Viewpoints: Facebook Also Wants To Profit On Info About Your Health; Pull The Plug On Trump’s Latest Bad Pick To Oversee The CDC
Editorial pages write about these health topics and others.
The Washington Post:
Facebook Knows A Ton About Your Health. Now They Want To Make Money Off It.
Let’s say you have had discussions on Facebook about your breast cancer diagnosis. It has been a useful forum for comparing treatment options with others who have dealt with similar health issues. There’s only one problem: Facebook has now categorized you as a patient, and you constantly receive precisely targeted ads about cancer services available near you. They are showing up on your computer screen at work, for all your co-workers to see, right when you’re up for a big promotion. Many users experience a version of this scenario when they receive creepily personalized ads while browsing on Facebook. When those ads follow users onto sites outside Facebook, it feels like an invasion of privacy. But how do you regulate data privacy in an age of big-data black boxes? (Kirsten Ostherr, 4/18)
Controversy Shadows Trump’s Pick As CDC Director
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is arguably the nation’s chief public health officer, someone who should be the trusted face of an agency that plays a critical role in everything from highway safety campaigns to Ebola and flu research. If only the Trump administration felt the same way. The White House raised eyebrows in public health circles last month when it named Dr. Robert Redfield as director of the CDC, in part because the administration seemed to overlook longstanding doubts about his research. ...Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the ranking Democrat on a key health committee, wrote a letter asking President Trump to reconsider the appointment, citing a “pattern of ethically and morally questionable behavior.” (4/18)
A Surgeon's (Unsaid) Advice: 'Sweetheart, Don't Forget Your Tourniquet'
Five years ago, my 9-year old daughter and I were approaching the finish line of the Boston Marathon when bombs exploded in two different sites. I will never forget the feelings I had as a father shielding his daughter from the surrounding chaos, a husband looking for his wife who was running the marathon, and a surgeon trying to get to the hospital to help those who were injured. Although three people died that day, nearly 300 others who were injured were saved by a combination of heroic efforts from bystanders and nearby medical and emergency personnel. First responders, both civilian and professional, used belts, apron strings, and even new clothes to control bleeding from injured limbs. At the most basic level, these pre-hospital heroes employed improvised versions of an often-overlooked device: the tourniquet. (Jeffrey Kalish, 4/16)
Making Health Research Relevant And Less Feared In The Mississippi Delta
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes maps examining the health of Americans, my state of Mississippi lights up red, as do other states in the rural South. Part of the problem is that people living here often lack the information they need to stay healthy or manage their conditions. Far too often, information that would be relevant to them just doesn’t exist. That’s because people from communities like mine in the Mississippi Delta — rural citizens, those with low incomes, and people of color — tend not to participate in health research. (Freddie White-Johnson, 4/18)
Better Diets Save Lives. Government Can Help.
The food that people eat has become a major risk factor for disability and death worldwide. Yet countries and their philanthropic supporters seem not to be paying attention. They're investing far too little in improving diets and preventing nutrition-related disease. (Jessica Fanzo, 4/17)
The Washington Post:
How Is Health Care In Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria? No One Knows.
Last month, I traveled to Puerto Rico to get a handle on what doctors are seeing on the island now, six months after the storm. Doctors there say that poor data collection and underreporting are hiding a health crisis whose true scale eclipses official accounts. ...The problems are particularly acute for chronically ill patients. Wendy Matos, a physician who supervises nearly 470 doctors as the executive director of the University of Puerto Rico’s faculty practice plan, said that her clinics are seeing increases in cardiac arrest and intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding inside the skull), more waterborne and infectious disease and swelling numbers of suicides since Maria. (Mekela Panditharatne, 4/18)
The New York Times:
We’re Bad At Evaluating Risk. How Doctors Can Help.
My patient and I were locked in a game of decision-making hot potato. “What would you do, Doc?” he said. We’d been discussing whether he should get screened for prostate cancer. Such questions trouble most doctors. We often lob the choice back to patients, or “on the one hand, on the other hand” so much they start sympathizing with Harry Truman, who jokingly wished for one-handed advisers. (Dhruv Khullar, 4/17)
Is It Ever OK For Doctors To Lie To Their Patients?
Doctors shouldn’t lie to their patients, even now when the parsing of words and the telling of white lies is common at the highest level of our government. But they do it all the time — sometimes for personal reasons but most of the time for what they believe is the good of their patients. ...But perhaps we sometimes lie for our own sake, and it is our feelings that need to be spared so we can get through the night without breaking down in the call room when all signs indicate the outcome will not be good. (Nana Matoba and Angira Patel, 4/17)
Des Moines Register:
Parents Are Hesitating To Address Their Kids' Mental Health Problems
I recently paid my friend Megan Gogerty, a fellow East High School alum and playwriting instructor at the University of Iowa, a compliment on how measured and thoughtful she is — especially when she talks me through some crisis of depression or anxiety. I gushed that Megan always seemed so poised and that I admired and envied those qualities in her. Megan countered with more wisdom: "You get the greatest hits version of me. You don't see all the messy stuff behind the scenes." (Daniel P. Finney, 4/18)
Based On Boehner's Reversal, Pot Politics Can Depend On When You Ask
For the politics of pot, the times they are a-changin’. But in which direction? For some politicians, that can depend on when you ask. For example, former House Speaker John Boehner, who was “unalterably opposed” to marijuana legalization as recently as 2015, announced on Twitter last week that he is joining the weed industry and the legalization cause. (Clarence Page, 4/17)