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How the pros kill ticks: Unwitting mice and deer get a dose of bug spray

If anyone knows ticks in Maine, it’s the researchers at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute’s tick lab. They’ve been studying the eight-legged disease carriers for 26 years, learning about the deer tick’s emergence and rise to prevalence in our state. Now they’re sharing their expertise through a new website, TicksInMaine.com. “This new website is specific […]

Great service, long wait: Maine hospitals, like restaurants, get reviewed on Yelp

Before today, the consumer review site Yelp was about the last place I’d look to find good medical care. Better known for restaurant and retail store critiques, Yelp’s been among several online repositories of physician and hospital reviews that relied solely on customer feedback — or as it’s known in health care, “patient satisfaction.” Customer reviews might cut […]

Think you’re running your generator safely? You might not know these poisoning risks

The deaths of four young people in Byron late last week from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning was rare for the state of Maine. We don’t often see such poisonings when homeowners use generators for auxiliary power, as that group did to get a refrigerator running in an off-grid cabin, according to state toxicologist Dr. Andy Smith. But all too often, […]

What you could learn from a Wisconsin city where people aren’t afraid to talk about aging

In one city in Wisconsin, everyone talks about the difficult realities of aging. About 96 percent of people who die in La Crosse, a city roughly the size of Bangor situated on the Mississippi River, have completed an advance directive or similar paperwork spelling out their wishes for end-of-life care, NPR recently reported. That’s more than three times the […]

A Maine student’s homework, brought to you by Oreo

Ladies and gentlemen, a Maine student’s opinions about snow — brought to you by Oreo. You don’t often see a child’s schoolwork sponsored by a multinational cookie brand. But food marketers regularly advertise to students in Maine schools using less overt tactics, according to Tina Pettingill of the Maine Public Health Association. She used the Oreo worksheet, passed […]

Is prostate cancer screening worth the risk? The heated medical debate behind King’s announcement

One line in particular from Sen. Angus King’s announcement that he’ll undergo prostate cancer surgery caught my attention. In a statement, his office said the senator has experienced no symptoms of the disease, “but a routine medical exam in April revealed some abnormalities in his bloodwork indicating possible prostate cancer.” While the announcement doesn’t specify which blood test turned […]

Vital Signs newsletter: Watchdog finds Maine VA mishandled mental health care

Almost exactly a year has passed since scandal first rocked the nation’s VA health system. Sparked by reports that multiple patients in Phoenix died after long waits for care, the government initiated sweeping investigations that cast a skeptical eye on VA facilities across the country. Now, a government watchdog has tied some of the VA’s “systemic problems” to Maine, […]