Yale-Led Study Seeks To Transform Heart Disease Diagnoses In Women

Karen Lombardi, a school instructional coach, had just taken an unruly child out of a classroom when she felt severe chest pains. She drove to Yale New Haven Hospital, sweating profusely and hyperventilating, and was diagnosed with a heart attack. Five weeks later, she was back in the hospital with more chest pains. It was another four months before Lombardi, 61, learned the cause of her pain, received effective treatment and returned to active exercise. She considers herself lucky because many women with heart disease never get an accurate diagnosis.

Connecticut Abortion Providers Prepare For Influx Of Patients Seeking Safe Haven For Services

Certified nurse-midwife Jennifer Love remembers a scene from a training rotation she did many years ago in Cartagena, Colombia, where abortion was illegal at the time. If women came in with complications after a miscarriage or a self-induced abortion, they had to wear a marked shirt and sit in a special area of the obstetric emergency department, where Love worked. “The trauma and the stigma,” she said, “I never thought that we would be moving to where our patients would experience that same sense of fear and shame. It’s terrible. It just breaks my heart.

Clinical Trials With Immunotherapy Drugs Are Source Of Hope And Challenges In Treating Aggressive Breast Cancer

Joshalyn Mills of Branford and Nancy Witz of Kensington had the best possible results after being treated in clinical trials with immunotherapy drugs for aggressive breast cancer: Their tumors were eliminated. But while there are dramatic successes with immunotherapy drugs, there are also many failures, and researchers are trying to find out why in hopes of expanding the drugs’ effectiveness. Cutting-edge immunotherapy drugs use a person’s own immune system to fight disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the drugs in 2011 for cancer treatment. Success has occurred in about 15% to 20% of patients with cancers such as melanoma, lung, kidney and bladder, according to a report by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Home Births Rise In Connecticut As Pandemic Prompts Women To Seek Alternatives To Hospitals

Cameron English got comfortable on the cushioned green exam table as her 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter played nearby. Initially, as midwife Carolyn Greenfield swept a monitor over English’s pregnant belly, there was only an indistinct swoosh. But before long, the instrument found and amplified a distinctive, quick double thump. English was all smiles, hearing her baby’s heartbeat for the first time. After English’s first three children were born in a hospital, she had her fourth child at home in 2020, attended by Greenfield, a certified professional midwife.

More Women Than Men Put Off Medical Appointments Due To Pandemic, Survey Finds

Like many women throughout Connecticut, Isabella Vasquez of New Britain has missed or postponed health care appointments due to the pandemic. For the 23-year-old house cleaner, postponing medical appointments became necessary when the COVID-19 crisis affected childcare for her 2-year-old son. “I would have to not go to my appointments sometimes because I didn’t have childcare,” she said. “When COVID struck, that’s when daycare became less reliable.” If her son sneezed or had a runny nose, daycare would not accept him, Vasquez explained. More women than men have either missed medical appointments or postponed the care they thought they needed during the height of the pandemic, according to a recent DataHaven survey released in October of more than 5,000 randomly selected state residents.

Birth Control: Lots Of Options, But Scant Guidance

When University of Connecticut student Natalie Plebanek was 16 years old, she suffered heavy menstrual periods and subsequent fainting spells. But when she asked her pediatrician about a prescription for birth control pills, proven to reduce menstrual bleeding significantly, the doctor balked, citing a common myth. “She thought I would become extremely sexually active,” Plebanek said. Now 21, Plebanek is considering a more convenient method of birth control. Seeking advice from a gynecologist about her options, she was handed a brochure.

Yale Study Combining Opioid Use Disorder Treatment With OB-GYN Care Offers Hope To Pregnant Women Struggling With Addiction

When Amanda, 28, found out that she was pregnant with her second child, she was in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and struggling with opioid use disorder. “I was pretty heavy into my drug use,” said Amanda, whose last name is being withheld due to patient confidentiality. “I had given up hope and was figuring out a way to use drugs and get away with the consequences. But it doesn’t work like that.”

Now, however, Amanda is feeling “really good.” That’s because she is in a clinical trial for pregnant women run by the Yale School of Medicine, through which she receives medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for her opioid use disorder (OUD). Amanda’s OB-GYN is among a group of physicians at 12 clinics in Connecticut and Massachusetts who are training with Yale to offer OB-GYN care and treatment for substance use disorder under one roof to pregnant patients.

Students Work To Bolster College Campus Sexual Assault Law

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down many aspects of college students’ lives, but one student advocacy group has continued its work toward strengthening the law on the reporting of sexual assaults on college campuses. The Every Voice Coalition in Connecticut, part of a national group of students and advocates, convinced lawmakers to sponsor a bill, An Act Concerning Sexual Misconduct on College Campuses, during this year’s legislative session. The bill, which was aired at a recent public hearing of the Higher Education and Employment Advance Committee, says that:

• Colleges will impose amnesty policies to protect students from being punished for reporting due to alcohol or drug use at the time of the assault; and

• Campus Climate Surveys will be disseminated to collect data on sexual violence and to increase transparency. Advocates and health officials maintain that sexual assaults on college campuses are under-reported. In 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut reported 436 incidents of sexual assaults and stalking on college campuses, but added that figure represents only a small percentage of all incidents on campuses.

As Pandemic Grinds On, Domestic Violence Shelters Grapple With Budget Gaps And Growing Needs

Katherine Verano is wrestling with an 830% increase in costs compared with last year for hoteling victims of domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic. After a quiet period during the first months of the pandemic, when much of the state was locked down, domestic violence shelters started running at about 150% capacity during the summer months. When providers ran out of room for social distancing, clients had to be placed in hotels and fed. It’s been a complex time, said Verano, the executive director of Safe Futures, a New London-based nonprofit dedicated to providing counseling, services and shelter to victims of domestic violence in 21 southeastern towns. Safe Futures’ budget for hoteling clients has increased steadily this year.

Coronavirus Conversation: Why The Pandemic Matters In The 2020 Election

Students at the University of Connecticut asked UConn professors who taught the summer COVID-19 course what they think about the pandemic’s impact on the upcoming election. The COVID-19 pandemic that has put the world to a halt for the past seven months has now also reached the highest office in the country. President Donald Trump announced early Friday morning that he and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for COVID-19 and would begin quarantining. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, tested negative, according to a Tweet from Pence’s press secretary. At this time, nearly 34 million people have contracted the virus and over a million have died worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.