Vital Signs: Top health stories this week

A group of 25 Mainers recently volunteered to test their bodies for chemicals found in numerous consumer products, from shower curtains to inflatable toys. Every participant, from current and former lawmakers to mothers and an electrician, tested positive for phthalates, chemicals used to soften plastics that some studies have linked to serious health problems. But the U.S. CDC cautions that the health effects remain unknown.

Tests of 25 Mainers find high levels of chemicals used in plastics

Other top health stories this week:

The Affordable Care Act deadline is just around the corner — are you covered?

The open enrollment period for individual insurance ends March 31. Most Americans must have coverage by then or face fines. Unlike years past, when people bought insurance whenever they wanted, the ACA now limits insurance sales to a specific time window.

Bridgewater boy, 6, donates bone marrow so his 8-year-old brother can live

Colby and Carson Scott appear so different from each other, their mother Lisa says. Colby’s seriously ill, 6-year-old Carson isn’t. “One has brown eyes, one has blue eyes, one talks a lot, one is quiet. They have different hobbies. They don’t really look all that alike.” But their bone marrow is a perfect match.

From our bloggers:

Diane Atwood, Catching Health

A Tribute to Ann Murray Paige

In 2004, when Ann was only 38 years old, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She made the bold decision to turn the camera on herself and share her experience. The result was The Breast Cancer Diaries, which has been televised in 30 countries and translated into two languages. When she died on Sunday, I wanted to scream and hit something — so sad and so angry at the same time.

Alison Mitchell, Research Shows

Fact and fiction about Maine’s drug-affected babies

There were 927 drug-affected baby notifications last year. Sadly, that is a fact. But the situation is more complex than a number.

From the source: Michael Dubin of Dollar Shave Club, known for his funny viral videos, is live-tweeting his colonoscopy today to raise awareness about colon cancer prevention. Starting at 3 p.m., you can follow the procedure on Twitter using the hashtag #DScolon. Enjoy?


Jackie Farwell

About Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and finding new ways to help you stay well. I live in Gorham with my husband Nick and our hound dog Riley.