Viewpoints: With Record Number Of Americans Dying From Despair, Treat More Than Symptoms; Gottlieb Is One Official Trump Should Have Asked To Stay
Editorial pages focus on these health care issues and others.
Deaths Of Despair Can Be Prevented With A Comprehensive Strategy
Overall, more than 150,000 Americans — the most ever — died from alcohol and drug-induced fatalities and suicide in 2017. That’s more than twice as many as in 1999, according to a new analysis released on Tuesday by our organizations, Well Being Trust and Trust for America’s Health. To truly tackle complex, deeply rooted societal problems like these, we need to transform fragmented and disjointed community systems. Deaths from substance misuse and suicide are symptoms of broader problems. If we treat only the symptoms, more and more people will be at risk and die needlessly. (Benjamin F. Miller and John Auerbach, 3/5)
FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb's Exit Is Big Loss For Trump And Beyond
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is resigning and will leave the agency in a month, according to news reports that surfaced on Tuesday afternoon. And just like that, the Trump administration is set to lose one of its most competent officials. Gottlieb, a physician and former deputy at the agency, decided to step down in part so he wouldn’t have to keep making the long commute to and from Connecticut, where he lives with his family, the reports said. His exit doesn’t appear to be coming under any cloud — in fact, not only will he leave with his reputation intact, he’ll do so having earned greater esteem. The Trump administration has arguably kept many officials around for too long. Gottlieb is one they should have convinced to stay. (Max Nisen, 3/5)
Los Angeles Times:
Trump’s Changes To Title X Put The Health Of Low-Income Women In Danger
The Trump administration has a message for American women: Your health doesn’t count. The Department of Health and Human Services recently finalized a set of onerous restrictions on clinics that participate in the federal Title X program, which funds free and low-cost family planning services. (Jack Lienke, 3/6)
Los Angeles Times:
Bad Press About Genetic Engineering Could Scare Off Those Who Would Benefit Most
When the reports came out last year that a Chinese scientist had altered the genome of human twins in utero, scientists and ethicists around the world were rightly horrified. The experiment was denounced as wildly unsafe, medically unnecessary and a clear moral violation. Tinkering with the DNA of embryonic cells (some of which will develop into reproductive cells capable of passing the mutation on to future generations) is roundly condemned, and the idea of designing babies to order raises a host of ethical dilemmas. But the bigger tragedy will be if the glaring lack of judgement shown by one overly ambitious (and improperly mentored) scientist taints all research into the gene-altering method used in the experiments, which is relatively simple and hugely promising. (Usha Lee McFarling, 3/6)
Lack Of Diversity Hinders Genetic Studies. We Can Change That
As a geneticist, I feel fortunate to live in the post-genomic era. The sequencing of the human genome has made it possible to make advances in understanding human genetics at an unprecedented pace. Genetic research is changing our understanding of early human migration and offering tantalizing insights into human biology. I have high hopes that we will be able to use these insights to better prevent, treat, and potentially cure diseases.And yet, genetic research also engenders frustration. My hope for the future doesn’t currently apply equally to everyone because the vast amount of research that has given us these insights has been done mainly among people of European ancestry. (Joyce Tung, 3/6)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
The 'Law-And-Order' Party Should Explain Why It's Against Disarming Criminals.
The U.S. House last week passed that rarest of things: a gun control measure that most Americans agree with. Universal background checks are among the most popular ideas out there. Polls show overall support around 90 percent, with similarly astronomical support even among gun owners. And no wonder: Is there any more common-sense idea than keeping guns from people whose documented mental or criminal histories indicate they shouldn’t have them? Yet most congressional Republicans stand with the National Rifle Association against any such imperative. (3/6)
HIV Cure Would Be Just One Weapon In Arsenal For Prevention
The only two people lucky enough to be cured of HIV infection were unlucky enough to find themselves with cancer and HIV at the same time. What saved them both were stem cell transplants from bone marrow donors — last-ditch attempts to save them from the cancers. But in the process, doctors used donors who had a genetic mutation rendering them, and their bone marrow cells, resistant to the virus. The right reaction to the news of the second cure is, as several researchers have told me, nuanced. It is a big deal to AIDS researchers, who for years have been quietly seeking to go beyond managing the disease, and instead shooting for a complete cure. This second case shows what might be possible with a lot more work. (Faye Flam, 3/5)
The New York Times:
Luke Perry Had A Stroke And Died. I Had One And Lived.
It was my brother who saved my life.“ Get to a hospital now,” he insisted over the long-distance line. “You’re having a stroke.” (Kara Swisher, 3/4)