Viewpoints: Capitalism’s Cruel Cravings Fuel Vaping, Opioid Epidemics; Biogen Just Ditched Its Alzheimer’s Trial Participants By Pulling The Plug The First Time
Editorial writers focus on these health topics and others.
Vaping And Prescription Opioids: Limbic Capitalism In Action
Have you ever written something and sent it off, only to encounter a perfect example of what you wanted to say? That happened to me. I had just finished a new book on addiction when the vaping crisis erupted. The gist of the book is that that globalization, industrialization, mass marketing, digitization, and social media have turned the ancient human preoccupation with disreputable, potentially addictive pleasures into lucrative, commercially normal enterprises. Bad habits have been McDonaldized. Vaping couldn’t have been a more perfect example of this. (David T. Courtwright, 10/28)
Los Angeles Times:
Opioids Saved My Life. Quitting Them Took Five Excruciating Years
The sweet, clean high of Vicodin, I will never forget. That exalted sense of optimism and quiet elation, the release from the troubles of life. Peace. For years I needed it. I was born with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes nervous system dysfunction, extreme pain, debilitating fatigue and overly flexible joints. (Madora Pennington, 10/27)
The Philadephia Inquirer:
I Was Devastated When Biogen Cancelled My Alzheimer’s Drug Trial. Now I’m Just Bitter.
The drug company Biogen announced Oct. 22 that it was seeking to bring back from the dead an experimental Alzheimer’s drug that it appeared to have killed last March. The startling announcement sent the thousands of us who had offered ourselves up as Biogen lab rats on yet another emotional rollercoaster. Was the devastating news of the trial’s cancellation just a bump in the road? Should those who participated in the trials – and the millions of folks like us -- now dream of an effective treatment that might slow down our devastating disease and give us more years of happy, fulfilling and productive life? (Phil Gutis, 10/28)
Los Angeles Times:
Climate Change Is The Worst Environmental Problem In Global History
Even now that most of the world has acknowledged that climate change is real and caused by humans, combating it has proved daunting. Why? There are five features that combine to make global warming a more vexing environmental crisis than any we have faced before. (Christopher Knittel, 10/28)
4 Ways To End The Abuse Of Women During Childbirth
As a young house officer on a 3-month obstetrics/gynecology posting, I witnessed some doctors and midwives shouting at and smacking the legs of women during their childbirth. Their violence was committed under the pretense of helping women push out the baby without complications, but what I saw did not sit well with me. This week I was reminded of those experiences when I read the findings of a new study published by The Lancet. (Feanyi Insofor, 10/27)
The New York Times:
My Family Cared For My Sick Aunt. Who’s Caring For Us?
When I was 12, my mother’s 32-year-old sister Emily experienced a berry-aneurysm rupture, which caused a stroke. One day she had a headache that she said felt like being hit with a two-by-four. She went on with life, and then collapsed the next week. The executive assistant whose fingers typed so fast that they blurred like the spokes of a bicycle wheel found her clenched right hand no longer at her command. She could not swallow without choking and had trouble focusing her eyes. When she found words, her brain garbled them. (Lorene Cary, 10/25)
The Washington Post:
My Husband Died Of ALS. My Grief’s Very Much Alive.
On Jan. 1, my husband asked me whether he would die that year. I said no. It happened to be my birthday, and I wanted to feel jubilant despite the tragic turn of events in our life. I thought Rahul might have another year, that he might beat the odds of dying this year. In other words, his hazard ratio was favorable compared with someone else in his situation. He liked talking about something related, hazard scores — a composite score of one’s genetic risk for a particular outcome such as diagnosis of a disease. (Maya Vijayaraghavan, 10/27)
The New York Times:
Choosing To Be Vulnerable With My Patients
When I was a third-year medical student in Baltimore, one of my first patients was a 20-something intravenous drug user. Thin and unkempt, an orange Orioles cap shadowing his heavily-tattooed face, he had a serious infection and needed to stay in the hospital for several days. It was not his first time being hospitalized. He’ll just walk out and not finish his treatment, the senior resident said. She had good reason for her prediction: According to his medical record, that’s what he did all the other times. (Helen Ouyang, 10/26)
The New York Times:
When Poor People Are Beaten For Seeking Help
Ronald Purnell struggled for breath in the doorway of a city welfare office on West 14th Street, begging for help as officers kicked him and beat him with batons. His oxygen tank lay just out of reach. “I can’t breathe!” Mr. Purnell heaved. “I need my oxygen!” Mr. Purnell, 58, hadn’t been accused of any crime. The guards who he said attacked him that day weren’t police officers. (Mara Gay and Emma Goldberg, 10/27)
No Texan Should Die Over An Unpaid Utility Bill. Lawmakers Can Fix This.
Medical examiner reports show more than 100 Texans have died over the past decade from heat-related causes at home, according to critical reporting by Jeremy Schwartz and Andrea Ball in the Statesman’s Hostage to Heat series. Those deaths coincide with an alarming 117% spike in the number of customers who’ve had their electricity cut off over failure to pay during the hottest months of the year. (10/25)