disease

There's new evidence suggesting that women's brains are especially vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease and other problems with memory and thinking.

Women with mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to Alzheimer's, tend to decline faster than men, researchers reported this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington, D.C.

play2PREVENT

Yale School of Medicine's play2Prevent video game lab has developed a card game that helps young black women make the right choices when it comes to reducing the risk of HIV infection.

Rhode Island researchers have received $500,000 in federal grant money to investigate a fungus that’s killing native bats. The mysterious illness has attacked bats across North America.

Over the last decade, biologists believe an illness known as white-nose syndrome has killed some six-million bats in North America. The fungus appears on the bat’s muzzle. It targets hibernating bats, causing serious infections on their wings, and bodies.

Once upon a time Nancy Butler lived in the Beltway and used her MBA to secure a high paying job with a defense contractor.  But Butler had considered herself a devout Christian since the age of 9, and something about a job with a company that made torpedoes started to bother her. So she left and embarked on a journey that included mission work in Asia and enrollment at Yale Divinity School.

As many outdoorsy Vermonters are discovering, ticks are in plentiful supply this summer. Bad news for humans at risk for Lyme disease. But the bumper crop is providing ample specimens to study and, amazingly, to dissect with some really tiny scalpels.

Phil Roeder / Creative Commons

As the summer hiking season kicks off, scientists say more ticks in Connecticut are testing positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. 

Do you know what broad spectrum means? What about SPF? No need to be ashamed if you can't answer those questions, because you're not alone.

In a survey of 114 people, a mere 7 percent knew that "broad spectrum" on a sunblock label means it defends against early aging.

More than 3,400 people are now under quarantine in South Korea's fight to contain an outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome — a deadly virus that can cause severe pneumonia and organ failure.

So far, South Korea has reported 122 MERS cases. And the government is actively tracking the whereabouts of people possibly exposed to the virus.

Chung-ahm is a Buddhist monk who's quarantined in the Jangduk village in southern South Korea.

Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's older son, has died after battling brain cancer, the vice president announced Saturday. Beau Biden, a former attorney general of Delaware, was 46.

"It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life," Joe Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. Hallie Biden is Beau Biden's wife; Hunter and Ashley are his brother and half-sister.

The Department of Defense says an attempt to ship inactive anthrax samples resulted in live samples being sent to labs in nine U.S. states and to a U.S. Air Force base in South Korea.

Fears of exposure to the potentially deadly disease prompted officials to advise four civilian workers to get preventive care; more than 20 military personnel are also being monitored. The samples were sent via commercial shipping companies, but the Pentagon says there is "no known risk to the general public."

Harriet Jones / WNPR

A Connecticut inventor has just patented a device that he hopes will help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. It’s based on a theory about radio waves.

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Does firefighting cause cancer? That's a question at the heart of a bill at the state legislature that would make it easier for firefighters who have certain cancers to get workers comp benefits. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Officials at the UConn Health Center activated their Ebola protocols after a man who had recently returned from Liberia came to the hospital feeling ill. Late Wednesday, a test result came back negative for Ebola, but the patient tested positive for malaria.

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

Scientists saw the same phenomenon when the vaccine came to England and parts of Europe. And they see it today when developing countries introduce the vaccine.

Lately, Californians have been focused on a measles outbreak that got its start at Disneyland. But in the past five years, state health officials have declared epidemics of whooping cough twice — in 2010 and in 2014, when 11,000 people were sickened and three infants died.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Since March, avian influenza has hit 14 farms in the western and mid-western United States. So far, at least four million chickens and turkeys have died or been euthanized.

There are no bird flu cases yet in the northeast this year, but the Connecticut Department of Agriculture is advising poultry farmers and backyard flock owners to follow simple precautions.

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A 17-year-old girl who was forced to undergo chemotherapy by the state of Connecticut is going home on Monday. The teen known as Cassandra C has been held at a local children's hospital since December. 

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The Northern Long-eared bat is now a protected animal under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the move on Wednesday, saying the designation will come with a special interim rule aimed at relieving regulatory burdens on local land owners and government agencies in the bat's range.

Johnny Reynolds knew that something was wrong as far back as 2003. That's when he first started experiencing extreme fatigue.

"It was like waking up every morning and just putting a person over my shoulders and walking around with them all day long," says Reynolds, 54, who lived in Ohio at the time.

In addition, Reynolds was constantly thirsty and drank so much water that he would urinate 20 or 30 times per day. "And overnight I would probably get up at least eight or nine times a night," he says.

Alyssa L. Miller / WNPR

My mother was an Alzheimer's patient. I think it's fair to say the disease killed her although like a lot of people in their 80's with serious illnesses, she got caught in a whirlpool of problems that made it hard to pin the blame on any one thing.

Aundrea Murray / WNPR

America is growing older, and so is its population of HIV-positive adults. This year, for the first time ever, half of Americans living with HIV are 50 years old and older. For many of them, like Michael Hawkins of New Britain, Connecticut, life presents a unique set of challenges, including increased social isolation. I visited Hawkins recently to learn how he's been coping with HIV. 

The U.S. surgeon general lists 21 deadly diseases that are caused by smoking. Now, a study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine points to more than a dozen other diseases that apparently add to the tobacco death toll.

To arrive at this conclusion, scientists from the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and several universities tracked nearly a million people for a decade and recorded their causes of death.

Health officials in Illinois are trying to find the source of a measles infection, after five babies were diagnosed with the contagious respiratory disease in a Chicago suburb. Saying that more cases are likely, a health official warns, "The cat is out of the bag."

Because the Illinois patients are all under a year old, they can't be vaccinated. The new cluster of cases joins more than 100 other reports of measles in 14 states this year; most of them have been traced to an outbreak at Disneyland in California in December.

Jackie Fortin

Cassandra C, 17, is being forced by the state to undergo chemotherapy treatment for her Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Under a court order, DCF has had temporary custody of Cassandra since mid-December.

DCF now says it is exploring other options for her while she continues treatment. Cassandra's next chemotherapy treatment won't happen for several weeks, so she may be allowed to leave the hospital and live in a group home. While there, she would continue to receive other treatments DCF says she needs.

Cassandra's attorney, Joshua Michtom, said on WNPR's Where We Live that Cassandra is in her hospital room with someone at guard at all times. For her, he said, being anywhere other than her one room in the hospital would be preferable.

Oscar Annermarken / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s diabetes rate ranks lower than the national average, but Hispanics and African-Americans are more than twice as likely to have the disease compared with their white neighbors, and are at greater risk of dying from diabetes-related causes.

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The story of a Connecticut girl fighting for the right to choose how to treat her cancer has filled the headlines. Cassandra C's case centers on her refusal of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is one of the more common treatments for cancer.

The Connecticut Supreme Court's ruling that 17-year-old Cassandra could be forced to undergo cancer treatment sparked thousands of impassioned comments on NPR.org and Facebook.

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This year's flu shot might not work as well as in previous years, so focus is now on a new vaccine created in Connecticut.

Cancer doctors want the best, most effective treatment for their patients. But it turns out many aren't paying attention to evidence that older women with early stage breast cancer may be enduring the pain, fatigue and cost of radiation treatment although it doesn't increase life expectancy.

Chion Wolf / WNPR - Connecticut Public Radio

Earlier this week, countries marked World AIDS Day. In the U.S., 1.2 million people are estimated to be HIV-positive.

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