KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Longer Looks: Health Care For The Homeless; Research’s Gender Gap; Fighting Zika

Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.

STAT: Dying On The Streets: As The Homeless Age, A Health Care System Leaves Them Behind
The homeless often look much older than their years. Their living conditions, addictions, and psychiatric disorders speed them to poor health, frequently with multiple life-threatening illnesses at once. Their distrust of authority, medical and otherwise, means even well-meaning outreach efforts can fail to spare them from a merciless death. (Bob Tedeschi, 2/17)

Pacific Standard: Closing The Gender Gap In Medical Research
In 2004, Dr. Shari Munch published a paper on gender-biased diagnosing, or what she refers to as "a tendency for physicians and other health-care professionals to mislabel women's somatic complaints as non-serious and/or psychosomatic." Munch became interested in this dispiriting trend while working as a hospital social worker. During this time, she noticed that when women came into the hospital displaying symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG)—severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy—doctors often implied that what they were experiencing might be stress-related. (Stephanie Auteri, 2/11)

The Economist: A Vote For What?
How radical is Bernie Sanders? The self-declared socialist likes to remind voters that many of his policies—say, on health care, or on paid family leave—simply copy most of the rest of the rich world. Compared with left-wingers there—Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, for instance—Mr. Sanders is no socialist. (2/13)

Vox: There's A Lot Of Hype Around Using GMO Mosquitoes To Stop Zika. Here's The Reality.
It sounds utterly bizarre at first. But the idea of using genetically modified mosquitoes as weapons to kill off wild mosquitoes is rapidly gaining traction. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said that GM mosquitoes could prove necessary to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito that is spreading the Zika virus all around the Western Hemisphere. The WHO had earlier declared a public health emergency over the possibility that Zika was causing microcephaly, a birth defect associated with infants being born with shrunken heads. (Brad Plummer, 2/16)

The Atlantic: Anti-Vaxxers Aren't Stupid
Among scientists and in the media, anti-vaxxers have earned a certain reputation. “They just don’t know something, or they’re anti-science, or there’s just something pathological about them,” as Mark Largent, a professor at Michigan State University and the author of Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America, characterized it. There is near-consensus among researchers that widespread immunization is crucial for children and American public health. Yet, according to Largent, 40 percent of American parents have either refused or delayed a recommended vaccine for one of their kids. (Emma Green, 2/16)

Quartz: Period Pain Can Be “As Bad As A Heart Attack.” So Why Aren’t We Researching How To Treat It?
It’s time to talk about period pain. Every month, every woman you know who’s pre-menopause and post-puberty bleeds from their vagina. Periods are one of the most basic facts of life. Any squeamishness around the subject is both ridiculous and harmful, because too many women are suffering in silence, grimacing through the agony they experience with their periods. (Olivia Goldhill, 2/15)

The Economist: A Time To Heal
Zika, a mosquito-borne virus, is the kind of epidemic that Latin America hoped it had put behind it. Yet in the past nine months Zika has spread to 23 countries in the Americas, infecting some 3m-4m people. The disease, which probably causes babies of infected mothers to be born with small brains, will put primary health providers and hospitals in the region under strain. Yet thanks to a complex but hugely positive transition towards universal health care, they are increasingly capable of coping with it. (2/13)

PBS NewsHour: Will Shoppers On Food Stamps Pick Up Fresher Foods?
The U.S. government wants to steer the 46 million Americans who receive food stamps toward healthier food choices. The USDA plans to require retailers that accept those benefits to stock more fresh foods. But would healthier options change behavior? Gwen Ifill talks to Yael Lehmann, executive director of the Food Trust. (2/16)

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