Health

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Public health officials say a horse from Ossipee has tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis. A horse in Derry tested positive for the mosquito-borne disease last week. The most recent finding raises the risk level for the town of Ossipee from "remote" to "high." The surrounding towns of Tamworth, Madison, Freedom, Effingham, Wakefield, Brookfield, Wolfeboro, Tuftonborough and Moultonborough will increase to a "moderate" risk level.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

  At an event organized by the New Hampshire Women’s Health Network and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Senator Shaheen praised the law as the single biggest advancement in women’s health in her lifetime.

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Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder caused by a reaction to a gluten protein affecting one in one-hundred Americans. Despite the low percentage of those intolerant to wheat products, more people are experimenting with the anti-gluten diet and claim to enjoy health benefits like better skin and fewer allergies.  But is this fad just that...or is there some medical substance behind these claims?

danceforparkinsons.org

A few years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, writer, producer, and Public Radio host Dave Iverson learned that the Mark Morris Dance Group was teaching dance to people with Parkinson's at its Brooklyn headquarters.  Dave was touched - and produced a special on the dance group for the PBS Newshour and the PBS series Frontline.

More recently, he's rounded up a team of pros to film students preparing for their first public performance. He’s launched a Kickstarter project called “Capturing Grace" to finish the film.

Also joining us is David Levanthal – who until recently was one of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s most celebrated dancers. He’s now focusing entirely on dance for PD, the program working with Parkinson’s patients.

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Despite our reputation as one of the healthiest states, young people here abuse alcohol at much greater rates than the rest of the country. With this comes other risky behaviors – from drunk driving to assault, as well as a greater chance of addiction down the road. We’ll look at how the state’s communities are tackling this issue.

Guests:

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With more than a third of Americans classified as obese, behavioral scientists are experimenting with ways to ‘nudge’ grocery shoppers away from the chips and dip aisle and into the produce section.

Michael Moss is investigative reporter for the New York Times and winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. He wrote about research going on in American Supermarkets. 

Cheryl Senter

Kids Culinary Arts teaches kids cooking and nutrition during after school programs, vacations and summer camps. The organization works in school districts and towns to get kids cooking and eating healthy foods. Matthew and Nicole Heiter, 11 and nine years old, have become experienced hands in the kitchen. Their mother, Lauren credits Kids Culinary Arts.

The advertising industry has made a bundle pitching feminine hygiene products, but even that expression, “feminine hygiene products,” illustrates how ads for tampons and pads avoid addressing what they are actually used for. But maybe you’ve seen the viral video that bucks the tradition of menstruation stigmatization…no blue liquid, no white tennis outfits, just a sassy twelve year-old girl, telling it like it is...

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Got milk tolerance? Only about one-third of adults on earth can properly digest dairy. A project uniting archaeologists, chemists and geneticist is studying the history of milk in Europe, where “lactose persistence”, the ability to digest milk as an adult, is thought to have emerged only seven and a half thousand years ago. There’s been a wave of discoveries suggesting that a number of “lactose hot spots” where ancient humans developed the genetic mutation for tolerating milk –  experienced significant advantages which allowed ancient humans to survive and changed the course of human history.  Mark Thomas is an evolutionary geneticist at University College London and co-founder of LeCHE, a collaborative research project that traces lactose persistence in early Europe.

The commission tasked with deciding if New Hampshire should expand its Medicaid program heard from a panel of experts Tuesday.

Speakers from the National Conference of State Legislatures and National Governors Association were in Concord to discuss options for Medicaid expansion, and to detail what other states are pursuing.

NHPR Health reporter Todd Bookman sits down with All Things Considered Host Brady Carlson to recap the hearing.

 

The state’s University System says it saved $10 million last year by switching how it provides health insurance for employees.

Rather than paying an insurance company a fixed amount per employee for health coverage, the University System now uses a self-insured plan, where it pays out of pocket as health bills come in.

Self-insured plans put more risk on the employer, but Todd Leach, Chancellor of the University Stem, says the model made economic sense for his institution.

After a $0.10 cut two years ago, smokers in New Hampshire will again pay an extra dime in tobacco taxes starting today. 

Republicans in the statehouse lowered the tobacco tax in 2011, saying the cut would spur cross-border sales and boost state revenues. But tax receipts have come in $56 million lower in the past two years than the prior biennium.

Lawmakers included an automatic trigger to reset the tax if revenues fell, so today, the tax goes back up to $1.78 per pack.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

The New Hampshire Insurance Department took an overwhelmingly positive view on expansion during its presentation to the Medicaid Expansion Study Commission, the body that will decide if the state grows the health care program for the poor under so-called Obamacare.

Department officials told the nine-member body that expansion would benefit a wide range of groups, including insurance companies, hospitals and employers with low-paid workers.

Tyler Brannen, a health policy analyst with the Department, testified that people who buy their own insurance also stand to gain.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

    Infants who suffer from malnutrition are more likely to have poorer physical health when they grow up.

Research also finds more emotional problems, including anxiety and attention deficit disorder.

But even as the negative long-term impacts of infant malnutrition become clearer to scientists, Dr. Janina Galler is working to push the field of study even further.

When An Emergency Room Closes Its Doors

Jul 22, 2013
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Back in December 2008, with the town of Lyndeborough still frozen from an ice storm, Sue Carita and her husband went to check on a neighbor. Good deed done, they would both slip and fall on the return trip.

“We went home and called our doctors and of course, it was 4:30pm, 5:00pm on a Saturday afternoon, and there was no one there,” she recalls.

In pain, the Caritas sought care at the nearby Milford Medical Center, where x-rays showed she had a broken wrist, her husband a cracked hip.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

As head of Dartmouth’s mission control center for Medivac flights, Mark Pippy spends a lot of time grappling with New England weather.

“Oh, wait ten minutes: it is going to change,” Pippy jokes. “It is always partly cloudy to partly sunny, with a chance of showers, and there will be darkness. And you got it 100% of the time.”

Pippy has spent the past 19 years dispatching copters from Dartmouth’s Lebanon campus and a unit based in Manchester. Together, they fly around 1,400 calls each year. Now, he’s a got a new GPS tool to help.

Some New Hampshire businesses say they welcome news of a recent delay in a key part of the Affordable Care Act. 

On Tuesday, the Obama Administration announced it is postponing the so-called employer mandate by a year, citing a need for more time to simplify regulations. 

It was this provision that Senator Kelly Ayotte, speaking at the Republican National Convention last summer, offered  as a reason why she thinks Obamacare won’t work.

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The National Parks Service has introduced a major change-up to their fifty-nine park locations nationwide. In collaboration with Michelle Obama’s healthy diet initiative, visitors will have the option to choose from a bevy of healthy, fresh meals at each concessionary. The new program gives new variety to those hungry visitors with no other culinary options, and for the twenty-three million people who visit their locations annually, this health-conscious movement will result in the loss of billions of collective calories. Steve Vogel is a reporter for the national staff of the Washington Post where he frequently covers the federal government, and he joined us to tell us a little more about this change.

A series by Boston Globe reporter Beth Daley explores how the tick-borne illness, Lyme disease continues to spread across the Northeast, all while doctors are increasingly divided on treatments, and the public is in many cases bitterly frustrated by the medical establishment’s response and the lack of ready answers.

Guest

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Products like goji berries and quinoa are part of a fast-growing health-food industry – just last year, products derived from the Brazilian açaĺ-berry grossed 200 million dollars in the United States alone. The aggressive marketing of these superfoods are backed up by often misleading, or overblown, claims of their healthful benefits. Tom Philpott is the co-founder of Maverick Farms, a center for sustainable food education in North Carolina. His work on food politics has appeared in Newsweek and The Guardian…he wrote about superfood myths for Mother Jones.

A recent report by the Center for Disease Control shows a huge jump in the number of American kids with food and skin allergies. Some are so severe, they’re life-threatening. There are several theories about why this is happening, including the proliferation of anti-bacterial soaps. We’ll talk about that, and why advances in treatment has been so frustratingly slow.

Guests:

New Hampshire's Health Exchange Monopoly

Jun 10, 2013
via WUKY

It wasn’t exactly a victory lap, but the president was in California last week praising an early success of the Affordable Care Act.

Speaking in San Jose on Friday, Obama touted the California health insurance exchange--one of the new online marketplaces where individuals and small business employers can shop for coverage and apply for subsidies starting October 1.

California's exchange will have 13 companies competing for business and rates far below what experts predicted.

State public health officials say another person has tested positive for Hepatitis C stemming from last year’s outbreak at Exeter Hospital. 

That brings the total number to 33.

A former hospital employee was arrested last July in connection with the spread of the virus inside the cardiac catheterization lab. Prosecutors say David Kwiatkowski reused syringes on patients after injecting himself with powerful pain killers.

Dr. Jose Montero, the state’s public health director, says it appears this latest case, though, is from sexual contact.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Supporters of Medicaid expansion filled the lobby of the Legislative Office Building in Concord for a mid-morning press conference. The show of force comes in advance of Thursday’s budget vote in the Senate.

Flanked by reform advocates, hospitals administrators and doctors, Governor Hassan pressed lawmakers to take advantage of the federal government’s promise to pay 100% of the costs of expansion for the first three years.

She quoted New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, who supports expansion and says it will save money for taxpayers in his state.

One of the biggest and most contentious issues of this spring’s budgeting process remains whether or not the state should expand Medicaid. When the Supreme Court ruled last summer on the Affordable Care Act, it said the Federal government can’t force states to expand. Instead, states must be given a choice about growing the health care program for the poor.

Governor Hassan and the Democratically controlled House favor expansion, and the House included it in its proposed spending plan.

Group Prenatal Care Takes Root In New Hampshire

May 29, 2013

Just off from a circle of cushioned chairs, behind a privacy screen, Jessica Densmore greets patients inside a Cheshire Medical Center conference room, in Keene.

“Let’s take a listen and see if we can hear this baby today,” she says, positioning a fetal heart monitor.

Today’s mothers, ten in total,  are all between 22 and 29 weeks pregnant. They come once a month, and then every two weeks as due dates approach, for their Centering Pregnancy appointment: basically a group check-up.

via lifesupportmusic.org

We dug up this interview from 2008 with Jason Crigler, the composer of the musical score for Make Sure it’s Me.

In August of 2004, Jason Crigler, a highly-regarded guitarist, suffered a brain hemorrhage during a gig in New York City. His pregnant wife rushed him to the hospital and got the bad news: doctors told Jason’s family that he might not live through the night, and if he did, little of the Jason they knew would be left.

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For years, fear of skin cancer has had us slathering 50+ SPF sunscreen, donning hats or avoiding prolonged sun exposure under umbrellas or shade. Some unexpected research recently out of Edinburgh University could shift the perception of sun as unrelenting enemy. In the study, UV rays were found to release a compound that lowers blood pressure. On the line to explain how we might weigh the sun’s benefits and drawbacks is Doctor Richard Weller,  Senior Lecturer of Dermatology at Edinburgh University.

A recent report by the Center for Disease Control shows a huge jump in the number of American kids with food and skin allergies. Some are so severe, they’re life-threatening.  There are several theories about why this is happening, including the proliferation of anti-bacterial soaps.  We’ll talk about that, and why advances in treatment has been so frustratingly slow. 

Guests:

State officials continue to press for action on $340,000 in federal money meant to help implement the health exchange in New Hampshire. 

Speaking to the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee, Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny repeated the need for quick acceptance of the grant money. Last month, a different legislative body, the Joint Fiscal Committee, delayed the funds, citing concerns over a lack of information.

Sevigny says the money would help "put flesh on the bones" of his Department's effort to help consumers understand the new health law.

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