health

www.urmc.rochester.edu

Without additional state funding, New York medical school officials say they won’t be able to attract or keep world class researchers. Albany lawmakers have rejected their $50 million request to fund recruitment and retention efforts. 

New York’s medical research institutions say they can’t compete with the funds out-of-state universities are using to lure the nation’s top research talent.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News

Law enforcement and elected officials have again found themselves trying to keep ahead of an outbreak of synthetic drugs in central New York.

Local legislative action and federal law enforcement raids of area head shops three years ago quelled a rash of overdoses in upstate New York on synthetic drugs, often called bath salts.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Toxic chemicals lurk in some of the popular children’s toys purchased in stores in Onondaga County, according to a report released this week by the group Clean and Healthy New York. The group hopes the study will force New York state lawmakers to keep hazards like this out of the state.

Bobbi Chase Wilding, deputy director for Clean and Healthy New York, points an X-Ray Floresance Analyzer at a children’s xylophone, purchased at a local dollar store.  

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse VA Medical Center is seeing more than nine in 10 patients in a timely fashion, according to a review of six months of patient appointment records, but an “anomaly” in one area of care shows veterans waiting more than three months to be seen by a doctor.

Senate Democrats / Flickr

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is teaming up with an unlikely group of colleagues to push for more federal support of medical marijuana.

Gillibrand is one of three senators introducing a bill that would scale back federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states that have legalized medicinal or recreational pot.

She is co-sponsoring the bill with a fellow Democrat from New Jersey, Sen. Corey Booker, and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul. They introduced the legislation Tuesday at a press conference in Washington.

New York ranks 49th for registered organ donors

Feb 24, 2015
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York state is among the bottom in the nation for residents signed up to be organ donors. Only about a quarter of New Yorkers have consented to being organ donors, according to the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network.

That ranks the state 49th in the country. But it has the third highest need for organs.

The low statistic has prompted a new advocacy campaign, hoping to improve those numbers, called Pass Life On.

CDC

Central New York is experiencing a massive increase in the number of cases of the sexually transmitted disease syphilis. While the overall number is low, health officials are worried about the trend.

From its near eradication nationwide at the turn of the 21st century, syphilis cases in Onondaga County doubled from 2012 to 2013. And then doubled again last year. They’ve risen 1,800 percent since 2008.

That only amounts to 56 total cases last year, up from three in 2008. 

Measles was said to have been eliminated from the United States in 2000. Continuous transmission of the contagious disease was halted, thanks to widespread vaccination, and for decades measles was not a problem within our borders. Many of today’s doctors -- vaccinated as children -- have never cared for a patient sick with measles.

Now an outbreak that began at Disneyland has infected people in multiple states and underscored the importance of vaccinations in preventing the disease.

Some rights reserved by Samantha Celera

  After a few weeks of leveling off, flu cases in central New York have seen another spike.

Now in the heart of influenza season, Onondaga County health officials’ weekly total of reported cases was the highest of the season, so far. That's in contrast to statewide numbers, where reported cases declined five percent last week.  The county documented 316 cases for the week ending Jan. 31. That’s after four weeks of reported cases between two and three hundred.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

A program to encourage healthy living in one of Syracuse’s most low income neighborhoods is getting a big funding push.

The New York State Health Foundation is giving the Lerner Center at Syracuse University a quarter million dollars to expand its healthy eating and exercise program on the city’s Near West Side. The Lerner Center is working with Nojaims Supermarket and the fairly new St. Joseph’s hospital health clinic that’s right next door.

Some rights reserved by Samantha Celera

A bad flu virus continues to spread through the community, as flu cases in Onondaga County are up five-fold from this time last year.

The flu is coming early and often for much of the United States, according to health officials, and central New York has not been spared.

Credit USACE Europe District / via Flickr

Onondaga County health officials are urging residents to get a flu shot after the flu season has gotten off to a strong start.

"What we are seeing is increased hospitalizations and increased number of cases. We are comparing last year’s versus this year’s. So there is a quite upsurge," said county health commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta.

Brett Levin / Flickr

Cuomo administration officials who are devising regulations for medical marijuana in New York say it’s unlikely any patients in the state will get the drug before 2016.  They say they are working through the details of how to implement the program, but there are still many unanswered questions.

Aides to Cuomo say they’ve made some progress on figuring out how to manage a medical marijuana system that is still technically illegal in the United States.

The preliminary rules on how to carry out New York’s medical marijuana program are due by the end of the year.

Dave Chanatry / New York Reporting Project at Utica College

On this Veterans’ Day, a reminder that recovery from war is often a long and difficult process. Some veterans have found help in the simple acts of tying a fly and dropping a hook.

This is a story that starts a long way from home.

"Stationed out in the central highlands, this is Vietnam, LZ center..."

"I was on a Medevac helicopter; I was a door gunner..."

"10th Mountain, 187th Infantry, at the beginning of the Afghan war."

Those are the stories of Charlie Chapman, Mike Martin and Dan Young.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Now that elections are over, supporters and opponents of hydrofracking are wondering what will be Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s next move on the long-stalled gas drilling process in New York state.

New York has had a de facto moratorium on fracking for several years. Most recently, Cuomo has said he’s awaiting results of an over two-year long health review being conducted by his administration.

During a debate in October, Cuomo said the review would finally be completed by the end of the calendar year.

NIAID / Flickr

Federal lawmakers from New York are somewhat split on how to handle people traveling to the state from Ebola-stricken West African nations.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended his decision to quarantine travelers and health care workers returning from West Africa through New York City airports if they’ve been in contact with Ebola patients.

Cuomo has faced intense criticism since the policy was announced over the weekend, but says he’s doing what he thinks is necessary to keep the public calm and safe.

Attorney General candidate John Cahill is proposing a plan to fight the heroin epidemic that’s ravaging communities across the state.  

Cahill, a Republican, says the five-point plan attacks the problem from a number of angles. It starts with tougher laws that go after the drug traffickers, including tougher sentences and changes in the classification of the drug in penal law.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

There are no known cases of Ebola in New York, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state officials are making preparations in case one occurs and have identified eight hospitals, including Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse, as Ebola care centers.

Cuomo says the eight hospitals around the state have been identified as Ebola treatment centers, and personnel at all 200 of the state’s hospitals will be trained how to respond if a person with Ebola walks into their emergency room.

NIAID / Flickr

Officials in Onondaga County want to be ready if a case of Ebola turns up in central New York. Earlier this week, all of the players who would be involved in treating the virus laid out a road map for Ebola preparedness.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made some of his most extensive comments on the controversial topic of hydrofracking to date.

For the past two years, ever since the governor asked his health department to conduct a health review, Cuomo has had little to say about the review, or even what was being studied. He would only say that the work was continuing.

Cuomo now says it is a challenge for his administration to hurry a decision, because there is new and often conflicting evidence emerging every day.

Concerns over care from veterans toward Syracuse VA

Sep 19, 2014
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Syracuse Veterans Affairs Medical Center got an invited earful from veterans about their care. The hospital hosted a town hall on Thursday.

The first question at a town hall-style meeting in the basement of the V.A. came from Navy veteran Bob Stewart. It was not in high praise of the V.A.

Stewart was denied coverage for surgery on his knee, so he had to pay out of pocket at a private hospital.

"I could afford to do that. There are so many veterans out there that can’t afford to do things like that. And something needs to be done about it," he said.

Raw food diet in its 'natural state'

Sep 14, 2014
Steven Lilley / Flickr

The raw diet has received a lot of attention from celebrities and health conscious people recently. But what actually constitutes a “raw” diet? Is it the temperature? It may just be a few simple changes that will not alter your lifestyle, just your health.

This week on "Take Care," Yuri Elkaim talks about what it really means to be on a raw diet. Elkaim is a registered holistic nutritionist, fitness expert and health coach, as well as a former professional soccer player. He currently writes a fitness blog at U.S. News and World Report.

Click 'Read More' to hear our interview with Yuri Elkaim.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

There are three confirmed cases in central New York of a highly contagious respiratory virus that health officials said was only a matter of time before it struck children here.

Two school-aged children from Onondaga County and one from a neighboring county were admitted this week to Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse with the Enterovirus 68, according to county health officials and the hospital.

Brett Levin / Flickr

Marijuana has been approved in New York for medicinal uses for people with certain ailments, but that doesn’t mean using it will be simple.

It’s a bit of a going-nowhere-fast loop when it comes to health insurance providers offering coverage for medicinal marijuana.

This week: the prevalence of depression

Aug 29, 2014

“Like any other form of medical illness or disease, major depressive disorder results in a good deal of suffering, incapacity and, often, vocational disability,” says psychiatrist Ronald Pies, a professor at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

About one in 14 adults in the United States are depressed. That is about 16 million Americans. In addition, some 2 million adolescents from age 12 to 17 deal with depression. Pies says people with depression are at increased risk for cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and suicide.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A steady stream of patients visit the infirmary at the New York State Fair each day. Though most people have minor maladies, one fairgoer did have a heart attack early in the fair's run and is recovering. Upstate Medical University Hospital ER Physician Erin Wirths isn’t surprised. She says the fairgrounds has all the pieces in place to deal with an emergency situation. For the most part the infirmary handles small things, and sometimes fairgoers who need a few minutes to rest up.

dank depot / via Flickr

While medical marijuana will soon be legal for some illnesses in New York, legal experts are warning there are some unanswered concerns over when and where it can be used.

In about a year and a half, people with illnesses like cancer or AIDS will be able to use medicinal marijuana legally for pain and loss of appetite.

But will those patients be allowed to be high in the workplace?

Labor attorney Michael Macomber, with the firm Tully Rinckey, says marijuana is still an illegal drug at the federal level after all.

SUNY Oswego prepares for Tobacco Free 2015

Aug 15, 2014
Fried Dough / Flickr

SUNY Oswego is joining a growing number of colleges in the United States going smoke free on campus.

The college will be completely tobacco-free starting Jan. 1, according to Jerald Woolfolk with SUNY Oswego.

She says the plan allows for students and faculty to police themselves like they would at other smoke-free places, like hospitals and shopping centers.

A new style of implantable defibrillator is providing options to patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. The device is sewn below a patient’s skin, leaving the heart and its vessels untouched. Electrodes continually analyze the heart’s rhythm and the device uses a pulse generator to deliver a shock if necessary.

Dr. Traian Anghel explains how this device improves upon previous defibrillators which had to be implanted in the heart.

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