Health | Connecticut Public Radio


Connecticut, like every state trying to reduce health care spending, is looking closely at how it cares for people with chronic conditions.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has promised to move more than 5,000 poor and disabled patients out of nursing homes in five years.

Adult Ed For Teens

Mar 15, 2012
preetamrai, creative commons

Thousands of teens are leaving traditional high school in Connecticut and opting for adult education programs instead.

These programs have more flexible hours and fewer requirements for graduation, allowing students - in some cases - to finish school more quickly.

But there are complicated reasons why some teens are taking this opportunity.  One is that some low-performing students - or those with troubled pasts - are being “pushed out” of the traditional school system...and there aren’t always spaces in “alternative” schools.

Brunosan, Flickr Creative Commons

As the brain ages, it becomes harder to know when its time to move from one task to the next. That’s according to a new study by Yale University researchers, who say understanding how the brain ages may help an older workforce.

The study is called Lost in Transition. Mark Laubach, an associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine, came up with the title after waiting to buy a ticket at the Washington, DC train station. He was anxious to get back to Connecticut to see his son play in his first Little League game.  

For Women, Baldness Need Not Be Faced Alone

Mar 8, 2012
Flickr Creative Commons, midiman

Whether its Rogaine, HairClub or countless As Seen on TV cures, baldness is a problem often associated with men. But for women suffering with alopecia areata, baldness can be an embarrassing and often secret problem.

West Hartford native Thea Chassin is providing support for these women with a group she calls "Bald Girls Do Lunch."


Thea Chassin says she used to have a lot of hair.

I had hair. I had really great hair. I loved my hair.

Patient Safety

Mar 6, 2012
isafmedia, creative commons

Patient safety is one of the nation's most pressing health care challenges.

Patient safety advocates say that thousands of people are put in harm’s way from preventable hospital-acquired infections and medical errors.

Connecticut alone reported more than 16-hundred “adverse hospital events” 2004 and 2011, including 157 cases in which patients died.

But reporting by the Connecticut Health Investigative Team shows that few of these cases are actually investigated by the state.

Disciplined Docs Reap Drug Company Benefits

Mar 6, 2012
Eric P / Creative Commons

In 2010, as state health officials were investigating allegations that Dr. Gerson Sternstein of Berlin was overmedicating patients, three pharmaceutical companies were showering thousands of dollars on the psychiatrist for meals and speaking engagements. Some of the payments continued even after his license was suspended in August 2010.

Wow. When I decided to do a show on genetically engineered foods, I had no understanding of the bitterness and distrust that exists on both sides of the issue. This is one of those debates in which pretty much everything is contested, from the credentials of the person talking against your points to the language employed in the discussions.

Helping Victims of Domestic Violence

Feb 27, 2012

Connecticut legislators met on Monday to discuss how the state can do a better job helping victims of domestic violence. 

Polish Businesses Clash With State Over Medications

Feb 21, 2012
Sarah Miner

New Britain is home to a thriving Polish community, and the stores along the city’s Broad Street are at its heart. Some goods and services in these shops, including medicines, are sold or delivered in the Polish language – a fact that’s recently brought store owners into conflict with state officials. WNPR’s Sarah Miner reports.

This is Roly Poly Bakery in New Britain. A vibrant Polish marketplace that sells everything from paczkis to purses. 

Governor Dannel Malloy recently committed to investing 291 million of the state’s dollars in a new genomic research facility on the Farmington campus at the University of Connecticut. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports on what the center can do for medicine and jobs in the state.

C-HIT: Is Myriad's Patent on Breast Cancer Genes Valid?

Feb 17, 2012

As Myriad Genetic Laboratories nears its one millionth predictive genetic test for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, the cost of the test has more than doubled, and the company’s 15-year patent monopoly is being challenged by critics who contend it is stymieing other potentially life-saving screening.

Improving STEM Education

Feb 17, 2012
Chion Wolf

We kept hearing it from business...there really are jobs in Connecticut...we just don’t have the right workers.

Business owners were telling us they weren’t finding people with the right competencies in science, technology, engineering and math...what are called the STEM subjects.

Jackson Labs and Personalized Medicine

Feb 16, 2012
Amy Loves Yah, Creative Commons

The idea of personalized medicine was a driving force behind the Human Genome Project. Now Connecticut might be in the driver’s seat.

Governor Malloy recently sealed the deal that will give Jackson Laboratories $291 million to build their new genomic research facility on the University of Connecticut campus in Farmington.

Chion Wolf

It may be hard for some of you to remember, but there was a time when the correct answers to the clues to the New York Times crossword puzzle were for all intents and purposes out of reach. I mean, you could take the Sunday magazine with you to the library and look stuff up. Or you could wait a week for the answers. But there was no Google. The crossword doer today lives in a constant state of temptation.

Mark Messier's team for 12 years? You could look it up. That Rimsy Korsakov opera title? It's there to be found.

Maximum Healing

Feb 10, 2012
whologwhy/flickr creative commons

Maximum Healing: Optimize Your Natural Ability to Heal

After three days of intense pressure over its decision to end funding to Planned Parenthood, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has changed its mind. But as WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, the reversal won’t affect Connecticut all that much in the short term.

Beginning this June, Planned Parenthood will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from a national foundation committed to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. The foundation says that’s because Planned Parenthood is the subject of a Congressional inquiry. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports on how that will affect the services it provides here in Connecticut.

Toxic Stress in Early Childhood

Feb 3, 2012
Pedro Klien, Creative Commons

Is it our genetic code that determines our destiny, or can early life experience influence the course of our fate?
A recently released report from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that stress - especially in our earliest years -plays a big role in future health.  

$2.5 Million to Help New Haven Moms

Jan 26, 2012

A diverse group of social service providers has just received $2.5 million in federal money to help New Haven mothers suffering from mental health issues. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports.

Where We Live: Prenatal Genetic Testing

Jan 26, 2012
Chion Wolf

Pregnancy brings a rollercoaster of emotions for women and their partners.

Those 9 months bring parents anxiety, excitement, a sense of wonder, and joy. It's during the first trimester when mothers are first asked about whether they want to have genetic tests done to check on the baby's development.

How do parents decide if they want to undergo tests and what happens when results come back with news they weren't expecting?

Mikkel Rønne / Creative Commons

If you wish your child spent more time outdoors, and less time playing computer games, here is one more thing to worry about - some of those computer games may actually increase your child's consumption of junk food, that's according to a new study from Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Joining us by phone is lead author of the study, Jennifer Harris - she is also the Rudd Center's director of marketing initiatives.


Jan 9, 2012
howthebodyworks, Flickr Creative Comments

Where IS The Beef?

Jan 4, 2012
Dave Wild (Flickr Creative Commons)

In this country, omnivores ate over 26 billion pounds of beef in 2010.

All that meat sold for roughly $74 billion. Of course, some of that was the local, grass-fed stuff that food author Michael Pollan would approve of. A lot of it was the “other” stuff that goes into Big Macs and Whoppers.

But even with all those “Billions Served” - times are tough for the beef industry.

Courtesy of Flickr CC by Copepodo

Veterans who are students at the University of Connecticut at Storrs will come back from winter break to a space just for them. It's called OASIS, or Operation Academic Support for Incoming Servicemembers.

The idea goes back to 2007, when the state Department of Veterans Affairs decided servicemembers who enrolled in college needed a place on campus where they could seek out support as they transitioned back to civilian life.

Anesthesiology 101

Dec 29, 2011
Isafmedia, Flickr Creative Commons

Whether it's 30 minutes of 24 hours, time under anesthesia is time you'll never get back. Anesthesia finds the light switch of the brain and flicks it off. We're not conscious, we don't feel pain, we don't remember and we don't move. Even now, 165 years into the age of anesthesia, we know what works but we don't know exactly how. Consciousness is a mystery, so there's no exact road map for his induced and carefully controlled state of unconsciousness is.

Photo by Tyler Antrim

A lot of attention has been paid lately to troops coming home from Iraq now that the war is over. 

But thousands of soldiers who have served post 9-11 are home already and many continue to struggle in civilian life.  One of these struggles is combating suicidal thoughts.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs finds that eighteen veterans die by suicide each day. In Connecticut, Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Linda Schwartz says in the last year, an estimated fourteen veterans in the state committed suicide. But she stresses suicide is often underreported.

Hospitals: Same Surgery, Widely Different Rates

Dec 28, 2011
Gabriela Pinto / Flickr

Each time John Dempsey Hospital performs a cardiac valve surgery, the hospital receives a median payment of $82,589 from Medicare – about $23,000 more than the median paid to Danbury Hospital for the same surgical procedure.

A pacemaker implant at Dempsey, part of the University of Connecticut, costs Medicare about $20,000—$2,200 more than Yale-New Haven, $3,500 more than Bridgeport Hospital and $6,300 more than the Hospital of Central Connecticut.

Lady Parts

Dec 27, 2011
Peter Dedina/flickr creative commons

The premiere of Lady Parts, a kind of Car Talk version of women's health. The conversation will be frank, so we leave it to you to decide if you'd like the kids to listen.

We are constantly confronting death. If you watch those CSI shows, you see death. If you watch cable shows, like "Boardwalk Empire", you see gruesome grisly death. If you watch the news or read the paper, you find out about people who died.

But none of them are us.

They're abstractions. They don't tell us about our own deaths any more than Lord of the Rings tells us about our impending trip to Mordor. Death, in television and even in the news, is usually somebody else's problem.