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Elevating Health

Elevating Health is a series of 1-minute informational segments about health topics that matter to you and your family. Tune in to Connecticut Public Radio weekday afternoons to learn about important medical advances, new procedures, and ground-breaking treatments to help you get well and stay well. Elevating Health is funded by Hartford HealthCare.

Hartford HealthCare offers a wide array of FREE, virtual classes, webinars and support groups that you can join from the convenience and privacy of your home. For more information: HartfordHealthCare.org/VirtualClasses


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Four Ways to Protect Your Eyes From Too Much Screen Time

With American adults averaging more than seven hours a day in front of digital devices, ophthalmologist Alan Solinsky, MD, of the Hartford Hospital Eye Surgery Center has this advice to protect your eyes after so much screen time:

  1. Blink more. Sounds simple, right? But Solinsky says you should remember to blink often if you’re staring at the screen for more than a few minutes at a time.
  2. Use over-the-counter wetting eye drops (not the anti-reddening ones like Visine) when your eyes get too dry. If those aren’t working, talk to your eye doctor about prescription eye drops.
  3. Make sure you have the right prescription for your glasses for intermediate distance. Distance glasses or readers won’t work. Invest in a pair of computer or blue light glasses which filter certain light waves and protect your eyes from damage. They can be purchased by prescription or over-the-counter.
  4. Follow the 20/20/20 rule. That means looking away from your screen every 20 minutes, look 20 feet into the distance and stretch for 20 seconds

Read the full article on the Health News Hub

More about Hartford Hospital’s Eye Surgery Center

There’s no need to delay care that may improve, enhance or preserve your vision. Hartford Hospital's Eye Surgery Center, founded in 1998, provides surgical care for cataracts, glaucoma, corneal disease and select retinal diseases. The Center performs more than 10,000 procedures a year, the vast majority of them cataracts.

More about Dr. Alan E.Solinsky

Dr. Alan Solinsky is a graduate of the Univ. of CT School of Medicine. He trained at Hartford Hospital, Hahnemann Univ., and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. He is a clinical instructor for the Dept. of Surgery at the Univ. of CT. He is a Board Certified Ophthalmologist and is a Member and Diplomat of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the National Board of Medical Examiners. He has performed thousands of micro-surgical eye operations and has been in practice since 1990. He was selected as one of America’s top Ophthalmologists by the Consumer Research Council of America, and also as one of Connecticut’s Top Doctors by Connecticut Magazine.


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Hoarding disorder is surprisingly common and can range from tolerable to hazardous and can make the person suffering, or the people around them, miserable.

In this episode of More Life, Dr. David Tolin, medical director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living, part of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, helps us identify the difference between messy and hoarding and sheds some light on how a genetic predisposition, previous life event, or even impaired cognitive function may contribute to the disorder.

Listen to the full episode:
The real hazards of hoarding with Dr. David Tolin

Who is Dr. Tolin?



Dr. David Tolin is the author of over 200 scientific journal articles, as well as the books Doing CBT: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Behaviors, Thoughts, and Emotions, Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding and Face Your Fears: A Proven Plan to Beat Anxiety, Panic, Phobias, and Obsessions.

Dr. Tolin has been featured on the reality TV series “Hoarders,” “The OCD Project,” and “My Shopping Addiction,” and has been a recurrent guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “The Dr. Oz Show.”


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Behavioral Health Crisis Unit

Hartford HealthCare (HHC) recently unveiled a Behavioral Health Crisis Unit, a state-of-the-art, 10-bed private wing adjacent to the Backus Hospital Emergency Department.

The 3,740-square-foot space, designed with safety, privacy and comfort in mind for patients, separates Emergency Department patients with physical health issues from behavioral health patients – making the experience better for all.

James O’Dea, PhD, MBA, senior vice president of the HHC Behavioral Health Network, said there is an explosion of mental health and substance abuse issues nationally and locally, but only four out of every 10 patients who need behavioral health care can get it – even though their conditions are largely treatable. “This is really about how do we better engage with our patients,” said O’Dea. “It presents more opportunities for them to get to us so we can navigate them through the care that they need.”

Read more: HHC, Backus Hospital Respond to Mental Health Needs of the Community


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Neighborhood Health

Hartford HealthCare’s Neighborhood Health initiative is designed to bring more health prevention services and support directly to the people and communities we serve. It’s part of a larger commitment to helping all people live their healthiest lives by providing more outreach and healthcare opportunities throughout Connecticut.

The Neighborhood Health mobile “CareVans” visit and operate daytime health clinics several times a month at specifically chosen locations. They offer a variety of health services including screenings, mental health counseling, medical referrals, education and support and key vaccinations.

Neighborhood Health was developed in collaboration with trusted community partners throughout the state. These groups and individuals helped determine the health needs and priorities for their residents and communities. These innovative health clinics will be adaptable, flexible, and open to feedback to ensure access to needed services and programs.

We are currently offering clinics in Hartford, Torrington, Winsted and Thomaston, and plans to expand services to locations statewide over time.

Read more: See how our Neighborhood Health team provides “whole-person” care


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Kidney Stones: Dr. Evan Shreck

Dr. Evan Shreck is a urologist with the Hartford Healthcare Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute practicing at Midstate Medical Center. His areas of expertise include: Adult circumcision, benign prostatic hyperplasia, bladder cancer, enlarged prostate, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, vasectomy, kidney stones.

Kidney stones can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  1. Sharp, stabbing pain on one side of the back, under the ribs
  2. Pain in the lower stomach, groin or genital area
  3. Burning pain when you urinate
  4. Blood in your urine
  5. Nausea or vomiting
  6. Fever
  7. Abnormal color or smell to your urine
  8. Frequent urge to urinate

Diagnosing Kidney Stones:

To diagnose a kidney stone, the experts with the Kidney Stone Center use the following:

  1. Physical exam and your health history
  2. Urine tests
  3. Blood tests
  4. Diagnostic imaging such as low-dose CT scans and ultrasound

Learn more about kidney stones diagnosis and treatment options.

Watch Dr. Shreck discuss managing kidney stones.


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Institute of Living: Dr. Javeed Sukhera

The journey of mental health care through the 19th and 20th centuries is a fascinating one. From the barbaric early days, where those with mental health conditions were hidden from society - to controversial measures like shock treatment.

The Institute of Living, the first institution of its kind in Connecticut and just the third in the nation, played a significant role in fundamentally changing approaches to mental health – blazing a trail of moral, ethical treatment for others to follow.

In episode three of our podcast series, The Evolution of Mental Health Care: 200 years at Hartford HealthCare's Institute of Living, Hartford HealthCare’s Steve Coates talks to Dr. Javeed Sukhera, chair of psychiatry at the Institute of Living and chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Harford Hospital.

They discuss the impact the pandemic has had on mental health in the U.S. and the increasing need for access to quality care. They also explore how the IOL has historically pivoted to meet the needs of any given era and a future filled with new possibilities - such as psychedelic therapies and facilities and programs that are designed with the help of patients themselves.

Listen to the full podcast with Dr. Sukhera

Episode One: featuring the Connecticut Historical Society

Episode Two: featuring Dr. Hank Schwartz

Learn more about Hartford HealthCare's Institute of Living

Learn more about Common Struggle, Individual Experience: An Exhibition About Mental Health Presented by Hartford HealthCare Institute of Living


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Stress surge - Dr. Carla Schnitzlein

Maybe, at the start of the pandemic, you diligently read up on infection prevention, and took every potential health risk very seriously.

But at some point, perhaps you stopped searching for new information – or turned away from the latest risk or recommendation. A new subvariant? A rising threat of monkeypox? It can be overwhelming and some of us just shut down.

Crisis fatigue is a real thing, and psychiatrist Carla Schnitzlein, DO, medical director of Natchaug Hospital, part of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, helps us understand what happens to some of us, both physically and mentally.

“I think of surge capacity as our body’s backup generator,” she says “During a storm, our backup generator kicks on to keep the power on for essential things – like our mood, our stress levels and our sleep.” This happens through a boost of neurochemicals like norepinephrine and epinephrine, which lend extra support to our body’s systems.

There could be any number of explanations, from a shift in your personal risk tolerance to the protection of vaccines to simply becoming desensitized to bad news.

Read more:

Running on Empty: If You’re Feeling Checked Out, You Might Have Reached Your Surge Capacity


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Knee replacement - Dr. Scott Stanat

Dr. Scott Stanat, Chief of Orthopedics at Backus Hospital, gives us some common indicators that can suggest you are a candidate for total knee replacement.

“Bone on bone arthritis can be a big factor,” he explains. “When the smooth portion of cartilage wears away on your knee, it can take a toll on your daily activities. For patients who have exhausted non-surgical options, and if the pain is affecting their daily living – replacement may be the best option for them.”

Backus Hospital is the only hospital in Southeastern Connecticut to offer the latest a new robotic surgery for hip and knee procedures. “This technology gives me an extra tool to ensure accuracy,” says Stanat. “In a partial knee procedure for example, I’m able to manually stretch and balance the knee during surgery and use the computer navigation to my advantage - assuring proper alignment and balance.”

Learn more about total knee replacement


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Hernia: Dr. Vijay Jayaraman

Dr. Vijay Jayaraman is a surgeon at Backus Hospital who specializes in hernia.

Did you know that nearly 1 million hernia operations are performed each year in the U.S.?

Hernias are abnormal bulges created by a weakness or hole, usually in the abdominal wall or groin. A hernia can also be defined as an exit of an organ, such as a bowel, through the wall of the cavity in which it normally resides. A localized bulge in the abdomen or groin caused by a hernia is a common problem that can range from pain-free to painful.

Hernias can be congenital, which are present at birth, or can develop secondary to tissue weakness in the abdominal wall or groin.

Activities and medical problems that increase the abdominal wall pressure can also lead to a hernia. Some examples of these are straining due to long-term constipation issues or urinating, persistent cough, lifting heavy items and physical exertion. Poor nutrition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, pregnancy, previous surgeries (specifically open surgeries) and smoking are also some risk factors for the development of a hernia.

Read more:

June is National Hernia Awareness Month

Signs, symptoms and treatment of hernias

Sports Hernias


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Men’s Health: Dr. Jared Bieniek

In this episode of Hartford HealthCare’s More Life podcast, Dr. Jared Bieniek, medical director of Men’s Health at Hartford HealthCare’s Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute, gets into some very important topics for men – and anyone who loves them.

While vasectomy is a sensitive topic, is it really a good option for birth control? And more importantly for some, is it reversable, and is it covered by insurance? Dr. Bieniek has answers.

In addition to overall men’s health, Steve and Dr. Bieniek also get into Zero Prostate. It’s a movement to create Generation Zero – the first generation of men free from prostate cancer. Hartford HealthCare and Tallwood have partnered with Zero Prostate Cancer, a national organization, to raise funds for research with a Zero Prostate 5k family run scheduled for June 12 in Hartford.

More about the Zero Prostate 5K

Listen to the full podcast featuring Dr. Jared Bieniek


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Mammograms – Dr. Diana James

It’s never been more important to be sure you’re up to date on your mammogram. In 2022, an estimated 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 51,400 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

For women at average risk and no personal or family history of breast cancer, annual screening is recommended beginning at age 40 and will be covered by your insurance.

“Premenopausal women are more at risk for aggressive form of breast cancer and should be screened every year,” said Dr. Diana James, director of Breast Imaging at Hartford Hospital. “After menopause, the average person can usually go to every two years for their mammogram. Dr. James says your doctor will help you determine your risk history to help determine your screening schedule.

Schedule a mammogram near you
HartfordHealthCare.org/mammograms

Download a Mammography Patient Guide:
English | Spanish


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Allergic Eyes – Dr. Alan Solinsky

Spring means pollen - and for many of us red, itchy eyes. What causes this reaction?

“Allergic reaction is mostly due to the release of histamines,” says Dr Alan Solinsky, an ophthalmologist with the Hartford Hospital Eye Surgery Center. “Histamines are trying to sequester the allergens, but they overdo it and you get the itchy, burning, teary eyes.”

Dr. Solinky’s advice:

  • Try to keep your fingers away from your eyes
  • Wear goggles or sunglasses during outdoor activity like gardening
  • Use antihistamine a half hour before you think you’ll be exposed to the pollen

Related articles:

Tired of Seasonal Allergies? Tips and Tricks for Making it Through the Spring

Three Connecticut Cities Ranked Among Worst for Spring Allergies in New National Report


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Hammer toe – Dr. Tom McDonald

Dr. Tom McDonald is an orthopaedic surgeon with Hartford HealthCare’s Bone & Joint Institute, where patients have access to leading edge technologies.

If you have severe pain in a “crooked toe” that interferes with your daily activities, and if nonsurgical treatments such as roomier footwear, exercises, and pain medicine have not helped, you and your doctor may choose surgical reconstruction for your Hammertoe deformity.

In this procedure, the surgeon performs minimal bone resection and careful rebalancing of soft tissues, so that the toe can lie flat. Tendons and ligaments are relaxed and rebalanced to allow for correct toe position and less pain. Sometimes Surgical implants are used to hold the straightened toe in place until it has healed. Sometimes minimally invasive surgical techniques can be combined with careful postoperative dressing changes, to maintain the surgically corrected position.

Unless there are overall health concerns, you probably won't have to spend a night away from home - Most people have this surgery as an outpatient. LEARN MORE


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Fighting Headaches

The Hartford HealthCare (HHC) Ayer Neuroscience Institute Headache Center and the internationally-recognized Migraine Research Foundation (MRF) recently announced an official, permanent collaboration.

Listen to the full podcast.

In this episode, Hartford HealthCare’s Steve Coates talks with the Headache Center’s medical director Dr. Brian Grosberg who explains how this one-of-a-kind program is advancing research and treatment in the field of headaches.

Check the notes in this episode to learn more about the Headache Center, their research, services and upcoming programs and classes. Or go to HartfordHealthCare.org/Headache.

Subscribe or follow Hartford HealthCare’s More Life to be notified each time a new episode drops. Just search “Hartford HealthCare” on your favorite podcast platform.

Related article

Related episodes

Hartford HealthCare programs and classes


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ADHD Study – Michael C. Stevens, Ph.D.

Michael Stevens, Ph.D., is the Director of Child & Adolescent Research at Hartford Hospital / The Institute of Living.

The Olin Clinical Neuroscience and Development Laboratory variously focuses on research of several psychiatric disorders commonly seen in pediatric groups, including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Learn more about the clinical trial
ADHD Treatment Clinical Trial - Executive Working Memory Training Study: This paid study for teens (age 12-18) with ADHD is examining a new potential treatment for ADHD. Participants can experience a free trial of a newly designed intervention that trains your brain's working memory system with the goal of reducing ADHD symptoms. We use safe, non-invasive functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to explore whether the online executive working memory training program can effectively alter brain connectivity and clinically improve symptoms of ADHD. Participation includes interviews, 2 fMRI scans, and 5 weeks of online executive working memory training. Volunteers will be compensated $20 per hour plus additional compensation for completing the entire study. Participation will take 8-10 hours and will be split into separate visits.


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DBS – Dr. Patrick Senatus

Dr. Patrick Senatus, Medical Director of the Deep Brain Stimulation Program for the Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute, treated Loreli with Deep Brain Stimulation, or DBS, a surgical procedure that helped free Loreli from decades of medication and maintain her independence – tremor free.

Listen to the full podcast Deep Brain Stimulation: One patient's life-changing experience with DBS

Learn more about Deep Brain Stimulation at HartfordHealthCare.org/DBS. Be sure to subscribe to Hartford HealthCare’s More Life podcast for more episodes on a wide range of important health topics. Just search “Hartford HealthCare” on your favorite podcast platform.

Join one of our FREE virtual webinars Webinar: Understanding Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

Related articles
Now, Deep Brain Stimulation to Prevent Epileptic Seizures
Why Deep Brain Stimulation ‘Life-Altering’ for Some Parkinson’s Patients


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Fentanyl – Dr. J. Craig Allen

The pandemic and societal stressors are putting our children, and others, at more risk than ever before. Dr. Allen provides some critical warnings we all need to be aware of to help us get a handle on the dangerous and sometimes deadly pandemic of substance abuse.

In this episode of Hartford HealthCare’s More Life podcast, Dr. J. Craig Allen, Vice President of Addiction Services for Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network discusses the recent tragedy in which a 13-year-old died from a fentanyl overdose at his school in Hartford, Connecticut.

Listen to the full podcast The Other Epidemic: Recognizing fentanyl and other substance abuse with Dr. Craig Allen


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Primary Care Physician – Dr. May Mokbelpur

With a new year comes a commitment to better health for many. For Dr. May Mokbelpur - a primary care physician for Hartford HealthCare Medical Group in Wethersfield - there’s one area she tells people to focus on if they’re making healthy New Year’s resolutions.

“It’s what you eat,” says Mokbelpur. “Basically, what we put in our bodies is the most important thing.”

Dr. Mokbelpur stresses the importance of planning ahead to help prevent bad choices. 

“Invest a little bit of time and effort in having the right healthy choices close to us in case we get hungry. For example, a sugar-free protein bar or some nuts or a salad. It’s good to pack something in advance.”

Related articles:

You’ve Promised to Exercise More: A Cardiologist’s Tips

Nine Tips to Start the New Year Off Right

Find a Primary Care Physician

Use our Find a Doctor tool


Winter Eye Safety: Dr. Alan Solinsky

Open fires in the hearth, holiday decorating and popping champagne corks - they are just a few of the pleasures of the winter season, but to Ophthalmologist Dr. Alan Solinsky of the Hartford Hospital Eye Surgery Center, there are some potential dangers for your eyes. He says it’s not uncommon for him to see patients who’ve been poked by a pine needle or a broken glass ornament.

“You can get a corneal abrasion,” says Solinsky. “You can get a chemical conjunctivitis. Whatever debris is left on your eye from that particular particle stays in your eye and may cause some infection or inflammation.”

Dr. Solinsky has more advice for protecting our eyes, regardless of the season, particularly for those who work from home.

“There are a variety of conditions working from home imposes on people that they might not otherwise face in an office or school setting,” he said. “In addition to less-than-ideal environments, people are spending more time on screens. Students doing remote learning, for example, spend all their educational time on them.”

Read more:

Six Tips from An Ophthalmologist to Reduce Work-at-Home Eye Strain


Lung Cancer Screening: Dr. Andrew Salner

There is more hope for lung cancer patients. Thanks to low dose CT screening being offered across Hartford HealthCare, the cancer can be detected much earlier. Dr. Andrew Salner is Medical Director of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at Hartford Hospital

“As with many cancers, lung cancer can often be successfully treated when we catch it early enough,” said Dr. Salner. “This recommendation from the USPSTF would broaden our ability to identify people at those early stages, when we can help them the most, and it would certainly save and extend lives.”

Related article:

Panel Recommends Lung Cancer Scans for Smokers Start at 50, Doubling People Eligible

To qualify for the annual screening patients must between 50- and 80- years old, currently smoke or have quit in the past 15 years, and averaged smoking a minimum one pack a day for 20 years.

Learn more about lung cancer screening

Lung Cancer Screening & Diagnosis

Lung Cancer Patient Guide The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, backed by an alliance with the renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, provides innovative care close to home.

Download your guide to lung cancer.


Aspirin & Heart Health: Dr. Stephanie Saucier

New federal recommendations say that those over 60 should not take daily aspirin for primary prevention against heart attack and stroke. Dr. Stephanie Saucier, director of the Women’s Heart Wellness program at the Hartford HealthCare Heart and Vascular Institute, says there are some patients who should still take that daily tablet.

The Women’s Heart Wellness Program represents Hartford HealthCare’s dedication to identifying, treating and, whenever possible, preventing cardiovascular disease in women.

“I have prescribed aspirin for primary prevention; however I do not prescribe it for all comers,” said Dr. Stephanie Saucier, director of Women’s Heart Wellness Program with the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Hartford Hospital. “The idea that aspirin should be given to all patients for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease is no longer the mainstay of therapy.”

Read more:

Why The Shift in Recommending Daily Aspirin For Heart Health?

FREE virtual webinar: Wednesday, December 8

Register HERE

Join board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Stephanie Saucier as she discusses the common tests for your heart. Learn what they are, what they help diagnose and what they mean. Dr. Saucier will talk about what you should expect before, during and after having a test. PLUS, a LIVE Q&A with the doctor will follow the presentation.


Prostate Exams: Dr. Joseph Wagner

Dr. Joseph Wagner, a surgeon with the Hartford HealthCare Tallwood Urology and Kidney Institute, says he still recommends in-office prostate exams during men’s regular physical exam with their primary care provider. Dr. Wagner also weighs in on the importance of PSA screening.

A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicated that a U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation five years ago downplaying the need for annual prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening in all men triggered the increase. At the same time, the incidence of early disease decreased, leading study authors to assert that the screening decline caused more cases to advance before being discovered.

“When the PSA was first used to screen for prostate cancer in the 1990s, there was a huge increase in the number of cases being diagnosed, and the number of deaths started to decline because we were finding cancer and treating it early,” Dr. Wagner said. “At the same time, we were diagnosing a bunch of cases that never needed to be treated.

Read more:

Where Does PSA Test Fit in Prostate Cancer Diagnosis?

Related article:

The Care Gap Between Black and White Men With Prostate Cancer


Epilepsy with Dr. Gabriel Martz

Dr Gabriel Martz, the director of Hartford HealthCare’s Ayer Neuroscience Institute Epilepsy Center, describes epileptic seizures as a short circuit of sorts in the brain. “Any disturbance of the brain can cause a seizure.” He explains that epilepsy is a chronic state where those seizures keep happening.

Long-term monitoring of seizures has helped Dr. Martz and his colleagues better determine treatment option for their epileptic patients.

“We’ve had patients we have cured of epilepsy but they’re so anxious that they might have a seizure that they’re really limiting their own lives. As soon as a patient walks through our doors, we’re going to do everything we can to help them.”

Download the free Epilepsy Brochure

Read more: The ‘Complex Set of Tools’ Needed When Epilepsy Is More Than Repeated Seizures


Diabetic Eye Disease with Dr. Raji Mulukutla

Dr. Raji Mulukutla, an ophthalmologist with Hartford Hospital’s Eye Surgery Center, says most diabetic eye disease is preventable. Annual visits, with a dilated exam is key.

Symptoms of diabetic eye disease can include:

1. blurry or wavy vision

2. frequently changing vision

3. dark areas or vision loss

4. flashes or spots of light (also called floaters)

Dr. Mulukutla, who is on the staff at Hartford Hospital Eye Surgery Center, is board-certified and a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

Find an ophthalmologist

Related article: What You Can Do About Eyesight as You Age


Pancreatic Cancer with Dr. Lindsay Bliss

Dr. Lindsay Bliss, a surgeon with the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute and Digestive Health Center says tumor boards are one of the most important aspect that the Cancer Institute can offer patients. “It’s a true multidisciplinary look at their care,” she explains. “We work together on a daily basis and keep a dialog going about the quality and quantity of their care.”

Dr. Bliss also stresses that seeing someone trained Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary for pancreatic disease is key.

Join a free webinar on Nov. 16 with Dr. Lindsay Bliss

Webinar: Ask the Experts! What you need to know about pancreatic cancer

Related article: Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month: Pay Attention to Early Cues 


Dr. Diana James, Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, Breast Screening

Dr. Diana James, a radiologist working with the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, reminds women 40 and over to schedule their annual mammogram, especially if they’ve been putting it off.

“Typically, they tell you to start screening 10 years before the youngest diagnosed female relative,” said James.

Dr. James explains why breast screening may be especially important this year.

“We track breast cancer detection rates, which are the number of cancers diagnosed per 1,000 women screened. That rate dropped from 4.8 to 2.6 in 2020 at Hartford Hospital, which is substantially lower than 2019,” she said. “Overall, the effect of the pandemic on screening for breast cancer is concerning to say the least.”

Experts with the National Cancer Institute predict there will be about 10,000 more deaths in the United States from breast and colorectal cancer alone in the next decade, directly stemming from pandemic-related delays in cancer screening and treatment.

Read the full article

Cancer Screenings Dip During COVID, Raising Fears of Spike in Serious Cases

Schedule your mammogram

https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/mammograms 

Screening mammograms generally take about 15 minutes. 

Download this free informational resource to learn more about this crucial diagnostic tool, how important it is to your overall health and how experts with Connecticut’s largest breast care center and radiology groups can help.

Download the free guide


Dr. Heather King, Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, Breast Surgery

The life changing diagnosis of a breast cancer brings with it surgical decisions for new patients. Dr. Heather King, a breast surgeon with the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, says there are several factors that determine that path.

The hidden scar surgical technique is allowing more women to undergo surgery with much less scarring and more preservation of the breast. Dr. King explains: “It is allowing women to undergo surgery where the surgeon can then place the scars either around the areola or in the fold of their breasts, or from the armpit location.”

How many of those requiring breast surgery can benefit from this technique? “I would say about 80 to 85 percent benefit from the hidden scar technique,” said Dr. King. “It ultimately depends on the size of the location of your cancer and the shape of your breast.”

Listen to the full interview

Medical Rounds with Dr. Heather King

Schedule your mammogram

https://hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/mammograms 

Screening mammograms generally take about 15 minutes. 

Download this free informational resource to learn more about this crucial diagnostic tool, how important it is to your overall health and how experts with Connecticut’s largest breast care center and radiology groups can help.

Download the free guide


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Dr. Thomas McDonald, MD

Dr. Tom McDonald: Bunions

For those suffering from bunions, it’s not always just a cosmetic deformity. Dr. Tom McDonald is foot and ankle surgeon at the Hartford HealthCare Bone and Joint Institute.

Bunions can not only be painful but can also interfere with our day-to-day lives. Dr. McDonald explains that there are minimally invasive surgical options can have very positive results when simple non-surgical solutions aren’t working.

Additional resources:

What is a bunion?

Bunion surgery overview


Dr. Geoffrey Emerick, MD
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Dr. Geoffrey Emerick, MD

Dr. Geoffrey Emerick: Glaucoma 

While glaucoma includes several types of eye conditions, they all result damage to the optic nerve, possible blindness if untreated. Dr. Geoffrey Emerick is an ophthalmologist with the Hartford Hospital Eye Surgery center.

Emerick says those over 60, Black and Hispanic patients, and those with a family history are at a higher risk for glaucoma. If you do have that family history you should start getting eye exams in your 40s as opposed to your 60s.

Related article: Eight Signs You Might Need An Eye Exam


Dr. Tonya Ruggieri: Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy or TMS

Millions of Americans struggle with depression, but many of them are finding magnetic pulses are helping to restore their mental equilibrium and happiness. Transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, or TMS, uses an MRI strength magnetic pulse to stimulate the area of the brain thought to cause depression.

Dr. Tonya Ruggieri is a psychiatrist at Hartford HealthCare’s Institute of Living, one of the first medical facilities in the state to offer the therapy. She says TMS is for patients with major depressive orders that are not responding to medication trials. A typical course is six weeks long and up to two-thirds of patients respond very well to treatment and experience relief from their symptoms of depression.

Related article:
Her Life-Saving Relief From Major Depression: TMS’ 3,000 Magnetic Pulses


Type 2 Diabetes

Dr. Eglis Bogdanovics, a Hartford Healthcare Medical Group endocrinologist with the Diabetes Center at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, discusses the different paths taken with managing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as well as some of the alarming risks of not treating diabetes in the latest episode of Hartford HealthCare’s More Life podcast.

What’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?

“I like to use the analogy of a lock and a key,” says Dr. Bogdanovics. “Both types of diabetes are pretty much an inability to use glucose or sugar as fuel, so they don’t have any of the keys for that lock.

”And while we typically see Type 2 diabetes later in life, these days, with our children being more overweight than in the past, we’re starting to see Type 2 diabetes in younger kids.”

Listen to the full episode


Esketamine Treatment

Sometimes medication and therapy cannot help with treatment-resistant depression. It might be time to try a different, more innovative approach.

Esketamine is a nasal spray approved in March 2019, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use with an oral antidepressant for people with “treatment-resistant depression” or MDD that does not respond over time to different medications or treatment.

Read More:


Edoscopic Technology with Dr. Stefan Kachala

Dr. Stefan Kachala is the first person at Hartford HealthCare trained to use the Monarch Platform. The Monarch Platform allows a physician to use a device, similar to a gaming controller, to navigate the flexible, robotic endoscope with an attached camera all the way to the edge of the lung. It combines traditional endoscopic views into the lung with computer-generated navigation based on 3D models of the patient’s lung anatomy and provides continuous bronchoscope vision throughout the entire procedure.

“I have more precision in my movements,” said Dr. Kachala. “We are able to diagnose early lung cancers using a safer and highly precise and accurate method.”

For more information on the The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, click here.

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Elevating Health_IOL Medical Track Program

Young adults often have trouble navigating the transition to adult roles, especially if they are also dealing with significant medical conditions which can be difficult to manage.

The Young Adult Services Medical Track at Hartford HealthCare’s Institute of Living is an intensive outpatient program that helps support patients, with a focus on the intrinsic connection between mental and physical health.

Dr. David Bendor is the program’s clinical coordinator. In this episode of Hartford HealthCare’s More Life podcast, he shares some compelling stories of the challenges faced by younger people with a dual diagnosis of behavioral and physical health conditions.

Listen to the full podcast

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Dr. Stephanie Alessi-LaRosa - Baseball Batters at Risk

With baseball pitchers at all levels hurling balls dangerously fast, more batters are being hit and injured than ever before.

Some coaches and fans might see that as peak performance, but it has led to more serious injuries for batters, catchers fielding scorching hurls and even fans in the stands when a pitch goes wild.

“I have seen patients from various levels of baseball participation who were hit by a pitch. These fast pitches most commonly affect catchers when they hit their mask or the batter tips one that hits the catcher. They often cause concussions based on the significant impact from this biomechanical force to the brain,” said Dr. Stephanie Alessi-LaRosa, associate director of the Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute Sports Neurology Program and program director of its new sports neurology fellowship.

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Dr. Ryan Dorin, Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute: Prostate Cancer-Virtual Visits

Hartford HealthCare’s Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute and Cancer Institute have collaborated to offer virtual visits that bring your urologist, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist together for a single, two-hour session that you can join from the privacy and convenience of home. Learn more

The Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute is part of an extensive preferred provider network offering the highest standard of care at every level of treatment – beginning in the hospital and extending to their continuing care at home. With excellent and comprehensive communication throughout the network, every healthcare provider involved in your care uses the very best practices to care for you post-surgically.

Hartford HealthCare and the Tallwood Urology & Kindney Institute offer a wide array of FREE online classes that you can take at your convenience.


Dr. Alan Solinsky, Hartford Hospital’s Eye Surgery Center

If you don’t have a cataract, chances are you know someone who does. Cataracts — a clouding of the eye’s lens that results in decreased vision — are fairly common, with most people developing them with age. Fortunately, surgery to remove the cataract can usually return vision to normal.

Dr. Alan Solinsky is an ophthalmologist with Hartford Hospital’s Eye Surgery Center. Founded in 1998, the Eye Surgery Center provides surgical care for cataracts, glaucoma, corneal disease and select retinal diseases. The Center performs more than 10,000 procedures a year, the vast majority of them cataracts.


Elevating Health: MMA Dr. Narapareddy

Dr. Bharat Narapareddy is a neuropsychiatrist at the Institute of Living, part of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network. He’s also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Dr. Narapareddy is part of a collaborative research team who recently published a study on brain changes in professional fighters based on weight class. He helps us better understand the effect repeated blows to the head have on brain structure and function over time.

Listen to Dr. Narapareddy on Hartford HealthCare’s More Life podcast

MMA Guidance from a Black Belt Physician


Elevating Health: Robotic Surgery Dr. Wagner

Dr. Joseph Wagner is Chief of Urology and Director of Robotic Surgery at Hartford Hospital. This month marks the 20th anniversary of FDA approval for robotic prostatectomy and Dr. Wagner was one of the first in the nation to perform this groundbreaking procedure. He’ll take us back to what that was like for him and for the patient – and he’ll also describe how this technology has changed over the past two decades.

Learn more about Robotic Surgery at Hartford HealthCare's Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute.

Listen to Dr. Wagner on Hartford HealthCare’s More Life podcast

A Robotic Evolution


Atherosclerosis, better known as clogged arteries, is the thickening of the arteries caused by a buildup of cholesterol or other fatty substances

Dr. Heather Swales is a cardiologist with the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute. She is also Co-Medical Director of Hartford HealthCare’s Women’s Heart Wellness program.

Dr. Swales says the most common symptom is chest discomfort, but there can be more subtle symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, or indigestion.

Atherosclerosis can happen in all arteries. If you have atherosclerosis in one of your arteries, there is a good chance that you have atherosclerosis in other blood vessels throughout your body.

Learn more about the risks, diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerosis.


Increased COVID Risk for Parkinson’s Patients

A study by the Hartford HealthCare Chase Family Movement Disorder Center shows the possible long term effect of COVID-19 on patients with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Toni de Marcaida is the Center’s Medical Director.

The results of the study indicate that patients with movement disorders, with or without dementia, are at increased risk of severe bouts of COVID-19, are more likely to require hospitalization and may have a higher risk of death. In fact, they suggested tailoring screening questions for this group to determine if symptoms of their movement disorder – diminished cognition, confusion and/or lethargy – had worsened.

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Am I eligible to receive the COVID vaccine?

As of April 1, if you’re 16 and older, and live or work in Connecticut, YES! There are no other qualifications. Live here? Work here? Get your shot here!

Hartford HealthCare patients age 16 and older who have not been vaccinated will be notified by text or email when vaccine appointments are available. These patients WILL NOT NEED to schedule using MyChartPLUS, but will be able to click a special link that will take them right to the page showing available appointments.

Learn more at hartfordhealthcare.org/health-wellness/covid-vaccine.


COVID Recovery Center

Hartford HealthCare treated thousands of COVID patients. We know many continue to face lingering side effects, and we will help patients get the care they need to better recover from the illness.

Connecticut was one of the hardest-hit states early in the pandemic. And as the number of recovered COVID-19 patients continues to grow, we see many patients looking for guidance and help as they continue to have symptoms such as fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, confusion, depression and memory issues, among others. These symptoms can be debilitating, often preventing people from returning back to their pre-COVID work and physical activity routines. Hartford HealthCare is here to help you live your healthiest life.

Learn more about Hartford HealthCare’s COVID Recovery Center


Cancer and the COVID Vaccine

Are you eligible for the COVID vaccine?

If you’re 45 and older, and live or work in Connecticut, YES! There are no other qualifications.

If you are eligible for the vaccine - you can schedule and appointment, request a call or browse more resources and information at Hartford HealthCare’s VacciNation page.


Cancer screenings and COVID

Hartford HealthCare screened 25 percent fewer women for breast cancer in 2020, another likely consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts with the National Cancer Institute predict there will be about 10,000 more deaths in the United States from breast and colorectal cancer alone in the next decade, directly stemming from pandemic-related delays in cancer screening and treatment.

“Cancer screenings save lives by diagnosing the disease at its earliest stages when it is more easily and effectively treated,” said Dr. Pallvi Popli, a medical oncologist with the Cancer Institute. “Delay in diagnosis will likely lead to cancer presentations at more advanced stages, from curable to becoming non-curable, which will result in poorer clinical outcomes and decreased life expectancy.”

Learn more


Keith Grant, Senior System Director of Infection Prevention at Hartford HealthCare, talks about some positive trends we are seeing right now in the state of Connecticut, which include lower COVID and flu numbers overall and fewer cases of cluster spreading. He also provides some encouraging data about vaccine efficacy against new COVID variants, and vaccine brand options we should all consider.

Listen to the full Hartford HealthCare podcast episode: Which shot is the best shot?

More resources and links:


"Hartford HealthCare’s Vaccine News & Resources"

The arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut is a historic scientific breakthrough. It promises to help control the pandemic, minimize loss of life and restore a sense of normalcy to our daily lives.


"Hartford HealthCare’s COVID Recovery Center Is Organized Around YOU"

Hartford HealthCare treated thousands of COVID patients. We know many continue to face lingering side effects, and we will help patients get the care they need to better recover from the illness. Hartford HealthCare’s COVID Recovery Center is organized around YOU. If you are experiencing side effects such as lung, heart and behavioral health complications, we can help.

If you or a loved one needs help after recovering from COVID-19, call 860.827.3200 to schedule a virtual or in-person appointment.


"Alternatives to Opioids for Pain"

No pain pills post-surgery? It's possible with a revolutionary pain management program which utilizes nerve blocking to mitigate pain and reduce the need for opioids and other pain medications. In this episode, you'll meet the surgeon, Dr. Girard Girasole, the anesthesiologist, Dr. Theresa Bowling, and the patient, Vince, who recently underwent spine surgery using nerve blocking and got his life back - pain free.

Learn more about Spine Care at Hartford HealthCare or listen to the full podcast episode Blocking Pain: A game-changer for spine surgery patients.


"Better Than Normal Healthcare After COVID-19"

Hartford HealthCare President and CEO Jeff Flaks discusses lessons learned over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. He’ll explain how new safety precautions and other initiatives are taking us beyond a new normal – to a “better than normal” future in healthcare. Listen to the full podcast episode here. This episode was recorded in June, 2020.

Hartford HealthCare has treated thousands of COVID-19 patients, many of whom are still struggling with lingering side effects. If you or a loved one needs help after recovering from COVID-19, Hartford HealthCare’s COVID Recovery Center can help. Call 860.827.3200 to schedule a virtual or in person appointment.