medicine

Medical Research
2:44 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Federal Funding for Cancer Research Plummets in Connecticut

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute.
NCI

Connecticut’s share of funding from the National Cancer Institute has dropped 19 percent since 2010 – a steeper decline than many other states, an analysis of National Institutes of Health data shows.

Federal cancer institute funding to Connecticut fell to $33.4 million in 2014 – down from $41.1 million in 2010. The biggest grantee, Yale University, is receiving $7 million less from the National Cancer Institute, one of the NIH’s most prominent centers.

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Ebola Outbreak
11:20 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Latest Developments In The Ebola Story

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders (center) speaks with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn (second from left) and British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond (right) during a round table meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday. The ministers hope to raise 1 billion euros to fight Ebola.
Virginia Mayo AP

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 5:33 pm

Updated at 5:31 p.m. ET

It's Monday, and Ebola still dominates the headlines. Here's a roundup of some of the latest developments:

Duncan's Family Completes 21-Day Quarantine:

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Mental Health
4:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Halting Schizophrenia Before It Starts

Meghan, 23, began experiencing hallucinations at 19. "Driving home, cars' headlights turned into eyes. The grills on the cars turned into mouths and none of them looked happy. It would scare the crap out of me," Meghan says.
Marvi Lacar for NPR

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 4:36 pm

The important thing is that Meghan knew something was wrong.

When I met her, she was 23, a smart, wry young woman living with her mother and stepdad in Simi Valley, about an hour north of Los Angeles.

Meghan had just started a training program to become a respiratory therapist. Concerned about future job prospects, she asked NPR not to use her full name.

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Sierra Leone
4:08 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

3-Year-Old Ebola Survivor Proposes To Nurse

After beating Ebola, young Ibrahim celebrated by proposing to his nurse.
Anders Kelto NPR

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 12:08 pm

Isata Kallon, a nurse at Kenema Hospital in eastern Sierra Leone, remembers the day 3-year-old Ibrahim showed up at the Ebola treatment center. He was with his mother and two older brothers, ages 5 and 8. They all had Ebola. Ibrahim was especially sick, vomiting constantly.

"The chance of survival was very low for him," says Kallon, who's in her 30s. She sits at a picnic table outside the Ebola ward, her hair pulled back with a hairband and her blue nursing scrubs tinged with sweat around the neck.

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Ebola Outbreak
11:04 am
Fri October 17, 2014

White House Appoints An Ebola 'Czar'

Ron Klain (left), then chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden, talks with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on Capitol Hill in December 2009.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 1:59 pm

Ron Klain, a former White House adviser, has been appointed to head U.S. efforts to combat Ebola.

A White House official says Klain "will report directly to the president's Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco and ... National Security Adviser Susan Rice as he ensures that efforts to protect the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don't distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa."

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Ebola Outbreak
3:19 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Gov. Malloy Directs Connecticut Hospitals to Test Preparedness for Ebola Virus

Governor Malloy with state agency heads at the Emergency Operations Center in Hartford.
Office of Gov. Malloy

On Thursday, Governor Dannel Malloy directed all hospitals in Connecticut to perform a drill in the next week to be sure they are prepared to handle potential Ebola virus cases.

The announcement came while a patient at Yale-New Haven Hospital remained in isolation, awaiting Ebola test results, which could come as soon as Thursday afternoon.

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Ebola Outbreak
2:04 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Poll: Majority Of Americans Worried About U.S. Ebola Outbreak

An ambulance carrying Amber Vinson, the second health care worker to be diagnosed with Ebola in Texas, arrives at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Wednesday.
David Tulis AP

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 8:24 am

How are Americans sizing up the threat from Ebola?

A Harvard School of Public Health poll finds that more than a third of Americans (38 percent) are worried that Ebola will infect them or a family member over the next year.

Most (81 percent) believe Ebola can spread from someone who is sick and has symptoms. And that's correct.

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Ebola Outbreak
12:45 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Nurse Nina Pham To Be Transferred To NIH For Ebola Treatment

During a news conference on Sunday, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Daniel Varga answers questions about a health care worker who now has Ebola after providing care for Thomas Eric Duncan. Varga is expected to testify before a House panel looking into Ebola response.
Brandon Wade AP

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 7:23 am

Updated at 7:53 p.m. ET

Nina Pham, the 26-year-old nurse who became infected with Ebola after treating a patient with the disease at a Dallas hospital, will be transferred to a high-level containment facility at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in testimony before a House committee that Pham will be admitted to the NIH tonight.

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Public Health
10:54 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Lessons From Ebola School: How To Draw Blood, Wipe Up Vomit

At a CDC training session for clinicians headed to West Africa, a medical worker practices sanitizing hands after drawing blood from a mannequin portraying an Ebola patient.
Brynn Anderson AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 3:16 pm

How can health workers stay safe while treating an Ebola patient?

The CDC is embroiled in a controversy over that very question. After the infection of two nurses at a Dallas hospital, the agency is facing criticism about whether initial guidelines provided to U.S. facilities were stringent enough.

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Ebola Outbreak
8:45 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

CDC: Second Dallas Nurse 'Should Not Have Traveled'

The entrance to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where Thomas Eric Duncan was treated before he died from Ebola a week ago. Two health care workers who treated Duncan have tested positive for the disease.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 5:35 am

Updated at 8:43 p.m. ET

A second health care worker who has tested positive for the Ebola virus was airlifted from a Dallas hospital, where she became infected, to Emory University hospital in Atlanta for continued treatment on Wednesday.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says Amber Vinson, whom public records indicate is a nurse in Dallas, is "clinically stable" and that she was "quickly isolated" after her first test for Ebola came back positive on Tuesday.

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Science Research
6:33 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Embryonic Stem Cells Restore Vision In Preliminary Human Test

Isabella Beukes, of Santa Rosa, Calif., has been legally blind for more than 40 years. An experimental treatment derived from embryonic stem cells seems to have enabled her now to see not just color but also some shapes.
Tim Hussin for NPR

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 11:39 am

Scientists are reporting the first strong evidence that human embryonic stem cells may be helping patients.

The cells appear to have improved the vision in more than half of the 18 patients who had become legally blind because of two progressive, currently incurable eye diseases.

The researchers stress that the findings must be considered preliminary because the number of patients treated was relatively small and they have only been followed for an average of less than two years.

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Ebola Outbreak
6:03 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Ebola Volunteers Are Needed — But Signing On Isn't Easy

A licensed clinician is decontaminated before disrobing at the end of a simulated training session by CDC in Anniston, Ala. Training can take a several weeks, making some employers reluctant to encourage their medical workers to volunteer in the Ebola outbreak.
Brynn Anderson AP

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 7:28 pm

As soon as the Ebola outbreak started to spiral out of control in West Africa, Kwan Kew Lai felt obligated to help.

She's a physician who specializes in infectious disease. And for the last decade, she's dedicated herself to volunteering for international health emergencies. She works part-time at one of Harvard's teaching hospital just to have that flexibility.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:04 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

The Threat of a Post-Antibiotic Era

Stewart (Chip) Beckett is the senior veterinarian of Beckett & Associates Veterinary Practices in Glastonbury, Connecticut.
Chion Wolf WNPR

The notion of drug-resistant bacteria has gone from an exotic problem to a common one. If you have even a medium-sized circle of acquaintances you probably know somebody - or an older parent of somebody -battling an infection that ignores standard antibiotics. It's a big problem and today we're going to focus on one chunk of it, the connection between antibiotics given to farm animals and the rise of these diseases.

If we treat ourselves the way we treat pigs, cattle and chickens, we'd be put on antibiotics at birth and pretty much never go off them until we die.

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Medicinal Research
10:46 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Exploring Black Cohosh, Hot Peppers, in Breast Cancer Treatment

Dr. Erin Hofstatter.
Jenifer Frank C-HIT

Dr. Erin Hofstatter, a young research scientist and breast cancer specialist at Yale’s Smilow Cancer Hospital, often prescribes tamoxifen, raloxifene and similar drugs to her patients. The drugs “reduce your risk (of cancer recurring) by half … but they come with baggage,” she tells her patients, “hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, small risk of uterine cancer, small risk of blood clots, small risk of stroke, you have to get your liver tested.”

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Ebola Outbreak
3:25 am
Mon October 13, 2014

On Front Lines Against Ebola, Training A Matter Of Life Or Death

Dr. Patrick Kamara adjusts his googles on the final day of training and the first "dress rehearsal" before being sent out to Ebola treatment units. The World Health Organization is ramping up to train up to 500 new health workers a week as part of the effort to stem the spread of Ebola.
John W. Poole/NPR

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 7:20 pm

One of the biggest roadblocks in West Africa to containing the Ebola outbreak is the lack of isolation wards for people who are infected.

President Obama has announced plans to build 17 new Ebola Treatment Units in Liberia. Those new medical facilities will require thousands of additional workers who are trained and willing to work in them.

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Ebola
6:01 am
Sun October 12, 2014

CDC Cites 'Breach' In Ebola Protocol As Second Texas Case Emerges

Police stand guard outside the apartment of a hospital worker who has tested positive for Ebola in Dallas Sunday. In the background is a yellow barrel used to dispose of hazardous materials.
Roger Steinman AP

Originally published on Sun October 12, 2014 7:33 pm

A health care worker in Texas who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan has been confirmed to have the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The head of the CDC says the infection stems from a breach in protocol that officials are working to identify.

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Disease
12:40 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Ebola Joke Triggers Passenger's Removal From US Airways Flight

Hazmat team removes passenger from US Airways flight after joke about Ebola.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 12:57 pm

Updated at 12:40 p.m. ET

Call it a sign of the times: An airline passenger sneezes, makes a joke about Ebola and is quickly escorted from the plane by hazmat-suited personnel.

That's what reportedly happened aboard a US Airways flight that had landed in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, shortly after arriving from Philadelphia on Wednesday.

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Disease
12:33 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

4 Things We've Learned About Enterovirus D68, And 1 Mystery

Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., was the first to report a surge of children with serious respiratory illness in August.
Andy Pollard Children's Mercy Kansas City

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 8:15 am

On Aug. 15, doctors and nurses at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., realized they had a problem.

Children were coming into the emergency room with an illness that caused wheezing and breathing problems so severe that some children ended up in the ICU on ventilators. And it was spreading fast.

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Science
12:24 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Jackson Labs' Director of Science Aims for "Real Impacts" in Connecticut

Charles Lee, Jackson's director of science in Farmington, Conn., was shortlisted last month for a Nobel Prize in medicine.
Credit Jackson Laboratory

Charles Lee, director of science at the Jackson Laboratory, said he's been pretty tired lately. Between the grand opening of Jackson's Farmington facility and working on this week's first-ever science conference, he's had a lot on his plate.

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Ebola Outbreak
9:14 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Hospital: Condition Of Spanish Nurse With Ebola Is Deteriorating

A vehicle that picks up hospital waste arrives at Teresa Romero Ramos' house in Alcorcon, outside Madrid, on Wednesday. The Spanish nurse was the first case of human-to-human Ebola contagion in Europe.
Borja Garcia EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 1:08 pm

Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET

Hospital officials in Spain are saying that the condition of a nurse quarantined with Ebola has worsened.

Yolanda Fuentes, an official at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, says of Ebola patient Teresa Romero Ramos: "Her clinical situation has deteriorated but I can't give any more information due to the express wishes of the patient."

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Ebola
3:02 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Texas Officials Say They Will Cremate Ebola Patient's Remains

Thomas Eric Duncan died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas Wednesday morning. He is the first person to have been diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.
LM Otero AP

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died Wednesday morning at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. As relatives and friends grieve and plan an evening service for the 42-year-old man, public health officials are putting in action plans to safely manage his remains.

This is critical, given that people who die of Ebola virus infection can harbor the virus after death.

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Texas
12:15 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Dallas Ebola Patient Thomas Eric Duncan Has Died

This 2011 photo provided by Wilmot Chayee shows Thomas Eric Duncan at a wedding in Ghana. Duncan, who became the first patient diagnosed in the U.S. with Ebola, has died, the hospital where he was being treated said.
Wilmot Chayee AP

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 2:24 pm

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Thomas Eric Duncan, the 42-year-old man who contracted Ebola in Liberia and later traveled to Dallas, where he was being treated, has died, hospital officials say.

A statement from the company that runs Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Duncan was in isolation, read:

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Europe
10:10 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Spanish Nurse Says She Reported Her Ebola Symptoms Several Times

Spanish police block animal rights activists protesting Wednesday outside the apartment building of the Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola in the city of Alcorcon, outside Madrid.
Susana Vera Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 3:30 pm

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Here's a roundup of the latest developments on Ebola. We'll update this post as news happens.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed that the U.S. will conduct additional screenings of passengers arriving from the Ebola-infected region of West Africa. JFK, Newark, Chicago O'Hare, Dulles and Atlanta's Hartsfield airports will implement measures that would affect about 150 passengers a day.

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Ebola Emergency
11:03 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Meriden Company Developing Ebola Vaccine

Jackie Filson WNPR

A Connecticut bioscience company said it’s developing an Ebola vaccine and it plans to have samples ready for testing by the end of this year. 

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Medicine
8:48 am
Tue October 7, 2014

UConn Professor Wins Award for Work in Regenerative Engineering

UConn Health's Dr. Cato Laurencin says regenerative engineering will soon revolutionize how musculoskeletal tissue injuries are treated.
Lanny Nagler UConn Health Center

A UConn Professor has won a lucrative award from the National Institutes of Health for his work in regenerative engineering.

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Ebola
11:58 am
Mon October 6, 2014

U.S. Journalist With Ebola Flown To Nebraska For Treatment

An ambulance transports Ashoka Mukpo, who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia, to The Nebraska Medical Center's specialized isolation unit on Monday in Omaha.
Dave Weaver AP

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 4:53 pm

Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET

The condition of a man infected with the Ebola virus who is undergoing treatment in Dallas is "fighting for his life," doctors say, as another patient with the disease has arrived in Nebraska to receive care.

Thomas Eric Duncan, in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, became ill after arriving from the West African country of Liberia two weeks ago.

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Bioscience Expansion
10:04 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Jackson Lab Readies for Farmington Debut

Construction workers putting finishing touches to Jackson Lab's Farmington premises
Harriet Jones WNPR

Jackson Laboratory is putting the finishing touches to its new facility in Farmington. The $100 million building opens for business next week, and the non-profit says there are already plans for further expansion. 

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Disease
12:05 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

No, Seriously, How Contagious Is Ebola?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 8:22 pm

Update on Oct. 8: The Ebola patient in Dallas, the first diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., has died.

Holy moly! There's a case of Ebola in the U.S.!

That first reaction was understandable. There's no question the disease is scary. The World Health Organization now estimates that the virus has killed about 70 percent of people infected in West Africa.

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Disease
11:01 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Officials: 100 'Potential Contacts' Linked To Dallas Ebola Patient

A man diagnosed with the Ebola virus this week is being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The patient recently traveled to Dallas from Liberia.
Mike Stone Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 8:34 pm

Updated at 3:42 p.m. ET:

The number of "contact traces" for a man diagnosed with Ebola earlier this week in Dallas has risen to 100, officials say, as they add secondary contacts to a list of people being monitored for symptoms of the deadly virus.

Earlier today, Erikka Neros, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County Health and Human Services department, said the number of "contact traces" stood at about 80 because the 12 to 18 people who had been exposed directly to the patient then had contact with others.

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Genetics
11:08 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Who Should Get a Genetic Test for Breast Cancer?

Credit Huntstock / Thinkstock

Historically, doctors recommended genetic screenings in certain women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. This month, Mary-Claire King, an influential the geneticist who discovered links between a gene called BRCA1 and breast cancer, said doctors need to offer genetic tests to all women 30 and older.

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