The New York Times explains why the numbers of soldiers with brain injuries kept rising after Iran’s missile attack and how CT scans and blood tests often come up short. Public health news is on pelvic exams, dementia, transplants, end-of-life care, genetic research, child abuse, pollution, foot health, assisted living care, test results, shingles, tattoos, alcoholic liver disease, and safe sex, as well.
The New York Times: Brain Injuries Are Common In Battle. The Military Has No Reliable Test For Them.
U.S. troops at Ayn al Asad Air Base in western Iraq hunkered down in concrete bunkers last month as Iranian missile strikes rocked the runway, destroying guard towers, hangars and buildings used to fly drones. When the dust settled, President Trump and military officials declared that no one had been killed or wounded during the attack. That would soon change. A week after the blast, Defense Department officials acknowledged that 11 service members had tested positive for traumatic brain injury, or TBI, and had been evacuated to Kuwait and Germany for more screening. (Philipps and Gibbons-Neff, 2/15)
The New York Times: She Didn’t Want A Pelvic Exam. She Received One Anyway.
Janine, a nurse in Arizona, checked into the hospital for stomach surgery in 2017. Before the procedure, she told her physician that she did not want medical students to be directly involved. But after the operation, Janine said, as the anesthesia wore off, a resident came by to inform her that she had gotten her period; the resident had noticed while conducting a pelvic exam. “What pelvic exam?” Janine, 33, asked. Distressed, she tried to piece together what had happened while she was unconscious. Why had her sexual organs been inspected during an abdominal operation, by a medical student? Later, she said, her physician explained that the operating team had seen she was due for a Pap smear. (Goldberg, 2/17)
The Wall Street Journal: New Help For Dementia Patients, Delivered Via Games And Puzzles
Bertha Golding and Jackie Lauritzen huddled over an adult coloring book. Ms. Golding, 74, picked up a green pencil. Ms. Lauritzen, 68, chose a blue one. As the gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” played in the background, the two women colored and chatted. “Who’s your favorite country star?” asked Ms. Lauritzen. “Johnny Cash,” Ms. Golding replied.During pauses in the conversation, they sang quietly together to the music: “I’ll fly away, oh glory. I’ll fly away.” (Petersen, 2/17)
Stat: Can New Trial Data Pull The Microbiome Industry Out Of The Shadows?
The microbiome industry is on the cusp of a turning point. Seres Therapeutics, one of the biggest companies in the field, is set to unveil results from a pivotal clinical trial for its potential fecal matter transplant drug this summer. Two other major players, Rebiotix and Finch Therapeutics, could announce trial results for similar therapies around the same time. (Sheridan, 2/18)
The Washington Post: How Visions, Dreams And End-Of-Life Experiences Help People Prepare For Death
Mary was dying. As her children gathered at her bedside, she began to cradle a nonexistent baby. She cooed and cuddled it in her arms, showing a happiness that was at odds with her physical suffering. Her children turned to the doctor, concerned that their mother was hallucinating. But he encouraged them to let her act out a scene that only made sense to her. Later, they learned that Mary had delivered a stillborn baby years before she had her other children. What had seemed like a bizarre hallucination actually seemed to help address a trauma she had held inside for years. She died peacefully soon after. (Blakemore, 2/15)
The Washington Post: Dying At Home Takes Some Planning.
Roger Kellison had Parkinson’s disease that was quickly progressing. He was a private man who eventually moved into his daughter’s house when he was unable to take care of himself. “He had not come to our house to live,” Daniel Wallace, his son-in-law, told me. “He had come to our house to die. The last thing he wanted to do was die at a hospital.” (Warraich, 2/16)
The Washington Post: Genetic Researchers Work To Overcome Suspicion Among Indigenous Groups
In 2003, the Havasupai Indians of Arizona issued a banishment order against Arizona State University, forbidding researchers from setting foot on their reservation in response to prior unauthorized DNA research done on tribal members’ blood samples. In 2002, the Navajo Nation banned DNA studies out of fear of how their samples might be used by scientists. But many genome scientists believe that health care can be improved with the use of genetic information and are concerned that if indigenous communities do not participate, they will be left behind. (Bhanoo, 2/15)
NBC News and KING 5: A Doctor Said She Had Extensive Training In Diagnosing Child Abuse. Her Resume Shows Otherwise.
“Ellie Carter is a victim of medical child abuse,” Dr. Elizabeth Woods wrote in May 2018, indicating that Megan Carter had abused her 5-year-old daughter by pushing for excessive and harmful medical treatments. “This is life threatening, and she is at imminent risk if her mother is involved in her care.” Based on that warning, Child Protective Services took custody of Ellie and her 8-year-old brother, and authorities in Pierce County, south of Seattle, opened a criminal investigation, though charges were never filed… The 38-year-old pediatrician at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma is regarded as one of the state’s pre-eminent experts in identifying subtle signs of child abuse. Nonetheless, a review of court records and interviews by NBC News and KING 5 (KING-TV) found that she lacks key medical training for assessing potential abuse cases. (Hixenbaugh and Mirfendereski, 2/14)
The Washington Post: Power Companies Don’t Want The Trump Administration To Reverse The Mercury Rule
For more than three years, the Trump administration has prided itself on working with industry to unshackle companies from burdensome environmental regulations. But as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to finalize the latest in a long line of rollbacks, the nation’s power sector has sent a different message: Thanks, but no thanks. (Eilperin and Dennis, 2/17)
The Washington Post: How To Keep Feet Strong And Injury-Free, Which Is Important To Your Whole Body.
Take a look around any gym and you’ll see people working to strengthen their biceps, hamstrings, shoulders, abs — pretty much anything but their feet. That, experts say, is a big mistake. “Feet are the foundation of our strength. And like with any body part, when you don’t use it, you lose it,” says Jay Dicharry, author of several books about running biomechanics and director of the REP Lab in Bend, Ore. Years of neglect can prevent the 28 bones, 30 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments in feet from doing their job, which is essentially to provide support, balance and mobility. (Loudin, 2/16)
The New York Times: Some Assisted-Living Residents Don’t Get Promised Care, Suit Charges
The letter went out to about 1,900 Californians a few weeks ago from law firms bringing a class-action suit against one of the country’s largest assisted-living chains. If the recipients, or their family members, had lived in a community operated by Sunrise Senior Living in recent years, “we would like to speak with you regarding your residency and experience,” the letter said. (Span, 2/14)
Reuters: Patients Often Puzzled By Medical Test Reports
Even the most educated, take-charge individuals may have a hard time deciphering the test results they can access after a doctor visit, two new studies suggest. “The benefits of improving patient access to their own medical information are fairly clear: patient empowerment and engagement in their own health care, and an improved trust and sense of partnership with their healthcare provider,” Dr. Daniel Miller, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, told Reuters Health by email. (2/14)
CNN: Singles Awareness Day: The Benefits Of Being Single
An increasing number of people around the world are opting to go solo. The number of American men and women who have never been married, are divorced or living alone has been on an upward trend for several years, according to the US Census Bureau. Despite the fact marriages or relationships are less common these days, being single continues to have stigma and feelings of loneliness attached, no more so than on Valentine’s Day. Feeling of loneliness among singles not yet having found “the one” still abound. However, recent research shows that some people view singlehood as a happy destination rather than a stop on the journey to marriage. (Rogers, 2/15)
Kaiser Health News: Ink Rx? Welcome To The Camouflaged World Of Paramedical Tattoos
The first fingernail tattoo started off as a joke by a man who lost the tips of two fingers in a construction accident in 2018. But that shifted after Eric Catalano, an auto finance manager turned tattoo artist, finished with his needle.“The mood changed in here,” Catalano recalled as he stood in his Eternal Ink Tattoo Studio. “Everything turned from funny to wow.” (Anthony, 2/18)
Indianapolis Star: Alcoholic Liver Disease Rates Soar Among Younger People
Doctors are seeing more patients like Martin, people in their 20s and 30s with symptoms of acute liver disease related to alcohol consumption. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism published a study in January that found that from 1999 to 2017 the number of alcohol-related deaths per year doubled, rising from 35,914 to 72,558. Just under a third of those resulted from liver disease. (Rudavsky, 2/18)
Indianapolis Star: Center For Biological Diversity Giving Condoms With Endangered Animals
Nothing quite says “Will you be my valentine?” like condoms with pictures of endangered species on them. But the Center for Biological Diversity says they should be right up there among the flowers and chocolates. The national, nonprofit conservation group will give away more than 40,000 free endangered species condoms on Valentine’s Day in the top 10 most sexually satisfied cities — including Indianapolis. (Bowman, 2/14)
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