You can take your drinks outside on Bourbon Street, but you can no longer bring your smokes indoors.

Effective Wednesday, New Orleans has banned smoking in bars, restaurants and casinos.

The New York Times published an intriguing look at the city's nightlife spots as the ban went into effect.

Here's an excerpt:

The Science of Snake Oil

Apr 22, 2015
Dave Baker / Flickr Creative Commons

We like to think of health care as an exact science: established guidelines, uniform practices, rigorously tested treatments vetted through extensive lab trials. Unfortunately this was neither the case  in the early days of medicine, nor is it the case today. It's shame that nearly 2500 years after the writing of Hippocrates' famous oath we'd still be wrestling with the ethics of best practice.

Kidney Health

Apr 22, 2015


Apr 22, 2015

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. To help coax people to buy a health plan, the federal government now subsidizes premiums for millions of Americans.

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Mental disorders surpassed respiratory problems and all other ailments as the leading cause of hospitalization in Connecticut in 2012 for children ages five to 14, teenagers, and younger adults, according to a new state health department report.

Sal Pinna Finally Finds a Home

Apr 16, 2015
Susan Campbell / WNPR

I didn’t think the story would end this way.

Sal Pinna has been homeless for 20 years, since he came to Connecticut from his native Long Island to enroll in a substance abuse program. 

Pinna is a 52-year-old man who loves the Mets, Batman, and Dean Martin. He wants a home, but the myriad forms and appointments that are required have proven to be beyond him. Pinna has diabetes, and he’s been diagnosed with depression, and a few years ago, bipolar disorder. 

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In his new book, Ending Back Pain, New York spine neurosurgeon Jack Stern says there are five actions to take to treat an ailing back or keep your back in better shape, to avoid surgery.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

A Manchester social service agency will close its 40-bed homeless shelter July 1 rather than comply with a state order to admit homeless people who abuse alcohol and drugs. 

Allan Foster / Creative Commons

A bill that would give terminally ill patients the right to try experimental drugs and treatments currently not approved by the Food and Drug Administration is working its way through the state legislature. 

akunamatata/flickr creative commons

No surgery. No medication. No drastic measures. Just healthy joints — for life!

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

The federal VA is trying to cut down the amount of time veterans are left waiting for care by hiring more health care professionals. For former service members, working at the VA may not be a tough sell.

Natalie Maynor/flickr creative commons

Thai basil chicken… joyful chocolate almond bars… no-bake cake… sweet potato and ground turkey shepherd's pie… it's all in the new book The Science of Skinny Cookbook, produced by the scientist Dee McCaffrey, who eliminated synthetic chemicals from her diet and went from obese to slender. Now she offers the recipes that have made her plan a success…

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The State Department of Public Health has just released 2013 data on Health Risk Behaviors in Connecticut’s High School Age Youth. This week, WNPR is focusing on one particularly troubling condition described in the report: self injury.

On Wednesday, we learned about how one Connecticut school district is trying to cope with a substantial rise in the number of high school students who are cutting themselves.

In part two, we bring you the story of a Connecticut man’s journey through mental illness and self-injury to recovery. 

Emad Ghazipura / Creative Commons

A new report compiled data from all traffic stops in Connecticut concludes that minority drivers are statistically more likely to be stopped by law enforcement than white drivers. 

Natasha Vora / Creative Commons

Schools in Connecticut and across the nation are reporting a consistent rise in the number of students with mental health issues, and an increase in the complexity and severity of problems. This week, WNPR focuses attention on a particularly troubling condition: self-injury.

Beth Wetherington / Creative Commons

The CDC reports that about 1 in 68 American children has Autism Spectrum Disorder and that number has increased significantly over the last decade. But, it’s hard to know if autism is really on the rise or if greater awareness and better diagnosis are bringing previously undetected cases under the umbrella.

Flickr The Commons

Thousands of low-income adults and children have gained access to dental services in recent years as the number of dentists accepting Medicaid and HUSKY patients has soared, according to state data.

Sorin Popa/iStock / Thinkstock

The state has eliminated its sales tax on certain non-prescription medicines. The change will eliminate taxes on over-the-counter items like antacids, cough syrup, and pain medication. It also gets rid of the sales tax on dietary supplements and vitamins.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been five years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, and the law is still as contentious as ever. The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in King v. Burwell, a case challenging the distribution of Obamacare subsidies. 

Allan Ajifo/flickr creative commons

New techniques are being used by brain specialists to treat Parkinson's, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.

How Do You Get an ID When You Have No Home?

Apr 1, 2015
Susan Campbell / WNPR

It was a bitter cold Friday in March, and Sal Pinna was heading into the wind on Main Street in Hartford.

"Cold enough, but I don't feel a thing," Pinna said. "I guess I’m used to it."

Pinna, a Long Island native, has been homeless for 20 years in Connecticut, but he wants very much to get an apartment. He has in his backpack a xeroxed copy of his birth certificate – but that’s not good enough for official paperwork. Without proper identification, Pinna is stuck in shelters, or worse.


A judge has ruled a 17-year-old Connecticut girl who was forced to undergo chemotherapy by the state must remain in the temporary custody of the Department of Children and Families until her treatments are finished.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Advocates for juveniles want the state legislature to repeal a rarely used law that allows Connecticut's Department of Children and Families to request a youth be transferred to an adult prison. 

Philips Communications / Creative Commons

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act ended in February. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, uninsured Connecticut residents who just found out about the financial penalty in the law now have one more month to apply for coverage. 

Melissa Johnson/flickr creative commons

Pre-diabetes is not fun, but the way we eat can help us avoid developing it, as well as full blown adult-onset diabetes, says Dr. Reza Yavari of Connecticut.

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United Health, which has significant operations in Connecticut, says it will spend $12 billion to buy a pharmacy benefits management company. Catamaran Corporation, based in Illinois, will be merged with United Health’s existing pharmacy benefits unit OptumRx. 

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Healthbridge, the controversial New Jersey company, is to sell almost all of its nursing homes in Connecticut to a Florida partnership. Healthbridge was in and out of the headlines for years for poor labor relations as it locked workers out of one of its homes, sparking a strike at all of its unionized locations. 

Some of the seafood that winds up in American grocery stores, in restaurants, even in cat food may have been caught by Burmese slaves. That's the conclusion of a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press.

The AP discovered and interviewed dozens of men being held against their will on Benjina, a remote Indonesian island, which serves as the base for a trawler fleet that fishes in the area.

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A dispute between Governor Dannel Malloy and the federal government over Medicaid reimbursement rates could cost state taxpayers an extra $45 million.