KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

For Leading Doctors’ Group There’s No Gray Area: Guns Kill People And Are A Public Health Threat

“Guns do not make individuals, their families, or homes safer and they result in far more deaths to loved ones than to an intruder intending to cause harm," Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor in chief of the influential Journal of the American Medical Association wrote. In other public health news: obesity rates in children, epidurals, social media and young people, fertility and more.

Los Angeles Times: 'Guns Kill People,' And Leading Doctors Want To Treat Them Like Any Other Threat To Public Health
The doctors who lead the medical profession’s debates on how best to preserve and restore our health are done with moments of silence in the face of gun-related violence. In the wake of a mass shooting that killed 59 people and wounded hundreds more in Las Vegas, they neither minced words nor observed political niceties in describing the threat that firearms pose to Americans’ health. (Healy, 10/10)

The Washington Post: New Maps Show Big Divide Between The World’s Overweight And Underweight Children
The weight problems that preoccupy Americans typically are about how to lose weight, not gain it. But a study published in the Lancet on Tuesday night provides a sobering look at how much the relationship children globally have with food and weight depends on where they are growing up. The study reports that the number of obese children has increased more than tenfold in the past four decades — from 5 million girls in 1975 to 50 million in 2016, and from 6 million boys in 1975 to 74 million in 2016. (Cha, 10/10)

The New York Times: Epidurals Do Not Prolong Labor
Many obstetricians resist giving epidural anesthesia during the late stage of delivery because they believe it lengthens the duration of labor. But a clinical trial by Chinese researchers has found that it does not. The study, in Obstetrics & Gynecology, randomized 400 women in labor to receive either a standard epidural anesthetic or a saline solution in an identical container. Neither the patients nor the health care providers knew who was receiving which. (Bakalar, 10/10)

Kaiser Health News: Social Media Is Harming The Minds Of Our Youth, Right? Maybe Not.
It was 1:30 a.m., and Anna was trying to keep her mind off her ex-boyfriend, with whom she had ended a painful relationship hours earlier. It was too late to call the therapist she was seeing to cope with low self-esteem and homesickness, and too late to stop by a friend’s house. So, she turned to social media. “I’m having a really hard time right now,” Anna — who asked to be identified by a pseudonym — posted on Facebook. “Is there anyone I can call and talk to until I feel better?” (Jacewicz, 10/11)

Stat: Ovarian Reserve Tests Aren't A Good Predictor Of Fertility, Study Finds
Tests that measure a woman’s “ovarian reserve” to estimate how many more years of fertility she has have grown increasingly popular. But a new study finds that levels of the hormones commonly tested aren’t tied to lower chances of getting pregnant. The new research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at three markers: anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and inhibin B. (Thielking, 10/10)

Stat: Why Are There So Few Medical Geneticists?
Research grounded in genetics is booming: Therapies are in the works to treat a number of rare, inherited disorders, from blindness to nerve disease. But there’s a shortage of doctors trained to diagnose and treat such illnesses. During match season for medical trainees this year, just 30 of the 55 spots for medical genetics residencies in the U.S. were filled. (Thielking, 10/11)

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