10.05.15: Becoming Vulnerable & Born In Between

Oct 5, 2015
Dirk Vorderstraße via Flickr CC /

Looking to deepen your relationships, professional satisfaction, and personal innovation? Then it’s time to get vulnerable. We speak with TED Talk superstar Brene Brown, whose research says that exposing our secret selves is the most daring way to live. And, while the transgender movement gains ground, we’ll explore the shockingly common occurrence of doctors assigning gender to intersex babies. 

Anders Österberg via Flickr CC / //

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. Then: aphonia, flop sweat, mic fright. Call it what you will, stage fright can be crippling for some performers. On today’s show: a pianist delves into the history of performance anxiety, and her own struggle to overcome it.

A mind-altering drug called ketamine is changing the way some doctors treat depression.

Encouraged by research showing that ketamine can relieve even the worst depression in a matter of hours, these doctors are giving the drug to some of their toughest patients. And they're doing this even though ketamine lacks approval from the Food and Drug Administration for treating depression.

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  Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine will use a $5 million dollar federal grant for a health study on human motivation.

Officials say the grant, from the National Institutes of Health’s Common Fund, will fund an investigation into the psychological and biological factors that motivate individuals to improve their health.

Paul Townsend via Flickr CC /

Harvard, like other prestigious Ivy League schools, is a non-profit. Still, its 36-billion dollar endowment is bigger than the GDP of Jamaica. So why does it remain tax free? Then - meditation, sitting, mindfulness: whatever you call it, it’s springing up everywhere, from Google’s corporate offices to high school classrooms in the Bronx. But can techniques developed to help hospital patients really improve the lives of low-income students? We find out why mindfulness has a place in the classroom. Plus, music industry insiders clamor to predict and announce the summer’s most popular hit – but what about the song of the fall?  We’ll discuss the qualities that make up a classic autumnal anthem. 

Lance McCord via Flickr CC

Flu season has begun in New Hampshire.

The Department of Health and Human Services says three adults tested positive for influenza, one each in Carroll, Grafton and Hillsborough counties.

It’s the fourth year in a row the state has found flu cases before the season’s traditional start date of October.

9.15.15: Mindfulness in Schools & The Song of the Fall

Sep 15, 2015
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Meditation, sitting, mindfulness: whatever you call it, it’s springing up everywhere - from Google’s corporate offices to high school classrooms in the Bronx. But can techniques developed to help hospital patients really improve the lives of low-income students? Today, why mindfulness has a place in the classroom. Plus, music industry insiders clamor to predict and announce the summer’s most popular hit – but what about the song of the fall?  We’ll discuss the qualities that make up a classic autumnal anthem. 


  New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont so far this year have had no reported human cases of West Nile or eastern equine encephalitis, according to data from two federal agencies. 

Foster's Daily Democrat reports that Massachusetts has had two reported human cases of West Nile this year. 

In Maine and New Hampshire, no mosquitoes or animals have tested positive for either disease, while mosquitoes in counties in Massachusetts and Vermont have tested positive for the West Nile virus. 

Vaping360 / Flickr/CC

Despite claims by the industry that e-cigarettes are healthier than traditional smoking, more research is raising questions about this alternative, including its rising use by teenagers. But vaping has caught on, with more shops opening and many ex-smokers who say vaping helped them quit tobacco.


You could say 36-year-old Matt Ray works in paradise — on a barrier island off the Florida's southern coast. As athletic director of the Anna Maria Island Community Center, Ray is doing what he loves.

"I grew up playing sports," he says. "I actually played two years of college basketball. So sports have pretty much been my entire life."


The VA has opened a new health clinic in Colebrook, part of a plan to expand coverage to veterans in the North Country.

It is using some exam room and office space at the Indian Stream Health Center, says Dr. Hugh Huizenga, the Chief of Primary Care at the White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

It is starting out two days a week but plans to expand to every weekday as new staffers are hired, he said.

It will offer services including primary care and mental-health counseling.

Courtesy Todd Burdette

It was nearly a year ago that widespread abuse at Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center in Effingham came to light. Now, Lakeview is shutting down.

The facility is a treatment center for people with brain injuries and intellectual disabilities. And as New Hampshire faces a future without Lakeview, families and state regulators are deciding where to send people with highly challenging behaviors. 

Scrutinizing Supplements: The Hype And The Hope

Aug 10, 2015
Clean Wal-Mart / Flickr/cc

Millions of Americans swear by them, from the daily multivitamin to herbal remedies claiming to cure various ailments. And while some supplements have solid science behind them, others have been questioned by research. Meanwhile, recent reports have found that some products don’t contain the ingredients listed on their labels.

Thomas Fearon

We’ve been listening back to a 1989 report on the state of mental health care in New Hampshire. Last week, reporter Kathy McLaughlin explored the living conditions in the old New Hampshire Hospital buildings, which could be crowded and grim.

Today, we share part two of that report. NHPR’s Martin Murray spoke with Paul Gorman, superintendent of New Hampshire Hospital, who explained how the hospital’s new, community-oriented facility sought to treat patients.

The state of New Hampshire has been officially providing care for its mentally ill citizens for over 170 years. In that time, there have been dramatic changes in the living conditions for patients – and the state’s approach to treatment.

In 1989, New Hampshire Hospital built a state of the art facility that sought to provide individualized care for patients with the most severe symptoms.

To mark that occasion, NHPR produced a two-part report on the history and future of New Hampshire Hospital. In part one today, you’ll hear reporter Kathy McLaughlin chronicle the living conditions in the old hospital buildings. Barred windows, dim lighting, and crowded sleeping wards fostered a rather gloomy environment.

From the archives this week, the inside history of New Hampshire Hospital, from reporter Kathy McLaughlin.

masha krasnova-shabaeva via Flickr CC /

How much sleep do you need and how do you get it? We explore these and other sleep-related questions with the latest on sleep research.

Science Cafe: A Closer Look At Sugar

Jul 20, 2015

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?

This show was originally broadcast on March 17, 2015.


Jack Rodolico for NHPR

A new state law aims to boost the number of children screened for lead poisoning. There's good reason New Hampshire is aiming for that goal.

Children aged 0-6 are the most likely to suffer permanent health and cognitive damage from lead exposure. Yet in 2013, New Hampshire tested a mere 16.5 percent of children in this age group for elevated blood lead levels. That's concerning because 62 percent of New Hampshire's houses were built before 1978 - the year the federal government cracked down on lead paint.

ABC Quilts was founded in 1988, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, with the mission to lend comfort to babies born with AIDS. Now, its volunteers also make and deliver handmade quilts to abandoned babies and those affected by their mother’s drug or alcohol abuse.

Ellen Ahlgren of Northwood, New Hampshire began ABC Quilts, delivering six baby quilts to Boston City Hospital, each carrying the inscription “with love and comfort to you.” Soon after, ABC Quilts began to grow rapidly, and has since delivered more than half a million quilts worldwide.

From the archives this week, the story of Ellen Ahlgren and ABC Quilts, from reporter Leslie Bennett. 

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday handed the Obama administration a major victory on health care, ruling 6-3 that nationwide subsidies called for in the Affordable Care Act are legal.

"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," the court's majority said in the opinion, which was written by Chief Justice John Roberts. But they acknowledged that "petitioners' arguments about the plain meaning ... are strong."

The Emerging Science of Gut Health and Probiotics

Jun 25, 2015
Ryan Snyder / Flickr / Creative Commons

Scientists have long known that bacteria live in the human gut, working with the digestive system to break down food. But researchers have recently discovered even more far-reaching effects of the trillions of microbes living in our bodies, impacting everything from our immune systems to chronic illness. We examine the science of gut health.

Courtesy Tiltfactor

  Some of the most thought-provoking research into how we think about health care is going on at Dartmouth College – and it’s coming out of a game design lab.

Fairfax County / Flickr/CC

Twenty years ago, it was not considered a big problem in New Hampshire, but today – these little black-legged bugs are seen as a major threat to people, pets and wildlife.  We’ll get the latest on where their populations are expanding and on tick-borne illnesses, primarily – but not exclusively -- Lyme disease. We’ll also look the state’s new plan to address this.

Garrett Vonk

  The number of uninsured people showing up in New Hampshire emergency rooms continues to drop _ a trend hospital officials attribute to the state's expanded Medicaid program. 

Under the plan lawmakers passed last year, adults making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit _ about $15,900 a year _ are eligible for Medicaid. More than 39,000 have signed up since enrollment began July 1. 

Aging In Place In N.H.

May 5, 2015
Rosie O'Beirne / Flickr/cc

Most seniors prefer to stay in their homes, instead of institutional care. Advocates say strengthening the programs and grassroots efforts that support that goal is not only more caring, it makes good economic sense. But there are challenges – from who pays for in-home-help to how available that help really is.

Flikr Creative Commons / drocpsu

State officials are investigating reports of an international traveler in New Hampshire infected with the measles virus.

The only known public exposure site in New Hampshire was the Flatbread Company restaurant in Portsmouth on April 20 between the hours of approximately 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

There are no cases identified related to this situation, and New Hampshire is well-protected from widespread measles transmission due to a high vaccination rate.

Courtesy the Conway Daily Sun/Jamie Gemmiti

New reports commissioned by Governor Maggie Hassan have found state regulators failed to protect residents from abuse and neglect at Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center in Effingham.

The reports come as the Department of Education - after repeated attempts to push Lakeview into compliance with state regulations - announces it will shut down the Lakeview School. 

The state will now reevaluate how it regulates the facility’s residential program.

Elizabeth via flickr Creative Commons /

With a market value up to $2.50 an ounce, and online sales on the rise, it’s been called liquid gold. On today’s show, a look into the breast milk market, and how the biotech industry is getting in on the game.

Then, the question of why Homo sapiens thrived while Neanderthals became extinct has long been debated among scientists. We’ll hear from an anthropologist with a stunning new theory that explains their extinction: humans had dogs.

Listen to the full show or click read more for individual segments.

 A new report once again ranks Rockingham County as New Hampshire's healthiest, while Coos County remains at the bottom of the list.

The sixth annual report released this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute rates counties nationwide in two categories — health outcomes and health factors.

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.