Longer Looks: Abortion Wars; Self-Harm And Social Media; A Cancer Story; And More
Each week, KHN finds interesting reads from around the Web.
Abortion Is An Unwinnable Argument
In 1956, two American physicians, J. A. Presley and W. E. Brown, colleagues at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine, decided that four recent admissions to their hospital were significant enough to warrant a published report. “Lysol-Induced Criminal Abortion” appeared in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. It describes four women who were admitted to the hospital in extreme distress, all of them having had “criminal abortions” with what the doctors believed to be an unusual agent: Lysol. The powerful cleaner had been pumped into their wombs. Three of them survived, and one of them died. (Flanagan, 11/14)
Pinterest Has A New Plan To Address Self-Harm
In an age when so much of the internet feels bad, Pinterest has carved out a niche as the place you come to feel good. So when the company noticed Pinterest users searching for content related to “self-harm”—not a ton, but enough to catch someone’s attention—it decided first to filter out what would show up on the site. Pinterest had already done this kind of moderation work on terms like “anti-vaccination,” using a combination of humans and machine learning to clean up the search results. Now, after training its algorithms to recognize content that promotes self-harm, the company says reports of those pins are down 88 percent. (Pardes, 11/14)
I Thought Being A Health Care Reporter Would Make Cancer Easier. I Was Wrong.
The other night, like most nights, I wake up several times, drenched in sweat. I get up. I pee and peel off all my clothes and change into new ones. I drink whatever is in the glass on my nightstand I am so dehydrated. I go to the bathroom sink and splash water on my face to try to cool down before dealing with my soaking-wet sheets. I am 32 years old and I am going through menopause. It’s temporary, and I chose to endure it when I got a life-threatening breast cancer diagnosis a year ago. But it’s a lot worse than I expected. (Glorioso, 11/10)
How Menopause Could Lead To Alzheimer’s
I’ve been keeping a Google Doc of all the words my 53-year-old brain hasn’t been able to remember. The list has grown long. It might have grown twice as long, but often I forget the word I’ve forgotten between forgetting it and rushing to the computer to write it down. Next to the missing word in question, I note the description I used instead, such as “the thing that blows” (wind) and “the kind of shirt that’s soft and plaid” (flannel). Some of these Jeopardy-ready descriptions are surprisingly––if accidentally––poetic, such as the time bugs kept smashing against my car’s windshield and I called my partner on the phone to say, “There are so many dead bugs on the … on the … on the piece of glass between me and the world.” (Copaken, 11/8)
The New York Times:
I Watched Friends Die In Afghanistan. The Guilt Has Nearly Killed Me.
When my grandfather Michael Linehan Jr. arrived in North Africa in December 1943 to begin his tour of duty with the 15th Air Force, the average life expectancy of an Allied heavy-bomber crewman was roughly six combat missions, less than a fourth of what he was required to fly. As the 25-year-old pilot of a B-24 Liberator, my grandfather flew in some of the most decisive engagements of the war, including the Battle of Anzio and the second Ploesti oil-field raids. Upon completing his tour, he was transferred to the Eighth Air Force just in time to fly bombing runs on D-Day. (Linehan, 11/11)