Sometimes diapers are the solution to maternal depression

A federal task force is recommending increased screening and treatment for postpartum depression, a serious illness that puts one in seven new mothers and their infants at risk. Getting these women appropriate help and support is critical. Sometimes that means therapy – but not always. There is a strong association between maternal depression and not being able to afford a basic material need — diapers, a Yale study done in cooperation with the National Diaper Bank Network showed. Moms in our study ranked diaper need as more stressful than food insecurity.

Catching the ‘crucial window of opportunity’ to escape opioid disorders

Opioids are insidious, and when a user expresses willingness to get help there is a small, crucial window of opportunity. That window slams shut when symptoms of withdrawal hit. Community Mental Health Affiliates, along with the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition and Beacon Pharmacy, have scheduled a naloxone (Narcan) education and free distribution event at 270 John Downey Drive, New Britain, from 5-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18. All are welcome.

Connecticut’s opioid epidemic: A glimpse of the last five years

Various measures have been taken to alleviate the burden of opioid-related deaths in Connecticut in recent years. However, these efforts have yet to make a significant difference in terms of reducing the high death rates within the state. There has been a steady increase in total overdose deaths among residents from 357 deaths in 2012 to 1,038 deaths in 2017. In 2016, Connecticut ranked 11th among all states in highest rate of overdoses, with 27.4 deaths per every 100,000 people. Many of Connecticut’s neighbors were among the top 10, including New Hampshire (39 deaths/100,000 people), Massachusetts (33 deaths/100,000 people), Rhode Island (30.8 deaths/100,000 people), and Maine (28.7 deaths/100,000 people).

Why synthetic marijuana is so risky

The Green, a gathering place in New Haven near Yale University, looked like a mass casualty zone, with 70 serious drug overdoses over a period spanning Aug. 15-16, 2018. The cause: synthetic cannabinoids, also known as K2, Spice, or AK47, which induced retching, vomiting, loss of consciousness and trouble breathing. On July 19, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers that another batch of synthetic marijuana had been laced with rat poison. In 10 states and the District of Columbia, hundreds of people were hospitalized with severe bleeding, and four people died.

Preventing medication errors for our elderly in Connecticut with technology

Planning is what we are taught in our society.  We plan for our retirement, we plan for our children’s education, we plan for our next vacations.  What we do not plan for is the illness of a loved one.  My family was faced with the sudden illness of my dad last spring.  After a very critical time spent in the hospital, he was sent home with a new, very complex medication list to manage.  This was something our family never thought to plan for.

Connecticut should not help Trump undermine the Affordable Care Act

Short-term healthcare plans aren’t fundamentally effective for Connecticut families, and medical insurance now has become a burden to society. I have grave concerns about the Trump administration’s new rules regarding healthcare insurance, which allow the sale of cheaper health care plans on the market. These plans are originally intended only for short-term use.

Back to school: Has your teenager had an annual primary care visit?

Aaron, his mother, and I sit together in my pediatric primary care office. He is 16 years old. We discuss his sleep schedule, nutrition, and after-school activities.  He’s trying out for the football team, and we talk a lot about concussion safety. He is doing well in school. His physical exam is completely normal. He’s the picture of health — normal weight, blood pressure is perfect, heart sounds are steady and regular, his muscles and joints ready for football practice. I make sure he is up to date with his immunizations. But what I don’t see in his exam —and what Aaron and I need to talk about— are the three most common causes of death in his age group: 1) accidents 2) suicide 3) homicide.

It’s time for Connecticut to adopt paid family leave

The governor of Massachusetts signed a bill into law recently that would create a paid family and medical leave program, which will go into effect in 2021. Massachusetts’ paid leave program is similar to one that was recently enacted in New York state, as well as a program has been proposed in the Connecticut state legislature. It is time for Connecticut to act by passing a bill during the next legislative session to create a paid family and medical leave program in our state.

Tong: I will oppose the assault on women’s reproductive rights

The President’s war on our fundamental rights is now focused squarely on a woman’s right to choose.  It comes as no surprise that a male President — distinguished by his abject disregard for women and the rights of others, generally — seeks to dismantle a well-established system of reproductive liberty and women’s self-determination that most Americans embraced for a generation.

Editing genes with care and confidence

A pair of scientific papers published recently revealed that editing the genome with the popular molecular tool called CRISPR may cause cancer. CRISPR involves making precise ‘cuts’ in the genetic code, which some cells may perceive as damage with the potential to result in harmful mutations. In its defense, the cell may activate anti-cancer pathways to combat the perceived attack and cause the cell to die – rendering the CRISPR edit useless. The papers published this week demonstrated that certain cells are able to survive editing by CRISPR but lack a functional anti-cancer pathway, leaving them vulnerable.