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Gillian Flaccus / AP

At 6:30 a.m. in January on a residential street in West Hartford, it was 18 degrees outside and quiet. Most houses disappeared into the pitch-black darkness, making the lights coming from inside Anna Shusterman’s home especially bright.

“Hey, Max!” Shusterman yelled up the stairs from the kitchen.

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Deaths related to alcohol have been rising over the past two decades, especially among women.  Today, we look at the impact of alcohol on public health.

And on this day in 1920, Prohibition went into effect around the country, making it illegal to sell alcohol. 100 years after the beginning of this national experiment, we ask: what is a productive policy approach today to dealing with addiction?

In early December at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, two anxious scientists were about to send 20 years of research into orbit.

"I feel like our heart and soul is going up in that thing," Dr. Emily Germain-Lee told her husband, Dr. Se-Jin Lee, as they waited arm-in-arm for a SpaceX rocket to launch.

Tracking Types Of Terrain That Harbor Disease-Carrying Ticks

Jan 16, 2020
Christine Woodside / C-HIT

On a sunny, cool day as fall gave way to winter, a team of biologists and technicians dragged white cloths through the underbrush at Lord Creek Farm in Lyme. They were looking for blacklegged ticks, which carry Lyme disease and four other deadly illnesses.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Debra Trueax knew she was struggling with an acute substance use disorder, but she wanted to hide it from family and friends. So when she went to a hospital in 2018, she had a plan.

“I went to the emergency room looking to get a bed and for mental health and addiction services,” she said. “I knew where I could get a bed where I could also sort of on the sly get treatment for substance abuse without anyone knowing.”

Jonathan Grado / Flickr Creative Commons

Life after death, in one form or another,  has been examined by multiple disciplines for centuries: From theology, to physics, to philosophy, to medicine and more. But while the topic is taken seriously by some, it remains a focus of ridicule and skepticism by others.

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines are seen at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., Wednesday, March 27, 2019.
Seth Wenig / Associated Press

Lawmakers are wasting no time seeking public input on a proposal to erase Connecticut’s religious exemption from mandatory vaccinations.

They have scheduled a public hearing on the plan for Feb. 19 – just two weeks into the legislative session. A draft of the bill is expected to be released next week.

Russ / Creative Commons

Mental health professionals on college campuses say more students year over year are seeking services for new and ongoing mental health and substance use issues. They say it’s not a bad thing that students are being proactive about their mental health -- but resources are strained. 

SLAWOMIR FAJER / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Even when patients go to a hospital within their insurance coverage network, they still risk being seen by individual physicians who don’t take their insurance. Later, patients may get billed for the amount their insurance company doesn’t cover for out-of-network services.

new study by researchers at Yale University found that some of these out-of-network charges can be significant among certain specialties.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A multi-state coalition of Democratic state attorney’s general and a governor are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a recent court decision on the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in an effort to preserve the federal health care law. 

Desensitization Gives Some Children With Food Allergies A Viable Treatment Option

Jan 2, 2020
Carl Jordan Castro / C-HIT

For Oliver Racco, it’s a part of his daily routine: eating a few peanut M&Ms.

It may seem like a treat to some kids, but for Oliver -- and a relatively small but growing number of children -- it’s an important way he and his family manage his peanut allergy.

UConn School of Engineering

In homes in which a family member has autism, day-to-day tasks can be challenging. One family is now trying to solve some of those issues, by pairing up with engineering students from the University of Connecticut.

Courtesy of Access Health CT

A federal appeals court in New Orleans dealt another blow to the Affordable Care Act last week, saying the requirement under the law to have health insurance is unconstitutional. But the court sidestepped the question of whether the health law itself is invalid.

How To Store That Nightstand Firearm Safely

Dec 24, 2019

A new survey of firearm storage practices in Washington state found 40% of respondents kept at least one firearm either unlocked or loaded in their home.

That is pretty close to what other studies have found.

Alexa Kasdan had a cold and a sore throat.

The 40-year-old public policy consultant from Brooklyn, N.Y., didn't want her upcoming vacation trip ruined by strep throat. So after it had lingered for more than a week, she decided to get it checked out.

Kasdan visited her primary care physician, Roya Fathollahi, at Manhattan Specialty Care, just off Park Avenue South and not far from tony Gramercy Park.

Access Health CT

Judges in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this week found that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate -- the requirement that residents buy health insurance or pay a fine -- is unconstitutional.

But they held off from saying that the entire law is invalid, sending the case back to a lower court in Texas for more analysis into which parts of the federal law can continue without the individual mandate. 

SUDOK1 / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Syed Alishan Nasir, a fourth-year medical student, recently completed a clinical rotation at Norwalk Community Health Center, which, like other community health centers, treats many low-income and underserved residents.

The experience further cemented Nasir’s idea to one day become a primary care physician and work in a similar setting, but said he and others face significant barriers to going into primary care, which typically doesn’t pay as much as other specialties.

COURTESY OF ACCESS HEALTH CT

Residents still looking to get health care insurance coverage for 2020 have 30 more days to select plans through Access Health CT, the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange.

Access Health CT officials announced Monday that they’ve extended the open enrollment period to Jan. 15 -- the original deadline passed on Sunday. Officials said the extension gives people more time to review plan changes or select new plans for next year. 

It has been five years, but the memory still haunts construction superintendent Michelle Brown.

A co-worker ended his workday by giving away his personal cache of hand tools to his colleagues. It was a generous but odd gesture; no one intending to return to work would do such a thing.

The man went home and killed himself. He was found shortly afterward by co-workers who belatedly realized the significance of his gifts.

"It's a huge sign, but we didn't know that then," Brown says. "We know it now."

Kayana Szymczak / ProPublica

In the world of emergency medicine, an unrecognized esophageal intubation is a “never event,” meaning that it shouldn't happen under any circumstances. In Rhode Island, it's occurred 12 times in the last three years. In each case, the patient died.

Five people moved in tandem down a trail, connected by a wheelchair unlike any other.

This hiking trail, popular with Bend, Ore., families, is a testing ground for inventor Geoff Babb. One miscalculation about how to navigate a tight squeeze of boulders, and he could topple over the edge toward an ice-cold river below. But that's not what worried Babb, who hasn't walked since a stroke 14 years ago.

"I don't feel scared on the trail. I trust these guys to figure it out," Babb said, adding that he feels more vulnerable crossing a city street.

wsilver / Flickr Creative Commons

For some kids, the playground is a place of fun and friendship. For others, it is a source of anxiety and fear. The fear of being left out.

Why do some kids struggle to make friends while others do not? And what can grown ups do to help?

We take an in-depth look with Why Will No One Play With Me? author Caroline Maguire. We also talk about the realities of adult friendships with NPR's Julia Furlan. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

On a typical day at East Shore Middle School in Milford, the library is where students spend time using the computers, working on projects and checking out books.

But on a recent Monday morning, about a dozen students sat at tables, each with a virtual reality headset strapped onto their faces and a controller in one hand. Instead of seeing each other, Tino Pavlat and his friends interacted with people at a virtual high school and played Space Cats, a shooter minigame.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Deborah Bigelow walked into the Lyceum Conference Center in Hartford on a recent Thursday night prepared with a stack of folders and documents.

She hoped that by the time she left the Access Health Connecticut enrollment fair after speaking with a specialist, her health insurance plan for 2020 would be set, because not having coverage wasn’t an option.

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U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group and staff from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to announce the 2019 “Trouble in Toyland” report this week. The annual list focuses on toys that pose a danger to children -- things like choking hazards, toxins, toys that are so loud they could damage a child’s hearing and recalled toys still on the market.

This is the 34th annual report. Petra Favorite, a campus organizer for ConnPIRG, says that over the years the report has made children safer.

Rebecca Reindel / AFL-CIO

Advocates for workplace protections for health care and social services employees celebrated outside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Thursday after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would require national protection standards against workplace violence.

“Sadly, in America today, nurses, doctors, social workers, EMTs and nursing assistants are more likely to be the victims of on-the-job violence than any sector of our nation’s workforce,” said Democrat Rep. Joe Courtney, sponsor of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

Ublester Rodriguez could not have anticipated that his life would be profoundly changed by kitchen and bathroom countertops.

He says that he grew up poor, in a small Mexican town, and came to the United States when he was 14. He spoke no English, but he immediately got a job.

"In the beginning I was working in a Chinese restaurant, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. It was all day, so I never had time to go to school," he recalls. "I was a dishwasher."

Images Money / Creative Commons

Major health care bills died in the Connecticut legislature earlier this year, including proposals for a public option insurance program, prescription drug pricing, and spending.

With health care policy shaping up to take prominence in both local and national politics next year, state lawmakers hope to get a jump-start on ways to lower health care costs and spending in Connecticut.

Nearly one year since the first legal, adult-use cannabis sale was made, there are now 33 retail stores open around Massachusetts.

So far, state regulators have issued 227 provisional and final licenses to retail, cultivation, cannabis manufacturing facilities and independent testing laboratories. Before — and even after — licenses are issued, those facilities must be inspected by the state.

‘Keeps Everyone On Their Toes’

Opioids Backlash Leaves Some Struggling With Chronic Pain

Nov 17, 2019
Carl Jordan Castro / Conn. Health I-Team

Unable to obtain morphine, Heather Weise, 50, lay balled up in pain at her home in Milford earlier this year. It took nine days to refill her narcotic painkiller and she blamed the clampdown on opioid prescriptions for her woes.

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