medicine

Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Is Obamacare Working?

Access Health CT's New Britain storefront.
Arielle Levin Becker The Connecticut Mirror

The Affordable Care Act is the signature piece of the president's domestic agenda and it's now, finally, operational. The question is: Is it working? On Where We Live we talk Obamacare and ask whether it is doing what it promised - helping the nation's poor and uninsured. 

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Exploding Refrigerators
5:32 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Marijuana 'Hash Oil' Explodes In Popularity, And Kitchens

Jim Andersen displays butane hash oil at a marijuana growing facility in Seattle in April 2013. The state's licensed producers will be required to use professional-grade equipment when making the extracts.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

If you think the recent liberalization of marijuana laws around the country is only about smoking leaves and buds, think again. For users younger than 25, "hash oil" is where it's really at. This concentrated resin of marijuana is creating new public safety headaches — even in places where it's legal.

There have always been forms of the substance, but the resins available today are much stronger than in years past. That's due in part to the expertise developed by medical marijuana producers, who have learned how to make more potent versions of the oil.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:34 am
Wed January 8, 2014

A Tribute to Twins!

Amy Melvin and Joy Taylor are identical twins who grew up in West Hartford.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Identical twins are just like us - and then they're not! From Anne Landers and Dear Abbey, from the Castro brothers, one of whom might be our first identical twin president one day, carbon-copy twins live lives that the rest of us cannot fathom.

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Binge Drinking
2:23 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Drinking Too Much? Don't Count On Your Doctor To Ask

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Most of the people who have problems with drinking aren't alcoholics, and having a brief chat with a doctor is often all it takes to prompt excessive drinkers to cut back.

But, it turns out, doctors aren't bringing the topic up. More than 80 percent of adults say they've never discussed alcohol use with a health professional, a survey finds.

Young people and binge drinkers were most likely to be asked about alcohol use, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Affordable Care Act
2:30 am
Fri January 3, 2014

DOJ Expected To Defend Health Law's Contraceptive Mandate

The health care law's requirement that workplace insurance policies include free birth control has been controversial from the get-go.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 9:08 am

The Justice Department will answer a challenge Friday morning to a controversial provision in the new health care law. It requires most employers that offer health insurance to include birth control at no cost.

A group of Catholic nuns has objected to that, and this week they won a temporary reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It's an unusual test case, but it won't be the last one.

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Disease
3:22 am
Mon December 30, 2013

$1,000 Pill For Hepatitis C Spurs Debate Over Drug Prices

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 3:43 pm

Federal regulators this month opened a new era in the treatment of a deadly liver virus that infects three to five times more people than HIV. Now the question is: Who will get access to the new drug for hepatitis C, and when?

The drug Sovaldi will cost $1,000 per pill. A typical course of treatment will last 12 weeks and run $84,000, plus the cost of necessary companion drugs. Some patients may need treatment for twice as long.

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Brain Health
1:00 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Concussions May Increase Alzheimer's Risk, But Only For Some

Researchers have only recently been able to use brain scans to detect Alzheimer's risk factors in living people.
iStockphoto

Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.

But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.

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New Industry
8:12 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Medical Marijuana: How Two Connecticut Towns Are Preparing for Licenses

The space in the Remington Rand Building in Middletown, where Greenbelt Management hopes to develop a medical marijuana production facility.
Credit Greenbelt Management

In January, the state's Department of Consumer Protection will begin awarding the first ever licenses to medical marijuana producers and dispensers in Connecticut. While the licenses are awarded by the state, it's been left up to individual towns to decide if they want to host one of these facilities. Two communities in Connecticut have taken very different approaches to this new industry.

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Health
3:00 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Do Vitamin Pills Actually Do Anything?

Credit Gubcio/iStock / Thinkstock

A group of doctors in a leading medical journal are issuing a blunt warning to consumers: "stop wasting money" on vitamins. At least 50 percent of Americans use vitamins or dietary supplements, "despite sobering evidence of no benefit," according to the editorial published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Food as Medicine
2:25 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away, And Statins Do, Too

Not covered by Obamacare, but still sweet.
Cristian Baitg iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 5:17 pm

We're all supposed to be eating right, but most of us are not doing a very good job of that.

Could you eat an apple a day?

Adding in that one piece of fruit could improve cardiovascular health on a par with prescribing of cholesterol-lowering statins for everyone over age 50, according to a report published Tuesday in BMJ.

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Green Rush
11:53 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Vendors Prepare for Connecticut's Medical Marijuana Market

Kyle Orce of Fresh Solutions in Waterbury is a Northeast distributor for a portable humidifier designed to keep pills and marijuana in a moisture-controlled environment.
Sujata Srinivasan

The state Department of Consumer Protection is expected to award licenses by early 2014 to producers and dispensaries for the newly legalized medical marijuana market. In a ripple effect, other companies are also gearing up to grow market share in a new industry, estimated at $1.7 billion nationally by the Wall Street Journal, and predicted to quadruple in size during the next five years. 

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Sleeping Well
2:45 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Healthful Habits Can Help Induce Sleep Without The Pills

Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 3:23 pm

About one-third of American adults say they have problems falling asleep. And prescriptions for sleeping medications are on the rise, with about 4 percent of people using the drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But sleep specialists say people should exercise caution before deciding to take medication to help them sleep.

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Medical Marijuana
1:23 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Students Are Developing a Test to Detect Contaminants in Medical Marijuana

Students Renae Labonte and Jinyun Guat.
University of New Haven

Students at the University of New Haven are developing a DNA test that could detect contaminants in medical marijuana. Dr. Heather Coyle, a forensic botanist and associate professor at UNH, said patients using pot for medicinal purposes could be harmed by contaminants that they can't see.

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Emergency Response
11:37 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Faster Medical Response During Mass Casualty Attacks Can Save Lives

Credit Stockbyte / Stockbyte / Thinkstock

Federal officials and medical experts say when medical personnel respond more aggressively during mass casualty events, it can save lives. The Obama administration is formally recommending that emergency medical personnel be sent into so-called “warm zones” during mass attacks to try and prevent death by controlling victims’ early bleeding.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:01 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Blood Pressure is One Measure of Future Cardiovascular Disease

Dr. Paul Thompson, Chief of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital
Chion Wolf

Long before we knew how the cardiovascular worked, ancient doctors may have recognized what we call hypertension. It seemed like maybe there was too much blood, so they treated it with leeches. 

Even today, high blood pressure is a little bit mysterious. The way it's typically measured may be the wrong way. And, it's not caused by one single factor so no single drug treats all the things that cause high blood pressure. 

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Autism
4:56 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

New Yale Study Looks at Oxytocin and the Autistic Brain

smithereen 11 creative commons

A new Yale study offers hope for parents who have children with autism spectrum disorders. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the double-blind, placebo-controlled study consisted of 17 children and adolescents considered to have moderate- to high-functioning autism. 

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Courts
2:47 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

N.H. Hospital Lab Tech Gets 39 Years In Hepatitis C Case

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 7:58 pm

A former lab technician at a New Hampshire hospital, who prosecutors say infected at least 46 people in four states with hepatitis C, was sentenced to 39 years in prison on Monday.

As NPR reported back in July, David Kwiatkowski crisscrossed the country as a medical technician and landed at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu November 28, 2013

Organ Donation: Providing Life After Death

Caitlyn Bernabucci, LifeChoice Donor Services
Chion Wolf WNPR

Every day, around 80 people receive organ transplants in the U.S. But an average of 18 people die daily due to a shortage of much-needed organs, like kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs, even corneas.

One body donor can impact the lives of more than 50 people.

This hour, a conversation on organ donation and transplantation. Do you have personal experience with organ donation? Are you a donor or recipient? Why did you choose to be a donor? 

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Medication
6:03 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

More Children Are Being Medicated For ADHD Than Before

iStockphoto

The number of children being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And families increasingly are opting for medications to treat kids. Two-thirds of children with a current diagnosis are being medicated — a jump of 28 percent from 2007 to 2011.

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Marijuana Law
11:47 am
Tue November 19, 2013

State Reveals Applicants for Medical Marijuana Licenses

Credit O'Dea / Creative Commons

Thirty-seven companies have applied to the state for the right to produce or dispense medical marijuana. The Department of Consumer Protection said it expects to award licenses under the state's new medical marijuana law early next year. 

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Medical Education
7:51 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Medical Students in New Haven Learn How to Deliver Bad News

Periods of silence between doctor and patient can be a sign of respect and care.
Credit National Cancer Institute

Students at the Yale School of Medicine spent time last week delivering bad news to patients. Their task was grim: one student told a woman she had breast cancer while another broke the news to a professional athlete that he blew out his knee and would never play football again.

Except there was one catch. The patients were actors, responding in real time to medical students as part of a "bad news" seminar aimed at teaching the skills of patient-centered interviewing

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:52 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Narrative in the Age of Distraction

Noah Rosenberg is the founder, CEO, and Editor-In-Chief of Narratively, a long-form journalism start-up in New York City.
Chion Wolf

Okay, this is sad. Like a lot of people, I have trouble achieving the deep focus needed to enjoy long fiction. And, like a lot of people, I have trouble finding time to read novels.

Recently, I came up with a solution. I go to the gym, get on a recumbent bike, and I read while I pedal for an hour, so yes,  I kill two birds with one Robert Stone.

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Health Care Reform
5:20 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Sweeping Changes to Health Care Delivery Disturb Patient Advocates

A patient has his blood pressure measured.
Credit Lipothymia / Creative Commons

It's no secret to say that health care has been undergoing radical change in this country. But what's less well-known is that the state of Connecticut is going beyond the current changes in the Affordable Care Act to address the way we deliver care and pay for medical services. And some consumer advocates are disturbed by the results.

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WAMC News
10:15 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Municipal Moratoriums Confront Medical Marijuana License Applicants

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 12:27 pm

Voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved legalizing medical marijuana in 2012. But many local communities are putting temporary bans in place as the deadline for final applications for state licensed marijuana treatment centers approaches.

About a third of the state’s 351 cities and towns have put in place moratoriums on medical marijuana treatment centers, according to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. Springfield is the largest city in the state to adopt a moratorium. It was approved by the city council Monday night.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:54 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

A Scrutinization of Salt

Credit DaGoaty, Flickr Creative Commons

Salt! It's the only rock we eat!

That gets us into some touchy territory. Some say that salt is a major factor for high blood pressure, and some say that it's more complicated than that. We can't NOT eat salt, but in the grand scheme of things, are we eating more now than ever, or way less?

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Drug Policy
9:21 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Policy Expert Sees Marijuana Legalization "Five Years From Now"

A medical marijuana shop in Denver, Colorado.
Credit O'Dea / Creative Commons

Connecticut might have to prepare for an even larger role in marijuana regulation, if there's a federal decriminalization of the drug. The state itself is in the midst of implementing a law that allows for the production and dispensing of marijuana for medical purposes. 

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WAMC News
8:56 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Springfield To Consider Temporary Moratorium On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 4:16 pm

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts on Monday will vote on a proposed moratorium on medical marijuana treatment centers.

The proposed moratorium on locating a medical marijuana dispensary in Springfield could be in effect until the end of next June, according to city solicitor Ed Pikula.

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Where We Live
7:03 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Organ Donation: Providing Life After Death

Caitlyn Bernabucci, LifeChoice Donor Services
Chion Wolf WNPR

Every day, around 80 people receive organ transplants in the U.S. But an average of 18 people die daily due to a shortage of much-needed organs, like kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs, even corneas.

One body donor can impact the lives of more than 50 people.

This hour, a conversation on organ donation and transplantation. Do you have personal experience with organ donation? Are you a donor or recipient? Why did you choose to be a donor? 

GUESTS: 

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Medicine
8:16 am
Wed October 23, 2013

High Rate of C-Sections Cited as "an Epidemic"

Credit Salim Fadhley / Creative Commons

One out of every three women gives birth by Cesarean-section in the United States today. That's up from one in five women in 1996, and one in 20 women in 1970. In a new book, Cut It Out, Trinity College Professor Theresa Morris calls this an "epidemic." 

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Stinging Insect Jedi
12:00 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

An Autumn Harvest...For Yellow Jackets

These yellow jackets were frozen to death, which preserves the venom for immunotherapy treatments.
Chion Wolf WNPR

For most of us, yellow jackets are a nuisance and for some people, they’re fatal. But for Norman Patterson, they’re more of an obsession.

“As a child, I remember finding a wild honey bee hive in the woods and I was fascinated by it," said Patterson. "That’s really what got me into honey bees, which eventually got me into collecting hornets and yellow jackets for medical labs.”

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