Editorial writers weigh in on these public health issues and others.
The New York Times: The Real Horror Of The Anti-Vaxxers
How many studies do you have to throw at the vaccine hysterics before they quit? How much of a scientific consensus, how many unimpeachable experts and how exquisitely rational an argument must you present? That’s a trick question, of course. There’s no magic number. There’s no number, period. And that’s because the anti-vaccine crowd (or anti-vaxxers) aren’t trafficking in anything as concrete, mundane and quaint as facts. They’re not really engaged in a debate about medicine. They’re immersed in a world of conspiracies, in the dark shadows where no data can be trusted, nothing is what it seems and those who buy the party line are pitiable sheep. (Frank Bruni, 3/9)
The New York Times: Colon Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life
Although I usually refrain from writing columns linked to national health observances, I believe that Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, in March, is too important to ignore. There are simply too many people who are still getting and dying from this preventable disease because they failed to get screened for it, including people with no excuse like ignorance, lack of health insurance or poor access to medical services. (Jane E. Brody, 3/11)
Stat: GoFundMe Should Stop Promoting Unproven Treatments, Research
Medical crowdfunding, a large and rapidly growing practice dominated by the website GoFundMe, can be a lifesaver for people who find themselves unable to access cancer treatments, surgery, or other essential medical services due to gaps in insurance coverage or the failure of public institutions to meet their needs. But it is also helping raise funds for scientifically unproven and potentially dangerous medical treatments that are often packaged as legitimate clinical research and trials. Instead of trying to put a stop to these shady practices, GoFundMe is actually promoting them. (Jeremy Snyder, 3/11)
Boston Globe: $ 50 Could Have Saved Him, But His GoFundMe Pitch Didn’t Get The Clicks
There are about 250,000 such requests for funds on the site in any given year, GoFundMe reports. Since GoFundMe started in 2010, one-third of the roughly $ 5 billion in donations made through the popular fundraising site has been used to cover people’s medical bills and health care related expenses. (Luke O’Neil, 3/7)
The Hill: Nasal Spray For Depression Is Promising, But Precautions Should Be Taken
On Tuesday March 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a nasal spray called esketamine, a molecular variation of ketamine, which can alleviate symptoms of treatment-resistant depression in just a few hours. While ketamine has attracted criticism and controversy over the years, there are numerous reasons to celebrate this development, even if it’s with some caution. (Joan Cook, 3/9)
The New York Times: This Is Not A Cure For My H.I.V.
H.I.V. is not going away anytime soon. I’ve been living with it for more than 20 years and have seen the overhyped stories promising a cure around the corner pop up regularly, particularly around the time of big AIDS conferences. The news last week that a second person seems to have gone into long-term remission from H.I.V. after a stem cell transplant is a real scientific advance. But I fear the sensationalism with which this report was received could do more harm than good. It obscures the actual struggles we face in combating this epidemic. (Gregg Gonsalves, 3/9)
The New York Times: A Diabetes Home Test Can Be A Waste And Time Of Money
More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. The vast majority of them have Type 2 diabetes. Some of those are testing their blood sugar at home, but the best research is telling us that they don’t need to — that in fact it’s a waste of money. It’s not a small problem. The waste is running into the billions of dollars, and it’s costing all of us money through the health care system. (Aaron E. Carroll, 3/11)
Los Angeles Times: Time’s Running Out On Daylight Saving Shift
The biannual shifting of the clocks took place Sunday morning, and you may be a little discombobulated. The transition to daylight saving time each March means losing the extra hour of night we enjoyed when the clocks shifted back four months earlier, and it can take a while for sleep schedules to adjust. If the twice-a-year clock-resetting leaves you grumpy, you’re not alone; there’s a growing global movement to end this pointless and, frankly, weird 20th century tradition that has persisted despite having no real practical benefit. (3/10)
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Lead Poisoning Isn’t Just A Problem For The Young
Medical studies have demonstrated that lead exposure as an adult has a negative impact on a range of health issues involving the heart, kidneys and brain. One such study found a link between elevated blood lead levels in adults and premature death from cardiovascular disease. In fact, researchers found that adults ages 44 and older with high lead levels had a 70 percent greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The study estimates that more than 250,000 adults die prematurely each year from cardiovascular disease as a result of a lifetime of lead exposure. (Emily Muttillo, 3/10)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.