‘It Always Feels Like The Spanish Inquisition’: Putting Off Going To The Doctors Isn’t Just About Cost
Even doctors, who know when it's necessary, procrastinate about seeking medical care. The Boston Globe looks at why we do this. In other public health news: gene editing, diabetes, marijuana, suicide, arsenic, smog and more.
Why Do So Many Of Us Avoid Going To The Doctor? Even Doctors.
Most of us put off seeing the doctor on occasion, and there can be consequences. Nobody likes mammograms and colonoscopies, but women over 40 who get annual mammograms see a 40 percent reduction in breast cancer deaths, while if you’re over 50 and don’t get a colonoscopy, you’re skipping a procedure estimated to reduce chances of dying from colon cancer by 60 percent. (Moran, 12/7)
Los Angeles Times:
Scientists Use CRISPR To Turn Genes On Without Editing Their DNA
The revolutionary gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 is best-known for helping scientists edit a strand of DNA more precisely and efficiently than ever before. Now, researchers have demonstrated another use for the CRISPR complex: changing what genes are expressed without altering the genome itself. (Netburn, 12/7)
Adults Can Get Type 1 Diabetes, Too
David Lazarus had just moved to Los Angeles to start a new job as a business and consumer columnist for the Los Angeles Times when he suddenly developed some of the classic signs of diabetes: extreme thirst, fatigue and weight loss. He dropped close to 15 pounds in 2 weeks. Lazarus was in his early 40s. "The weight loss was the first big red flag. It happened really fast," he says. He consulted a physician who diagnosed him with Type 2 diabetes and recommended a "monastic" low-carb, macrobiotic diet. (Tucker, 12/8)
The New York Times:
A Comeback For The Gateway Drug Theory?
If you grew up as part of the D.A.R.E. generation — kids of the 1980s and ’90s who learned about drugs from alarmist public service announcements — you know all too well the dangers of so-called gateway drugs. Go to bed with marijuana or beer, you were taught, and risk waking up with cocaine or heroin. Three decades later, scientists and politicians still debate whether using “soft” drugs necessarily leads a person down a slippery slope to the harder stuff. Critics note that marijuana has, in some cases, been shown to actually prevent people from abusing other substances. And even D.A.R.E. now acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of people who smoke pot or drink never graduate to pills and powders. (Quenqua, 12/7)
The New York Times:
Sifting Through A Life After Suicide
During a support-group meeting for people left behind by suicide, Hope Litoff realized she was among a group of collectors. “We all had storage spaces of our dead person,” said Ms. Litoff, a New York film editor whose sister, Ruth, an artist and photographer, committed suicide in 2008 at the age of 42. “We all had the same feelings. We had saved every single thing. The items themselves were too precious to part with, but at the same time, too painful to look at.” (Parker-Pope, 12/7)
The New York Times:
Should You Be Worried About The Arsenic In Your Baby Food?
Rice cereal is often a baby’s first solid food, but it contains relatively high amounts of arsenic, a source of growing concern. Now an advocacy group reports that while the levels of this potentially toxic substance in infant rice cereals have dropped slightly in recent years, rice cereals still contain six times more inorganic arsenic, on average, than infant cereals made with other grains like barley or oatmeal. The new report comes from Healthy Babies Bright Futures, an alliance of scientists, nonprofit groups and private donors that aims to reduce children’s exposures to chemicals that may harm developing brains. (Rabin, 12/7)
Why Your Brain Has Trouble Bailing Out Of A Bad Plan
You're in your car, heading for an intersection. The light turns yellow, so you decide to hit the gas. Then you see a police car. Almost instantly, you know that stomping on the accelerator is a big mistake. But there's a good chance you'll do it anyway, says Susan Courtney, a professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. That's because as one area of your brain is recognizing that police car, other areas have already begun carrying out your original plan to accelerate. (Hamilton, 12/7)
San Francisco Chronicle:
California, 13 Other States Sue EPA Over Smog Levels
California and 13 other states sued the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday for ignoring an Oct. 1 deadline to update the nation’s map of areas with unhealthy smog levels, saying the delay is endangering children and people who suffer from lung disease. (Egelko, 12/7)
The Wall Street Journal:
An Unfortunate Memento Of The Total Eclipse: Eye Damage
For millions of people last summer’s solar eclipse was a momentary spectacle, but for one New Yorker the sight of the moon crossing the sun is a vision that may never leave her view, burned as a crescent-shaped scar into her retina. Close-ups of her damaged eye tissue—reportedly the most detailed of their kind—were published online Thursday in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology by solar retinopathy specialist Avnish Deobhakta and his colleagues at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. (Hotz, 12/7)
Here's What It Looks Like When You Fry Your Eye In An Eclipse
At least one young woman suffered eye damage as a result of unsafe viewing of the recent total solar eclipse, according to a report published Thursday, but it doesn't appear that many such injuries occurred. Doctors in New York say a woman in her 20s came in three days after looking at the Aug. 21 eclipse without protective glasses. She had peeked several times, for about six seconds, when the sun was only partially covered by the moon. (Greenfieldboyce, 12/7)
Georgia Health News:
Agony Of Endometriosis Leaves Many Women Feeling Alone
It’s estimated that more than 6 million in the United States suffer from the condition. Although knowledge of the disease is increasing among the public, due to media reports and celebrity awareness, it is still fairly unknown and often misunderstood. (Thomas, 12/7)