health

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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 file photo

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 file photo

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.

This week: cancer care and nutritional issues

Jul 10, 2014

Medical director Dr. Leslie Kohman and others provide a preview of the Upstate Medical University Cancer Center, including advanced technologies, and services available for the youngest patients with cancer and blood disorders.

Then, registered dietitian Maria Erdman addresses nutritional issues that cancer patients may face.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York is now the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana, now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law. But, it will be some time before patients will have access to the drug.

New York will now permit patients with diseases like cancer and AIDS to have access to some forms of medical marijuana. Cuomo, who in the past opposed the idea, came around  after several new regulations and restriction guarantees were written into the legislation.

SU News Services

A Syracuse University professor will be spending the next several months thinking about death, as part of a grant by the Immortality Project at the University of California, Riverside.

SU's Philosophy Department Chairman Ben Bradley will lead the research into a topic not many people want to talk about - death. He says the focus will be on the emotions and attitudes people have about their own death.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It's World Refugee Day around the globe and their numbers are only rising.

There are now 50 million refugees worldwide, according to new numbers from the United Nations, the most since World War II.

dank depot / via Flickr

Updated, 3:50 p.m.:

After a lengthy debate of several hours, the medical marijuana bill was approved in the state Senate, and now goes to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said he'll sign it. 

Sponsor Sen. Diane Savino says she’s "gratified" by the larger than expected number of yes votes, including some surprise votes from traditionally conservative senators.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) has introduced a new bill to compensate Vietnam War veterans sickened by the chemical Agent Orange he says is more comprehensive than previous efforts.

Maffei's bill is named by Larry Hackett, who died in 2006, more than three decades after his service in the army.

Hackett was exposed to Agent Orange while serving in 1968-69. He died from a cancer likely caused by the exposure, at the age of 58. 

More New Yorkers dying from falls on the job

Jun 3, 2014
Escape Vehicle / via Flickr

The number of people killed in workplace accidents in New York state as a result of falls has increased, according to the federal government’s workplace safety watchdog.

The number of fatalities at construction and industrial sites is decreasing overall, reports the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), but 42 workers in New York fell to their death in 2012, 10 more than the year before.

Researchers and medical professionals from around the state gathered in Albany to urge acting Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to impose a three- to five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York state.

Yuri Gorby, a researcher at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, says the medical community is only just beginning to understand the health impact of hydrofracking, and the moratorium would give New York a chance to make a fully informed decision.

The Environmental Protection Agency will be coming out with new proposals to cut down on carbon emissions from power plants next week. Researchers from Harvard and Syracuse University have joined forces to look at how reducing this kind of pollution impacts human health and the environment.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

ACR Health in Syracuse is hoping a successful nutrition program can be expanded to serve others in the community, but right now its nutritional education program currently only has funding to serve clients with HIV/AIDS.

Brian Cowden, 50, has been living with HIV since he was 19. On medication to control the disease, Cowden says he never felt good, complaining of gastrointestinal problems, migraines, sleep issues. But after joining ACR Health’s nutritional program, that all went away.

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