HealthConnections

Tuesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

The brainchild of University of Tennessee associate professor Dr. Carole Myers, HealthConnections will bring the often-abstract world of health care, coverage and policy to a human level. What is access? How do marketplaces work? What's the future of health insurance? Dr. Myers and WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth will sort through these issues and more, all to give you a toolbox for understanding what you hear on the news, or to separate fact from fiction in the health care debate.

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Disease Awareness Month. While you are likely quite aware of Alzheimer's, you may not know how it works, what sets its effects apart from other neurological issues, or even its departure from normal aging processes.

In this edition of HealthConnections, we set out to separate fact and fiction regarding Alzheimer's. Dr. Carole Myers speaks with Joel Anderson, a University of Tennessee researcher whose work focuses on Alzheimer's and related illnesses and their effect on caregivers.

The internet is riven throughout with misinformation. Some of it is malicious. Much of it is rumor, hearsay, misinterpretation or otherwise well-meaning but still inaccurate. Regardless of the motive, bad information is bad information. When it comes to your health, or that of your family, that misinformation can lead to bad outcomes.

The number-one cause of death for American teenagers is accidents. But the second-highest cause isn't violent crime, or drug overdoses, or severe illness. It's suicide. In this edition of HealthConnections, Dr. Carole Myers and WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth explore the causes, warning signs and prevention of teen suicide.

SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES

Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network

When medical researchers plot health statistics on a map, patterns begin to emerge. Those patterns can show where diseases are most common, or point to connections between geography and health. Some of those maps display some disturbing patterns in the thirteen-state Appalachian region.

On this edition of HealthConnections, Dr. Carole Myers explores the patterns of poor health in Appalachia, and what could be done to address them.

On a personal level, we all understand the connection between health and economics. If you're sick, you can't work. If you can't work, it's hard to earn a living. Now, let's zoom out to the regional level, or even the whole country: Is a healthy population a necessary component of a healthy economy? What considerations do employers make about their workers' physical and emotional health? Where should we invest to see better health outcomes? These are some of the questions explored in this installment of HealthConnections.

We've talked about health disparities before. Those are differences in treatment or outcome, and different groups (age, ethnicity, income) have different disparities. In this edition of HealthConnections, a primer on the unique experiences of LGBTQ people and their medical providers.

How you feel about Medicaid depends on how you feel about the federal government, welfare, entitlement programs and even your economic philosophy. While the health coverage program sees broad approval among the American public, fault lines begin to appear when specific issues are raised.

Should people on Medicaid be required by law to work? Who should be covered? How large or small should Medicaid be? Conservatives, liberals and independents tend to disagree on these and other questions.

Some people are natural introverts. Some are described as loners or homebodies. But for many others in America, particularly senior citizens, solitude is neither welcome nor within their control. This social isolation can degrade quality of life, has apparent connections to depression and addiction, and cane even shorten lifespans.

In this installment of HealthConnections, Dr. Carole Myers and Brandon Hollingsworth discuss social isolation, its causes, and how it can be prevented.

This is not the first time we've discussed opioid addiction in Tennessee. It won't be the last. The subject gets lots of attention from reporters, elected officials, medical professionals, law enforcement and the public. In this edition of HealthConnections, we zoom out a bit to explore the contours of opioid abuse from a basic level. University of Tennessee College of Nursing professor Dr. Carole Myers interviews Karen Pershing, executive director of the Metro Drug Coalition.

In 2015 and 2016, for the first time in half a century, Americans' life expectancy regressed. This bucked a long-term trend marked by lengthening lifespans, and puts the U.S. somewhat at odds with other developed nations. Not only did U.S. life expectancy shorten (to 78.6 years), it lagged behind the average for similar countries (nearly 82 years).

Pages