African-American communities need to come together to talk about their concerns to help ease tensions, but lawmakers must also address aggressive policing nationwide.

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There's a bill in Congress that could expand a unique legal-medical partnership in Connecticut to the rest of the country. 

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 A group of doctors, scientists, and engineers announced an ambitious new medical goal this week in Hartford: they'll attempt to re-generate a human knee and a human limb. 

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It's not uncommon to see someone wearing a prosthesis, especially after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sent many veterans home minus a limb. While losing a limb is a life-changing event, a good prosthetist can "carve" a prosthesis with just the right fit. It's a long process that can take years to perfect. 

Limbs today vary from simple body-powered prostheses moved by cables to a "fully robotic arm that has 26 joints, can curl 45 pounds and is controlled by the wearer's mind." As the stigma of a prosthesis lessens, amputees are seeking enhancement over replacement, opting for limbs that transcend what's biologically possible, even if lacking the aesthetic of a natural limb.

Mark Tardie On the Importance of Showing Up for Treatment

Nov 12, 2015
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On average, around seven percent of pancreatic cancer patients survive five years. Mark Tardie has been cancer-free for 12.

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Health insurance co-ops are companies that were given federal incentives to compete for business under the Affordable Care Act. Roughly two dozen of them set up shop across the country. Now, only half are still in business, and one of them is in Connecticut. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut has received national attention for juvenile justice reforms, like its efforts to reduce the number of kids in the system. But advocates say a black eye remains.

For years, critics of the Connecticut Juvenile Training School have called on lawmakers to close the facility for delinquent boys, saying youth -- especially with a history of trauma -- aren't being helped. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Standing in Hartford’s downtown library, Salvatore Pinna was over the moon. He met a woman. Life could not be sweeter.

The last time we checked on Pinna, he’d just moved into a Hartford apartment after some 20 years on the street – some of that time, literally on the street. 

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