Perspectives: Genome Sequencing Crucial In Sick Infant Care; Are Youth Sports Hurting Kids?
Editorial writers weigh in on these public health issues.
San Diego Union-Tribune:
Genome Sequencing Can Lead To Life-Changing Care For Infants. California Should Make It More Available
Innovative medical technology is constantly being developed, and with it comes the possibility for incredible breakthroughs in modern medicine. California has never seen scientific advancements within closer reach than they are today. For critically ill infants hospitalized with unexplained rare diseases, the opportunity to benefit from a medical miracle has arrived. (Brian Maienschein, Patrick Frias, Stephen Kingsmore, 4/9)
Los Angeles Times:
Are Youth Sports Harming Our Kids' Mental Health?
In the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I swore I’d never again complain about driving carpool for my kids’ rock-climbing team through Seattle traffic. Medical science has long touted the physical and mental health benefits of children’s sports. Add in social interaction, and youth sports feels like an all-in-one pandemic fix. But as youth teams and leagues return, it’s worth examining what our children are actually signed up for. Youth sports are no longer the neighborhood pickup games of American lore. In recent years children as young as 6 and 7 are increasingly enrolling in high-level sports programs with professional coaches and year-round competition schedules. (Audrey Young, 4/10)
Online Clinics Are Path To Abortion Care Amid Hostile Laws And Rulings
Near total bans on abortion became law recently in Arkansas and South Carolina, suggesting a dire future for abortion rights if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade — a possibility that seems more likely than ever before. But the road ahead will not be shaped by anti-abortion legislators or Supreme Court justices alone. A different path to abortion access has emerged. Over the past year, new virtual clinics have begun delivering medication abortion entirely remotely. Last July, a federal court suspended a Food and Drug Administration rule that requires patients to obtain the first drug in a medication abortion at a health care facility during the pandemic. That drug, mifepristone, is the only one of 20,000 FDA-regulated medications that requires in-person dispensation but can be taken at home. (Rachel Rebouche and Ushma Upadhyay, 4/12)
The New York Times:
A Once-In-A-Century Crisis Can Help Educate Doctors
Over the past year, ordinary medical research nearly ground to a halt as researchers focused on coronavirus vaccine trials and treatments. Single-mindedness paid off. Drugmakers developed lifesaving vaccines in record time, and now a third of Americans are at least partially vaccinated. But ultimately, the pandemic is a once-in-a-century crisis that may force health professionals and medical schools to look beyond the traditional tools of modern medicine and think more broadly about how we train doctors to grapple with public health catastrophes. (Molly Worthen, 4/10)
Boston’s Hospitals Should Put Patient Trust First
In July, Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, then president of Brigham and Women’s hospital, stepped down from an outside, well-paid position on Moderna’s board of directors. Her hospital was helping lead a large study of the Cambridge biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine and a Globe reporter had inquired about a potential conflict of interest. There was no evidence of wrongdoing by Nabel. But at a moment when trust in medicine had never seemed so important — when the health and economic well-being of the region rested on faith in the coming vaccine — it was clear that Brigham and Women’s had to act. (4/11)
Three Steps Toward Creating A Functioning U.S. Biosimilars Market
The development of safe, effective, and innovative biologic medicines is one of modern medicine’s far-reaching achievements. From cancer and colitis to rheumatoid arthritis, biologics have transformed many severe diseases into treatable conditions for millions of people. Unlike so-called small-molecule drugs, like aspirin or a cholesterol-lowering statin, which are normally developed by synthesizing chemicals with well-defined structures, biologics are derived from complex living organisms. Current biologics are administered either by infusion under a doctor’s supervision or by injection, which can be done in a doctor’s office or at home. (Pierre Bourdage, 4/12)
The Washington Post:
The Deadly Covid-19 Pandemic Is Obscuring Another — Obesity
As America emerges from the covid-19 pandemic, we need to focus urgent attention on another disease that kills hundreds of thousands every year: obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42 percent of Americans have obesity. Nearly 1 in 10 have severe obesity, up from 1 in 20 two decades ago. Obesity is a risk factor for other chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and several cancers. By itself, it’s the second-leading cause of preventable death, after tobacco, responsible for an estimated 300,000 deaths per year. (Leana S. Wen, 4/11)