KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Medical Attention On Infant At Childbirth Can Sometimes Be At Expense Of Mother’s Health

The U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and ProPublica and NPR report that 60 percent are preventable. In other public health news: the "gravity blanket" health claim retracted; bird flu surges; Brazil declares end to Zika emergency; self-checking for skin cancer; and more.

Stat: The 'Gravity Blanket' Raised $3 Million With A Claim To Treat Anxiety — Which Has Now Been Deleted
A “Gravity blanket” on Kickstarter that claimed to use cozy pressure to treat anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions has been taking the internet by storm, raising more than $3 million. But on Thursday, the company quietly deleted the boldest medical claims on its crowdfunding site — language which violated Kickstarter policy and went against FDA recommendations — after STAT inquired about about its promotional statements. (Thielking, 5/12)

The Washington Post: With Bird Flu Surging, U.S. Needs To Do More To Prevent Possible Pandemic, GAO Says
If the United States were suddenly facing a potential avian influenza pandemic, just one U.S. manufacturer could be counted on to make human pandemic flu vaccine here. And although the chickens that lay the eggs used in the process are themselves susceptible to the virus, until an emergency arises only voluntary and often inadequate measures by poultry producers are in place to protect flocks, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. (Sun, 5/11)

The Washington Post: Brazil Declares End To Zika Emergency After Fall In Cases
Brazil declared an end to its public health emergency over the Zika virus on Thursday, 18 months after a surge in cases drew headlines around the world. The mosquito-borne virus wasn’t considered a major health threat until the 2015 outbreak revealed that Zika can lead to severe birth defects. One of those defects, microcephaly, causes babies to be born with skulls much smaller than expected. (Dilorenzo, 5/11)

Tampa Bay Times: The Essentials Of Skin Cancer Prevention: Self-Checks, Sunscreen And Covering Up 
A 2016 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that women are nine times more likely than men to notice a melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma likes to hide in difficult-to-see places like the scalp, between your toes, on the soles of your feet, in the middle of your back — areas that may not get a lot of sun or areas that you might miss, but which a partner might see when you change your shirt, put your feet up or wash your hair. (Maher, 5/11)

Kansas City Star: St. Luke's Heart Study Shows Radiation Reduction 
Cardiologists at St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute say they have cut patients’ radiation exposure from a common heart scan by 60 percent by upgrading technology and changing protocols. Randall Thompson, a cardiologist at the institute, presented the findings of an almost eight-year study Sunday at the International Conference on Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT in Vienna, Austria. (Marso, 5/11)

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