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Health and Fitness

Malloy Proposals Target Opiods

By Arielle Levin Becker

www.ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced a series of legislative proposals intended to prevent opioid addiction and overdoses.

They included requiring physicians to prescribe opioids electronically rather than on paper; allowing visiting nurses to destroy unused medication; and allowing patients to add directives to their medical files indicating that they don’t want to be prescribed an opioid medication.

The proposals, which Malloy announced at an event for families of people who died from drug use, also include requiring doctors to provide information about the risk of addiction when prescribing opioids, and removing legal restrictions that can prevent state agencies from sharing information that could help track trends and how resources are being used.

“Connecticut is trying to lead on this issue. We’re probably, undoubtedly, not doing enough, but we always look for ways to do more,” Malloy said.

Report: Westporter Being Considered as FDA Head

Westport resident Scott Gottlieb, a physician and partner at one of the world’s largest venture capital funds and a former deputy commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is being considered by President-elect Donald Trump to run the agency, according to sources close to the transition team, the Reuters news agency reported.

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Scott Gottlieb: reported on short list to head FDA. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) American Enterprise Institute photo

Gottlieb, 44, a venture partner at New Enterprise Associates and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, is well known in health policy circles and is a frequent commentator on television and in print.

Gottlieb, who purchased his Westport home in 2010, is a former internist at Stamford Hospital. He served as a deputy commissioner at the FDA from 2005 to 2007.

He is concurrently a clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine and advises the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a member of the Federal Health IT Policy Committee.

JoyRide to Launch Cross-Training Space

Westport’s JoyRide Cycling + Fitness Studio has announced it will expand to launch a new state-of-the-art, 4,000-square foot cross-training space.

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The JoyRide expansion will occur next month.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Julianne Mulvey

The expansion will allow it to offer cross-training classes and personal training sessions, as well as introduce a new signature class, JoyX, “a challenging, full-body, high-energy workout designed to free one’s inner athlete and push boundaries,” an announcement said.

These intense group-training classes will focus on strength, agility, speed and power, by incorporating rowing machines, TRX, boxing, mixed martial arts and weights, it said.

JoyRide will also be able to expand its popular JoyCircuit class, which will now be accessible to more people.

Comings & Goings: Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center Opening

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Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center is leasing 2,900-square feet of space at 1800 Post Road East, previously occupied by People’s United Bank, according to Franco Fellah, executive vice president of Westport’s HK Group.The shopping center is anchored by Stop & Shop. Founded in 1994, the business already has established locations in Trumbull, Shelton, Stratford and Fairfield, Fellah said. The Westport space is currently under construction and should be ready to open for business in very early 2017, he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

TB Cases Jump in Connecticut

By Jennier Frank
Connecticut Health Investigative Team

www.ctmirror.org

Reported cases of tuberculosis jumped 17 percent in Connecticut from 2014 to 2015, mirroring a national and global trend and prompting federal officials to ask primary care providers to be on the alert for at-risk patients.

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The state Department of Public Health (DPH) said 70 people, in 29 towns, were reported with active TB, the contagious form of the disease, in 2015, compared with 60 the year before. About 80 percent of Connecticut patients were foreign-born, many from Asian countries.

Nationally, TB cases totaled 9,563 last year, an increase of 157 over 2014. It was the first jump in cases after more than two decades of annual declines, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. New England had one of the largest regional upswings, federal figures show, with 330 reported cases, a 7.5 percent increase.

Connecticut and national health officials are unclear on what’s behind the uptick and said more studies are needed. Drug-resistant strains have become a challenge, but that’s largely a problem overseas at this point, they said. About two-thirds of the cases nationally in 2015 were foreign born, the CDC said.

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‘Comings & Goings: Bar ‘Bucha Opens

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Bar ‘Bucha, 601 Riverside Ave., opened today, offering an ancient fermented tea called kombucha. The store is owned by Staples High School student Aishah Avidu (r., blue shirt) who says kombucha is rich in probiotics and antioxidants. It is offered in the form of “mocktails” via taps, and by the bottle. All brands are curated from microbreweries nationwide that have mastered the art of kombucha.  Aishah, who has joined the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce to promote her effort, says her parents will help out while she is in school. She also plans on having Staples students’ art as decoration and for sale and offering a schedule of events to promote health and education, including tai chi opportunities. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Flu Shot Clinics Underway

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Monica Wheeler of the Westport Weston Health District today gives a flu shot to Westporter Iris Frey. There was a large turnout for flu shots at the district office on Bayberry Lane. The next flu shot clinic will be on Monday, Oct. 24 from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., followed by one Tuesday, Nov.1 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday, Nov. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There will also be a clinic on Thursday. Nov 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Westport Center for Senior Activities. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

CT Health Insurance Rates to Rise Sharply in 2017

By Keith M.Phaneuf and Arielle Levin Becker

www.ctmirror.org

Most Connecticut health insurance plans sold through individual and small group markets will undergo steep rate hikes next year, although in some cases, the prices will not go up by as much as carriers had sought.

The state Insurance Department approved 13 health policy rate hikes today that far outstripped increases in recent years, averaging nearly 25 percent for individuals and 13 percent for small groups.

The department also rejected three requests for major rate hikes — two from Anthem Health Plans and one from ConnectiCare Insurance Co. — directing the carriers to recalculate final rates.

Nearly all of the rates for other plans will increase by double-digit percentages, including hikes ranging from 15 to 24 percent for ConnectiCare policies sold through Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange. Those policies alone currently cover 47,597 people.

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Comings & Goings: Fountain of Youth Closes Retail Outlet

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Fountain of Youth, a health organic market located at 1789 Post Rod East in the Westfair Shopping Center opposite Stop & Shop, has closed its retail store. Owners John and Kay Moretti, Westport residents, said their store, in the same location since 1983, has been driven out of business by the internet, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and others who also sell natural food products. “We were here before what we do became mainstream,” said John Moretti. “Marlo Thomas and Paul Newman were among our frequent customers.”  He added, “We’re not going out of business, just closing this shop. Our customers can still purchase our products by calling us at the same phone number, (203)259-9378. We’re doing mail order and, if local, one-hour delivery service.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

For Zika, West Nile, Health District Urges‘Bug Smarts’

By James Lomuscio

You don’t have to have a pond, large water feature or even a bird bath to spawn mosquitoes prone to harbor the Zika virus, says Mark A. R. Cooper, director of health for the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD).  WestportNow.com Image
Mark A. R. Cooper: take precautions. File photo

Even a bottle cap that fills with water is enough, he says.

“When you walk around your garden and see and standing water, even in bottle caps, get rid of them,” Cooper said, adding that residents insistent on water features use mosquito larvae killing, nematode donuts.

“Zika mosquitoes are going for the smaller things to leave their larvae, the smaller things, the bottle caps, soda, old coffee cups,” he added. “So, as you’re enjoying the outdoors, get rid of standing water. That will address West Nile. That will address Zika.”