Advocates, Health Experts Are Stepping Up Efforts To Give Teens More Control Over Medical Confidentiality
Facing such sensitive issues as suicide, smoking, STDs and depression, teens need alone time to talk with their doctor about any concerns they have, advocates say. Although there are guidelines in place for such one-on-one consultations, they often are unevenly practiced. In other public health news: depression medication, heart health, environmental contamination, HIV, and more.
The Wall Street Journal:
For Teens, A Push For Confidential Medical Advice
When Hannah Regan was about 14 years old, her family doctor in Kentucky started a new routine. During checkups, the doctor would ask Hannah’s mother to briefly step out of the exam room. Then, in private, Hannah would discuss a questionnaire she filled out about smoking, drinking, mental health and other sensitive issues. There were awkward moments, she says, but she appreciated the time alone with her doctor. “I think it was beneficial to allow the doctor-patient relationship to be something the teen can trust in,” says Ms. Regan, now 23. (Abbott, 3/6)
Clinicians Embracing Esketamine With 'Enthusiastic Caution'
Patients with major depression who haven’t responded to other treatments will soon have a new option: esketamine, a rapid-acting therapy derived from the long-used anesthetic ketamine. But the drug’s approval on Tuesday sparked a string of new questions, from how much patients will have to shell out for the drug to how clinicians will be able to accommodate patients who need to be monitored for two hours after every dose. (Thielking, 3/6)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Esketamine Is The Newest Drug Approved For Depression. Here Are 7 Things To Know About It.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug to treat depression in those who haven’t responded to previous medications -- the first novel treatment in decades. Esketamine, also known by the brand name Spravato, is a nasal spray developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. (Pattani, 3/6)
The New York Times:
A Heart-Healthy Diet May Be Good For The Brain
Eating a heart-healthy diet beginning in your 20s may provide brain benefits in middle age, new research suggests. The study, in Neurology, ranked 2,621 people on their degree of adherence to three different diets considered to be good for the heart. All emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains and minimize saturated fat consumption: the Mediterranean diet, which involves mainly plant-based foods and moderate alcohol intake; a research-based diet plan that rates food groups as favorable or not; and the DASH diet, which stresses low-sodium foods. (Bakalar, 3/6)
The Associated Press:
Lawmakers: High Costs Slowing Action On Contaminant In Water
Cleaning up and protecting U.S. drinking water from a class of toxic chemicals used in many household items could cost in the tens of billions of dollars nationally, including $2 billion for the Department of Defense alone, witnesses testified Wednesday before a House panel urging the federal government to move more quickly on the cleanup. Rep. Harley Rouda, the California Democrat chairing the House Oversight and Reform environment subcommittee, told reporters after the hearing "it's clear" the high costs were slowing any federal efforts to regulate and clean up the toxic chemicals, which are found in a range of goods, including nonstick pans, stain-resistant clothing, dental floss and food containers. (3/6)
Los Angeles Times:
Two Patients With HIV Are In Remission. How Many More Will Follow Them?
And then there were two. A London man infected with HIV has gone into long-term remission after getting a special stem cell transplant that not only treated his cancer, it sent the virus into remission as well. His recovery, described this week in the journal Nature, marks the second time a patient has cleared HIV from his system with the help of a stem cell transplant. (Healy, 3/6)
More Retirees Find Themselves Taking Care Of Mom And Dad
At a time in life when 60- or 70-something seniors anticipate retirement, and maybe some downtime, some are becoming caregivers and guardians of their parents. No stats exist on how widespread this is, but the trend is expected to intensify. (Sharma, 3/6)
Kaiser Health News:
Medical Device Makers Report Malfunctions And Patient Injuries In FDA Database Hidden From Public View
Dr. Douglas Kwazneski was helping a Pittsburgh surgeon remove an appendix when something jarring happened. The surgical stapler meant to cut and seal the tissue around the appendix locked up. Kwazneski later turned to the Food and Drug Administration’s public database that tracks medical device failures and “there was nothing,” he said. Yet when he surveyed leading surgeons on the matter, he discovered that more than two-thirds had experienced a stapler malfunction, or knew a peer who did. Such failures can have deadly consequences. (Jewett, 3/7)
Phoenix Man Is First To Test New U.S. Rattlesnake Anti-Venom
Phoenix welder Samuel Evans unexpectedly became a medical celebrity after he was bitten on his right thumb by a rattlesnake while hiking Sunday in White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Outside of clinical trials, Evans is the first patient in the United States to be treated with a new rattlesnake anti-venom that hit the market in October, when rattlesnakes were not in season. (Innes, 3/6)
The Washington Post:
Dog-Walking Can Be Hazardous For Seniors, Study Suggests
Dogs need to go on walks, and walking is good exercise for older adults. Seniors who combine the two — by walking a dog — are healthier than people who don’t, according to some research. But a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers offers a cautionary note. Strolling with a leashed dog, it says, “imparts a significant and rising injury risk in older adults.” Between 2004 and 2017, it found, bone fractures associated with walking leashed dogs more than doubled among U.S. residents 65 and older. Nearly 8 in 10 who suffered fractures were women, and the most commonly broken bones were hips, wrists and upper arms. (Brulliard, 3/6)