Category Archives: public health

The innocents in Maine’s drug crisis: Almost 1,000 Maine babies exposed in the womb

A one-month-old baby cries in July 2013 at Eastern Maine Medical Center, where Dr. Mark Brown treats drug-affected newborns. Brian Feulner | BDN

Eight percent of all babies born in Maine during the last fiscal year entered the world affected by drugs. That’s nearly 1,000 infants exposed to drugs in the womb, the highest number on record and a more than fivefold increase since 2006. This chart reflects instances where health care providers reported to the state that they had reasonable cause to […]

Are parents refusing vaccines at your child’s school? Now you can check.

For the first time in Maine, parents can easily look up vaccination rates at their local elementary school. The Maine Center for Disease Control publicly released the data for the 2014-15 school year, revealing how many children were exempted from school-required vaccines — and for what reasons — in kindergarten and first-grade classes. The data also show […]

Did legalizing medical pot save some Mainers from prescription painkiller deaths?

Hundreds attended the Home Grown Maine Medical Marijuana Trade Show in Bangor in April 2014. Brian Feulner| BDN

Maine knows all too well the potential dangers of narcotic painkillers. Many a journey down the dark path of addiction begins with a prescription for Vicodin, oxycodone or similar medications, though heroin has taken center stage in Maine’s battle against drug abuse. But could another drug hold answers to preventing overdose deaths? In Maine and a […]

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

Deer tick larvae on a mouse ear. Source:

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, “This new website is specific […]

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

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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 […]