medicine

Medical Research
3:25 am
Mon August 25, 2014

People With Down Syndrome Are Pioneers In Alzheimer's Research

Justin McCowan, 39, has Down syndrome and lives at home with his parents in Santa Monica, Calif.
Benjamin B. Morris for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 8:53 am

When researchers at the University of California, San Diego wanted to study an experimental Alzheimer's drug last year, they sought help from an unlikely group: people with Down syndrome.

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Ebola
3:42 am
Thu August 21, 2014

How Much Bigger Is The Ebola Outbreak Than Official Reports Show?

Workers with the aid group Doctors Without Borders prepare a new Ebola treatment center near Monrovia, Liberia, on Sunday. The facility has 120 beds, making it the largest Ebola isolation clinic in history.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 3:05 pm

The latest numbers on the Ebola outbreak are grim: 2,473 people infected and 1,350 deaths.

That's the World Health Organization's official tally of confirmed, probable and suspect cases across Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. But the WHO has previously warned that its official figures may "vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak."

So how bad is it really?

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Transplants
3:35 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Who Gets First Dibs On Transplanted Liver? Rules May Change

Surgeons at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis prepare to transplant a liver in 2010.
Karen Pulfer Focht The Commercial Appeal/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 14, 2014 9:21 am

Vicki Hornbuckle used to play the piano at her church. But that was before her liver started failing.

"I had to give it up because I couldn't keep up," says Hornbuckle, 54, of Snellville, Georgia. "I didn't have the energy to do three services on Sunday. You're just too tired to deal with anything. And so, it's not a life that you want to live."

But Hornbuckle hasn't given up. She's fighting to stay alive long enough to get a liver transplant.

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Ebola
11:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Cambridge Biotech Company Asks Feds For OK On New Ebola Drug

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 11:37 am

A Cambridge-based biotech company is seeking approval from federal regulators to use its experimental medication on patients brought to the United States for treatment after being infected in West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak.

Sarepta Therapeutics says if given approval, the firm will, within a few months, have enough of the injectible drug — AVI-75370 — for up to 125 patients.

The drug aims to stop the virus from replicating, allowing the body to fight it off.

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Lyme Disease
1:30 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

Blumenthal Announces Grant for Lyme Disease Testing

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, at right, reviews an intake questionnaire in 2011 at the Western Connecticut Health Network Lyme Disease Registry, alongside Amber Butler and Ramin Ahmadi (file photo).
Credit WCHN / Facebook

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced on Wednesday a $600,000 federal grant to improve testing for Lyme disease.

The Connecticut Democrat made the announcement in Danbury alongside researchers from Western Connecticut Biomedical Research Institute and the Seattle-based RareCyte, Inc. 

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Disease
11:30 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Why U.S. Hospitals Are Testing People For Ebola Virus

Television trucks converged on Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Monday after it announced that it was screening a patient for Ebola virus.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 12:21 pm

If you show up at a hospital emergency department with a high fever and you just happen to have been traveling in Africa, don't be surprised if you get a lot of attention.

Hospitals are on the lookout for people with symptoms such as a high fever, vomiting and diarrhea who had been traveling in parts of West Africa affected by Ebola, following instructions from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Monday, New York's Mount Sinai Hospital announced that it was evaluating a patient who had recently been in West Africa.

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Ebola
12:18 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Doctor With Ebola Is Improving, As Nigeria Reports Second Case

Dr. Kent Brantly, of Fort Worth, Texas, was treating Ebola patients in Monrovia, Liberia, when he himself became infected with the virus.
Courtesy of Samaritan's Purse

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 1:11 pm

He didn't need a stretcher — not even an arm around his shoulder.

Kent Brantly, of Fort Worth, Texas, is the first person to be treated for Ebola on American soil. The 33-year-old family doctor surprised everyone Saturday when he walked out of an ambulance and into an Atlanta hospital.

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Ebola
7:03 am
Sat August 2, 2014

Why Treating Ebola With An Experimental Serum Might Help

In 1995, amid an Ebola outbreak, Zairian Red Cross personnel picked up sick people and bodies left on the streets of Kikwit, 250 miles from the capital Kinshasa.
Jean-Marc Bouju AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 11:23 am

Last week we learned that two Americans working in Liberia for a medical charity, Samaritan's Purse, were among those who had contracted Ebola. When their symptoms took a turn for the worse, the organization announced that the two were going to get experimental treatments. One was going to get a blood transfusion from a 14-year-old boy who recovered from the disease, the organization said; the other was to get an "experimental serum." What's that?

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immunization awareness
2:01 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Doctor Advises Not to Avoid Vaccines

Credit United States Army Corps Of Engineers

Doctor Ulysses Wu, the chief of infectious diseases at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, said there are lot of things out there that can kill us. "Diptheria," he said, "tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, haemophilous influenzae, pneumococus, meningicocus..." 

Wu said immunizations against those diseases are one of the greatest advances in medical science known to mankind. 

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Laboratories
3:36 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Head Scientist At CDC Weighs Costs Of Recent Lab Safety Breaches

The CDC's director, Tom Frieden, testified before a congressional subcommittee Wednesday regarding a recent anthrax incident and lab safety improvements he is instituting.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 10:40 am

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is on the hot seat.

It all started in mid-June, when the CDC announced that dozens of its scientists might have accidentally been exposed to anthrax.

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Medicine
3:17 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Medical Marijuana to Become Available Later This Summer

Various strains of medical marijuana.
Credit AudioVision / Creative Commons

Later this summer, medical marijuana will become legally available to patients in Connecticut.  

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Kids and Medicine
2:36 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Why A Spoonful Of Medicine Can Be A Big Safety Risk For Kids

Ordinary spoons vary widely in size and shape. Confusing regular spoons for accurate measurements of teaspoons and tablespoons can lead to accidental overdoses.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 5:15 pm

We've all done it. The bottle of Pepto-Bismol says to take two tablespoons, so you grab the nearest spoon from the silverware drawer and drink down two of those. It's probably pretty close, right?

Maybe not. With all the different sizes and shapes of spoons out there — soup spoons, dessert spoons, grapefruit spoons and coffee spoons, to name just a few — who knows if the spoon you chose is actually close to a tablespoon.

And when it comes to children, that lack of precision can be dangerous.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Connecticut Prepares for Sale of Medical Marijuana

Later this summer, certain patients will be able to legally purchase medical marijuana in Connecticut.
Credit Rusty Blazenhoff / Creative Commons

Approved patients will soon be able to obtain medical marijuana…legally. The marijuana producers who were approved by the state earlier this year will start to get their product out to dispensaries later this summer.

We talk with Commissioner William Rubenstein from the Department of Consumer Protection about the state’s medical marijuana program. 

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Health care innovation
11:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Forum Explores Innovation as a Way to Improve Nation's Health Care System

The speed of sequencing genes has increased by six orders of magnitude in the last 25 years, according to Dr. Edison Liu.
Credit The Jackson Laboratory

Connecticut Congressman John Larson sponsored a health care forum on Monday at the legislative office building in Hartford. 

"Improving Our Health Care System Through Science and Innovation" was a chance for a panel of prominent health care leaders to tout how innovations in their area of expertise are saving lives and pulling down the cost of health care.

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:51 am
Mon July 7, 2014

ADHD and Managing Emotions

Credit FutUndBeidl/flickr creative commons

We focus this hour on one of the nation's most respected clinicians and researchers working with teens and adults who have ADHD. Dr. Thomas E. Brown is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders. (There is sometimes a link between ADHD and autism.)

Dr. Brown's new book, Smart but Stuck, looks at how managing emotions plays a key role in the lives of those with ADHD, including those who have high I.Q. scores.

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Cancer Prevention
2:54 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Low-Dose Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Some Cancers

Credit Photodisc / Thinkstock

What if an aspirin a day could keep cancer away? A growing body of scientific research suggests that aspirin can prevent some cancers of the digestive system, and maybe even breast and prostate, too.

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Regulating Drugs
5:05 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Pharmacists to Play Key Role Dispensing Medical Marijuana in Connecticut

Credit Gordon Swanson/Hemera / Thinkstock

About 200 pharmacists and physicians gathered on Wednesday in Southington for the first Medical Cannabis Symposium in Connecticut.

Connecticut is only the state in the country with legalized medical marijuana laws that requires an on-site pharmacist to dispense the drug.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon June 23, 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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Lyme Disease
11:29 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Investigative Report Reveals Not All Lyme Disease Tests Are Accurate

An FDA loophole allows for-profit laboratories to sell Lyme disease tests without actually proving they work.
Credit Jerry Kirkhart / Creative Commons

A new investigative report calls into question thousands of diagnostic tests for Lyme disease.

Lyme is a problematic disease. It can be tough to treat, and even tougher to diagnose. The Food and Drug Administration recommends a test that works fairly well. It identifies about 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease a year, mostly in the northeast. 

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Made in Connecticut
9:26 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Connecticut Vaccine Company Gets $50 Million in Federal Funding

The Meriden labs of Protein Sciences.
Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

Meriden’s Protein Sciences has been awarded a multi-million dollar extension to its contract with the federal government to provide flu vaccines.

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Emergency Care
2:58 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

More EMTs Doing House Calls, Not Just ER Transport

An unidentified woman is wheeled into a hospital by members of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps (BSVAC) on June 21, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 4:03 pm

It’s being called the house call of the future: ambulance crews who rush when you call 9-1-1, but instead of taking you to the emergency room, they treat you at home.

Community paramedicine, as it’s called, is a growing trend across the country. It’s aim is to bring down hospital costs, but there are concerns about who’s going to end up paying for the service.

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Pregnancy
1:20 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Early Pregnancy Blood Test Reducing Need For Amniocentesis

Credit C-HIT

A simple blood test is transforming the world of prenatal screening, offering women a risk-free way to learn about fetal abnormalities early in pregnancy.

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Connecticut First
4:55 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Governor Announces Pre-K Slots; Officials Battle Over Transportation Funding

Governor Dannel Malloy, along with Early Childhood Commissioner, Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, and local officials, have announced the allocation of about 1,000 additional School Readiness opportunities for low-income children in 46 municipalities throughout the state.

Lawmakers Battle Over Bridge Repair and Transportation Funding

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Men's Health
3:23 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

National Men's Health Week Turns 20

Men can avoid illnesses like diabetes and heart disease by eating right, regular exercise, and getting plenty of sleep.
Ozan Hatipoglu Creative Commons

This is National Men's Health Week, an awareness campaign to encourage men to take simple steps to improve their health.

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Tommy John Surgery
6:54 pm
Sun June 8, 2014

Baseball Has An Elbow Problem: More Pros Getting Ligament Surgery

After this pitch on May 27, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Sean Burnett left the game with a torn elbow ligament. Friday, he became the latest pro to undergo "Tommy John" surgery.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 3:13 pm

On Friday, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Sean Burnett became the latest player this season to undergo "Tommy John" surgery. In this weekend's MLB draft, at least four players selected had already had the infamous elbow surgery as amateurs.

The operation is named after the first player to undergo the procedure to fix an injured elbow ligament, in 1974. Pitchers are particularly vulnerable to this injury.

The procedure involves taking a tendon from somewhere else in the body — or from a cadaver — and grafting it into place. Pitchers get it most often.

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Office Design
2:05 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How a Well-Designed Doctor's Office Could Help Patients

Will doctor's offices look more like this in the near future? Some say the natural design elements can help patients.
John Bartelstone Jeffrey Berman Architect

Doctor's offices and hospitals may not always be stunning examples of architecture, but both architects and doctors are thinking of how designs can put patients at ease and help them heal.

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The Faith Middleton Show
1:14 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

ADHD and Managing Emotions

Credit lord amit/flick creative commons

We focus this hour on one of the nation's most respected clinicians and researchers working with teens and adults who have ADHD. Dr. Thomas E. Brown is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders. (There is sometimes a link between ADHD and autism.)

Dr. Brown's new book, Smart but Stuck, looks at how managing emotions plays a key role in the lives of those with ADHD, including those who have high I.Q. scores.

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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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Intelligence
9:45 am
Tue May 20, 2014

CIA Says It Will No Longer Use Vaccine Programs As Cover

A doctor gives a polio vaccine to a child at a health clinic in Baghdad last week. The CIA says it banned the use of vaccine programs as cover for spying last year — a practice health officials said had wide repercussions.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 5:32 pm

A White House official says the CIA will no longer use vaccine programs as cover for spy operations, answering health experts' complaints that it had hurt international efforts to fight disease.

The CIA famously used a vaccination program as a ploy to gain information about the possible whereabouts of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. That effort didn't succeed, and the doctor involved was sentenced to a prison term. But the revelation had immediate effects — particularly in the fight against polio.

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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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