Liver Transplant Organization Shifts Policy To Account For Geographical Disparities
The geographic disparity in available livers has plagued transplant patients for decades, and has been a source of fierce debate within the community. But critics of the new policy say it doesn't consider liver donation rates. In other public health news: superbugs, vaccinations, cancer, e-cigarettes, ADHD, and more.
The Washington Post:
Liver Transplant Distribution Changed After Years Of Debate
After years of debate, the organization that oversees the allocation of livers for transplant took steps Monday to address a long-standing geographic disparity in supply of the scarce organs. The policy approved by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network will make more livers available in some places — including cities such as New York and Chicago — where the shortage is more severe than it is in regions such as the southeastern United States. (Bernstein, 12/4)
The Wall Street Journal:
Could Crispr Help To Knock Out Superbugs?
As a practicing physician in Boston, Timothy Lu cared for very sick patients who returned repeatedly to the hospital with stubborn, serious infections that wouldn’t respond to antibiotics. He grew increasingly perplexed. “Why can’t we tackle this?” he wondered. Dr. Lu, who also holds degrees in computer science and electrical engineering, turned to the lab to develop better treatments. Yet his goal isn’t another antibiotic like the chemical compounds prescribed today. Instead “we are re-engineering the genetic code that underpins life” to help defeat superbugs, he said. (Evans, 12/5)
The Washington Post:
The Moral Differences Between Pro- And Anti-Vaccine Parents
When it comes to persuading parents in the United States who are hesitant about vaccinating their children, the public health messages often rely on facts and science to explain how immunization not only protects those children but also shields other vulnerable people from dangerous infectious diseases. But information campaigns that emphasize fairness or preventing harm sometimes backfire and can worsen vaccine hesitancy, research has shown. A study published Monday in Nature Human Behaviour suggests a more effective way to reach vaccine-hesitant parents may be to focus on two potentially powerful moral values that underlie people’s attitudes and judgments: individual liberty and purity. (Sun, 12/4)
The New York Times:
Two Hidden Cancer Causes: Diabetes And Obesity
Does a widening waistline put you at risk for cancer? Apparently so. According to a new study, nearly 6 percent of cancers are attributable at least in part to obesity and diabetes. Researchers compared incidence data for 12 cancers in 175 countries in 2012 with body mass index and diabetes prevalence figures from 2002, on the assumption that it takes at least ten years for cancer to develop. (Bakalar, 12/4)
Teenagers Embrace JUUL, Saying It's Discreet Enough To Vape In Class
Mil Schooley, an 18-year-old student in Denver, Colo., says most of her friends have a JUUL — an e-cigarette that can vanish into a closed fist. When asked roughly how many, she stumbles a bit. "I wanna say like 50 or 60 percent? I don't know. Maybe it's just the people I know. All my friends in college have one," she says. "It just blew up over the summer." (Chen, 12/4)
Could This Be The First Prescription Video Game? It Shows Promise In ADHD
Akili Interactive Labs on Monday reported that its late-stage study of a video game designed to treat kids with ADHD met its primary goal, a big step in the Boston company’s quest to get approval for what it hopes will be the first prescription video game. In a study of 348 children between the ages of 8 and 12 diagnosed with ADHD, those who played Akili’s action-packed game on a tablet over four weeks saw statistically significant improvements on metrics of attention and inhibitory control, compared to children who were given a different action-driven video game designed as a placebo. The company plans next year to file for approval with the Food and Drug Administration. (Robbins, 12/4)
Los Angeles Times:
Eating For Your Health Is Also Better For The Environment, Study Shows
So, you want to reduce your carbon footprint? You might consider improving your diet. It turns out that healthy eating isn't just good for your body, it can also lessen your impact on the environment. Scientists say that food production including growing crops, raising livestock, fishing and transporting all that food to our plates is responsible for 20% to 30% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. (Netburn, 12/4)
Kaiser Health News:
Dangling A Carrot For Patients To Take Healthy Steps: Does It Work?
Patricia Alexander knew she needed a mammogram but just couldn’t find the time. “Every time I made an appointment, something would come up,” said Alexander, 53, who lives in Moreno Valley, Calif. Over the summer, her doctor’s office, part of Vantage Medical Group, promised her a $25 Target gift card if she got the exam. Alexander, who’s insured through Medi-Cal, California’s version of the Medicaid program for lower-income people, said that helped motivate her to make a new appointment — and keep it. (Gorman, 12/5)