Congress May Delete Requirement That Businesses Track Worker Injuries
Also in public health news, the traditionally high U.S. infant death rate is making a promising decline and a new study highlights a connection between global warming and diabetes rates. Media outlets also report on a range of other developments, including ketamine being used to treat severely depressed patients and insurers weighing a simple treatment for artery disease.
Congress May Undo A Key Worker Safety Rule
Safety advocates are worried that lawmakers are getting ready to make it harder to penalize companies that don't keep track of workers' injuries. Since 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has required many employers to keep careful records of any worker injuries or illnesses. (Greenfieldboyce, 3/20)
Infant Deaths, Stubbornly High In The US, Continue A Promising Decline
In the US, a rising number of babies are living to see their first birthday, according to a study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data show that infant mortality has declined by 15 percent over the last decade, with the biggest gains concentrated in the south and east of the country. That’s good news given that the US has persistently had a higher rate of infant deaths than other wealthy nations. (Swetlitz, 3/21)
Los Angeles Times:
Why Global Warming Could Lead To A Rise Of 100,000 Diabetes Cases A Year In The U.S.
If the average temperature rises by 1 degree Celsius, sea levels will rise, crop yields will fall and vulnerable species will see their habitat shrink or disappear. And, a new study suggests, the number of American adults suffering from diabetes would rise by more than 100,000 a year. (Kaplan, 3/20)
Ketamine For Severe Depression Gains Popularity Among Doctors
Gerard Sanacora, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University, has treated hundreds of severely depressed patients with low doses of ketamine, an anesthetic and popular club drug that isn't approved for depression. This sort of "off-label" prescribing is legal. But Sanacora says other doctors sometimes ask him, "How can you be offering this to patients based on the limited amount of information that's out there and not knowing the potential long-term risk?" Sanacora has a simple answer. (Hamilton, 3/20)
Insurers Weigh A Simpler Treatment For Artery Disease: Supervised Workouts
When Char Zinda’s doctors discovered that she had had a couple of small, undiagnosed heart attacks, their instructions were to start walking. She was game. She tried going to the local university’s indoor walking track near her house. But she couldn’t even walk two-tenths of a mile. “The bottoms of my feet just felt like somebody had taken a sharp pencil and was poking it in,” said the 64-year-old, who lives in Morris, Minn. The pain was so bad it made her cry. (Boodman, 3/20)
With A Daily Dial, Police Reach Out To Seniors
Living alone can be tough for seniors. Some don’t have family nearby to check on them, and they worry that if they fall or suffer a medical emergency and can't get to the phone to seek help, no one will know. That’s why hundreds of police agencies in small towns, suburbs and rural areas across the country are checking in on seniors who live alone by offering them a free automated phone call every day. (Bergal, 3/21)
The New York Times:
Popular Prostate Cancer Therapy Is Short, Intense And Unproven
After learning he had early stage prostate cancer, Paul Kolnik knew he wanted that cancer destroyed immediately and with as little disruption as possible to his busy life as the New York City Ballet’s photographer. So Mr. Kolnik, 65, chose a type of radiation treatment that is raising some eyebrows in the prostate cancer field. It is more intense than standard radiation and takes much less time — five sessions over two weeks instead of 40 sessions over about two months or 28 sessions over five to six weeks. (Kolata, 3/20)
The Washington Post:
This Woman’s Labored Breathing Alarmed Her Friends. Doctors Were Startled To Find The Cause.
“What’s wrong with you?” Dianne Hull remembered her friend Vicky Weinstein asking, alarm evident in her voice. The two women had just finished lunch in December 2012, and Hull breathed heavily as she walked across the kitchen of her friend’s home. Hull’s audible breathing — and increasing breathlessness — had been shoved aside in her constellation of pressing concerns. For months, Hull had been focused on a medical crisis affecting her young son. But now Weinstein — a nurse — was delivering a forceful reminder: It was past time for Hull, then 38, to pay attention to her own health. (Boodman, 3/20)
Craig Venter Wants $1,400 To Sequence A Genome. Is It Worth It?
The genomics pioneer who sequenced the human genome carved out a new niche just over a year ago, selling exhaustive $25,000 medical workups to apparently healthy people. Now Craig Venter’s trying to take one small piece of that business to a much wider audience — and to prove it’s worthwhile. (Robbins, 3/21)
How To Wean Yourself From Your Gadget Addiction
Many people find the constant dings, rings, buzzes and beeps that come from their computers and cell phones impossible to ignore. Experts say its a sign of our dependency on technology, which validates and entertains us while also cutting into our productivity and altering our attention span for the worse. (Caiola, 3/20)