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There is a very special reason why you’re hearing a rebroadcast of this show: This episode of Audacious just won a Gracie Award!

Freepik.com

When you have Cystic Fibrosis - a genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections - a lung transplant can be a life-saving surgery. But what if you’re not sure you want it? And if you do get it, what new challenges will they present to your newly-extended life? 

Pereru, Wikipedia

What happens when you do a DNA test from a company like Ancestry.com or 23andme, and you get some life-shattering information, like your sibling is really your half-sibling, or that you may have a life-altering medical condition, or that you thought you were half Black, but the test says you’re barely Black at all.

Before you spit in that tube, hear from people who’ve been stunned and spun around by DNA tests.

Blink!

Apr 30, 2021
Designed by macrovector_official at Freepik.com

When I say BLINK! What do you think? 

Of that American POW who blinked the word “TORTURE” in Morse code live on Vietnamese television? 

Or do you think of someone with locked-in syndrome who can only communicate by blinking? 

The Legacy Of Covid-19

Apr 26, 2021
Alyssa L. Miller / Creative Commons

Yale University's Dr. Nicholas Christakis explores what it means to live in a time of pandemic. He looks at historical epidemics and current medical and social research to help us understand the potential long-term impact COVID-19 will have on people and culture. 

Greek mythology holds that the arrows of plague Apollo shot down upon the Greeks led to great death and suffering. The plague that has brought death and pain over this past year was not brought by an angry god, but an infinitesimal virus that has wreaked global havoc and exposed the best and worst of human behavior. 

We spend an informative and insightful hour with Nicholas Christakis. 

Rep. William Petit, left, and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg debate a bill curtailing religious exemptions for school-age vaccinations.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

The state House of Representatives approved a bill early Tuesday that would remove Connecticut’s religious exemption from mandatory school vaccinations, a major step for a hot-button proposal that has been raised three years in a row with no vote in either chamber until this week.

January 22, 2021: Resident Ray Glaspie 61, is given the vaccine by Nurse Practitioner Geriann Gallagher as Hartford HealthCare launched a mobile vaccine clinic to get the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable populations starting at The Open Hearth in Hartford
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Some countries and companies have looked into creating vaccine passports to allow those vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel more freely and attend public events. Others say limiting access to vaccinated people is unfair.

HARTFORD, CT - December 14, 2020: Hartford Healthcare workers receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine following a press conference at Hartford Hospital announcing the vaccine’s arrival in Connecticut earlier that morning.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

What will you do once you’re vaccinated? The CDC says people who’ve been vaccinated can gather together.  And grandparents who got the shots can visit with grandchildren.

Connecticut residents may soon be able to return to some type of “normal” now that Gov Lamont has just announced all residents over 16 are eligible for the vaccine starting April 5th, 2021.

We want to hear from you. How will these latest guidelines affect your interactions with relatives/friends?

January 22, 2021: Resident Austin Anglin 67, is given the vaccine by Nurse Practitioner Geriann Gallagher as Hartford HealthCare launched a mobile vaccine clinic to get the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable populations starting at The Open Hearth in Hartford
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Grocery store employees and other essential workers had expected to soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, Governor Lamont says the state’s vaccination plan will focus on age groups.

Today, we talk with Dr. Deidre Gifford, Acting Commissioner of the state Department of Public Health.  We ask: how does this new plan impact vaccine equity?

Bain News Service / Library of Congress

Cartoonist Bill Griffith based his legendary character Zippy the Pinhead on Schlitzie, a real life sideshow 'pinhead' who appeared in Todd Browning's 1932 film Freaks. Early audiences were appalled by Browning's use of real sideshow characters to seek revenge on those who treated them cruelly.

Griffith's graphic novel is his effort to understand Schlitzie and the sideshow family who cared for him. We talk to Griffith and a member of Schlitzie's sideshow family.

Also this hour: the man who saved thousands of premature infants by exhibiting them in incubators at the Coney Island sideshow.

Portrait of Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel
Federal Communications Commission

Telehealth, Google Classrooms, and Zoom have become essential for daily life in the pandemic.

This hour, we learn about the role of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make sure all Americans have access to broadband internet.

We talk with the FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a West Hartford native.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II / Joint Chiefs of Staff

Moderna announced today they were making new versions of their vaccine that can be used as boosters against variants seen in South Africa, Brazil, and the U.K. The vaccine should be effective against variants but it seems to create fewer antibodies against the one that has emerged in South Africa. Either way, vaccines alone will not be enough. We talk about mutations and vaccines. 

Also this hour: The Biden inauguration was the most Catholic inauguration in history. Is a more liberal Christianity on the rise? 

Lastly, a tribute to John McDonough, actor, singer, and a Connecticut native.

The Legacy Of COVID-19

Jan 19, 2021
Alyssa L. Miller / Creative Commons

Yale University's Dr. Nicholas Christakis explores what it means to live in a time of pandemic. He looks at historical epidemics and current medical and social research to help us understand the potential long-term impact COVID-19 will have on people and culture. 

Greek mythology holds that the arrows of plague Apollo shot down upon the Greeks led to great death and suffering. The plague that has brought death and pain over this past year was not brought by an angry god, but an infinitesimal virus that has wreaked global havoc and exposed the best and worst of human behavior. 

We spend an informative and insightful hour with Nicholas Christakis. 

A Hartford HealthCare worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

So far, tens of thousands of Connecticut residents have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. Yet nationally, vaccine rollout has been going slower than experts had hoped.

This hour, we hear from reporters about how policies have shaped vaccine availability. And we get answers from a doctor about the science behind the shot.

What questions do you have about the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Trump administration wants to require the incoming Department of Health and Human Services team to review most HHS regulations by 2023 — and automatically void those that haven't been assessed by then.

The recently proposed rule would require HHS to analyze within 24 months about 2,400 regulations — rules that affect tens of millions of Americans on everything from Medicare benefits to prescription drug approvals.

Rhoda Baer/National Cancer Institute / Creative Commons

Pfizer may receive emergency approval from the FDA this week, but who’s in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine first?

This hour, we talk with members of Connecticut’s Vaccine Advisory Group, including co-chair Dr. Reginald Eadie. He’s one of the leaders who’s planning how COVID-19 vaccines will be stored and distributed in our state in the coming weeks and months.

We also talk with Tekisha Dwan Everette, a health equity expert who’s a member of the vaccine group. Given the disparate impact COVID has had on racial and socioeconomic groups, how will Connecticut give out the vaccine fairly?

Are you one of the people who may be eligible to be vaccinated later this month? Will you get it?

We want to hear from you. What questions do you have about the COVID vaccine?


The older I get, the more excited I am to be corrected when I’m wrong.

Sure, it may sting for a second because hearing someone say “actually…” can be kind of annoying, and if I’m wrong about something, then that means that contrary to my sparkling self-image, I don’t know it all.

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

This story has been updated.

Rev. Elvin Clayton has been the pastor at Walter’s Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Bridgeport for the past six years.

And in the COVID-19 era, Sunday mornings look a little different -- Clayton speaks at the pulpit from behind glass partitions, keeps services to an hour and broadcasts it all live on Facebook. 

“We’ve had great success thus far with it,” he said. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Black Americans are more likely to be infected from COVID-19, be incarcerated, live in poverty, and/or be killed by the police than white Americans. It took a pandemic and the killing of George Floyd to crystallize those facts.

The Placebo Effect

Aug 31, 2020
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight after doctors had given up on a medical cure. 

Doctors often dismiss the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments - even when studies show that placebos can reduce the pain of arthritic knees as well as in some surgical procedures like arthroscopy

A diagram of the kidneys from Henry Gray's "Anatomy of the Human Body" (1918)
Henry Gray / Wikimedia Commons

State Representative Jeff Currey is a longtime public servant. Now he’s asking the public to help him. The East Hartford lawmaker is in kidney failure, and he needs a transplant.

This hour, he joins us to talk about kidney donation. We often think of organ donation as something considered after someone’s death, but living donors can give a kidney to a person in need.

Coming up we hear from patients, donors, and medical professionals about this lifesaving transplant.

And we learn about a revolutionary system that pairs matching donors and patients--that allows for multiple kidney transplants. 

Have you considered becoming a kidney donor?

The Food and Drug Administration on Sunday authorized the emergency use of convalescent blood to treat people hospitalized with Covid-19. Sunday's decision comes on the heels of a presidential tweet that may have put pressure on the FDA to authorize it prematurely. We talk about this and more news on Covid. 

Also this hour:  The Republican National Convention begins this week, a few days after former Vice-President Joe Biden accepted the nomination to represent Democrats in November's election. We talk about last week's convention, how this week's convention might play out, and other political news from the weekend.  

Airman 1st Class Daniel Hambor / U.S. Air Force

Businesses have reopened and most schools have come up with plans to see students again, but it’s increasingly clear life won’t truly get back to “normal” until we have a vaccine.

But when will that be? This hour, we get the latest from New York Times science writer Carl Zimmer on the race to develop a COVID vaccine. We hear the status of ongoing vaccine trials and learn more about the research process that ensures a vaccine will be safe and effective.

Today, you’re gonna hear from three people who had close encounters with wild animals - and have the scars to prove it.

You’ll hear how - and if - any of these people felt defined by their experiences, and what sense they’ve made out of their encounters. Plus, you’ll hear from a wildlife expert about what animals you should be careful to keep away from here in New England.

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The Trump administration announced on Wednesday a $1.95 billion contract with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which has a location in Connecticut, and its German partner BioNTech to buy 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Colin Gillette, Bradford County, PA

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus continues to rise in many parts of the U.S., with sharp rises in places like Florida, Nevada, Alabama, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Yet, President Trump continues to attribute the rise to more testing -- despite the rise in hospitalizations and deaths -- and he wants to reduce federal aid for more testing, tracing, and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also this hour: The ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Trump by 15 points among registered voters, 55% to 40%. A majority of respondents are not happy with the president's handling of the coronavirus, among other things.

National Human Genome Research Institute / Flickr Creative Commons

Right now the world population is 7.8 billion, and growing fast. We have doubled our population over just the past 50 years!

Even though the population is growing, fertility rates, overall, are dropping. So, more people are here, but we’re having fewer babies. There’s a lot of reasons for that, and one of them is infertility. The CDC estimates that nearly one out of eight couples struggles to conceive, but because of assisted reproductive technology, we’re upping the population numbers in the United States. The CDC reports that almost 2 percent of all U.S. births annually - or about 4 million babies - are here as a result of things like in-vitro-fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, and egg donation.

Ascalon Studios

We have spent the last few months bringing you coverage on COVID-19. This hour, we’re going to talk to someone who was diagnosed with coronavirus, and recovered. For those that survive the virus, the recovery process is not easy. Many have long-lasting side effects from having the virus, including permanent damage to the heart and lungs. And later, we learn those who have survived the virus can donate blood and help others defeat the virus with convalescent plasma. We will also hear how physicians are using plasma transfusion to treat the seriously ill.

Childhood Immunizations Dropped Sharply During Pandemic

Jul 13, 2020
Rhoda Baer/National Cancer Institute / Creative Commons

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic this spring, many families fearful of setting foot inside a doctor’s office avoided pediatric checkups. Physicians converted in-person visits to virtual appointments.

That fueled a sharp downturn in Connecticut’s immunization levels for vaccine-preventable diseases. Data show 39,140 fewer vaccine doses were distributed by the state Department of Public Health to medical providers in April – a 43% decrease over the amount circulated during the same month in 2019.

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