Dr. Farha Abbasi told us that healthy diet, sleep and exercise are all key to a healthy mind.
flickr user A Health Blog /


What do we really mean when we talk about mental health and mental illness? We use those terms so often, but do we really understand what we’re talking about?


The number of people diagnosed with chlamydia rose 6.4% in Michigan from 2014 to 2015.  In all, there were 47,702 cases of chlamydia last year.

Gonorrhea cases rose 9.8%, with 10,615 people being infected.

But the increase probably doesn't mean that more people are catching STDs, says Katie McComber with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“Imagine if I said, well, I can’t really pull the trigger of the gun, but here let me find someone who will. I would be criminally charged," Burke said.
Courtesy of Brad Burke

Physicians in Ontario are facing a dilemma: What can you do when asked to perform an action that is legal, but violates your moral code or religious beliefs?

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the federal law that prohibited medically-assisted suicide.

In response to that decision, Parliament passed legislation that cleared the way for doctor-assisted suicide.

In Ontario, the service is now covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, and any drugs required to help a patient die will be available at no cost.

Chloroform was detected in the groundwater at about 5 parts per billion in some tests in Waterworks Park in Ann Arbor.
user UnagiUnagi / Google Maps

State officials have a new water contamination investigation on their hands: what is the source of newly-discovered contaminants found in the groundwater near Slauson Middle School in Ann Arbor?

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality discovered the chemicals trichloroethane and chloroform there after conducting tests for a different chemical - 1,4 dioxane. 

The 1,4 dioxane is a known contaminant from the chemical company Pall-Gelman. The plume of 1,4 dioxane is slowly moving underneath Ann Arbor towards the Huron River.

Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program Facebook page

Dr. Perry Baird was a Texas-born and Harvard-trained physician. In the '20s and '30s, his medical career was on the rise. And he became more and more interested in what caused “manic depression,” as it was known at the time.

Today, we know it as bipolar disorder.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state lawmaker from Flint says it’s time to toughen the rules on lead in drinking water. State Sen. Jim Ananich, D-Flint, has sponsored a bill to reduce the allowable levels of lead in drinking water.

He wants stricter rules to gradually reduce allowable lead levels with a goal of zero exposure to lead.


“We saw what happened” in Flint, Ananich said. “It’s a terrible, terrible tragedy what happened here in Flint, in my hometown, so we obviously should be leading, I think, in making sure it never happens again.”

doctor's office
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Obamacare will cost more for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who get their health insurance through the federal program.

Four fewer companies are offering health insurance plans through Michigan’s Affordable Care Act marketplace next year.  That will directly affect about 10,000 Michiganders currently covered by plans offered by those companies.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The city of Flint will receive more than $970,000 to help residents get increased access to health services.


Carfentanil-laced heroin is showing up in Michigan.

That was confirmed last week, when public health officials in Wayne County definitively linked at least 19 deaths since July to the powerful synthetic opioid.

They were on the lookout for carfentanil after it appeared in nearby states this summer — particularly Ohio, where a late-summer surge in fatal overdoses was tied to carfentanil. There was also a suspected case in Kent County last month.

Dr. Pamela Pugh has been on the job as Flint's chief public health adviser for less than two weeks.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents are being urged to cooperate with an investigation into disease outbreak that may or may not be connected to the city’s water crisis.

Since March 1, more than 130 people in Genesee and Saginaw counties have fallen sick with an illness called Shigellosis. The disease causes bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain, but has not been linked to any fatalities.

The concern about concussions in sports like football is at an all-time high, but the authors of "Back In the Game: Why Concussion Doesn’t Have to End Your Athletic Career" say the media hype may be overblown.
John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr -

The issue of contact sports and concussions has been all over the news in recent years.

There’s enough concern that a growing number of parents are deciding against letting their kids play rough sports because of the fear that concussions will lead to permanent neurological damage. It’s a complete swing away from the attitudes of the past when coaches would tell players "just walk it off."

There’s a new book which suggests that, yes, concussions are very serious, but there’s a lot of misinformation about them, and also a lot of media hype. The book is called: Back In the Game: Why Concussion Doesn’t Have to End Your Athletic Career.

Today, we discuss a new book that demystifies breast reconstruction and provides answers to women with breast cancer. And, we hear about a problem Traverse City is wrestling with – a lack of affordable housing.

Some 100,000 women diagnosed this year with breast cancer will undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
Rhoda Baer, National Cancer Institute / Public Domain


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Each and every year, more than 230,000 American women will hear the words, “You have breast cancer.”

Of those, some 100,000 will undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

When your world’s been turned upside down by a breast cancer diagnosis, it can be hard to grasp what options are there for you.

Pat Anstett’s new book provides answers, presented through the stories of women who have been handed that breast cancer diagnosis and then followed many different paths in treatment and reconstruction.

Centers for Disease Control

State health officials have asked for help from the Centers for Disease Control to investigate shigella outbreaks in Saginaw and Genesee Counties.

Shigella is a highly infectious bacteria that causes gastro-intestinal illness. 

According to Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan's Chief Medical Executive, the State Epidemiologist made the request last Friday. The CDC investigative team arrived today to map the bacteria's spread, and to look into possible risk factors and causes.

Surgical instruments.
Windell Oskay / Flickr -

DETROIT - Detroit Medical Center says the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved its plan to address problems with its sterilization of surgical instruments. The medical center announced Tuesday the plan includes the formation of a surgical improvement council and task force to oversee instrument sterilization. It says the plan also addresses better policies and procedures for cleaning, processing and sterilization of instruments and enhanced training and monitoring.

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - Health officials in Jackson County are reporting twice as many cases of Legionnaires' disease so far this year as they've had in any of the past five years.

The Jackson County Health Department says it has eight confirmed cases through the end of September, including three each reported in August and September. That compares with zero to four cases in each of the last five years.

None of the cases have been fatal.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Legionella bacteria has been detected at a residence hall at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Legionella bacteria turned up in three water samples in the Riverfront Residence hall. No illnesses have been reported.

“Please let me reassure you that in checking with the Centers for Disease Control I have been told that these test results do not indicate immediate risk to our campus or community,” says Susan Borrego, U of M Flint Chancellor.

Centers for Disease Control

An outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness  is easing in Genesee and Saginaw Counties.

Many of the dozens of cases of Shigella occurred in Flint, but peaked weeks ago.

Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.  More than a dozen people have been hospitalized, but there have been no fatalities.  

Dr. Eden Wells is the state’s chief medical executive. She says it’s not clear if people’s reluctance to use Flint water for basic hygiene is a factor.

Roller coasters may help you get rid of kidney stones.

Sometimes science moves in a mysterious way.

A few years back, urologist David Wartinger, a former Michigan State University professor, saw a student patient who he'd been treating for kidney stones. The patient had just returned from spring break in Florida.

"And he told me, doc, you're not gonna believe this, I went on a roller coaster and I passed a kidney stone. I got right back on the same coaster, I passed another stone. I got back on the coaster a third time and I passed three stones in a row."

A classroom in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan non-profit group will provide more healthcare resources for Flint public schools.

The Genesee Health Plan is expanding its Community Health Workers program to all Flint Community Schools. The program wants to identify the health care needs of students and families in the community. 

Jim Milanowski is the president and C.E.O. of the health plan.

Flickr user/Devon Buchanan /

It was a case that ignited the nation: Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was convicted of raping an unconscious woman behind an alley dumpster after a party.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio



It has been a year now since Michigan and the world learned that the lead levels of children living in areas of Flint has doubled, even tripled.

It was September 2015 when pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha braved the scorn of certain state employees to present her stunning research findings that proved that elevated lead levels in Flint children correlated to the the switch to Flint River water.


As we know by now, the dismissive state officials were wrong, and Hanna-Attisha was right.

A contemporary engraving depicting President Garfield leaning after being shot by Charles Guiteau. He is supported by Secretary of State James Blaine.
Public Domain

The next time you're at the doctor's office and you notice all the hand washing and sterile equipment, think of President James Garfield and count your blessings that it's 2016 and not 1881.

On this day in 1881, President Garfield died, completing what Dr. Howard Markel describes as "an agonizing march towards oblivion that began on July 2." 


"Hearing voices" is known as an auditory hallucination. The Mental Health Foundation tells us that it may or may not be associated with a mental health problem.

It's the most common type of hallucination in people with disorders such as schizophrenia. 

There's a stigma that follows such hallucinations. If you speak openly about hearing voices, you're likely to be labeled, medicated, even hospitalized. 

But the Hearing Voices Network thinks it has another way to help people understand and learn to live with those voices. 

McLaren Hospital in Flint and the Genesee County Health Department have been working with the Centers for Disease Control since a court order is preventing local officials from talking directly with the state health department.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials are confirming an eighth case of Legionnaire's disease in Genesee County.

A press release from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says state health department officials can’t say much about the latest case because of a court order preventing it from talking directly to Genesee County health officials.

The court order is part of a criminal probe of the Flint water crisis, which includes the state health department.  

According to Chopra, diagnosis is a complicated process made only more difficult by time constraints.
Public Domain

The Next Idea

If ever there is a time you want your physicians to be on top of their game, it's when he or she is determining your diagnosis. 

Yet, doctors who are overworked and stressed do make mistakes. And the results can be fatal.

One famous case: actor John Ritter was diagnosed and treated for a heart attack. Turns out he actually had a tear in his aorta, which killed him.

Dr. Vineet Chopra is with the Patient Safety Enhancement Program, and he's researching ways to change the way physicians work to give them more time to think about their patients' diagnoses. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Health advocates are pushing what's billed as a simple way to have more CPR-trained lifesavers in Michigan: requiring the instruction in school.

  The legislation easily cleared the Senate in the spring and is pending in the House. Supporters hope the chamber will vote this month before members breaks again to focus on the November election.

  The bill would require that schools provide instruction in CPR and the use of defibrillators at least one time between grades 7 and 12.

Michael Hood and Laurie Carpenter, founders of the humanitarian aid group Crossing Water.
Stephanie Kenner / Crossing Water

This weekend the group Crossing Water is calling for volunteers to continue the work they've been doing for a long time now: going door to door helping Flint residents deal with the water contamination in the city. 

McClaren hospital sign.
courtesy of Signs by Crannie /

A dispute between Michigan’s governor and attorney general is spilling over into institutions charged with protecting public health.

The state Department of Health and Human Services issued a press release yesterday saying there’s a seventh case of Legionnaire's disease in Genesee County. But it added it can’t say much more because it’s blocked by a court order from learning more.

From the release:

A motorcyle rider with no helmet and a passenger with a helmet.

Motorcycle crash injuries became more serious after Michigan repealed its mandatory helmet law in 2012.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety teamed up with researchers at the University of Michigan Injury Center, the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute to look at the numbers.

They found that skull fractures after a motorcycle crash increased nearly 40% in the year after the state Legislature said riders over age 21 could skip wearing a helmet if they so chose.