African-Americans have long complained of being ignored by doctors and having their concerns downplayed, with several studies over the years even showing that white doctors sometimes think black patients are less likely to feel pain. The controversy over Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who was graduating from medical school at the time the blackface photo was published, has, for some, reaffirmed that mistrust. In other public health news: Alzheimer’s, wildfires, e-cigarettes, HIV-tainted blood and more.
The Associated Press: Blackface Photo Reopens Long History Of Bigotry In Medicine
The racist photo on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page wasn’t the only thing that disgusted Monifa Bandele. She was especially appalled that the image was published as he was graduating from medical school on his way to becoming a pediatrician. The 1984 photo has stirred a national political furor and reopened the long history of bigotry in American medicine. The revelations about Northam gave many African-Americans a new reason to be distrustful of doctors. (Hajela, 2/6)
Stat: In A Field Full Of Failures, A New Blood Test To Predict Alzheimer’s Aims To Give Drug Makers A Needed Tool
It would seem difficult to put up worse numbers than experimental Alzheimer’s drugs, 99 percent of which have failed in clinical trials since 2002. But another corner of Alzheimer’s research has managed it: blood tests to either diagnose the disease in asymptomatic patients or predict which healthy people will develop it years in the future. Although you wouldn’t know it from frequent headlines proclaiming, “Blood test can predict Alzheimer’s,” the percentage of tests that looked promising in a (usually small) study but eventually fell flat is … 100 percent. (Begley, 2/6)
The Washington Post: Wildfires, Hurricanes And Other Extreme Weather Cost The Nation 247 Lives, Nearly $100 Billion In Damage During 2018
The number of billion-dollar weather disasters in the United States has more than doubled in recent years, as devastating hurricanes and ferocious wildfires that experts suspect are fueled in part by climate change have ravaged swaths of the country, according to data released by the federal government Wednesday. Since 1980, the United States has experienced 241 weather and climate disasters where the overall damage reached or exceeded $1 billion, when adjusted for inflation, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Dennis and Mooney, 2/6)
The Wall Street Journal: Do E-Cigarettes Do More Good Than Harm?
The rise of e-cigarettes is often seen through two completely different lenses. On one side: Their surging use among teenagers has caused widespread alarm because of health concerns about e-cigarettes themselves and worries that they encourage youngsters to eventually smoke tobacco. (2/6)
Stat: In Flickering Brain Signals, Scientists May Detect Consciousness
As a child, Enzo Tagliazucchi was terrified of going to sleep. His self seemed so fragile, so easy to lose. He worried that if he let himself drift off, he might wake up as someone else. So he tried to stay alert, to keep moving, tapping his fingers as he lay in bed, taking nocturnal trips through his family’s house in Buenos Aires. But it never worked. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop his eyes from eventually fluttering closed. In the morning, when they opened again, he wondered where he’d been. (Boodman, 2/6)
The New York Times: China Investigates Reports Of H.I.V.-Tainted Blood Plasma Treatment
Officials in Shanghai are investigating reports that a Chinese pharmaceutical company may have sold more than 12,000 units of a blood plasma product contaminated with H.I.V., potentially the latest in a series of scandals that have threatened to undermine public trust in China’s medical institutions and health care system. In a statement on its website, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday night that authorities had ordered the company, Shanghai Xinxing Medicine Company, to begin an emergency recall of the potentially tainted batch of intravenous immunoglobulin, a treatment made from pooled blood plasma that is often used to treat immune disorders, and halt its production. (Qin, 2/6)
CNN: How Messiness, Self-Criticism And Screens Cause You To Eat Poorly
Although food is a necessity for all humans, how we eat typically varies significantly from person to person. And while our food preferences and dislikes help determine what we actually put into our mouths — which ultimately influences our health — more and more research points to lifestyle factors that can greatly affect both the quality and quantity of our diets. Below are five lifestyle factors that can influence our eating habits, along with tricks on how to use them to improve your health. (Drayer, 2/6)
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