KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Longer Looks: Tom Price; The Thin Gene; Cuban Health Care

Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.

The New York Times: The Thin Gene
Abby Solomon suffers from a one-in-a-billion genetic syndrome: After just about an hour without food, she begins to starve. She sleeps in snatches. In her dreams she gorges on French fries. But as soon as she wakes up and nibbles a few bites, she feels full, so she ends up consuming very few calories. At 5 feet 10 inches tall, she weighs 99 pounds. Now 21 years old, she is one of the few people in the world to survive into adulthood with neonatal progeroid syndrome, a condition that results from damage to the FBN1 gene. This mutation mangles noses and eyes and destroys the layer of fat under the skin so that even teenagers look middle-aged. It also interferes with the body’s ability to make a hormone called asprosin, which regulates blood sugar. (Paige Kennedy, 11/25)

The Huffington Post: Trump’s Pick For HHS Signals He Is Dead Serious About Repealing Obamacare
President-elect Donald Trump will name an ultra-conservative surgeon, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), to run the Department of Health and Human Services. The choice, which Trump’s transition team announced on Tuesday morning, would appear to signal Trump’s determination to proceed with a major overhaul of federal health care programs ― including not just Obamacare, which Republicans have sworn to repeal, but also Medicare and Medicaid. (Jonathan Cohn, 11/29)

The Atlantic: Preventing Mental Illness With A Stress Vaccine
On April 20, 1999, two high school seniors walked into Columbine High School and opened fire. It was the first mass-shooting in an American public school, an event that left 15 people dead and the world debating how it happened. Rebecca Brachman was a sophomore at the time, at a high school in New Jersey whose demographics mirrored Columbine’s. When the local school board asked students to come up with ways to prevent a similar tragedy in their town, many condemned gun access. Brachman took a different angle: mental health. (Danielle Elliot, 11/28)

The New York Times: What Not To Say To A Cancer Patient
A diagnosis of cancer can tie the tongues of friends and family members or prompt them to utter inappropriate, albeit well-meaning, comments. Some who don’t know what to say simply avoid the cancer patient altogether, an act that can be more painful than if they said or did the wrong thing. (Jane Brody, 11/28)

Vox: This Food Bank Doesn’t Want Your Junk Food. Good.
Nancy Roman, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank, has been overwhelmed by cake. Week after week, dozens of frosted, layered confections arrive at her warehouse. A 5-year-old might think this is a dream come true. But for Roman, it’s a nightmare. (Julia Belluz, 8/28)

The Ringer: Therapy's Digital Disconnect
Earlier this year, Andrea Jones began seeing a therapist. They began meeting every other week to discuss her job, family, and relationships. Over 10 months, the 26-year-old Jones (whose name has been changed to protect the patient’s identity) sensed a disconnect with her 60-something therapist. Sometimes she’d catch her doctor fumbling with a browser on her computer, opening new windows instead of new tabs. During one session, Jones said she was stressed out because someone hadn’t texted her back, to which her therapist replied, “Why didn’t you just call them?” Once, after a lengthy explanation of the key performance indicators for web traffic, her therapist simply nodded and said, “Oh, OK.” (Alyssa Bereznak, 11/22)

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