health care

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America’s elderly population is growing, and so is the number of older adults with mental health needs. According to the American Psychological Association, between 20 and 25 percent of adults aged 65 and older have a mental health disorder. Yet reports show only a small fraction are receiving the kind of specialized professional care they need.  

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The high cost of insulin, which has risen by triple-digit percentages in the last five years, is endangering the lives of many diabetics who can’t afford the price tag, say Connecticut physicians who treat diabetics.

The Placebo Effect

Apr 6, 2016

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. 

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With an opioid crisis still underway across the country, pain and how it’s treated is under scrutiny. The Centers for Disease Control in March came out with national standards for prescribing opioid painkillers, notably that clinicians should consider other options first.

When Architect Matthias Hollwich was approaching 40, he wondered what the next 40 years of his life might look like. He looked into the architecture that serves older adults, places like retirement communities and assisted living facilities, and didn't like what he saw. But what if we changed our habits earlier in life so we could stay in the communities we already live in?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Radiologists and advocates are trying to persuade Connecticut lawmakers to reverse a cut made last year to the state Medicaid reimbursement rate for radiology services. 

Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center

New Haven is trying out a new pilot program to screen residents for type 2 diabetes at on e of the city's public housing developments. Mayor Toni Harp visited the complex this week to kick off the new program and talk with some of the residents and health officials. 

Jill Hoy

Jon Imber was at the peak of his career as an accomplished artist and teacher when he was diagnosed with ALS in the fall of 2012. "Imber's Left Hand," a documentary about Jon's life as ALS claimed the use of his dominant right hand, will air on April 5 at the Hartford Jewish Film Festival. 

Tony Bacewicz

Emerson Cheney has survived drug addiction, an abusive relationship, years of cutting and burning himself, and multiple suicide attempts.

Carolyn Rossi has been a registered nurse for 27 years, and she's been fiercely protective of infants in her intensive care unit — babies born too soon, babies born with physical and cognitive abnormalities and, increasingly, babies born dependent on opioids.

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Pre-prohibition research into alcohol use and consumption was wiped out when the country dried out in the 1920s. In response, American "alcohol science" was created in the post-prohibition era to bring alcohol abuse into the medical realm, triggering a cultural explosion between advocates on each side of the wet/dry divide. It was in this arena that Alcoholics Anonymous was born. 

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A major group representing Connecticut doctors said it may support a bill limiting first-time opioid prescriptions if the final legislation allows prescribers some discretion. 

On the sixth anniversary of the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the federal health law was back before a seemingly divided Supreme Court Wednesday.

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It's hard to think about language as being endangered or replaceable. But as our culture and means of communication evolve, certain languages find their utility in decline. 

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Nearly 40 percent of all black kindergartners are overweight or obese, and nearly 40 percent of all Hispanic kindergartners in Connecticut are, too.

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Doctors in Connecticut may soon be limited to writing a seven-day prescription for opioid-based medication. It's part of an effort to curb drug overdose deaths in the state.

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Officials say a Yale University student who was treated last month for bacterial meningitis has been hospitalized again.

Doctors have long disputed the accusation that the payments they receive from pharmaceutical companies have any relationship to how they prescribe drugs.

There's been little evidence to settle the matter, until now.

A ProPublica analysis has found that doctors who receive payments from the medical industry do indeed prescribe drugs differently on average than their colleagues who don't. And the more money they receive, the more brand-name medications they tend to prescribe.

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A transcript of this show is available here.

It's hard to think about language as being endangered or replaceable. But as our culture and means of communication evolve, certain languages find their utility in decline. Braille and sign language are in just such a predicament.

Alex Ostasiewicz/AmeriCares

Staying healthy can involve more than just visiting the doctor. Sometimes it means lifestyle changes, and those can be difficult to implement. 

Jennifer LaRue / C-HIT

Two-thirds of Connecticut’s 99 licensed home health care agencies provide average or above-average care, while 19 were rated below average, according to new Medicare five-star rating data.

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Walgreens announced plans to install take-back kiosks for prescription drugs at pharmacies around the country and in Connecticut, but the state's Department of Consumer Protection said those kiosks aren't likely to appear here anytime soon. 

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A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last week effectively limits the amount of healthcare claims information a state can gather. But one Connecticut official says the decision may not be the blow that many people think. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

According to the CDC, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012. That's enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills at home. 

Dario Lo Presti/iStock / Thinkstock

In surgery, when something goes wrong, minutes become hours.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Take a look inside your cupboard or medicine cabinet and you're likely to find pills from prior visits to the doctor. 

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Connecticut hospitals are being notified they may not receive about $150 million in anticipated payments because of state budget problems.

After hearing oral arguments on what could be one of the most important abortion cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in decades, NPR's Nina Totenberg says that the only thing that is certain is that Justice Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote.

As expected, Nina says, the three conservatives and four liberals on the court stuck to their positions for and against a Texas law that puts restrictions on abortions.

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow Tuesday to nascent efforts to track the quality and cost of health care, ruling that a 1974 law precludes states from requiring that every health care claim involving their residents be submitted to a massive database.

The arguments were arcane, but the effect is clear: We're a long way off from having a true picture of the country's health care spending, especially differences in the way hospitals treat patients and doctors practice medicine.

James Gathany / CDC/ National Climate Assessment

State public health officials keeping an eye on the Zika virus say they now have the ability to test for it in-state.