Health

An Alzheimer’s Update

Jan 15, 2013

Research now shows that Alzheimer’s can be diagnosed years before signs of dementia.  Science has not, however, produced any new treatments and evidence of prevention is still being studied.  We’ll look at recent developments and at concern over stress on families and the impact of this disease on the healthcare system.

Guests

Lawrence Jackson / whitehouse.gov via Wikimedia COmmons

Supporters of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) like to point out that since its passage in 1994, incidents of domestic violence are down by more than 50% nationwide.

But they also say this isn’t about stats, this is about people like Carrie Ann, who requested that her last name not be used.

"The abuse that I encountered was physical, mental, and sexual," she says. "It was constant, day-in-day out. By the end, I was virtually a prisoner. I wasn’t allowed to control my own finances. I couldn’t leave without fear that something truly horrific was going to happen."

Study: Childhood Obesity Rates Decline In N.H.

Jan 14, 2013

For the first time in recent years, obesity rates have gone down in New Hampshire children. The Centers for Disease Control’s first national study on childhood obesity finds that 14.2 percent of preschool-age children in the state are obese, down from 15.6 percent in 2003.

José Montero, Director of Public Health Services at the New Hampshire Department Of Health and Human Services, sees the decline as modest, but encouraging.

To Expand (Medicaid) Or Not To Expand

Jan 11, 2013

Lawmakers will decide this spring whether to expand the state’s Medicaid program to include childless adults making less than roughly $15,000. To make sure they have all the information they need, the Department of Health and Human Services commissioned a study to look at the effects.

We poured over the 61-page report, and boiled it down to these 5 takeaways.

Sidereal via Flickr Creative Commons

The slew of recent articles on obesity are nearly unanimous in agreement that there is a health crisis in the United States. Dr. Abigail Saguy, UCLA sociologist, takes a different perspective, saying there is no such medical consensus around the need to lose weight. In her latest book, she argues that our negative association with obesity is a deliberately framed viewpoint—and not necessarily a healthy one.

If you’re in the mood for a little self-improvement at the start of the year, you’ll have no trouble finding guides; there are at least 45,000 self-help books currently in print. They run the gamut: the self-made man, mind-cures, chicken soup, subliminal messages and Zen meditation. They’re published in dozens of languages, but self-help books are predominately an American phenomenon.  To explain why, we turn to Laura Vanderkam, author of “The Paperback Quest for Joy”.

Audio Pending...

The Alzheimer's Café: Unforgettable Therapy

Jan 9, 2013

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can strip away memory, sometimes even dignity, and can isolate even the most outgoing individual. There’s no cure for the brain disorder, but now, patients and those who care for them are finding relief at something called the Alzheimer’s Café.


istock photo

A last minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff contained bad news for the future of health co-ops.

The Affordable Care Act set aside $6 billion to be used as loans for new non-profit, customer-owned insurance plans. The idea was that each state would have a health co-op that could compete with traditional insurers, in theory, driving down prices.

A recent study found little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, challenging organic’s reputation as the healthy alternative to conventional  agribusiness.  But others say researchers did find some vital differences around  pesticide levels and that the study was too narrow, ignoring  vital environmental and ethical reasons for eating organic.  Today we'll look at the arguments on both sides.

Guests

Advocates for mental health services say the state’s plan to re-open 12 beds at New Hampshire Hospital doesn’t go far enough to improve care. Representatives from more than a dozen organizations gathered today in Concord, and described a system stretched beyond its limits.

And they want New Hampshire lawmakers to know that no other medical condition gets treated this way.

How to Think More About Sex by Alain de Botton

The author and philosopher Alain de Botton addresses the chasm between our private feelings and real world experience of sex in “How to Think More About Sex."  It’s one of two new books in The School of Life Series – a smart and frequently funny twist on the “self-help” genre, which he curates.

Check out this short film that accompanies the book:

tifotter via Flickr Creative Commons

Andrew Beaujon is senior online reporter for the Poynter institute. He talked to a number of health reporters about how they think mental health coverage is being handled post-Newtown, and he joins us with his findings.

The Alzheimer's Café: Unforgettable Therapy

Jan 3, 2013
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Once a month, it’s a decidedly older demographic meeting here at the Children’s Museum in Dover.

A dozen or so seniors gather inside a brightly painted conference room. There’s coffee, cake and, this month, some live entertainment from 'The Sea Reeds,' a quartet of local clarinetists.

For Rhea Pereira, the music is a chance to sing along with friends. She and her husband John moved here from Florida three years ago, when Rhea began experiencing memory problems. 

Hemera Collection

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Whooping Cough Hits N.H.

Dec 26, 2012
CDC

Pertussis starts like a cold, but after a week or so, it leads to severe coughing fits that can take weeks to shake.  It’s also called ‘whooping cough’ because patients make a high-pitched whoop sound as they suck in air.

There are 222 confirmed cases in the state this year, the highest levels since 2006.

All Options On The Table For N.H. Health Exchange

Dec 24, 2012

The President’s health law wasn’t all that popular with New Hampshire House Republicans.  Among other actions last session, they passed a law prohibiting the state from managing its own health insurance exchange.

And for now, the state is moving forward with a marketplace run by the Federal government.

Mercy Health, via Flickr

Following President Obama’s reelection and the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmation of much of the Affordable Care Act, the gears are in motion to implement this law 2014. We’re talking with lawmakers and health care experts about aspects of Medicaid expansion and health exchanges, major parts of the new law now being debated in the Granite State.

Guests:

Todd Bookman / NHPR

About 20 years ago, Bob Vecchiotti developed something called foot neuropathy. It’s a neurological condition that left his feet numb. Sometimes they would tingle or burn.

“But then the pain was getting to the point that I was losing concentration and sleep, and I decided we need to do more,” says Vecchiotti. “That’s when my primary care physician, working with a compound pharmacist, was able to come up with something that worked.”

Vecchiotti is a business consultant in Peterborough. He was somewhat skeptical of compounding.

N.H. Ranks Third In Overall Health

Dec 11, 2012

A new report from the Minnesota-based United Health Foundation ranks New Hampshire the third healthiest state in the nation.  That’s down a spot from last year. The report weights a variety of factors, including infant mortality, obesity, high school graduation rate and levels of violent crime.  Vermont ranked first in the nation for the sixth straight year.

Report: State Ranks Last In Anti-Smoking Efforts

Dec 7, 2012
Justin Shearer / Flick/Creative Commons

A new report ranks New Hampshire last in the nation when it comes to funding anti-smoking programs.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids annual release says that New Hampshire allocated zero state funds for tobacco prevention efforts this fiscal year.

That’s despite the fact that the state collected more than $250 million dollars in tobacco tax revenue combined with the state’s portion of a 1998 settlement agreement.

Telemedicine In New Hampshire Gets Boost

Dec 6, 2012
Mercy Health / Flick/Creative Commons

Let’s say you are one of the 904 or so residents of Warren, New Hampshire. Let’s say you get sick.  Maybe you just started on a new prescription and are having unwanted side effects.

“Today, they have one of two options,” says Shawn Tester, who runs the day-to-day operations at Ammonousuc Community Health Services, which has five primary care clinics in Grafton and Coos County.

“They either do without. Or they have to travel, oh, I don’t know, 45 miles to our Littleton office to receive that consultative service.”

Kwiatkowski Pleads Not Guilty In Hep C Case

Dec 3, 2012

The former Exeter Hospital employee at the center of a Hepatitis C outbreak pleaded ‘not-guilty’ in Federal court today.

Prosecutor: Still More Work To Do In Hep C Case

Nov 29, 2012

Federal prosecutors say it could take a year or more before a trial in the Hepatitis C outbreak case begins. On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted 33-year old David Kwiatkowski on 14 charges, including tampering with a consumer product.

The former Exeter Hospital employee is accused of stealing syringes of a powerful pain medication, injecting himself, and then reusing the needles on patients.

U.S. Attorney John Kacavas says the FBI and members of law enforcement continue to investigate the case.

Indictment Arrives For Hepatitis C Suspect

Nov 28, 2012

A former hospital employee at the center of a Hepatitis C outbreak in New Hampshire is facing new federal charges.

State's Biggest Agency Asks For Budget Increase

Nov 27, 2012

The Department of Health and Human Services is asking for $321 million more to cover their programs for the next two years.   

Health Policy Gets Reboot After Election

Nov 19, 2012

President Obama’s re-election didn’t exactly smooth over implementation of his signature health care law. State governments across the nation maintain a solid level of anxiety over the bill.

Concord is no different…lawmakers like Republican Jeb Bradley expect to spend a lot of time grappling with the Affordable Care Act’s key provisions.

“The biggest single issue that this legislature in the upcoming two years will face is the expansion of Medicaid.”

Medicaid Expansion Under The Microscope

Nov 15, 2012
Todd Bookman / NHPR

The Department of Health and Human Services released a report Thursday looking at Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire.

Prescription drug abuse experts unveiled a new tool today to help lower opioid misuse in the state.

That new tool is a website containing information for doctors describing safe prescribing techniques and standards for pain management.

Dr. Seddon Savage, a chronic pain and addiction specialist at Dartmouth, says the cycle of abuse can start with a well-intentioned prescription.

Health Insurance Advisory Board Gets Going

Nov 13, 2012
istock photo

Back in June, the state legislature passed a law prohibiting the state from creating its own health exchange. Instead, New Hampshire will let the Federal government set it up.

But with big Democratic gains in last week’s election, the state is likely to play a bigger role in shaping the exchange.

In case you don’t remember, exchanges are those on-line marketplaces where people will shop for health insurance beginning in 2014.

Health Care On The Campaign Trail

Oct 26, 2012

Jobs and the economy continue to dominate on the campaign trail, from the national to the local level. But  government run health care programs like Medicaid and Medicare are also getting their fair share of attention. Major changes to both programs are potentially on the horizon.

With just over a week to go until the election, NHPR’s health reporter Todd Bookman has this overview of what’s at stake for Granite State voters. 

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