medicine

You may have heard that dollar bills harbor trace amounts of drugs.

But those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They're teeming with life.

Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.

Federal authorities have charged three more Florida men in the 2010 theft of millions of dollars worth of prescription drugs from an Eli Lilly warehouse in Connecticut. 

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This is just a test. But imagine that a something really nasty is spreading around the state.

A key government panel Tuesday voted unanimously against approval of a powerful opioid prescription painkiller intended to provide faster relief with fewer side effects.

At the conclusion of a hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 14-0 against recommending that the agency approve Moxduo, the first drug to combine morphine and oxycodone into one capsule.

It's a sunny afternoon at Kelly's Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, and Nikki Esquibel is getting stoned. But you wouldn't know it.

The 19-year-old, who has a medical prescription for marijuana, is "smoking" pot with a handheld vaporizer, or a vape pen. It's sleek, black, and virtually indistinguishable from a high-end e-cigarette.

That's the point, says Esquibel. "I use it mostly around my neighborhood. It's easy to hide." The vapor coming from the device doesn't even have much of an odor.

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The U.S. is in the middle of a heroin epidemic. It’s something that has become increasingly problematic in northeastern states like Connecticut. This hour, a panel of local reporters and health experts from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts share their stories. 

We also hear about a controversial decision by the state Department of Children and Families to transfer a transgender teenager to one of Connecticut’s adult prisons, even though, as we’ve discussed on the show, the state now has a “locked” facility for girls like her. WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil joins us with more on that story.

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A new report called "Healthy Connecticut 2020," from the state Department of Public Health, outlines some of the challenges facing Connecticut health care professionals in the coming decade.

Katharine Hepburn had it. So did playwright Eugene O'Neill and Sen. Robert Byrd. Essential tremor is a condition that causes involuntary shaking.

While it usually develops in middle age, it can start much earlier. Shari Finsilver was aware of her hands shaking as a child.

Yale Refugee Clinic

Refugees face many challenges after resettling in a new country and it can be especially hard for children. On Saturday at Luce Hall Auditorium, Yale School of Medicine and Yale's MacMillan Center are hosting a conference for educators to learn about ways to help refugee students adjust.

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Connecticut's consumer chief has picked six medical marijuana dispensaries that will be the first in the state operating in Branford, Bridgeport, Bristol, Hartford, South Windsor and Uncasville.

A deceptively simple leg brace is changing the lives of hundreds of wounded service members. Soldiers with badly injured legs who thought they'd have to live with terrible pain can walk and run again, pain-free.

Earlier this month, Army Spc. Joey McElroy took his first steps in the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis, or IDEO (pronounced: eye-DAY-oh). The device squeaked a bit as he stepped briskly on an indoor track.

McElroy was hit by a car and thrown from his motorcycle on Dec. 5, 2012.

Remember the fat-free boom that swept the country in the 1990s? Yes, we know from the Salt readers who took our informal survey that lots of you tried to follow it. And gave up.

"I definitely remember eating fat-free cookies, fat–free pudding, fat-free cheese, which was awful," Elizabeth Stafford, an attorney from North Carolina, told us in the survey.

Chion Wolf

Teresa of Avila very unambiguously reported hearing voices. She's a saint. John Forbes Nash heard voices. He won a Nobel prize. Robert Schumann heard voices that spurred him to write great music.

Philip K. Dick was guided by one inner voice, specifically female, that he would hear for much of his life. He probably holds the record for most film adaptations for words written of any author ever.

Mahatma Gandhi described a voice he could hear; not a metaphorical inner conversation, but a voice.

I could go on. Hearing voices is not that unusual. 

Pediatricians often recommend some mental health counseling for children who have behavior problems like defiance and tantrums. But counseling can be hard to find. Children are much more likely to get help if the counselor is right there in the doctor's office, a study finds.

The children in the study had behavior problems, and many also had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety. They were 8 years old, on average, and two-thirds were boys.

Hospital Mergers in Connecticut Raise Concerns Over Patient Costs

Mar 24, 2014
Connecticut Health I-Team

Hospital administrators in Connecticut who have been involved in the unprecedented streak of mergers and consolidations often tout the financial benefits and efficiencies of such moves.

This could be the simplest bit of health advice ever: Exercise reduces women's risk of breast cancer, no matter what kind of exercise they do, how old they are, how much they weigh, or when they get started.

Doctors worry they won't get paid by some patients because of an unusual 90-day grace period for government-subsidized health plans.

So several professional groups for doctors are urging their members to check patients' insurance status before every visit. Consumer advocates say these checks could lead to treatment delays or denials for some patients.

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for cancer survivors. A relatively new scientific field called "cardio-oncology" is working to change that.

Chemotherapy and radiation may save you from cancer, but they can also do a lot of damage to your heart. 

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Mark Oppenheimer writes about religion and a whole bunch of other things. Today, he'll be talking about the difficulty Orthodox Jewish women face in obtaining a certain form of cooperation from their husbands and how that difficulty spawned a black market in coercion and violence.

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The legislature's Public Health Committee is slated to hear testimony Monday on a bill which would allow physicians to help terminally ill patients to end their lives.

The so called aid-in-dying legislation is likely to draw impassioned advocates on both sides. 

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Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill on Friday that would require primary health care providers to offer baby boomers a screening test for Hepatitis C, a contagious liver disease. The proposed legislation would affect patients born between 1945 and 1965.

People taking cholesterol-lowering statins often report having muscle pain and other side effects. Many quit taking the pills as a result.

But the statins aren't to blame, according to an analysis that found muscle problems no more likely with statins than with a placebo pill.

Expensive new drugs for hepatitis C may work better than older treatments, but their high cost undermines their value, a panel of experts said Monday during a daylong forum in San Francisco.

"The price makes it very hard for the health care system," said Steve Pearson, who oversaw the meeting for the California Technology Assessment Forum, a group affiliated with health insurers that holds public meetings to weigh evidence on new treatments.

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Connecticut's Department of Public Health reported two cases of measles in Fairfield County on Tuesday. This follows several cases in New York City, and a spike in the number of cases last year, even though the disease has already been virtually eliminated from the U.S. since 2000.

For the first time since it legalized recreational marijuana, Colorado is releasing revenue figures: The state made $3.5 million in taxes and fees in January.

As KUSA-TV reports, $2.1 million of that came from the sale of recreational pot and $1.4 million came from medical marijuana.

KUSA adds:

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A new poll shows Connecticut voters strongly support legislation allowing doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients.

Best-selling author Dr. Sherwin Nuland has died. His 1994 book, How We Die, took on the medical establishment and its unwinnable fight with death. 

How We Die describes the messy, often harrowing process of dying. 

Yale University

Spider venom could be the next big thing to cure pain, according to research reported in the March issue of Current Biology from Yale University.

There are a lot of different components in venom. And here’s a cheery thought: not every part is out to kill you. 

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Connecticut is about to receive about 1.3 million potassium iodide pills to be distributed to towns in a ten-mile emergency planning zone around Millstone Power Station in Waterford. The pills protect against radiation in a severe nuclear plant accident.

Rajan Narayanan isn't your average yoga instructor. During his classes, he uses words like "neuroplasticity," avoids Sanskrit terms and sometimes shows up to teach in a suit and tie.

And often, as was the case on a recent Monday at a Maryland conference center, most of his students are doctors and nurses.

Stretched out on orange and green yoga mats for a weekend-long workshop, the 30 students learned breathing techniques, lifestyle tips and research findings that support the health benefits of yoga.

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