Longer Looks: Ben Carson And Supplements; Fixing Chronic Fatigue; Mental Health
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Wall Street Journal:
Ben Carson Has Had Ties To Dietary Supplement Firm That Faced Legal Challenge
Faced with a prostate-cancer diagnosis more than a decade ago, Ben Carson, the Republican presidential hopeful and retired surgeon, consulted an unusual source: the medical director of a Texas company that sells nutritional supplements made of substances such as larch-tree bark and aloe vera extract. The company doctor “prescribed a regimen” of supplements, Mr. Carson told its sales associates in a 2004 speech. “Within about three weeks my symptoms went away, and I was really quite amazed,” he said to loud applause, according to a YouTube video of the event. (Mark Maremont, 10/5)
Share Your Doctor
It was like a bad sitcom: Everything Leo said, his wife Francine said the opposite. He went to the gym, he told me; not since Bush was President, she countered. They’d been going on like this since they entered the exam room. Leo and Francine regularly scheduled joint doctor’s appointments, but today was my first time seeing them—and one of my first times seeing two patients at once. ... the American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that around 10 percent of family physicians now give patients the option to share their appointments with people who have similar health issues. For doctors, the benefits are obvious: Shared appointments are efficient, allowing us to see more of our patients in a day. But shared appointments can be beneficial for patients, too, helping them to adopt healthy behaviors in a way that one-on-one visits don’t. (Ravi Parikh, 10/2)
The Washington Post:
I Put My Father In A Nursing Home At Age 98. Then I Brought Him Home.
After three months, it was becoming apparent that the facility’s $250 daily rate was not sustainable. Like many middle-class people, Dad had saved too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for a good nursing home for any length of time. Medicaid would have kicked in once Dad depleted his life savings and liquidated his assets — perhaps including his home, which we owned jointly — but he deeply wanted to preserve my inheritance to help ease the burden of my own aging. He also had no long-term care insurance. I faced a harsh choice: Empty both of our nest eggs to pay for the facility or bring him home. (Ronna Edelstein, 10/5)
This European Researcher Thinks Overeating Can Be Solved By Eating More Delicious Food
You're more likely to overindulge on an exquisite piece of chocolate cake than a bland cup of cottage cheese, right? Well, there's an emerging science that suggests the way we think about overeating is all wrong. People gorge not necessarily because food is delicious, the theory goes, but because food is flavorless. (Julia Belluz, 10/2)
The Washington Post:
With His Son Terribly Ill, A Top Scientist Takes On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Before he got sick, Whitney Dafoe was an award-winning photographer and a world traveler. He’d helped build a nunnery in India, ridden a motorcycle in the Himalayas and visited all 50 American states. ... But now, at 31, Whitney lies in bed in a darkened room in his parents’ home, unable to talk, walk or eat. He is fed intravenously and is barely able to tolerate light, sounds or being touched. ... The IOM report notes that doctors often lack understanding of the condition and are often skeptical that it is a true medical condition, believing instead that it’s partially or wholly psychological. Some may therefore be surprised that the illness is now a major research focus for one of the world’s leading biomedical scientists. That scientist, Ronald W. Davis, is Whitney Dafoe’s father. (Miriam Tucker, 10/5)
When A Genetic ID Card Is The Difference Between Life And Death
SJS/TEN is a disease of devastating irony. Most cases happen when people take drugs that are meant to improve their health and their bodies revolt in catastrophic fashion. These hypersensitivity reactions are rare. They are only triggered by certain drugs, and only in people with specific genetic variants in a cluster of immunity genes. And over the past decade, scientists have identified many of these ruinous drug-gene combinations. Which means that SJS/TEN should be almost entirely preventable. (Ed Yong, 10/5)
Ann Romney On Her Battle With Multiple Sclerosis And The Race For The White House
Ann Romney, wife of former governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, had what appeared to be the perfect life. In her new memoir, "In This Together: My Story," she writes about what it was like grappling her identity after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. (10/6)
And a video clip and podcast that are worth your time -
Last Week Tonight:
John Oliver explains how our national system of treating mental health works, or more often than not, how it doesn’t. (10/4)
Pay Patients, Save Money
We shop around when we get a plane ticket or buy a couch. But we spend thousands of dollars on health care without comparing prices. Today on the show: What happens if we pay patients when they choose the cheaper option?