Longer Looks: A Zika Vaccine; Aetna’s Marketplace Withdrawal; And Flint’s Water Crisis
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The New Yorker:
The Race For A Zika Vaccine
On a Saturday morning in April of 2014, Nenad Macesic, a thirty-one-year-old doctor-in-training, received an urgent phone call from the emergency room of Austin Hospital, just outside Melbourne, Australia. Lean and taut, with a swirl of dark hair, Macesic resembles an aspiring urban d.j. In fact, by night he spun electronica in clubs around Melbourne; by day he was a fellow in infectious diseases. The call concerned a woman in her late forties who had come to the hospital complaining of a fever, headaches, and an unusual rash. (Siddhartha Mukherjee, 8/14)
4 States Are Down To One Obamacare Insurer. What If They Fall To Zero?
here are at least four states that currently have just one health insurer planning to sell on their Obamacare marketplace in 2017: Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina and Wyoming. And there is one county in Arizona — Pinal County, just outside Phoenix — that currently has no health plans signed up at all after Aetna's Monday announcement that it would quit selling in the state. (Sarah Kliff, 8/17)
The New York Times:
Flint’s Water Crisis And The ‘Troublemaker’ Scientist
Near the railroad tracks on the outskirts of Flint, Mich., there is an old pump house, the walls of which have long served as a kind of communal billboard. The Block, people call it. People paint messages there — birthday wishes, memorials for the dead. In January, after Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency in response to Flint’s water crisis, a new message appeared, addressed implicitly to Snyder but also to the world: YOU WANT OUR TRUST??? WE WANT VA TECH!!! In the history of political graffiti, “We want Va. Tech” may sound like one of the least stirring demands ever spray-painted on a wall, but in the context of Flint, it was charged with the emotion and meaning of a rallying cry. (Donovan Hohn, 8/16)
Scientist's Drive For A Cancer Cure Inspired By His Father
Last summer, a young, unheralded scientist named Zhen Gu unveiled a “smart” insulin patch, yet another in a string of biomedical creations that could be traced back to his early childhood. This one stood out: Headlines hailed it as the beginning of the end of painful injections for diabetes. (Marla Broadfoot, 8/16)
The Chronicles Of Anemia—And A Frustrating Medical System
few days after I turned 59, I saw a family physician, a kindly older man who has since retired. He reported that I was in good shape, with one itty bitty exception: All of my blood counts were abnormally low. A low red-cell count generally points to one type of disorder, while a low white-cell or platelet count suggests something else entirely. But across-the-board bad numbers indicated a serious systemic failure. (Tom Jacobs, 8/15)
Is The Most Common Therapy For Autism Cruel?
When Lisa Quinones-Fontanez’s son Norrin was diagnosed with autism at age 2, she and her husband did what most parents in their position do—they scrambled to form a plan to help their child. Ultimately, they followed the experts’ advice. They put Norrin in a school that used applied behavioral analysis, or ABA, the longest-standing and best-established form of therapy for children with autism. They also hired an ABA therapist to direct a home program. (Elizabeth Devita-Raeburn, 8/11)