Health

Pedestrian Fatalities
8:15 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Connecticut Ranks 27th For Pedestrian Safety

F Delventhal Creative Commons

Connecticut ranks 27th among 50 states when it comes to pedestrian safety, according to Dangerous By Design, a new report compiled by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. 

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Breast Cancer
5:16 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Anxiety And MRIs May Be Driving The Rise In Double Mastectomies

More women are choosing double mastectomy even if they don't have a high cancer risk.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 10:21 am

The number of women getting double mastectomies after a breast cancer diagnosis has been rising in the past 10 years, even though most of them don't face a higher risk of getting cancer in the other breast.

That has cancer doctors troubled, because for those women having the other breast removed doesn't reduce their risk of getting breast cancer again or increase their odds of survival. And they don't know why women are making this choice.

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Technology
11:44 am
Wed May 21, 2014

When Doctors Play This Game, You Get Better Medical Care

Hey docs! Play this online game and learn how to do a better job of getting our blood pressure under control!
Lisa F. Young iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 3:29 pm

Doctors are required to keep current on best medical practices, but those efforts all too often don't do a thing to improve patient care. But what if the class is a game — one that lets you compete against other doctors and show off your smarts?

Plus you get funny emails. Oh, and your patients get better, too.

That's the gist of an online game tested at eight Boston-area hospitals to see if it could improve treatment of high blood pressure by getting practitioners to follow recommended treatment guidelines.

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Mental Health
9:20 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Marathon Bombing Study Makes Link Between Brain and Trauma

Boylston Street in Boston on April 24, 2013, nine days after the Boston Marathon bombing.
Rebecca Hildreth Creative Commons

When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred, neuroscientists at Harvard University were midway through a study on trauma and the adolescent brain. As a result, they said they were able to make some new scientific links between PTSD and media exposure.

Last April, Professor Katie McLaughlin and her colleagues at Harvard were studying the brains of young people who’d been through serious adversity. They had recruited about 150 children and teens. Half had reported early trauma or stress, and half had not.

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School Cafeterias
8:29 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Lawmakers Seek Delay On Healthy Lunch Rules For Schools

Some schools say they're having a tough time implementing new nutrition rules requiring more whole grains, more veggies and less fat.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 5:57 pm

How hard can it be for school cafeterias to swap white bread for whole-grain tortillas, cut sodium, and nudge kids to put more fruit and vegetables on their trays?

Tougher than you might imagine, according to some schools.

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Suicide
6:39 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Task Force Says Asking All Patients About Suicide Won't Cut Risk

Alexandra Thompson iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 9:26 pm

Suicide remains a leading cause of death in the United States, especially among teenagers and young adults. Anything that could reduce the toll would be good.

But asking everyone who goes to the doctor if he is considering suicide isn't the answer, according to a federal panel that evaluated the effectiveness of existing screening tools for suicide. They found there wasn't enough evidence to know whether screening the general public helps or hurts.

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Pharmaceuticals
4:16 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Use of ADHD Drugs Rose Sharply Among Adults, Especially Women

Devonyu Thinkstock

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder isn’t just for fidgety little boys anymore. The number of young adult women taking medications for ADHD jumped by 85 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to a recent report by St. Louis-based Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical benefits company.

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MERS
8:29 am
Mon May 19, 2014

MERS Virus Appears To Have Jumped From Human To Human In U.S.

This undated file electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows novel coronavirus particles, also known as the MERS virus, colorized in yellow.
AP

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 4:35 pm

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus appears to have jumped from one human to another for the first time in United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a press release that an Illinois man has preliminarily tested positive for the MERS antibodies after he had contact with an Indiana man who contracted the virus abroad.

NPR's Joe Neel, who listened in on a CDC conference call, tells us:

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Health Survey
8:23 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Survey Reveals Chronic Illness Is a Problem For Adults in Connecticut

The survey showed that 59 percent of adults postponed needed medical care because of cost.
Credit Morgan / Creative Commons

Results of the Connecticut Heath Care Survey were released on Wednesday. On the surface, the numbers pretty look good: 91 percent of the 4,608 adults surveyed reported having health insurance, and 87 percent said their health is good to very good.

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Drug Development
3:33 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

A History of Drugs, Compiled

Yale's Michael Kinch studies drug development trends from 1827 to today.
Natallia Yaumenenka/iStock Thinkstock

A Yale scientist is in the midst of a 20-paper series studying the history of drug development in the United States. Michael Kinch, the managing director of Yale's Center for Molecular Discovery, has spent the last year creating a massive database of compounds approved by the FDA.

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Health Survey
2:52 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Connecticut Health Survey: 45 Percent of Adults Suffer From Chronic Disease

Stockbyte Thinkstock

Forty-five percent of Connecticut adults in a survey released Wednesday reported that they have been diagnosed with a chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, heart disease, or cancer.

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Mental Health
9:45 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Middletown Forum Focuses On the Needs of the Mentally Ill

Pogonici/iStock Thinkstock

A forum taking place on Thursday afternoon in Middletown will bring together mental health providers and advocates to discuss the many challenges facing people with mental illness. 

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Inflatables
11:50 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Kids Hurt After Bounce House Soars High In The Air

An eyewitness photo shows an inflatable playhouse being blown high in the air. Two boys were seriously injured when they fell out at 15 feet, and a girl who fell out at a lower height also was hurt. Proceeds from the licensing of this image are being donated to the kids' families.
Poststar.com

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 6:30 am

Two kindergartners were seriously hurt after the "bounce house" they were playing in was sent high into the air by a strong gust of wind Monday in upstate New York. Both children needed to be hospitalized after falling out of the inflatable playhouse.

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Domestic Violence
9:54 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Doctors Debate Whether Screening For Domestic Abuse Helps Stop It

In the U.S., doctors increasingly ask about domestic violence as a routine part of checkups.
iStockphoto

Domestic violence affects a third of women worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In many cases nobody knows of the suffering, and victims aren't able to get help in time.

That's why in many countries, including the U.S., there's been a push to make screening for domestic violence a routine part of doctor visits. Last year, the influential U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that clinicians ask all women of childbearing age whether they're being abused.

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Access Health CT
8:03 am
Wed May 14, 2014

State's Bill For Obamacare Call Center Significantly Higher Than Estimated

vichie81/iStock Thinkstock

One part of the Affordable Care Act has become less affordable: call centers. Maximus, the company that runs the phone banks to enroll people in Connecticut, originally said it would charge the state $15 million over roughly three years.

The state now says the cost of that contract could nearly double. 

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Juvenile Justice
12:23 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Transgender Teen at York Moved to Different Part of Prison

Sarah Eagan is Connecticut's child advocate.
Credit Chion Wolf

A 16-year-old transgender girl who has been detained at the state women's prison for more than a month has been moved to another location at the prison.

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Affordable Care Act
11:37 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Employers May Start Paying You To Buy Health Insurance

Employees pay directly for their health insurance in "defined contribution" plans.
iStockphoto

What if employers started giving workers a chunk of cash to buy health insurance on their own instead of offering them a chance to buy into the company plan? Are workers ready to manage their own health insurance like they do a 401(k)?

The idea that employers might drop their health plans and replace them with a "defined contribution" for employees has been around for years. It's one way for employers to control their expenses in the face of the relentlessly rising costs of health care.

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Medicaid and Therapy
10:32 am
Tue May 13, 2014

State to Expand Medicaid to Cover Private Therapy

State health care advocate Vicki Veltri.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Single adults on Medicaid will soon be able to get therapy someplace other than a clinic. A bill passed by lawmakers last week aims to make the coverage available this year. 

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Recreational Marijuana
5:52 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Most Voters in Connecticut Support Legal Recreational Marijuana Possession

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock Thinkstock

At 52 percent supporting legal possession, it's only a slight majority, but a new poll released by Quinnipiac University echoes a nationwide shift in attitudes towards marijuana. The poll also found that 90 percent of Connecticut residents support medical marijuana use. 

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Pregnancy Health
1:31 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Driving While Pregnant Is Riskier Than You Might Think

Be a bit more careful? The risk of a traffic accident rises by about 40 percent during the second trimester of pregnancy.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 5:04 pm

Don't scuba dive. Be careful about flying. Stay out of those hot tubs. Pregnancy comes with a long list of do's and don'ts.

Now it looks like we might need to add another item to that list: Drive more carefully.

Expectant mothers are more likely to have serious car crashes, a large study out of Canada finds.

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Mental Health
8:26 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Mental Health 101: Program Helps Police Intervene In Crises

A police officer stands outside the entrance to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 15, 2012.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 8:24 pm

How do you tell the difference between someone who needs to be taken to jail and someone who needs to be taken to the hospital? It can be a delicate situation to decipher, and it's been a big concern in Connecticut since the Newtown shootings of 2012.

Lance Newkirchen, a regular patrol officer in the town of Fairfield, is also specifically trained to respond to mental health calls. On a recent weekday, he headed out in his patrol car for a follow-up call.

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Dental Health
3:16 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Dental Care Still Out of Reach For "Huge Piece of the Population"

More than 200 dentists volunteered for a free, two-day dental clinic in Hartford.
Connecticut Mission of Mercy

Your teeth may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to health care. Dentists say oral health problems seldom get better on their own, and can point to disease elsewhere in the body, including diabetes and some forms of cancer and leukemia. Of course, a toothache can just be painful.

But if you’re an adult who doesn’t have dental insurance, caring for your teeth and your health can be a real challenge. The Affordable Care Act covers dental care for children, but not adults, and dental care isn't cheap.

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Freedom of Information
9:17 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Company Says Health Care Exchange Contracts Are "Trade Secrets"

Stockbyte Thinkstock

The company that got the multimillion-dollar contract to run the call centers for the health care exchange Access Health CT -- called Maximus -- is refusing to release invoices and contracts to show exactly how much they are paid by the state. 

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The Faith Middleton Show
12:15 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

The New Science of Building Brain Power

Credit aJ Gazmen/flickr creative commons

For over a century, IQ scores have been viewed by scientists as placing an upper limit on what a person can ever achieve: a cognitive glass ceiling, a number tattooed on the soul.

Shattering decades of that kind of dogma, scientists began publishing studies in 2008 showing that “fluid intelligence”—the ability to learn, solve novel problems, and get to the heart of things—can be increased through training. But is it all just hype?

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UHart On Alert
12:13 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

University of Hartford Student Dies From Bacterial Meningitis

Patrick Chittenden.
Credit Facebook

A senior at the University of Hartford has died of bacterial meningitis. Patrick Chittenden died Friday, just two weeks away from graduation. 

Email and text alerts were sent out notifying University of Hartford students. The school has extended hours at the health center for those who are concerned they may have contracted the disease.

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For Your Health
8:51 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Newly Diagnosed With Epilepsy, and Not Sure What It Means

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says seizures are caused by "anything that disturbs the normal pattern of neuron activity—from illness to brain damage to abnormal brain development."
Johan Swanepoel/iStock Thinkstock

Want to know how to scare your co-workers? Fall to the ground and have a seizure in front of everyone.

About two weeks ago, that’s what happened to me. I don’t remember what happened, and I only remember scattered moments from the rest of the day. The wire to my headphones snapped and my face was noticeably battered.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Once Thought to Be Caused By Demons, What Do We Know About Epilepsy Today?

The CDC says often, it can be difficult to find a definite cause of epilepsy.
Saad Faruque Creative Commons

Historically, people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed by demons. Research has come a long way since then, but epilepsy remains mysterious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lives. Annually, it costs more than $15 billion in medical costs and reduced work production.

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World Health
4:36 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

MERS Virus Comes To U.S., But Risk To Public Is Deemed Low

A Muslim pilgrim wears a mask in Mecca to protect against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in October 2013.
Fayez Nureldine AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 2:09 pm

On April 24, an American health care worker based in Saudi Arabia flew from Riyadh to London to Chicago, then took a bus to Indiana.

Three days later, the man began experiencing shortness of breath and coughing. He also ran a fever. He visited the emergency room on April 28 and was tested by the Indiana public health lab. Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that he is the first MERS patient in the United States.

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Mental Health
7:55 am
Fri May 2, 2014

As Funding Runs Low, Two Early Intervention Programs Advocate for Support

One early intervention program in Connecticut is iCare, based in Middletown, which helps elementary-aged children in their schools, homes, and communities.
Paul Horton Creative Commons

School officials and health care professionals joined lawmakers at the state capitol on Thursday, touting the importance of early mental health care intervention for kids. It's a cause that's gotten increased attention since the school shooting in Newtown.

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Civil Rights
4:04 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Effort To Force Treatment On Severely Mentally Ill Meets Resistance

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., speaks during a December 2013 news conference in Washington to discuss the introduction of a legislative package of major mental health reforms.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 8:32 pm

Ed Kelley and his wife have three children. They live in a comfortable suburb of Baltimore. And for a long time their life seemed perfect.

"We were churchgoing; we were involved in the community. We had a very close-knit family all around us."

And he adored his 14-year-old son.

"He was funny, he was getting good grades, he loved playing sports; he was so humorous. Actually for the longest time he was sort of the center of the family."

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