wellness

It's Spring. Now Sneeze.
4:29 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Cold Winter Means Healthy Trees -- and Pollen

A red maple in bloom.
Benny Mazur Creative Commons

Now that the long winter is over, spring is here. So is tree pollen.

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Grains
3:22 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Where's The Whole Grain In Most Of Our Wheat Bread?

The most healthful loaves of bread contain chunks of grain still intact, like the seeded loaf on the right. Whole wheat loaves, like the one in the middle, may contain few whole grains and may be made up mostly of refined flour, like the white bread on the left.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 1:04 pm

We've all heard the advice to eat more whole grains, and cut back on refined starches.

And there's good reason. Compared with a diet heavy on refined grains, like white flour, a diet rich in whole grains — which includes everything from brown rice to steel-cut oats to farro — is linked to lower rates of heart disease, certain cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

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Children's Yoga
12:52 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

The Benefits of Children's Yoga Only Beginning to Be Understood

Students and parents practice yoga before class at West Hartford's Webster Hill Elementary School
Ray Hardman

There are many studies out there touting the benefits of yoga, from increasing flexibility and strength, to helping with more debilitating conditions like chronic headaches and pain. More and more children are practicing yoga, and researchers are just beginning to understand how kids can benefit from the ancient discipline. 

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Smoking Concerns
1:26 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

E-Cigarette Bill Would Ban Marketing to Kids

Credit scyther5/iStock / Thinkstock

Two members of Connecticut's congressional delegation have launched a bill that would ban companies from marketing e-cigarettes to children.

But they ran into some vocal opposition during a press conference to launch the legislation.

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Infant Health
3:35 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

State Issues Alert on Infant Sleep-Related Risks

Credit vivianejl / Creative Commons

An eight-week-old baby boy slips out of his sleeping grandmother’s arms and suffocates in the folds of a couch. A seven-week-old girl is found dead lying on her stomach in her mother’s bed, where she had been placed to sleep, as a nearby crib sat unused. These are two of 23 infants who died in Connecticut last year of “sudden infant death syndrome,” or undetermined causes. 

Of those cases, 18 were found to have risk factors associated with the sleep environment, including co-sleeping in an adult bed with parents, sleeping with a heavy blanket or pillows, or being placed on their stomachs.

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Health Disparity
2:59 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Smoking Rates Decline in Connecticut, But Striking Disparities Persist By County

Credit Marius Mellebye / Creative Commons

Although smoking rates in Connecticut decreased between 1996 and 2012, striking disparities persist among counties, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu April 3, 2014

How Clean Is Our Air?

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution exposure was responsible for seven million deaths in 2012.
Credit eutrophication&hypoxia / Creative Commons

A report released by the World Health Organization last week found that some 7 million people died from air pollution exposure in 2012. In other words, one in eight of all global deaths that year resulted from breathing bad air. 

Today, the WHO considers air pollution to be the single greatest environmental health risk, linking it to cases of asthma, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.

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Healthy Eating
3:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Rethinking Fat: The Case For Adding Some Into Your Diet

Nutrition researchers are reaching a new consensus: Cut back on all those refined carbs. And remember that some fat is good.
Stacy Spensley/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:10 pm

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.

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Technology
4:00 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Why Playing Minecraft Might Be More Healthful For Kids Than TV

It's not exercise, but at least kids can't eat potato chips while gaming on phones.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun March 30, 2014 9:15 am

Doctors say children shouldn't log more than two hours a day of screen time, though what with phones, computers and TV most children put in much more.

But it may be that not all screens are equally evil.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that sixth-graders who watched a lot of TV were more likely to eat junk food and drink soda than their peers who spent the same amount of time on the computer or playing video games, researchers from the University of Michigan say.

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Women's Health
1:59 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk For All Women Everywhere

Researchers found that the more active a woman is, the better her odds of avoiding breast cancer.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 5:22 pm

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.

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Lowering Cholesterol
12:00 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Statins Might Not Cause Aching Muscles, But Diabetes Risk Is Real

Statins are widely prescribed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but we may not be getting a clear picture of side effect risks.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:22 pm

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.

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Nutrition
10:47 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Advice For Eating Well On A Tight Budget, From A Mom Who's Been There

JuJu Harris is the author of The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook. A former recipient of government food assistance, she now teaches healthy eating skills to low-income families in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of Molly M. Peterson

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 5:47 pm

JuJu Harris didn't set out to write a cookbook, but then again, she didn't set out to accept public assistance to feed her son, either. Harris always wanted to work with nature.

"My dream job was, I was going to grow up and be a national park ranger," she says. It didn't quite work out that way. She drifted from job to job in Oakland, Calif., where she was born. At 32, she joined the Peace Corps, traveling to Paraguay to help local farmers improve their crops.

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Legislative Session
4:25 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Malloy Wants to Ban Sale of E-Cigarettes to Minors

Governor Malloy speaks about the bill at the Trinity College Boys & Girls Club in Hartford.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy wants to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. He said the makers of the devices may be trying to hook smokers while they're young. 

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Clean Water
4:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

To Clean Drinking Water, All You Need Is A Stick

Current water-filtering technology is costly, but MIT scientists are testing a simpler and cheaper method that uses wood from white pine trees.
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 3:25 pm

Removing all the dangerous bacteria from drinking water would have enormous health benefits for people around the world.

The technologies exist for doing that, but there's a problem: cost.

Now a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's on to a much less expensive way to clean up water.

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Decibels
12:36 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Should Noise in Connecticut Movie Theaters Be Regulated?

Credit Kenneth Lu / Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a proposal that would establish a maximum decibel level at movie theaters across the state. The General Assembly's Public Safety and Security Committee heard testimony during a public hearing on Tuesday, including from Joseph Masher, the chief operating officer of Bow Tie Cinemas.

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Winter Olympics
2:22 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Why Some Olympians Load Up On Salad Instead Of Pasta

Peter Frenette of the United States jumps during training for the Men's Normal Hill Individual ahead of the start of the Sochi Games.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:53 am

When we imagine Olympic athletes at the table before the most important competition of their lives, we might picture a huge plate of pasta, with Gatorade to wash it down and a well-deserved ice cream sundae for dessert.

Turns out, they might be preparing with a salad, a glass of beet juice and some almonds.

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Flu
10:21 am
Thu February 13, 2014

With This Year's Flu, Young Adults Are Not So Invincible

A flu shot would have helped protect young adults, but most didn't get it.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 11:40 am

We usually think of the flu as an illness that afflicts the elderly. But this season the virus seems to be hitting younger people hard.

This winter at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., the median age of people hospitalized with influenza was 28.5 years. Many of the worst cases of flu occurred in young, otherwise healthy people.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:30 am
Tue February 11, 2014

The Passion of Pickling

A jar of pickles from Firebox restaurant in Hartford, CT.
Credit Chion Wolf, filtered through Instagram / WNPR

In 2030 B.C., somebody brought cucumbers from India to the Tigris Valley, and they said, "We can pickle that!" And so it began, from the first stirrings of civilization, to modern-day Brooklyn artisan pickles: we've found ourselves up to our eyes in brine, looking for the next object we can pickle.

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Food Additives
1:09 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Subway Phasing Out Bread Additive After Blogger Flags Health Concerns

Sandwich chain Subway has announced plans to drop the additive azodicarbonamide from its fresh-baked breads. Above, Subway founder Fred DeLuca poses carrying bread for sandwiches.
Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 4:19 pm

Food industry, beware of the power of the online petition.

Just a few days after food blogger Vani Hari, known as Food Babe, created a buzz with an online petition raising questions about the safety of a food additive commonly used in commercial baking, sandwich giant Subway has announced plans to phase it out of its fresh-baked breads.

The additive, azodicarbonamide, is used by the commercial baking industry to bleach flour and condition dough.

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Teen Health
10:29 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Less Sleep, More Time Online Raise Risk For Teen Depression

Teenagers' sleep patterns may be a clue to their risk of depression.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 2:26 pm

The teenage years are a tumultuous time, with about 11 percent developing depression by age 18. Lack of sleep may increase teenagers' risk of depression, two studies say.

Teenagers who don't get enough sleep are four times as likely to develop major depressive disorder as their peers who sleep more, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. They tracked the habits of more than 4,000 adolescents over a year.

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Drugstores
1:13 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

By Dropping Cigarettes, CVS Gives Its Reputation A Boost

A CVS pharmacy in Orlando, Fla., is one of more than 7,600 stores where the company will stop selling tobacco products by October.
John Raoux AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 6:24 pm

When drugstore chain CVS said Wednesday that it would stop selling tobacco products by October, the company also told investors that the move would probably cost it $2 billion a year in lost sales.

CVS says it has figured out unspecified ways to help make up for the profits from cigarettes and other tobacco products.

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Cigarettes
7:28 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

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Teen Health
3:27 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Most Teens Aren't Active Enough, And It's Not Always Their Fault

The CDC would be happy with these guys, who were playing in Birmingham, Ala., in July 2013. Teenage boys say basketball is their favorite activity.
Mark Almond AL.COM /Landov

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 7:43 am

Sure, you think, my kid's on a football team. That takes care of his exercise needs, right? Probably not.

"There are these bursts of activity," says Jim Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "But if you think about it, one hour of playing football out on the field means that the vast majority of that time is spent standing around waiting for the next play."

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Athlete Safety
3:26 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Young Athletes Risk Back Injury By Playing Too Much

A West Coast team player kicks the ball during a match at the Adidas Challenges America's Youth Soccer Stars tournament in Venice, Calif.
Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 9:27 am

Jack Everett sat on his living room couch wearing a back brace, eyes glued to a massive TV set playing his favorite video game, NHL 2013.

"I'm the Boston Bruins," the 10-year-old said as he deftly worked the video controls. "The guy that just shot was Milan Lucic. He's a really good guy on our team."

Whether at home or during recess at his elementary school in suburban Los Angeles, Jack's young life now is about sitting still.

"Well, I can eat lunch with friends, and I play cards," Jack says. But his classmates are out running and jumping outside.

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Child Victims
8:32 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Sex Trafficking Isn't Just an Overseas Problem

Audrey Morrissey, DMST Expert, Associate Director of My Life My Choice.
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

A woman who was was forced into prostitution as a teenager spoke at the state's first conference on domestic sex trafficking. 

Audrey Morrissey, 51, is a Massachusetts resident who detailed how she was forced into prostitution after suffering from low self-esteem and lack of nurturing at home. She eventually turned her life around, and now counsels young girls through the initiative, My Life My Choice

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Polar Vortex
4:36 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

How A Little Chill In The Air Could Help You Lose Weight

Researchers say that setting your thermostat a little lower can help you burn more calories.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 8:11 am

When it comes to tackling obesity, eating right and staying active are usually the way to go. But a research team in the Netherlands says there's an environmental factor that might help and that is often overlooked: the cold.

We're not talking bone-chilling temperatures that'll make you shiver endlessly, but a milder cold between 62 and 77 degrees.

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Uncertainty
2:57 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Blood Pressure Ruckus Reveals Big Secret In Medicine

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 3:35 pm

There has been a carefully guarded secret in medicine: Evidence is often inconclusive, and experts commonly disagree about what it means.

Most medical decisions aren't cut and dried. Instead they're usually made with uncertainty about what is best for each person.

This uncertainty secret has been revealed in a very public disagreement among experts about who should be treated for high blood pressure. The controversy hinges on the level of blood pressure that should serve as a trigger for treatment.

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Child Health
6:19 am
Wed January 15, 2014

DCF Behavioral Health Plan Will Focus on Early Identification

State Senator Dante Bartolomeo said the state should ideally have a "braided" system of services for families.
Credit Ray Hardman / WNPR

The state of Connecticut will begin developing a plan to meet the behavioral health needs of all the children in the state. The plan is required under legislation passed last year by the General Assembly in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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Caffeine
6:22 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Coffee Myth-Busting: Cup Of Joe May Help Hydration And Memory

A barista makes coffee using the pour-over method at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore.
Benjamin Morris NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:51 pm

Despite caffeine's many benefits, there's a belief out there that a daily coffee habit can cause dehydration.

So is it true? Not according to the findings of a new study.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. studied the fluid levels of 50 men who had a habit of consuming about three to six cups of coffee each day.

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Diet Challenge
6:43 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Elm City Goes on a Diet

New Haven officials would like, on average, to see each resident lose three pounds in a new initiative.
Credit Comstock/Stockbyte / Thinkstock

The city of New Haven is going on a diet. City officials, health advocates and Yale University announced the initiative on Friday in the Elm City.

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