The federal Centers for Disease Control reports that influenza is here, and it’s early. More than you want to know can be found here.
More than half of college students consider suicide, researchers estimate. Every year, suicide registers as a top killer on campus. More recently, the tragic suicide of a Rutgers student has grabbed national headlines.
Yet, getting people to talk about this problem remains a challenge. Tomorrow, the University of Connecticut, along with the mental health advocacy group Active Minds, will bring a travelling exhibit to campus that aims to remind folks about suicide.
“There is still a lot of secrecy around this,” said Director of Counseling and Mental Health Services Barry Schreier. “There is still difficulty with a lot of folks talking about it.”
“We have to turn our attention to the fact that we know this occurs and we have to engage before it occurs.”
The UConn Suicide Prevention Committee will bring “Send Silence Packing” to Storrs tomorrow with a display of 1,10o backpacks that represent the number of college students who kill themselves annually. The backpacks, which include personal stories of suicide victims, will be spread out on the Homer Babbidge Library patio from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The backpacks at the University of New Haven last week
A new study by the University of Wisconsin confirms that the more educated you are, the more likely you are to be healthy and live a longer life.
The report by the university’s Population Health Institute ranks every county in the country, looking at indicators such as smoking, obesity, drinking, diet and exercise and, significantly, education levels. Researchers examined two critical health outcomes: how long people live (mortality) and how healthy they feel while they are still alive (mobidity).
From the report:
Within each state, even the healthiest counties have areas where they can improve. Healthier counties (those where people live longer and have a better quality of life) have lower rates of smoking, physical inactivity, teen births, preventable hospital stays, unemployment, children in poverty, and violent crime and higher levels of education, social support, and access to primary care physicians. But healthier counties are no more likely than unhealthy counties to have lower rates of excessive drinking or better access to healthy food options.
Across the nation, some factors that influence health, such as smoking, availability of primary care physicians, and social support, show highs and lows across all regions. Meanwhile other factors reflect some distinct regional patterns, such as:
– Excessive drinking rates are highest in the northern states.
– Rates of teen births, sexually transmitted infections, and children in poverty are highest across the southern states.
– Unemployment rates are lowest in the northeastern, Midwest, and central plains states.
– Motor vehicle crash deaths are lowest in the northeastern and upper Midwest states.
Take a look at some factors that affect Hartford County’s score:
Why is the market for health care not the same as buying a cell phone, paying for burial services or forcing people to buy broccoli?
Because the rest of us aren’t already paying for cell phones, funerals or broccoli for those who want the service but refuse to pay. We don’t refuse care for the sick or injured.
When people can’t — or don’t — pay for their healthcare, the rest of who do have health insurance eventually have to pick up the tab, either through rising insurance premiums or government subsidy.
A 2010 report from the Office of Health Care Access notes that uncompensated care costs have been sharply rising. Uncompensated care includes both the uninsured and the insured who still can’t pay their bills.
Dollar, who has a genetic disorder that makes her bones brittle, writes about her desire to have children, but the book takes a long look at how technology is transforming decisons about reproduction. She is eager to talk more about this topic, if you have a group that is interested in hearing her story.
Here’s a short interview:
With a simple blood test, a pregnant mother will soon be able to predict — with 99 percent certainty — whether her baby will have Down syndrome, a life-altering genetic disorder.
If you knew your baby would be born with a disabling genetic disorder, what would you do? What if the baby might one day have breast cancer?
These questions haunt Ellen Painter Dollar, a West Hartford mother of three. She has osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic bone disorder known as OI that has left her with dozens of broken bones over her life and a deep concern about how technology is quickly changing the decisions parents make.
Looks like all that yoga down in Fairfield County is making a difference. All the obesity increases healthcare costs by an estimated $90 billion annually.
You may have missed my colleague Jennifer Bernstein’s report on another attempt to legalize medical marijuana, since it aired at about 2 a.m. Worth watching.
Some of you may remember my columns about Harry Kiernan, the Glastonbury man who has made a career of organ donation — his own. He’s donated one of his kidneys to a Cromwell woman. He gave a portion of his liver to an infant two years ago. Now he’s decided to start walking to bring more attention to organ donation.
Kiernan will start Sunday, March 18 from Glastonbury and head to Hartford and then New Haven. His route will take him to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis. His walk will also take him to Kansas City, Topeka, Denver, and Las Vegas, ending at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, the first week of July, 2012.
If you want to support him, or just learn more about organ donation, check out his website.
UPDATE: Komen reverses itself. A PR disaster.