KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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As Doctors Continue To Work Later In Life, Some Hospitals Are Screening For Age-Related Decline

Some doctors say it's age discrimination while other acknowledge it's a safety issue for patients. In other public health news: fats and carbs, acid reflux, squid ink and the dentist, sex education programs and the children who lived through 9/11.

The Philadelphia Inquirer/ More Doctors Are Practicing Past Age 70. Is That Safe For Patients?
As more doctors choose to work past the traditional retirement age, health systems are navigating a complex set of issues that revolve around what may sometimes be  competing interests: keeping valued “late-career” employees happy and keeping patients safe.  Most older doctors do good work and many choose to do less challenging work as a concession to age,  experts said. But systems are testing how best to screen for the few who are slipping and don’t know it.  This region’s two largest health systems — Penn Medicine and Jefferson Health — are embarking on screening programs. (Burling, 9/8)

The New York Times: New Study Favors Fat Over Carbs
High carbohydrate intake is associated with a higher risk of mortality, and high fat intake with a lower risk, researchers report. An international team of scientists studied diet and mortality in 135,335 people between 35 and 70 years old in 18 countries, following them for an average of more than seven years. Diet information depended on self-reports, and the scientists controlled for factors including age, sex, smoking, physical activity and body mass index. The study is in The Lancet. (Bakalar, 9/8)

The New York Times: Treating Reflux With Diet
A small study has found that a plant-based diet is just as effective as proton pump inhibitors in treating laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR. LPR is a disease in which stomach acid comes up into the throat to the level of the laryngopharynx. It is not the same as gastro-esophageal reflux, or GERD, which involves a backflow of stomach acid into the lower esophagus. (Bakalar, 9/7)

Stat: Could Squid Ink Replace Painful Dental Probes For Gum Disease?
It’s one of the worst parts of a dental checkup — painful probing with sharp instruments to look for signs of gum disease. The time-consuming and sometimes bloody process keeps patients fearful, hygienists frustrated, and dentists worried they might be missing important symptoms. Now a nanoengineer in San Diego says he’s got a possible solution. It involves imaging gums after patients swish around a mouthful of squid ink. (McFarling, 9/7)

Reveal: Teens, Say No To Sex, Trump Officials Say. But That Advice Doesn’t Work
Over the last decade alone, teen births have dropped by more than half. But now, health experts worry that the Trump administration will reverse these improvements by promoting abstinence-only programs, cutting off funding for research to prevent teen pregnancy and appointing officials who oppose federal support for birth control. (Kay, 9/7)

Fox News: Kids Who Lived Through 9/11 Face Future Health Risks, Research Finds
It’s been almost 16 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the damage is still being done. Children who lived in lower Manhattan and were exposed to the toxic cloud of debris from the terrorist attacks are already showing increased risk of future heart disease, according to a new analysis published in the journal Environment International. (9/7)

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