HEALTH

Nurses on the picket line at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Mass. during a one-day strike in June 2017.
Dave Roback / The Republican

Nurses and management at two western Mass hospitals are heading back to the bargaining table next week.

A deer tick.
Ragnhlld Brosvik / Creative Commons

Massachusetts public health officials said it's too early to tell if cases of tick-born diseases are on the rise this year. But one lab  is reporting a different type of increase -- they've tested more ticks in the first half of this year than they did in all of 2016

For five straight days this spring, Patty — who doesn’t want her last name used to protect her son’s privacy — sought refuge in the chapel at Heywood Hospital in Gardner. That’s where her 28-year-old son Eric had been waiting for a psychiatric treatment bed.

“The person that’s having that breakdown is not the son that I know,” Patty says. “I don’t want him to see me crying over it, so sometimes I walk to the chapel and just be quiet in here.”

Eric was hospitalized because Patty called for help because he had taken too many psychiatric medications.

Jess Tilley pushes aside magazines on a waiting room table and lines up three used “cookers” — small aluminum caps in which someone mixed and heated up their drugs. She mixes water with drug residue at the bottom of each cap. The demonstration is ready.

500 mg calcium supplements, with vitamin D.
RAGESOSS / CREATIVE

A study out of UMass Amherst shows a possible connection between the early onset of menopause and the some common nutrients.

The study looked at more than 116,000 women, who were tracked starting in 1989. It found that those who consumed the most vitamin D and calcium in the foods they ate were at a 17 percent lower risk of early menopause compared to those who ate the least.

Adult deer tick.
Scott Bauer / USDA

Officials say Connecticut is experiencing an "extraordinary" season for ticks. Nearly 40 percent of more than 1,000 ticks tested so far were positive for the bacteria causing Lyme disease.

Theodore Andreadis is director of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, he said the large tick numbers are because of to two things.

Researchers in Germany have found that getting drunk is associated with abnormal heart rhythms.

Their study was conducted in a place teeming with potential research subjects.

Farmer Caroline Pam's booth at the Greenfield Farmers Market, in 2014.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

A new state program starting this month will offer a financial incentive to Massachusetts residents on limited incomes to eat more locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Gary Cloutier (right), at his auto body shop in Westfield, Mass.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Although the Republicans pulled their healthcare bill last week, they are preparing for another push to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And since the Congressional Budget Office predicted the recent GOP plan would take health insurance away from up to 24 million people, many of the newly insured are worried. 

Health factor rankings, by county, in Massachusetts.
County Health Rankings 2017 / University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

Hampden County finished at the bottom in a public health ranking, again this year.

The report, which is published by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, ranks Hampden County 14th out of 14 Massachusetts counties in health factors -- like smoking and obesity -- and outcomes -- like premature death. 

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