The Pulse

The Pulse is written by Kristin Gourlay, an award winning health care reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio.

Full archive of The Pulse can be found here.

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The Pulse
12:16 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Painkiller Rxs Rising, But So Are Deaths From Heroin

Credit Rhode Island Department of Health

The state health department has just published some striking data on numbers of prescription painkillers, stimulants, and other controlled substances prescribed in Rhode Island over a 10 year period.

In January 2014, according to the health department, 1.8 million doses for painkillers were filled in Rhode Island. The numbers have been on a steady incline for 10 years. Check out the red line, below.

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The Pulse
1:36 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Looking For More Asthma Resources?

Here are a few asthma resources in the community to help you or a loved one manage your asthma. Did you know you can attend classes to learn more about managing your or your child's asthma, arrange a home visit to help reduce triggers where you live, and more - often for free?

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The Pulse
4:11 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Help Scientists Find The Origins Of, Treatments For Autism

The Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART) is trying to enroll 2000 kids and adults with autism spectrum disorders in a confidential statewide registry.

Researchers from Brown University, Bradley, and Women and Infants Hospital hope to gather data from registrants to conduct multiple studies over the coming years. Why?

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The Pulse
4:15 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Parkinson Disease, Depression, And Hope

There's news today that the late, great comedian Robin Williams had Parkinson disease. We may never know whether that influenced his decision to take his own life. But I thought I'd take this opportunity to let you know a bit more about the disease - in particular the depression that can accompany it - and the resources available in Rhode Island.

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The Pulse
3:52 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Ebola In RI? Not Likely. But We're Ready Anway.

Rhode Island health department officials do not expect to see any Ebola cases in the state. But they’re preparing anyway.

Rhode Island’s health department director Dr. Michael Fine says his agency knows how to handle an infectious disease outbreak. And one of the first lines of defense against Ebola includes health care workers and hospitals.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that everyone understands what they have to do should a traveler come here from an endemic area," said Fine.

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The Pulse
11:24 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Home Visiting Program Aims To Prevent Child Abuse

The state health department has announced more funding for a home visiting program for families and children at risk. The Healthy Families America program aims to prevent child maltreatment before it starts.                                                        

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Health Care
12:21 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Local Groups Could Benefit From Reed's Overdose Bill

Local efforts to prevent drug overdose deaths could get a boost, if Congress passes new legislation to expand funding to such programs.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced a bill that would make funding available to community organizations and public health agencies to buy and distribute naloxone, or Narcan. That’s a life-saving drug that can reverse an overdose on prescription painkillers or heroin.

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The Pulse
4:37 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Recognizing That Caregivers Need Care, Too

There's an informal but vital network of health care providers, toiling away in neighborhoods and towns everywhere. They may not be doctors or nurses, or CNAs, or techs, but they care for elderly parents and spouses with dementia, children with disabilities, and relatives with injuries. They're family caregivers, and sometimes they need a break.

Here's some help, or at least some promising news, for them.

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The Pulse
12:55 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

On World Hepatitis Day, An Invitation

Baby boomers are five times as likely to have chronic hepatitis C as any other age group. That's why the CDC launched a public health campaign to encourage boomers to get screened for the disease. And so, in honor of World Hepatitis Day, I invite---no, I encourage--boomers to get tested for hepatitis C. Why C and not the others? Because we've got effective vaccines for hepatitis A and B, but not for hepatitis C. So let's focus on that one. More information for boomers, below.

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The Pulse
2:56 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Recovery "On Call" In the Emergency Room

A new program aims to connect people who have accidentally overdosed on opioids with addiction treatment – before they leave the emergency room. The state’s largest nonprofit mental health service organization, The Providence Center, is providing what it calls “recovery coaches” to Kent Hospital through a program called AnchorED.

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