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Vaping 360 / Creative Commons

Before electronic cigarettes hit the U.S. market about 10 years ago, Connecticut was making progress in decreasing nicotine use among young people.

About one in four teens were smoking cigarettes in 2000, but by 2017, that dropped to only 3.5% of school-aged students statewide, according to state reports.

Growing Opioid Crisis Tests Limits Of Methadone Clinics; Advocates Favor Expansion

Oct 16, 2019
Jose DeJesus, treasurer of the Hill neighborhood's community management team, said that the APT Foundation clinic has created a magnet for outsiders to come for treatment and hang out in the neighborhood.
Steve Hamm / C-HIT.org

Jose DeJesus pulls his silver minivan out of a parking lot in back of a row of historic houses on New Haven’s Congress Avenue. He points with pride to the flowers he planted around the lot. Then he grimly spins a commentary as he gives a tour of the surrounding Hill neighborhood.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio


Denise Guillemette sat at a table preparing dozens of flu vaccines that she would eventually give to residents who came to a recent community clinic in Glastonbury.

“Come on down,” she called to the next person in line waiting their turn. “How are you feeling today, good?”

Shattered: Intimate Partner Gun Violence

Oct 14, 2019
In March 2014, Timira Hopkins was shot by her then-boyfriend.
Photo illustration: Tyrone Turner / WAMU

Timira Hopkins knew her boyfriend was angry that she had stayed late at her grandmother’s house one day in March 2014, instead of being at home waiting when he got off work.

She had seen him upset before — often, even. His rage would routinely erupt into acts of violence, leaving her with black and blue bruises across her face. He sometimes threatened worse.

After a mass shooting, people and resources pour into the community to help victims and survivors cope. As these incidents continue to unfold, the grim infrastructure that springs up around them is growing larger and more sophisticated.

The link between vaping and severe lung problems is getting a lot of attention.

But scientists say they're also worried about vaping's effect on teenage brains.

"Unfortunately, the brain problems and challenges may be things that we see later on down the road," says Nii Addy, associate professor of psychiatry and cellular and molecular physiology at Yale School of Medicine.

26 Connecticut Hospitals Penalized By Medicare For High Readmission Rates

Oct 9, 2019
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services penalized Bridgeport Hospital 2.66 percent, the highest penalty among Conn. hospitals.
Bridgeport Hospital

Most Connecticut hospitals will lose a percentage of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having high rates of readmitted patients, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Florey Institute / Creative Commons

Trying to figure out how much a medical procedure or treatment may cost can be time consuming and complicated, but Connecticut officials hope a new web tool may now make it easier for patients and their families.

The state Office of Health Strategy Tuesday launched a cost estimator tool on HealthscoreCT.com, a new website for health care quality and cost information. The estimator tool was designed to aid people in their medical decisions and give them a better idea of how health care pricing and coverage work.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Two members of New England’s congressional delegation are calling for a federal audit of PFAS chemicals in America’s food supply, with an eye toward understanding whether they can cause contamination. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A day after the legislative session ended and still reeling from the defeat of a sweeping public option bill, lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont vowed in June to revive the health care overhaul next year. But as the General Assembly gets closer to reconvening, prospects for a resurrected public option measure are looking dim, and the debate around health care reform has shifted to cost containment, prescription drugs and reinsurance proposals that have bipartisan support. 

Ted Eytan / Creative Commons

Ten years ago around this time, U.S. legislators were in the middle of hashing out one of the biggest ever pieces of health care reform legislation. Democrats narrowly passed it, and President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March of 2010.

Looking back on the last decade, Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, health policy expert and professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University, said the ACA has accomplished a lot, but it’s also left a fragmented health system divided by private and public sectors.

Citizen Scientists Steer Efforts To Jumpstart Black Rock Harbor's Recovery

Oct 7, 2019
Holly Turner, a teacher at the Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculture School; Lyle Given, and Charlotte Hickey, both students. Kevin Blagys, a volunteer, observes their work.
Melanie Stengel / C-HIT.org

At 6:25 a.m. on the cloudy, humid first day of summer, two teenage aquaculture students huddle at the back of their school boat as it backs away from a dock in Black Rock Harbor in western Bridgeport.

Cost Of Modernizing Infrastructure Means Foul Spills At Black Rock Harbor Will Go On For Decades

Oct 4, 2019
On a dry day, the West Side plant handles about 18 million gallons of waste.  The waste circulates through three screening tanks where human feces, sanitary napkins, condoms and others items are screened out.
Melanie Stengel / C-HIT.org

On the west and east sides of narrow Black Rock Harbor in western Bridgeport, industry, school, recreation and sewage treatment converge.

Vaping306 / Creative Commons

A Connecticut resident has died from lung illness related to vaping, state officials announced Thursday. It’s the first fatality of its kind in the state and among a growing number of people who are dying in a nationwide outbreak of cases.

The patient was between 30 and 39 years old and died last week while being hospitalized for multiple medical conditions, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Dead Fish, Condoms, Brown Foam: Sewage Has Chokehold On Black Rock Harbor

Oct 3, 2019
Hours after a heavy overnight rainstorm on July 12, a brown, foamy slick was floating in Black Rock Harbor near Captain's Cove Seaport. The West Side plant reported a legal bypass of more than 1 million gallons of disinfected partially treated raw sewage.
Melanie Stengel / C-HIT.org

On April 25, 2018, Patrick Clough walked onto a dock at Fayerweather Yacht Club on Black Rock Harbor in western Bridgeport. He looked down. Swirling around the dock was a brown, foamy slick. Women’s sanitary products and other objects floated in it.

A recent survey from APM Research Lab, Call To Mind and Guns & America found that most Americans — including those who own guns and those who don’t — support laws requiring gun owners to store their firearms with a lock in place.

But not everyone sees storage the same way.

Chris Fifield-Smith / Creative Commons

A third Connecticut resident has died from EEE, and another person has been diagnosed with the illness, state officials announced Tuesday.

Dr. Matthew Cartter, state epidemiologist of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement that a person from East Haddam between 60 and 69 years old died during the third week of September from the mosquito-borne illness.

TBEC Review / Wikimedia Commons

Doctors and public health officials are still trying to figure out the cause behind more than 800 lung injuries related to vaping that have been reported in the U.S. in recent months.

At the same time, there is a longer-term public health crisis as more and more young people have become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarette use -- despite decades of declining traditional cigarette use among teens. 

This hour, we talk about these two public health crises. Do you vape nicotine products like Juul, or maybe use THC cartridges or vape pens from a dispensary? Has the current outbreak in lung injuries changed your vaping habits?

A new set of analyses published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges the widespread recommendations to cut back on red and processed meats.

RYAN CARON KING / Connecticut Public Radio

A Superior Court judge has dismissed a parents’ lawsuit against the Connecticut Department of Public Health over the release of school-level vaccination data.

Brian and Kristen Festa, of Bristol, challenged DPH’s decision to release school-by-school vaccination data in May. The report also included the percentage of kids with religious and medical exemptions at each school.

Joshua Davis

Over the 21 years Sen. Cathy Osten worked for the Department of Correction, mental illness was so pervasive among Connecticut’s inmates that it was not unusual for her to hear from families who were grateful their loved ones were incarcerated because they were better off behind bars than on the street.

A Republican senator from Georgia has introduced a bill to study what he calls “mass violence.” It would give a $300 million infusion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Sen. Johnny Isakson’s plan is to spend $75 million annually, for four years, to study the causes of what he calls “mass violence” and how to prevent it.

Of the estimated 300 people in the United States who are shot on an average day, about 200 survive. But many of them do so with devastating physical and emotional scars that last a lifetime.

Their ailments range from paralysis and possible lead poisoning, to crippling anxiety attacks and depression.

Eleven survivors of gun violence tell their stories in their own words in Shattered: Life After Being Shot.

Every individual’s story is paired with a portrait, — a composite — using a “stitching” technique that combines multiple pictures.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

 

Gov. Ned Lamont held a private meeting at his residence in Hartford Wednesday with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to discuss policy and plans around transportation, cybersecurity, economic ventures, marijuana regulation and more.

High up on the list of concerns shared by the two governors is the nationwide outbreak of serious lung illnesses that may be related to vaping.

There’s no cure for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, but there is a vaccine for the mosquito-borne illness. It’s just not commercially available.

The United States military developed it in the 1980s as part of a vaccine program to protect military personnel from dangerous pathogens, says Sam Telford, an epidemiologist at Tufts University.

“As a graduate student, I received that vaccine,” he says.

Stephen Ausmus / U.S. Department of Agriculture

A second person in Connecticut has died from Eastern equine encephalitis, a virus passed on from mosquitos, said state officials Tuesday.

According to the state Department of Public Health, the victim was an adult resident of Old Lyme who became ill during the second week of September and later tested positive for the rare mosquito-borne illness.

Philippe Put / CreativeCommons.org

Women in America die more frequently from complications of childbirth than in any other industrialized nation in the world. In addition, women of color are three to four times more likely to die than white women. And over the last 25 years that the maternal mortality was rising in America, other countries were decreasing their rate. 

Vaping360 / Creative Commons


The number of people becoming ill with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping continues to climb as states like Connecticut report more hospitalizations.

Two more cases of serious lung illness have been reported in the state, bringing the total to 13 people. That’s according to the Department of Public Health. That news follows an increase in cases nationwide.

Updated on Sept. 27 at 7:06 p.m. ET to reflect the latest information from federal agencies

An outbreak of severe lung disease among users of electronic cigarettes continues to spread to new patients and states.

In the first three months after getting his Dexcom continuous glucose monitor, Ric Peralta managed to reduce his average blood sugar level by three percentage points.

"It took me from not-very-well-managed blood sugar to something that was incredibly well managed," says Peralta, a 46-year-old optician in Whittier, Calif., who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2008.

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