medicine

Josie Kemp / U.S. Air Force

Kathy Navaroli, 50, of Windsor, hadn’t seen a primary care doctor in years when she decided to go for a physical this summer.

She didn’t ask about preventive care screenings, such as a mammogram or Pap test, in part because she worried they might involve an insurance co-pay or deductible. Her household income is below $30,000 a year.

“I got a physical, they did some blood work, and that was it,” Navaroli said.

The medicines they helped develop are credited with improving the lives of millions. And now three researchers working in the U.S., Japan and China have won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Among the winners: William C. Campbell of Drew University in Madison, N.J., for his work on the roundworm parasite.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

NATO in Afghanistan says it will lead an investigation into an airstrike in Kunduz this weekend that hit a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital, killing 22 people — an attack that the humanitarian organization, also known as Doctors Without Borders, has called "a war crime."

A U.S.-led airstrike on the northern Afghan city was carried out Saturday, but the circumstances surrounding it remain murky. NATO acknowledges only that the raid occurred near the charity's hospital.

Taliban forces stormed the Afghan city of Kunduz on Monday; after several days of fighting, Afghan forces claimed to have retaken the city.

Updated at 10:00 a.m. ET Sunday

An aerial attack carried out by U.S. forces appears to have badly damaged a Médecins Sans Frontières trauma center in the Afghan city of Kunduz in the early hours on Saturday, killing 19 people — 12 staff working for the international aid organization and seven patients, including three children.

Thirty-seven were injured in the attack, according to MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders.

"All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces," MSF said.

When you walk into a doctor’s office for the first time, you might be asked to fill out a slew of forms. Many include a box to check for your gender: male or female. But what if that’s not an easy—or a comfortable—question to answer? That’s just one example of what keeps many transgender patients from getting the medical care they need. 

Phalinn Ool / Creative Commons

There are lots of tools to help us gauge the quality of nearly any product or service we wish to buy, from cars to computers to restaurants. Yet there's no easy way to assess the quality of the doctors who take care of what's most important to us -- our health. 

Declines in several key cancer-screening procedures among the elderly can be linked to shifts in screening guidelines issued by major public health organizations, according to recently released findings by Yale University researchers.

Timing of Flu Shots

Sep 14, 2015

Timing of Flu Shots.

Ever heard of a diabetic patient who ate a large muffin before having a blood glucose test, was scolded for giving in to temptation, and then told to just say no to carbs?

How about a cardiac patient who has a worrisome stress test and is shown the door when she admits to eating a few Big Macs?

That kind of response is all too familiar for patients whose brains have been altered by heroin or other opiates.

How to Get the Best Medical Care

Sep 3, 2015
Dr.Farouk/flickr creative commons

Navigating our healthcare system is frustrating and time-consuming enough when you're healthy. But what if you get a serious diagnosis? You'll probably have to deal with multiple doctors' offices and their front-desk staffs, a hospital or clinic that may not be familiar, and a sudden deluge of paperwork, phone calls, and appointments. The chances for confusion and miscommunication multiply all along the chain -- and this can lead to problems ranging from annoying clerical mistakes to serious medical errors.

Libert Schmidt / flickr creative commons

For some time, I've been interested in the thoughtful and caring work of psychologist Dr. Anthony Puliafico, who sees clients in Westchester, New York, especially children who experience anxiety and OCD.

Oliver Sacks, the famed neurologist and best-selling author of books such as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, died of cancer today in New York City at the age of 82, a longtime friend and colleague has confirmed.

The London-born academic's 1973 memoir Awakenings, about his efforts to use the drug L-Dopa to bring patients who survived the 1917-1928 encephalitis epidemic out of their persistent catatonic state, was turned into a 1990 Hollywood film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He was the author of a dozen other books.

If you've ever had surgery, you may have been given an analgesic named fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a favored painkiller because it acts fast. But it's also 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The powerful drug has made its way to the streets and increasingly is being used to cut heroin — resulting in a deadly combination.

FrankieLeon / Creative Commons

Opioid overuse is America’s “silent epidemic,” affecting far too many of the roughly eight million people on opioid painkillers.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC says overprescribing is to blame.  "Every single day, 46 Americans die from an overdose of prescription opioid painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycontin or Methadone," he said. "These drugs are commonly prescribed in every community, and a surge in prescriptions has been the main force of this epidemic."

DNA_Art_Online / Creative Commons

The Jackson Laboratory is receiving a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, which will fund a new Center for Precision Genetics. The idea is to use things like a person's genes to treat an illness. 

Phalinn Ool / Creative Commons

There are lots of tools to help us gauge the quality of nearly any product or service we wish to buy, from cars to computers to restaurants. Yet there's no easy way to assess the quality of the doctors who take care of what's most important to us -- our health. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

    

An invention to treat Alzheimer’s Disease, patented by a Connecticut entrepreneur, could now be in human clinical trials before the end of this year. The development comes just months after the launch of the technology.

Natasia Causse/flickr creative commons

This hour I talk with Dr. Reza Yavari, a metabolic doctor and endocrinologist with offices in Madison and Trumbull, Conn. Yavari, affiliated with Yale University, has coached countless clients, many with health issues like diabetes or obesity, to stay motivated and at a stable weight. He shares his tips in this conversation.

In a development that could change the way the deadly Ebola disease is fought, researchers have announced promising results of a new vaccine's trial in Guinea, one of several countries affected by a historic outbreak in West Africa.

"The estimated vaccine efficacy was 100 percent," a team of researchers say.

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but haven't been admitted to the hospital as inpatients.

The distinction is easy for patients to miss — until they get hit with big medical bills after a short stay.

SOHEL PARVEZ HAQUE/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Could the future of heart health be centered on gene therapy?

Today we talk about heart research and how to prevent heart disease, the leading killer of women and men in the U.S.

Government of Albert / Creative Commons

Researchers at the University of Connecticut are working to find better ways to vaccinate the elderly against the flu. The normal flu vaccine has a fairly high success rate in the general population, but it’s not as good at protecting people over 65 against influenza.

Highest Prescribers of Cancer Drug Paid as Speakers

Jul 17, 2015
Jan Mika/iStock / Thinkstock

Eight of the top 10 prescribers of a potent narcotic used for cancer pain were paid more than $870,000 in speaking fees by the drug maker in 2013 and 2014 -- indicating that Derby nurse Heather Alfonso was not the only high prescriber compensated by the company.

Can the FDA Adequately Police Generics?

Jul 13, 2015
epsos.de / Creative Commons

As the federal government advocates increased use of generic drugs, concerns are mounting about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s oversight and the quality or effectiveness of some generics.

Libert Schmidt/flickr creative commons

For some time, I've been interested in the thoughtful and caring work of psychologist Dr. Anthony Puliafico, who sees clients in Westchester, New York, especially children who experience anxiety and OCD.

Nothing like a good measles outbreak to get people thinking more kindly about vaccines.

One third of parents say they think vaccines have more benefit than they did a year ago, according to a poll conducted in May.

That's compared to the 5 percent of parents who said they now think vaccines have fewer benefits and 61 percent who think the benefits are the same.

Mark / Creative Commons

Connecticut has a list of eleven medical conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. But a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that marijuana has not been clinically proven to be an effective treatment for most of those ailments. 

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed off on one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the country a day after the state Legislature gave the measure final approval.

Dustin Chambers / Propublica

Most of us don’t know much about Workers’ Compensation until we need it -- and your experience will depend a lot on where you live. 

Caps on benefits and higher bars to qualify as “injured” are a few of the changes made in most states beginning in the 1990’s to lower the cost of Workers’ Compensation. 

Employers say the program costs too much for them to remain competitive, and convinced legislators and unions on both sides of the aisle to reduce benefits.

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