A map showing how smoke from wildfires in Canada was impacting the eastern portion of the United States.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to impact air quality in New England

June 7, 2023

Smoke from Canadian wildfires continued to impact air quality in New England Wednesday. And some medical experts are urging people to take steps to protect themselves. Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield says it has seen a recent uptick in respiratory illness cases in its emergency room, but several other hospitals in western Massachusetts said Wednesday…

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Farmer Meg Riley with some of her Shetland sheep in Middleborough, Mass.

Farmers are helping one another manage stress and mental health

May 5, 2023

Being a farmer has always been hard and stressful work, but there’s now a growing awareness that the demands of the job and its increasing unpredictability from climate change is taking a rising toll on the mental health of those who work in agriculture. As a result, the state launched a program to train farmers…

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Brass shell casings for the .50 caliber machine gun, informally known as “Ma Deuce.” Many Massachusetts soldiers must travel to Vermont to qualify with the weapon.

EPA deals major blow to Cape machine gun range; report finds significant danger to public health

April 27, 2023

A proposed machine gun range on Joint Base Cape Cod could create a “significant public health hazard” by contaminating drinking water for 220,000 year-round residents on the Cape, according to a much-anticipated draft report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For the last 20 months, the EPA has conducted an “exhaustive” scientific review of the…

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Our sewage often becomes fertilizer. Problem is, it’s tainted with PFAS

April 2, 2023

The Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant is a pollution success story. Over the last several decades, it transformed Boston Harbor from a nationally embarrassing cesspool into a swimmable bay. The treatment plant takes everything the people of Greater Boston send down their sinks, toilets, showers and washing machines — plus industrial waste — and treats…

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For people with dementia, a free-form game to celebrate the moment

March 30, 2023

For people with dementia, social interactions can be vital in slowing the disease’s progression. But as a person’s condition worsens, finding enjoyable things to do together can be difficult. Vermonters Emily Rinkema and Deb Emerson have experienced that with loved ones firsthand. The two longtime friends hope a new card game they’ve created may help.…

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Bans on gender-affirming care would have a ‘catastrophic’ impact on LGBTQ youth in NH, health providers warn

March 7, 2023

As New Hampshire lawmakers prepare to consider bills aimed at banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth, local medical providers and mental health professionals are pushing back — saying the proposed legislation is not based in science and would be damaging to vulnerable young people. New Hampshire-based providers said access to medical care that affirms their…

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Dr. Nancy Stanwood, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

With more patients traveling to New England for abortions, Connecticut looks to expand access

February 6, 2023

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, many New England states looked to protect and expand abortion access. Connecticut took an early lead, opening an information hotline, enacting new legislation that provides legal protections, and increasing the number of abortion providers. Dr. Nancy Stanwood, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, has been…

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In December of 2020, Hartford HealthCare pharmacy manager Colleen Teevan prepared a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, among the first doses to be administered in Connecticut.

Long COVID rates fall by half nationwide, New England rates among lowest

January 31, 2023

The number of people reporting long COVID symptoms fell by roughly half from last summer to 1 in 10, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Household Pulse Survey, analyzed by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Dr. Arjun Venkatesh, the incoming chair of emergency medicine at Yale School of Medicine, recently co-authored…

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A giant sand scorpion fluoresces under ultraviolet light.

Scorpion stingers, once thought sterile, are covered in bacteria. That could yield new antibiotics.

January 27, 2023

Barbara Murdoch said scorpions have had about 400 million years of survival to get things right. “For comparison, humans have been on the planet for about 0.2 million years,” Murdoch, an associate professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, said. “There’s got to be just something about [scorpions] that is special. That they can survive through…

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Andrew Warner holding some of the supplies he gives out as part of his harm reduction work. Warner, then an outreach worker for the treatment provider Better Life Partners, is now Manchester's director of overdose prevention.

‘It’s kind of Russian Roulette’: How an animal tranquilizer is adding new risks to street drugs in New Hampshire

January 20, 2023

Nate Weddle has struggled with heroin addiction for years. He first came to Manchester, N.H., about four years ago to live in a sober house, and did well there. But moving out on his own was harder than he thought. Since then, he’s gone back and forth between relapse and recovery. “I’m typically proud to…

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