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Health
A Nobel Prize-Winning Cancer Therapy Will Be Unaffordable for Most Americans. Public Pharmaceuticals Can Help Change That.
Dana Brown: Last week, researchers James Allison and Tasuku Honjo were awarded this year's Nobel Prize in medicine for their work on cancer immunotherapies, heralded by the Nobel committee as "seminal discoveries" that "constitute a landmark in our fight against cancer." ... Immunotherapies like those developed on the basis of Allison and Honjo's work are indeed an important step towards a whole new way to treat cancer, as well as a host of other chronic diseases. However, this Nobel award should remind us that these innovative therapies are out of reach for so many patients in the United States due to the exorbitant prices drug companies charge for them. ... Immunotherapies constitute a part of the class of drugs called biologics (as opposed to chemical pharmaceuticals) that have shown very promising results in treating many previously intractable conditions... Visit Website ]
Oct 10, 2018, 3:24pm

Health
There's No "Food Revolution" in the US's Prisons
Bill Berkowitz: The foodie revolution may be televised, but it hasn't touched the chow consumed by the incarcerated in prisons and jails across the country. America's incarcerated are subject to overcooked, foul-tasting, soggy, nitrite-heavy, nutrient-lacking, spoiled, unhealthy food. The only pop-ups in prison food is wondering what in the heck might pop out of a typical unpalatable dinner tray. ... "The U.S. prison and jail population is now the highest per capita in the world with 2.2 million inmates, which means institutions across the country are trying to cut costs wherever they can: It often ends up being the kitchen that suffers the deepest cuts ... "Some institutions have simply slashed three meals a day to two; others are relying on sugary canned fruits and 'vitamin drinks' to fulfill health requirements, margarine to help boost calorie counts, and foods such as bread, beans and hot dogs to complete a tray."... Visit Website ]
Sep 27, 2018, 2:36pm

Health
Alcohol: Why do we drink?
Graham Peebles: There are, of course, varying levels of alcohol consumption and many types of drinker, but why do people drink at all and why do governments allow alcohol to be commercially sold and energetically promoted? ... Like many problems of contemporary life the reasons are complex, interconnected and woven into the worldwide mode of living, the values it promotes and the conditioned social behavior produced. Individual success, competition and conformity to a certain lifestyle are some of the prominent ideological characteristics of the time; all are divisive in varying degrees and contribute to an atmosphere of anxiety. ... Like all types of consumerism, at the heart of alcohol use sits desire, the desire to escape unhappiness and to be happy, and the desire for comfort, for freedom from distress. ... “Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”... Visit Website ]
Sep 8, 2018, 3:30pm

Health
Chemically Induced Frankenstein-Humans
Robert Hunziker: One of the biggest open questions of the 21st century is whether 144,000 different chemicals swirling throughout the world are properly tested and analyzed for toxicity. By almost all accounts, the scale of toxic risk is unknown ... Correspondingly and very likely, not yet 100% proven but probably 99%, as a result of ubiquitous chemical presence, one hundred fifty million (150,000,000) Americans have chronic disease ... Why? ... Chemicals found far and wide throughout America alter human hormones as well as human DNA, which passes along generation-to-generation known as transgenerational inheritance. ... Researchers believe that every adult disease extant is linked to epigenetic origins. ... Visit Website ]
Sep 5, 2018, 12:49pm

Health
Inside the Secret Network Providing Home Abortions Across the US
Lizzie Presser, Guardian UK: Women are working outside the law and the medical establishment to meet the demand for safe, cheap terminations ... On a winter morning, Anna* walked the aisles of an herbal medicine store, picked up a bottle each of blue cohosh and black cohosh, along with a plastic bag of pennyroyal tea, and drove to the topless bar on the edge of town where she worked. There, she met Jules, another dancer. They performed on a small stage with crystal curtains, the green light of an ATM flashing on their left, until 9pm. The women, both in their 20s, then drove to the Motel 6 where Jules lived and entered her dim room on the second floor, which smelled of grape cigars. Anna pulled out the tinctures and tea and explained the plan. She was going to help Jules try to have an abortion.... Visit Website ]
Aug 27, 2018, 2:16pm

Health
The Surprising Links Between Your Mental Health and Everyone Else’s
Travis Lupick: Nearly 50 percent of people in the U.S. will experience a mental health disorder at some point in life. Every single person, every day, passes through the continuum that is mental health, from building resilience to dealing with challenges such as anxiety and depression to recovering from trauma to living with severe disorders that need constant medical care. ... “There are three different kinds of causes of depression, and we’ve been focusing way too much on the biological ones and not anywhere near enough on the social and psychological ones” ... This broader understanding of mental health—as a continuum, and one that is deeply and continually affected by environment, circumstance, and experience—is further revealed in the many statistics repeated after the suicides in June of celebrities Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade... Visit Website ]
Aug 21, 2018, 4:59pm

Health
“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare
Bruce E. Levine: “Don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Nazi Party” is an intentionally obnoxious line from the hilarious “Springtime for Hitler” in Mel Brook’s The Producers. Not hilarious is the reality that doctors in Nazi Germany were “smarties” in Brook’s sardonic sense, as they joined the Nazi SS in a far higher proportion than the German general population. ... Also not funny is that U.S. doctors and healthcare professionals—from their “aiding torture” (description used in the CIA Inspector General’s Report) at Guantánamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere to the more recent drugging of detained child migrants—have served U.S. authoritarian policies... Visit Website ]
Aug 16, 2018, 2:50pm

Health
Sorry, Bernie Is Right
Matt Bruenig: Mainstream fact-checkers are still trying to discredit Bernie Sanders's Medicare-for-All plan. But there's no way around it: single-payer is entirely realistic. ... Two weeks ago, the libertarian Mercatus Center released a report estimating the cost of Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-All proposal. Like most think tank products, the author and communications team behind the Koch-funded Mercatus report carefully cultivated a certain kind of media coverage in pursuit of their political agenda. ... The first sentence contains the claim that many journalists put as their headline and lede: Medicare for All will “increase federal budget commitments by approximately $32.6 trillion” between 2022 and 2031. The rest of the abstract, and indeed the rest of the text of the paper, omits the more important fact that their estimate states that overall health expenditures would fall by $2 trillion over that period.... Visit Website ]
Aug 13, 2018, 12:08pm

Health
Research Shows Entire Black Communities Suffer Trauma After Police Shootings
Tasha Williams: Police killings of unarmed African Americans have created a mental health crisis of enormous proportions. ... Research included data from the Mapping Police Violence Project database for police killings between 2013 and 2016 and information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System of over 103,000 Black Americans. The results indicate that police killings of unarmed Black Americans are having a population-level impact on the mental health of Black Americans. ... That means the mental health burden for African Americans caused by police killings of unarmed Black victims is nearly as great as the mental health burden associated with diabetes... Visit Website ]
Aug 3, 2018, 3:44pm

Health
What Will Happen If Abortion Legislation Is Turned Back to the States?
Kirsty Vitarelli: A hostile Supreme Court ruling will make an unwanted pregnancy “so much worse for more and more people,” said Megan Malloy, senior policy manager for the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization involved with advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights. “The impact will be felt hardest by people who are already disadvantaged in their access to healthcare and reproductive health — those on low incomes, people of color, and the young.” ... “We need to be focusing on giving people all the information they need to self-manage their abortion for whatever reason, be that for increased privacy, or due to a more restrictive legal situation." ... The ACLU maintains that a woman’s right to choose is a civil liberty, and more than half of America agrees, with the Pew Foundation pinning support at 57 percent... Visit Website ]
Aug 2, 2018, 3:12pm

Health
Private Insurance Companies Don’t Care About the Elderly
Joel Dodge: Long-term care is a vital part of any health system. And the only way to fund it is through Medicare for All. Our current system for paying for long-term care is deeply inadequate. While Medicare funds most other healthcare costs for seniors, it does not cover long-term care (except for short stints following hospitalization)... There are four good reasons why single-payer is the clear solution for our long-term care system. ... 1. The private market for long-term care insurance is dysfunctional. ... 2. It’s extremely difficult for people to plan ahead for their long-term care needs. ... 3. Most other developed countries guarantee universal coverage for long-term care. ... 4. Attempts at incremental reform in the US have failed. ... Visit Website ]
Aug 1, 2018, 4:20pm

Health
Standing Rock Medic Bus Is Now a Traveling Decolonized Pharmacy
Mary Annette Pember: This bus was indeed an old friend. It has a lot of history helping indigenous people; it served as a kitchen and then a treatment center for the Medic + Healer Council at the Standing Rock water protector camps. Now it’s been transformed into a bus for the Canoe Journey Herbalists, who are currently accompanying the approximately two-week-long annual Native American traditional canoe gathering along the Pacific coast of Washington and Canada. The journey is expected to culminate in a final stop in Puyallup, Washington, on July 28. Over 100 canoes from more than 70 tribes registered to participate this year. ... “This is about decolonizing herbalism” ... The herbalists are indigenous-centered and -led and intend to teach people how to harvest plants sustainably as well as the importance of sharing both the plants themselves and the knowledge of their use... Visit Website ]
Jul 29, 2018, 3:26pm

Health
How Trump Is Helping the Baby Formula Industry Mislead Moms About Breastfeeding
Julia Belluz: Public health institutions, including WHO and governments around the world, have been working to encourage and support moms in breastfeeding, and also counter marketing claims by food companies suggesting formulas are an equivalent substitute. ... But the US has often been a roadblock to improving global breastfeeding standards ... The Trump administration is carrying forward America’s damaging history of putting industry ahead of public health when it comes to moms’ and babies’ health ... “We are seeing trade interests rather than public health interests dominating now” ... if the Codex committee sides with the US, the industry could avoid the tougher regulation and standards infant formula has been subject to — standards that have averted thousands of deaths around the world... Visit Website ]
Jul 11, 2018, 3:44pm

Health
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Martha Rosenberg: Antibiotics, once considered benign drugs, are raising new and disturbing questions. Excessive medical and agricultural use of antibiotics is now clearly linked to antibiotic-resistant microbes or superbugs. Worse, antibiotics are now known to have negative effects on the microbiome, sometimes called the body’s second brain, contributing to obesity, diabetes and problems with mood. ... One of the most problematic antibiotic classes are fluoroquinolones which have also been best sellers. ... But by 2008, Cipro and its drug class were under a cloud thanks to an FDA announcement that cautioned fluoroquinolones posed an increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture... Visit Website ]
Jun 24, 2018, 10:53am

Health
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Don Fitz: As discontent increases with overly expensive and totally inadequate US health care, it is time to look closely at the beginnings of the modern Cuban medical system. Like the US, Cuba had unintegrated, overlapping medical institutions that failed the poor, especially black, population of the island. Though several European countries have developed health care systems about 40% cheaper than the US, Cuba was able to craft health care which became more than 80% less costly than the US with a roughly equivalent life expectancy. ... During the second half of the decade (1964-1969) Cuba began redesigning medicine as a holistic system. It’s created a model for poor countries that forever changed medicine. Cuba did so largely by putting the polyclinic at the center of care delivery... Visit Website ]
Jun 22, 2018, 11:32am


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