KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Public Health Roundup: Tracing Genetic Defects In Families; Best Preventive Services Are Immunizations, Smoking Cessation

Other developments making headlines today include the search for a plague vaccine, mystery strokes, unnecessary breast cancer treatments and a health alert for chicken strips.

The New York Times: A Family’s Shared Defect Sheds Light On The Human Genome
They said it was their family curse: a rare congenital deformity called syndactyly, in which the thumb and index finger are fused together on one or both hands. Ten members of the extended clan were affected, and with each new birth, they told Stefan Mundlos of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, the first question was always: “How are the baby’s hands? Are they normal?” (Angier, 1/9)

The Star Tribune: Best Preventive Care? Get Vaccines, And Don't Smoke 
Doctors giving regular checkups will get the most bang for their buck if they advise adults to quit smoking, convince teens to never start, and keep children up to date with immunizations, according to an influential report released Monday by the Bloomington-based HealthPartners Institute. The research findings, sponsored in part by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, could influence how doctors across the country conduct thousands of regular patient visits each year. Comparing 28 recommended preventive services, HealthPartners researchers found that tobacco counseling and pediatric immunizations outranked the others in cost-effectiveness and the potential to save lives. (Olson, 1/9)

Kaiser Health News: In Search Of A Vaccine To Vanquish The Plague
The plague is best known for wiping out as much as a third of Europe’s population during the Black Death pandemic of the 14th century, but it’s not entirely a thing of the past. It’s enough of a present-day threat — either as a bioterrorism weapon or because of antibiotic resistance — that scientists are trying to develop a vaccine. (Zuraw, 1/10)

The Washington Post: This Fit Young Woman Was Having Strokes, And Doctors Didn’t Know Why
As Diana Hardeman climbed into a New York City taxi with her boyfriend around midnight on May 31, she suddenly realized she had no idea where to tell the driver to go. The 33-year-old knew she had to get to a hospital — and fast. Hardeman was fairly sure she had just had a stroke, her second in less than three years. But she had never asked the neurologist she had seen after the first stroke where she should head in the event of a recurrence. (Boodman, 1/9)

Columbus Dispatch: FSIS Issues Public Health Alert For Chicken Strips Products 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert due to concerns that ready to eat chicken strips products produced by House of Raeford, a Mocksville, N.C. establishment, may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. A recall was not requested because it is believed that all products have now been consumed. The ready to eat, fully cooked, chicken breast strips items were produced and packaged on September 29, 2016 and served to consumers in December, 2016. (Gowans, 1/9)

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