Health

Update: Wednesday, February 13, 2013:

Rather than wait until the Friday deadline, Governor Hassan sent a letter today to the Federal government declaring the state's intent to enter into a partnership exchange. 

In a statement, the Governor said, "I do not believe it is in the best interest of our people to allow the federal government to impose a one-size-fits-all exchange on New Hampshire."

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Six Songs For Celiacs

Feb 13, 2013

Our segment on celiac diet trends led us to local band, The Bramble Jam, and their song, "Gluten Free." It inspired us to separate the musical wheat from the chaff (so to speak) to create the perfect non-gluten playlist.

The Governor today affirmed that it’s her office that gets to make the final call regarding the type of health insurance exchange New Hampshire operates.

Public Has Its Say On Medicaid Expansion Bill

Feb 5, 2013
Todd Bookman / NHPR

    

New Hampshire’s Medicaid program currently insures poor children, the disabled and low income pregnant women.

But after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the state must decide if it wants to expand the program to adults that earn less than $15,000 a year: roughly 58,000 people in New Hampshire.

According to Representative Bill O’Brien, the state just can’t afford to cover those extra people.

N.H. Health Exchange Remains In Limbo

Feb 4, 2013

With a February 15th deadline looming, a group of lawmakers met today to discuss the direction of the state’s health insurance exchange. But the committee meeting produced more questions than answers.

The state needs to decide, and soon, if it will partner with the Federal government to run a new insurance exchange. For his part, Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny told a legislative oversight committee that he supports the partnership option.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Nursing homes around the country are under pressure from the Federal government to reduce their use of antipsychotics. 

momentimedia via Flickr Creative Commons

Long gone are the days of Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man. (The last television ad for a cigarette, incidentally, aired on January 1, 1971 at 11:59pm, right up to the second an advertising ban took effect.) The tobacco industry faces strict regulation, but the market for E-cigarettes is still an unregulated, wild, wild west with endorsements ranging from Playboy Playmates to Stephen Dorff.

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: My family has bad allergies and I’d like to improve our indoor air quality. What are some steps I should take?-- Marcia Lane, Scranton, PA
 

Chris in Plymouth via Flickr Creative Commons

Our awesome-est content from a week of awesome programs. This week, robots get FDA approval to treat patients on the fly, a nurse becomes a patient to teach students how to care for the dying, we look back at the Piltdown Man hoax, and the 90's band Guster goes acoustic.

The influenza season started much earlier this year and the strain is considered more severe.  Many worry how much of a toll this will take. In New Hampshire, at least twenty people have died from the flu already. We’ll talk with health experts about how this season compares to others and how health providers, schools, and individuals are coping. 

Guests

State Gets Failing Marks On Tobacco Report Card

Jan 16, 2013
Justin Shearer / Flick/Creative Commons

A new report out from the American Lung Association gives New Hampshire a failing grade on smoking prevention efforts. 

The state received a 'D' on smoke-free zones in public spaces, an 'F' on tobacco prevention spending, and a 'C' on cessation efforts.

Lee Gilman, Senior Director with the Association, says the state also needs to rethink its low tobacco tax.

Mental Health Advocates Push For $37M In Funding

Jan 15, 2013

Advocates for the state’s mental health centers say the state hasn’t lived up to its own plan to improve services in the state. And this week, they’re calling for more than $37 million in increased funding to support a stretched system.

The state’s 10-year plan, called ‘A Strategy For Restoration,’ came out in 2008. It called for major investments in the state’s mental health system, and was hailed as a great step forward. But 5 years into the initiative, advocates say the state has actually slid backwards.

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.

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