Health

Vermont
12:21 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Shumlin: State Will Abandon Exchange If Problems Persist Through May

Gov. Peter Shumlin, shown here at his inauguration on Jan. 8, says the state will abandon Vermont Health Connect for the federal health care exchange if the system fails to meet certain benchmarks by the end of May.
Angela Evancie VPR/file

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 12:37 pm

Vermont’s online health insurance exchange has been beset with problems since its launch a year and a half ago. In a surprise announcement on Friday, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Vermont will abandon Vermont Health Connect if it doesn’t start working properly soon.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Science Cafe: A Closer Look At Sugar

Flickr/CC

Our Science Café tackles sugar: the average American now eats about 130 pounds of sugar every year. It’s in everything from tomato sauce to milk. But what exactly is sugar? And how does it affect our bodies?

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Word of Mouth
12:51 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

3.11.15: Censoring Sex-ed On Social Media, In Defense Of Online Relationships, & Good Gig

Credit Koshy Koshy | Sea Turtle via flickr Creative Commons / Birds: flic.kr/p/cdLdas | Bees: flic.kr/p/dgg8w4

Social media sites are teeming with sexual imagery, jokes, and questionable content. Yet their official policies prevent sex-ed organizations from crafting a message that might actually resonate with the people who need it.

On today’s show, are social media sites censoring sex-ed?  Plus, our series Good Gig continues with a lighting pro who’s illuminated everything from Olympic ceremonies to Super Bowl half-time shows.  

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
4:40 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

3.8.15: Vitamania, The Decision To Vaccinate, & A Profile Of An Ultramarathoner

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years.  But today vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. 

On today’s show, the history and science behind the mostly unregulated vitamin market.

And, with new measles outbreaks discovered each week, parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids are in the cross hairs. We’ll talk to reporter who asks: are mothers to blame? And the story of an extreme athlete who balances work, family, and 400 miles of running and biking per week.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Health
4:13 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Massachusetts-Based Insurer, N.H. Hospital Group Starting New Insurance Company

 An insurance company and a group of medical providers are teaming up to start a new insurance company in New Hampshire.

The new company is a partnership between Massachusetts-based Tufts Health Plan and Granite Healthcare Network – the parent company for Catholic Medical Center, Concord Hospital, Wentworth-Douglas Hospital, LRGHealthcare, and Southern New Hampshire Health System.

Tufts Health Freedom Plan will begin selling insurance to employers. The company is considering selling in the individual market too, including on the federal healthcare exchange.

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Word of Mouth
1:18 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

3.4.15: The History Of Vitamins, A Text For Help, & Paula Poundstone

Credit Colin Dunn via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7GCv8P

The word vitamin has only been around for just over 100 years. But today vitamins are a $36 billion dollar-a-year industry. On today’s show, we’ll look at the history and science behind a largely unregulated market. Plus, a new hotline for emotionally distressed teens aims to help teens by communicating in a space where they feel comfortable – via text message.     

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
1:44 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

3.3.15: Making Decisions About Vaccination, The Myth Of Super Foods, & Listerine's Origin Story

Credit VCU Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections / flic.kr/p/27g6S7

An overwhelming majority of medical researchers and pediatricians advocate for vaccinating kids. Vocal anti-vaxxers include celebrities Jenny McCarthy and Rob Schneider. On today’s show we’ll find out why women are more likely to distrust doctors and go anti-vax.

Plus, we’ll bust some of the myths behind anti-oxidant rich super foods, and find out how advertisers turned Listerine into a cure-all – and virtually created the concept of bad breath.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
1:32 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

2.26.15: Malaria Vaccine Struggles To Find Funding, The Uncommon Core, & Good Gig

Credit VCU Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections / flic.kr/p/27bFm2

  Malaria threatens more than half the world’s people. Yet there is still no way to immunize against it. On today’s show, why a promising vaccine developed by an upstart in the biotech scene is not getting funded. 

Plus, Levi Strauss started making jeans during the gold rush, introducing the  most iconic symbol of American style. Today’s Good Gig profiles the Levi’s in-house historian who sifts through mine shafts and dusty attics to find the stories behind every crease. 

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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NH News
5:08 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Newport Ceases Backup Ambulance Service To Other Towns

Credit Julian via Flickr CC

Officials in Newport, New Hampshire, say they need to focus on their own residents first when it comes to ambulance service.

The Valley News reports that starting June 30, Newport will no longer provide backup ambulance service to Lempster, New London, Newbury, Springfield, Grantham and half of Sunapee. It will continue to provide service to other towns that have contracts with Newport Ambulance, and mutual aid agreements will not be affected.

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Health
7:16 am
Fri February 20, 2015

N.H. Gets Federal Grant For Home Wellness Visits

Credit Families First Health & Support Center

The state of New Hampshire is receiving nearly $4.8 million in grant money to support home wellness visits for young children and pregnant women.  Federal Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the grant Thursday as part of $386 million awarded nationwide to support home visitation programs.  Burwell says the grant gives New Hampshire the flexibility to tailor its home visit programs to address the needs of the communities they serve.  The national Home Visiting Program currently serves about one-third of the counties in the country with high rates of low birth weights

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Word of Mouth
2:01 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

2.19.15: Poor Teeth, Teaching The Art Of Listening, & Art Before Breakfast

Dental student looking at a small girl's teeth, The University of Iowa, 1940s
Credit Iowa Digital Library via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/dg8YuC

While the U.S. leads the world in dental innovation, many Americans are unable to afford basic dental care, and as a result, suffer from health and psychological consequences. On today’s show: the high price of poor teeth.

Then, stretching your artistic muscles has been shown to reduce stress and increase positive thinking, but for many people, being more creative sounds like an arduous task. We’ll talk to an artist who makes a bold case for dropping the excuses, and picking up the sketchpad.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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NH News
1:46 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

House Bill Targets Chain Of N.H. Pain Clinics

Pain Care Center location in Somersworth
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The owner of the state’s largest chain of pain clinics would be forced to forfeit his financial interest in the practice if legislation pending in the House becomes law.

House Bill 517 would require physicians who lose their licenses to practice to cut their ownership ties to any health-care facilities.

The lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Don Leeman of Rochester, said the bill is aimed at one of the state’s most visible medical practices: Dr. O’Connell’s Pain Care Centers, Inc.

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Health
4:56 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

House Committee Hears Circumcision Bill

Credit Jon Ovington

Today a house committee considered a bill that would prohibit Medicaid from funding circumcisions of newborn baby boys.

Bedford Republican Keith Murphy sponsored this bill. He firmly believes circumcision is dangerous – potentially, very dangerous.

"One hundred and seventeen children a year, on average, die from circumcision complications. In fact it’s one of the leading causes of neonatal male deaths," says Murphy.

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NH News
4:49 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

UNH Researchers Tie Flame Retardant Chemicals To Obesity And Diabetes

Nutritional Scientist Gale Carey
Credit University of New Hamshire

  Researchers at the University of New Hampshire say it’s not just bad diets and little exercise causing rising rates of obesity and diabetes.    In fact, synthetic chemicals used in household items like couches and carpet padding may play a part in both of those conditions.

When Nutritional Scientist Gale Carey at UNH exposed healthy rats to high doses of flame retardant chemicals, and then inspected their fat tissue, she found that "metabolically, chemically, it behaves like it's from an animal that is obese. But the animal is not obese."

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Health
9:30 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

N.H. Families Fight For Rare Diagnosis Linking Strep To Kids' OCD

Isak McCune was healthy until he was three years old. Then he was struck down by a bizarre illness.
Credit Adam McCune

From the time he was born until the age of three, Isak McCune of Goffstown was a healthy, smart, sweet little boy.

And then his mother says her little boy just changed. He started having tantrums. Really big ones.

"We called it being held hostage," says Robin McCune. "He would go on and on for hours. We couldn’t leave the house. And then when they finally got to the point where he was just exhausted, then he would come to me and be held. Most of them were four to six hours. They were long."

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Health
5:23 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Hackers Steal Personal Data Of Millions Of Anthem Members

Credit Flickr

A massive cyber-attack has exposed the personal information of tens of millions of Anthem members, including in New Hampshire.

Right now Anthem is assessing the damage. The company is cooperating with the FBI, notifying members, and it has hired an independent firm to investigate the hack, which hit as many as 80 million members in 14 states.

Hackers took Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses, email, income and employment information. The company says no medical or credit card data was taken.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Best Of 2014 - Stressed Out: Who, Why, And How

Credit Marsmettnn Tallahassee / Flickr/CC

This week, The Exchange will play the five best shows of 2014, as voted by you. Here's a July program on stress: From major challenges like chronic illness or financial problems to minor annoyances like traffic jams or inconsiderate neighbors, stress affects us all.  For some, it can be overwhelming, while others find ways to cope and even use it to their advantage. In connection with the NPR series on this topic, we’re exploring the latest thinking on stress.

This program was originally broadcast on July 17, 2014.

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Word of Mouth
1:04 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

12.17.14: An Icky But Effective Way Of Treating Diseases, A Conversation About Santa, & Good Gig

Credit Amy via flickr Creative Commons

Sometimes considering radical medical treatments require getting over the ick factor. On today’s show, how transplanting fecal matter from one person to another has saved lives, especially for those with antibiotic resistant digestive disorders, such as clostridium difficile, or C-Diff.

Then, Christmas is next week, a festival of lights, decorated trees, parties, and for some parents, the Santa conundrum…from to elf on a shelf to carrots for Rudolph, we’ll navigate the magical world of Santa.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Word of Mouth
11:01 am
Thu December 11, 2014

12.11.14: The First Skiers, How To Talk To Strangers, & This Is Crohn's Disease

A ski trail at Mount Sunapee
Credit Kelsey Ohman via flickr Creative Commons

In New Hampshire, skiing is one of winter’s biggest perks and the best cure for cabin fever. The first skiers put two planks on their feet and slid down a mountain, not as a past time but as a way to hunt. On today’s show, a National Geographic reporter sets out on the trail of the earliest skiers in human history and finds himself elk hunting in the far reaches of western China where he witnesses a skiing tradition thousands of years old.

Also, a couple embarks on a medical odyssey to find relief from a devastating illness. And talking to strangers may be good for your health. The psychology behind interacting with people you don't know.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Ebola Response In N.H.: Facts, Fears, And Policy

Ebola training response
Credit Army Medicine / Flickr/CC

Since a handful of Ebola cases have made their way to the U.S., officials have mobilized to deal with the threat, sometimes seeming to add to confusion around this illness. And while the risk of contracting Ebola in New Hampshire remains extremely low, the state has issued a set of guidelines, ranging from symptom monitoring, to, more controversially, quarantine. We’re sorting out the facts, fears, and policies.

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NH News
2:44 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Hassan Says State Will Take Action To Enforce 21-Day Ebola Quarantine

Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

With a Maine nurse threatening not to comply with a state-mandated quarantine, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan says officials here are prepared to take action should a similar situation occur.

Related: listen to NHPR's full interview with Dr. Jose Montero on quarantine enforcement here. See CDC Guidance for states here.

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Health
5:00 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Dramatic Drop In Childhood Obesity, Tooth Decay Rates

Credit Nicole McCracken

State health officials say a survey shows there’s progress being made in the battle against childhood obesity in New Hampshire.

A statewide survey that tracked the actual weights of third-graders finds obesity rates have dropped by a whopping 30 percent since 2008.

Director of Public Health José Montero says when he saw the numbers, he recalculated them all himself to make sure there wasn’t a mistake.

He says they’re correct, and mark a tremendous step forward in childhood health.

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Health
5:41 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Medicare Penalizes Nine N.H. Hospitals For Too Many Readmissions

Credit St. Joseph Hosptial, Nashua

One in five Medicare patients treated for a list of common conditions - like pneumonia and heart failure -  are readmitted to the hospitals that treated them within a month.

One way the federal government is trying to improve that is by penalizing hospitals based on their readmission rates. It’s a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will hit 2,610 hospitals across the country next year, including nine in New Hampshire.

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Word of Mouth
12:01 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

10.1.14: Is Kindness A Virtue In Surgeons & The Evolution Of The House Key

Credit Phalinn Ooi via flickr Creative Commons

Surgery requires years of education, steady hands, extreme confidence, and…kindness? On today's show we ask: when it comes to being a good surgeon, does bedside manner matter? We'll also look into the growing digital house key market and the complicated math behind queue design.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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Health
6:04 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Urgent Care Clinics Poised to Compete In Keene

Max Puyanic, CEO of ConvenientMD, shows off an urgent care clinic in Concord.
Credit Jack Rodolico

The number of urgent care clinics in New Hampshire has almost doubled since 2012. And in the next year, three such clinics will open their doors in the City of Keene. That will mean more choices for patients in the Monadnock Region - and stiff competition for the clinics.

Urgent care clinics are often called retail healthcare. You’ll see the clinics in strip malls. The idea is you can walk in without an appointment, be treated by a doctor for anything from a bad cut to a broken finger to a sore throat, and get out -- quickly.

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Health
3:34 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Immigrants Growing N.H.'s Food Economy By Changing What's Grown And Sold Locally

Wesley Tiku shows off some mustard greens, one of his store's most popular items, in the produce aisle of Kathmandu Baazar in Concord.
Credit Jack Rodolico

New immigrants often face an unexpected challenge: how to navigate away from an American diet that takes a toll on your health? That’s becoming easier in New Hampshire due to a network of markets and farms that carry familiar foods for the state’s foreign residents.

New Hampshire is home to a small but growing immigrant population; about one in 20 Granite Staters are foreign born. And there’s an experience that unites many of them: that bewildering first visit to an American grocery store.

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Word of Mouth
1:07 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

8.20.14: NASCAR's Concussion Problem, Artificial Wombs & The History And Future Of Clowns

Credit Logan Shannon / NHPR

NASCAR drivers can reach speeds of 200 plus miles per hour. Remarkably, when wrecks occur, drivers overwhelmingly survive the accidents, but they don’t always walk away unscathed. On today’s show: concussions in NASCAR, and the challenges drivers face after the smoke clears. We'll also talk to a futurist about ectogenesis, or artificial wombs. Often referenced in science fiction, the idea of children being grown outside of a mother's body is inching closer to reality. Plus, earlier this year, the New York Daily News reported that the U.S. is in grave danger of a clown shortage. We head to a clown convention to find out why membership is down, but why clowns are unlikely to completely disappear. 

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


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The Exchange
9:00 am
Mon August 18, 2014

More Ticks Means More Concern About Lyme Disease

Credit beeldmark / Flickr/CC

Lyme disease: caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, and transmitted by the tiny black-legged tick, it’s an infection that first causes fever, chills and flu-like symptoms.

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Word of Mouth
4:18 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

A Truly Natural Resource: What To Do With The Placenta

Credit Nico Nelson via Flickr CC

What do you really know about placentas? If you’re like the majority of people, the "tree of life" is probably pretty mysterious. Despite being vital to both maternal and fetal health, the National Institute of Child Health and Development says that the placenta is the “least understood human organ.” That’s starting to change as more scientists study the invasive organ, a pattern Denise Grady wrote about for the New York Times, but outside the laboratories people are taking the placenta into their own hands. Literally. So we asked: what are some of the most popular and strange things people are doing with their placenta?

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Word of Mouth
1:57 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

8.4.14: Ethnic Plastic Surgery, The Mysterious Placenta & The Audio Orchard

Credit Internet Archive Book Images via flickr Creative Commons

In the last decade, cosmetic procedures performed on Asian-Americans, Hispanics and African-Americans have far outpaced those among the white population. The goal? Westernizing ethnic features.  Today we put ethnic plastic surgery on the examination table. Then, scientists are demystifying what may be the least understood human organ: the placenta. Plus, we share some personal stories from the delivery room.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

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