Why walking with your doctor could be better than talking with your doctor

Gyms across the country will be packed this week with people vowing to “get moving” to lose weight this year. Much of the effort will be for naught. And, in fact, some of it could lead to injury and frustration. Currently, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exercise guidelines call for all individuals to do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week. In addition, the CDC recommends two days of strength training, or muscle strengthening, for obese people.

Let’s talk about real issues, not Trump’s mental health

The Connecticut Mirror covered the invitation issued by Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to a Yale psychiatrist, Bandy X. Lee, to her Washington home to discuss the sitting president’s fitness – or lack thereof – for the office he holds. The first time I saw the story, I scrolled by. The second time, I clicked on the link.  By the third or fourth time, I responded with a short series of tweets expressing my profound disappointment. By the third or fourth time I did this, I was invited to write an op-ed. That was last week. So much has happened in the intervening days, as has seemed to be the case since January 2017, that I, myself, questioned whether it was worth my time to write this, and your time to read it. But here we are.

What Jeff Sessions doesn’t understand about medical marijuana

On Jan. 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole memo, a 2013 document that limits federal enforcement of marijuana laws. This opens the door for a crackdown in the nine states with legal recreational marijuana. … I have researched a number of drugs of abuse and natural products for safety and effectiveness. Just because a drug has abuse potential doesn’t mean it’s always bad and just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s always safe. While I’m no fan of legalizing recreational marijuana use, I believe there has to be special dispensation for patients with a legitimate medical need.

Let’s not treat opioid addiction with another drug

Many are heralding the FDA approval of the first injectable treatment option for opioid addiction as the solution to the opioid crisis. But using one drug to treat another, and at a cost of $1,500 per shot, buprenorphine is not the answer. A better solution is a natural and relatively inexpensive treatment – acupuncture.

Hope not enough to save communities of color from the HCV epidemic

In 2007, Hepatitis C (HCV) surpassed HIV in causing the more deaths in the United States. That same year, our first black president was in the making, and his chariots of hope were set loose. Unfortunately, many other people of color were languishing in our correctional facilities, with multiple co-occurring health conditions —king among them HCV. The fate of their health is yet a reminder of their disenfranchisement. For incarcerated people of color living with HCV any brush with the Department of Corrections is tantamount to a death sentence.

An impossible situation: Managing Connecticut Valley Hospital

At the November 13 public hearing on the issue of patient abuse at Whiting Forensic Institute, I sat and listened with great interest, and sadness, to the questions that the Public Health Committee posed to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the department’s responses. As the Public Health Committee continues the process of reviewing the events that occurred at Whiting, it must expand its focus on what the committee and the General Assembly will do to drive the type of change necessary to restore the public’s confidence in Connecticut Valley Hospital and Whiting Forensic Institute.

The dangers and potential of ‘natural’ opioid kratom

Given the opioid addiction crisis, it would seem preposterous that an opioid is legal for use in the United States and can be purchased at tea stores, convenience stores, over the internet and, yes, even from vending machines. However, kratom is not your average opioid. The Drug Enforcement Agency found this out when it tried to ban the herb in 2016.

Everyone should be entitled to health insurance, even the middle class

The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, is a perverse twist on the Robin Hood tale. Rather than steal from the rich, Obamacare has taken from the middle class. Prior to ACA, the self-employed middle class had many options for comprehensive insurance. They were largely able to afford their premiums and deductibles, and out of pocket costs were manageable. Most importantly, they were free to choose their own doctors and hospitals from a nationwide provider network.

Acknowledging childhood trauma — a growing movement in Connecticut

Imagine sitting in a room with 360 other people. Now imagine that 95 percent of these people are women. Indeed, the room is filled with chatter, laughter, and anticipation. The room is in a downtown Waterbury hotel and occupied by pre-school and kindergarten teachers, home daycare providers, and administrators. The women, and the handful of men, have come to kick off an important movement in Waterbury: to make early childhood care more aware of and informed about the prevalence and impact of trauma. Specifically, how traumatic experiences influences the lives of the young children they work with.

People with intellectual disabilities deserve a chance to build a life

This year’s complicated and difficult process to develop a state budget has inflicted disproportionate injury on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families. While the protracted negotiations continue, young graduates from our public schools have been forced to sit at home in state-imposed isolation, as there is no funding for the critical and longstanding Employment and Day Services program. As difficult as this has been, there is some reason for hope.

Early school start times can harm Connecticut’s students

There is a serious public health issue that is harming many high school students across our state.  It may be causing them to be ill, have higher rates of depression and substance abuse, obesity, car accidents and sports injuries.  It is reducing their academic performance in the classroom and on standardized tests.  What is causing this crisis?  Schools that start too early in the morning.