health care

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Since its discovery in 1900, adrenaline and pop-culture have gone hand-in-hand. From extreme sports, to the latest energy drinks, to pulse pounding Hollywood blockbusters, the rush of this hormone is portrayed in countless ways.

But these portrayals seldom tell the whole story. So what exactly is adrenaline, and why does our society seem so keen on celebrating it?

State Prepares to Tighten Prescription Monitoring

Jun 28, 2016
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Connecticut’s shift next month from weekly to “real-time” reporting of prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances is an effective way to help stem opioid-related deaths, a new study suggests.

Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy

Controversy is growing around state Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade. She's in charge of reviewing a $54 billion health insurance merger between Anthem and Cigna, but she's also a former employee of one of the companies in question. Should she recuse herself from the case? And what has been the role in all this of Governor Dannel Malloy, who appointed Wade last year? This hour, we take a closer look with a panel of local and national reporters. 

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Connecticut is ranked fifth in the nation for overall child well-being, according to the latest KIDS Count Data Book. It's the first time the state has cracked the top five since the rankings began 27 years ago.

U.S. Senate Democrats

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal has written to the Department of Justice asking it to block both of the two current proposed mergers in the health insurance industry. Blumenthal believes the tie-ups between Aetna and Humana -- and Anthem and Cigna -- will be bad for consumers.

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For lawmakers looking to address the crisis of drug addiction and overdose, limiting access to prescription painkillers and increasing availability of opioid-reversal drugs like naloxone have been two major policy points. A legislative push in Connecticut now aims to expand access to treatments as well. 

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Advocates say recent budget cuts will have a negative impact on those seeking mental health services in Connecticut. The state's new $19.7 billion budget -- passed by lawmakers last month -- includes significant funding cuts for statewide mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. 

Philadelphia has approved a tax on soda — and it's the first major U.S. city to do so. Now, a legal fight is brewing between the city and the soda industry.

The bill passed Philadelphia's City Council by a vote of 13-4.

Mayor Jim Kenney supported the tax. After the law passed, he called it "a historic investment in our neighborhoods and our education system."

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As Connecticut continues to deal with the consequences of opioid abuse, a new national survey says most people prescribed painkillers in America get more than they need -- and many are saving those pills for later use. 

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For some patients looking to break their addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers, there's a drug out there that works. It’s called Suboxone, but government regulations and individual doctors have made it difficult to get, which is leading many to buy it illegally. 

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Connecticut's Department of Insurance is reviewing rate increase requests filed by 14 health insurance companies that range on average from 2.1 percent to 32 percent. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The State of Connecticut operates a Veterans’ Home on 92 acres in Rocky Hill. Many of its residents were once homeless or in danger of homelessness. But a lot of the buildings are outdated and in need of major improvements.

This hour, we find out what a recent consultant's report says about ways the state can better use the property to serve veterans. 

Concussions have become part of the daily news. But how much have these brain injuries become part of daily life?

To find out, we asked people across the country about concussions in the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

The poll, conducted during the first half of March, found that nearly a quarter of people — 23 percent of those surveyed — said they had suffered a concussion at some point in their lives. Among those who said they'd had a concussion, more than three-quarters had sought medical treatment.

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A group of state legislators is calling on the Connecticut Insurance Department to hold extensive hearings on the the proposed merger of Cigna and Anthem. The department just signed off on the other big health insurance deal between Aetna and Humana, without holding hearings.

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Most of us have heard that our bodies need eight cups of water every day to stay healthy and hydrated. Some think that's the minimum we should drink to prevent the chronic dehydration that doesn't trigger the usual warnings of dryness, like thirst.  

All sorts of health information is now a few taps away on your smartphone, from how many steps you take — to how well you sleep at night. But what if you could use your phone and a computer to test your vision? A company is doing just that — and eye care professionals are upset. Some states have even banned it.

“Alright, we’re going to go check those eyes and ears now buddy. Ok?” Nurse Kristen Marrese leads 4-year-old Daniel Atkinson down the hall for an eye exam. It’s part of his routine check-up at a clinic in Rochester, New York, Starlight Pediatrics.

During the visit, which took nearly two hours, Daniel also got up to date on his vaccines and his nurse practitioner gave him a thorough check-up of his growth and development. He’s been coming here since he was an infant.

Since it came onto the scene in 1943, penicillin has made syphilis a thing of the past — almost. Now, the sexually transmitted disease is making a comeback in the U.S. and there's a shortage of the medication used to treat it.

Pfizer, the company that supplies it, says it's experiencing "an unanticipated manufacturing delay," and in a letter to consumers wrote that it would be providing just one-third of the usual monthly demand until July.

Six years of your life. Or 2,190 days. That's about how long the average woman will spend having her periods.

For some women, that's too many days, too many periods.

More women in their 20s and 30s are choosing contraception that may suppress their menstrual cycles, says Dr. Elizabeth Micks, who runs an OB-GYN clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle. "In general, I think views are changing really rapidly," Micks says. "That need to have regular periods is not just in our society anymore."

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New data show a surge in drug overdose deaths in Connecticut during the first three months of this year involving the opioid fentanyl.  The information was released on Friday by the State’'s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Gill.

Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a bill that makes performing an abortion a felony.

NPR's Jennifer Ludden told our Newscast unit that the bill is the first of its kind, and an pro-abortion rights group plans to sue if the governor signs the bill into law. Gov. Mary Fallin has not yet indicated what she plans to do. Here's more from Jennifer:

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Why are prescription drugs so expensive? And what can be done to make them more affordable? A forum held Wednesday in Hartford aimed to answer those questions.

NPR — together with member stations from across the country — has been reporting on troubles with the Veterans Choice program, a $10 billion plan created by Congress two years ago to squash long wait times veterans were encountering when going to see a doctor. But as we reported in March, this fix needs a fix.

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Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine are launching new technology that will allow patients to access their medical records and take a more active role in their own healthcare. 

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Nearly 60,000 Connecticut children under age six were reported with lead exposure in 2013, and an additional 2,275 children had high enough levels of the toxin in their blood to be considered poisoned.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Dr. Gail Christopher has been a crusader for better health outcomes in America, championing an idea that “place matters,” finding that the way people live in some communities puts them at a much higher risk for disease. 

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If your cabinets are filled with leftover prescription drugs, you'll have an opportunity to clean them out on Saturday. 

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Physicians, patients, and drug manufacturers are often at the center of discussions about pain and opioid abuse. But what about insurance providers? One Connecticut company said it's found a way to better manage pain, while reducing the number of prescribed opioids. 

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As Connecticut ages, more and more people find themselves in a caregiving role. And so entrepreneurs are turning their attention to problems encountered by this growing sector of the population. 

A new initiative is working to create a data dashboard that almost any city could use to get a handle on the health of its citizens. City-level health data can be critical when it comes to measures like reducing smoking or deciding where to build new parks and health clinics. Yet most health data is collected at the county, not the city level. That means city leaders looking to improve residents’ health lack a baseline of information to work from.

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