Health | Connecticut Public Radio


Diane Orson

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro met Thursday in North Haven with public health officials and pharmacists.  She heard their views on how the federal government could better regulate compounding pharmacies. 

The fungal meningitis outbreak that infected more than 400 people and caused 31 deaths across the country has been traced to a pharmacy in Massachusetts.    

Medical Advertising: Educational or Promotional?

Oct 23, 2012
benjamin sTone (Flickr Creative Commons)

Driving on I-84 in Hartford, have you seen a billboard from Hartford Hospital. It's the one that asks, "What’s scarier -- a colonoscopy or cancer?"

What’s the point of an ad like that? Does it inform us? Does it freak us out?

Rexford Santerre is a finance professor and healthcare management at the UConn School of Business. He says the ultimate test would be to see whether advertising improves our health.

But that’s pretty hard to do. So here’s how economists think about it.

In January, the state will roll out a new program forcing doctors to get most of their child vaccines from the state. But physicians have been opposed to the change. And, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, two groups representing doctors say the state's new plan leaves them shocked and dismayed.

As it stands now, doctors only have to get their vaccines for children from the state if their patient is on Medicaid. But as the state tries to save money and vaccinate more children, nearly all childhood vaccines will have to be bought from the state as of January.

A Prescription For Healthier Eating

Oct 16, 2012
Jan Ellen Spiegel

The obesity epidemic in the U.S. has left the medical community perplexed about how to get people to change their eating habits. Government is opting for public policy alterations like healthier school lunches. New York City has a new ban on selling large sodas or sugary beverages at restaurants and sports events.

But a Connecticut-based group is trying another way – literally giving people prescriptions for fruits and vegetables. And it seems to be working.

YG: "3, 4, 5 ,6, 7 ,8 ,9. Thank you very much. Have a great day."

A Patient-Centered Medical Home

Oct 12, 2012
Chion Wolf

The "patient-centered medical home" is a fairly new way of talking about what medical care used to be. The idea is that a patient has a primary care doctor who does more than just see them when they’re sick, but actually knows them, has all their records at hand, can suggest specialists, and most importantly, work with the patient on keeping him or herself healthy.

Sick and Tired from Sugar

Oct 9, 2012

Sugar is getting a lot of the blame these days for its role in obesity and other illness from heart disease to cancer.

We’ve been eating sugar for a long time, so, what’s changed?

According to the USDA, Americans now consume approximately 156 pounds of sugar, per person, per year--much of it hidden in the foods we eat, even when those foods don’t taste sweet.

Doctors say that willpower alone may not be enough to counter our love for sugar. Yeah, you heard right in that we eat about 156 pounds, per person, per year!!!

Courtesy of Flickr CC by Null Value

Advocates for victims of sexual assault want legislators to strengthen protections for those with disabilities. 

Recently the state Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3, agreeing with an Appellate court decision to release a man convicted of raping a young woman with severe disabilities. The reason? 

The two sexual assault charges against Richard Fourtin state that a victim was physically helpless at the time of the alleged assault. The justices said prosecutors did not provide the evidence needed to prove the victim was uncommunicative or unconscious at the time.

If buying a local wine just isn't local enough for you, then you might consider joining the growing ranks of people making homemade wine this fall.

Some home winemakers make wine with friends for fun, some make wine with family for tradition; some make it "old school," adding nothing, and drink it by Christmas; others do it "new school," adding preservatives, and wait a year or more to bottle.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Hartford public health officials say they are concerned with new data on Hepatitis C in the city. The numbers show ten to 20 cases a month of people newly-diagnosed with a chronic form of the disease. The city is using computer mapping to help it better target, test, and treat its residents. 

Tareq Salahuddin

I need a knee replacement, but I don't want one.  

I keep thinking if I wait long enough, something new will happen. There will be a great leap forward in technology and knee replacements will become easier or somehow better. 

A new national study shows that healthcare premiums went up modestly nationwide this year. But as Jeff Cohen reports, the rise in premiums still outpaces increases in both inflation and wages. The study was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust. It shows that annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached nearly $16,000 this year -- up four percent over last year. Workers pay on average about a quarter of that.

Drew Altman is Kaiser's president.

"Four percent is a low increase and it is good news."

Scott Bauer (Wikimedia Commons)

As Lyme disease continues to spread across New England and into parts of the Midwest, more than 100 people gathered in Stamford on Thursday morning, August 30, to discuss ways to fight it. Senator Richard Blumenthal, who hosted the hearing, is proposing that Congress create an advisory committee on tick-borne related diseases that can help advocate for better diagnosing and prevention: “We share a common concern with a disease that has really reached epidemic proportions.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr CC by Dr Relling

There's been a dramatic increase of West Nile Virus cases nationwide in just one week. The number of people who tested positive has increased to more than 1100. The federal Centers for Disease Control says its the largest outbreak ever seen in the country with at least forty-one deaths.

Ted Andreadis is the chief medical entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.  Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, he says there have been two human cases of West Nile Virus so far in the state.

Artificial Lighting and Our Health

Aug 10, 2012
Chion Wolf

Remember those big storms that left many of us in the dark for days and even weeks? We all went scrambling to power up our computers, recharge our smart phones, and grab a bite to eat in a warm and well-lit restaurant. The dark didn’t feel quite right.

But, maybe a little more dark is what we need.  

Hartford's interim police chief says he won't take the permanent chief's job without the promise of free healthcare for life. But he wouldn't be the only one to get the perk when he retires. And as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Mayor Pedro Segarra says it's time to review the benefit.


A Connecticut attorney testified before Congress Wednesday on ways to improve the claims process for veterans who've been sexually assaulted while in the military. 

When veterans are raped or sexually assaulted while in the service, it's called military sexual trauma or MST.

The Department of Defense estimates more than 19,000 sexual assaults happened in 2010, but it's a problem that's often under-reported.

As Connecticut officials try to comply with the Affordable Care Act and provide health coverage to the uninsured, they have a big question to answer: Just who are the state's uninsured? Jeff Cohen has this report.

Connecticut has over 300,000 people without health insurance. Of them, more than 200,000 are adults who will be able to buy insurance from the state's new online marketplace -- called an exchange -- come 2014. These are adults who aren't poor enough for Medicaid and who don't have insurance of their own.

TheGiantVermin/flickr creative commons

Join Faith and Gina Barreca to explore what things in life give you a sense of permission. And, Bruce Clements on the physical and emotional challenges of caretaking.

This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans will finally have a place to call their own, thanks to the American Legion.

The organization's post in a small Connecticut town has been working for a decade on a unique project to create not transitional but permanent supportive housing in their rural community.

For 55-year-old Army veteran Jeff MacDonald, the new facility in Jewett City, Conn., was like "winning the lottery."

Youth Violence

Jul 3, 2012
Chion Wolf

When violence strikes a city – as Hartford was struck last month in a weekend of shootings that left two dead and eight wounded  – you have to ask why, and you have to ask how can we prevent this from happening again?

Especially when the violence involves young people, a city stops and ponders. One of the dead was a 16-year old Windsor High student, shot while attending a Sweet Sixteen birthday party.

Kids in Prison: Raising the Age

Jul 2, 2012
vectorportal, creative commons

What's an adult?  And when it comes to crime, should a teenager be treated like one?

Did you know that, up until 2010, 16-year-olds charged with most crimes in Connecticut were handled in the adult judicial system?  And did you know that until yesterday, the same could be said for 17-year-olds? The changes were at the heart of what was called the "raise the age" effort -- and today we'll talk to lawmakers an legal experts about how the new law has played out.

Diane Orson

Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling is expected to have a big impact on many patients who use community health centers. Patient Millie Cejas is leaving the Fair Haven Community Health Center with medication to control her blood sugar levels.  

"He tenido que pedir la medicina. No la puedo comprar..."

Cejas says she had to ask for medicine because she couldn’t afford to pay for it.  Cejas works ten hours a week for $8 an hour, and like about a third of the patients at the clinic has no health coverage.


The American Medical Association has adopted the recommendations of a report that links health problems, including cancer, to exposure to artificial light. Joining us is one of the co-authors of the report, and perhaps the first scientist to make this link, is Dr. Richard Stevens, professor in the University of Connecticut School of Medicine Department of Community Medicine and Health Care. 

State officials say a recent Medicaid expansion is over enrolled and costs too much money, so it's asking the federal government for permission to ramp the program down a bit. That move is being met with objections.

In the "Obamacare" Waiting Room

Jun 22, 2012
Matt Renlund (Flickr Creative Commons)

It’s officially called the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Some detractors call it “Obamacare.” And, soon the court may call it unconstitutional.

We’ve been waiting for months to hear what the US Supreme Court will rule on the health care reform that is seen as “transformational” - even by those who don’t like it too much.

It is meant to provide health care coverage to all Americans - but the provision that mandates purchase of that coverage is what has it in front of the court.

In their special session earlier this week, lawmakers approved a plan to make doctors get most of their child vaccines from the state. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

Currently, doctors who need vaccines for children only have to get them from the state if their patient is on Medicaid. The rest can be bought on the private market. But a new state law will change that -- making it mandatory for doctors to source nearly all of their vaccines from the state.

Erik Charlton

According to the Connecticut Health Investigative Team, researchers at the Yale School of Medicine are touting  Ketamine as “the magic drug,” able to ease severe depression and suicidal thoughts in patients within a matter of hours. Dr. John Krystal, chair of the school’s Department of Psychiatry and chief of psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital, says that although Ketamine is currently used primarily as an anesthetic and for certain types of pain, it shows early promise as a treatment for depression.

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

An American Legion post in Jewett City has dedicated the last decade to raising money so it could help homeless veterans. On Monday, hundreds of Griswold residents turned out to celebrate the project's completion. Post 15 renovated its building so to provide 18 apartments to veterans who need housing.

U.S Navy

On Monday, The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Stamford hosted a viewing of "Invisible War," an award-winning documentary about sexual assault in the military. More servicemembers who have experienced this trauma are starting to file claims with the VA.