Want To Know The Symptoms Of ‘Cyberchondria’? Well, Googling It Will Only Make It Worse
Searching for medical conditions online has become a problem in and of itself. Stat offers a look at the most commonly Googled diseases. In other public health news: health inequality, diabetes, arthritis drugs, pets as probiotics, breast cancer and more.
The 20 Most-Googled Diseases
More than a third of all American adults have gone online to find a diagnosis, according to a 2013 Pew survey, and half of those people wound up discussing what they found with their health care provider. Looking for a digital diagnosis can either increase or alleviate concerns about a possible illness, according to Microsoft researchers. And there’s even a word that’s cropped up — “cyberchondria” — to describe what happens when searching for medical information starts to become a condition unto itself. (Sheridan, 6/6)
The Washington Post:
America Is A World Leader In Health Inequality
The divide between health outcomes for the richest and poorest Americans is among the largest in the world, according to a new study. Of people in households making less than $22,500 a year, 38 percent reported being in poor or fair health in a survey taken between 2011 and 2013. That's more than three times the rate of health troubles than faced by individuals in households making more than $47,700 a year, where only 12 percent of people reported being in poor to fair health, according to the findings published in Health Affairs. (Johnson, 6/5)
The New York Times:
A Dilemma For Diabetes Patients: How Low To Push Blood Sugar, And How To Do It?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with Type 2 diabetes. Surely, then, the way to dodge this bullet is to treat the disease and lower blood sugar. Well, maybe. Growing evidence suggests that the method by which blood sugar is lowered may make a big difference in heart risk. That has raised a medical dilemma affecting tens of millions of people with Type 2 diabetes — and for the doctors who treat them. (Kolata, 6/5)
Failure To Warn: Hundreds Died While Taking An Arthritis Drug, But Nobody Alerted Patients
Treatments for the [arthritis] afflicting about 1.5 million Americans can have terrifying side effects, so doctors and patients were excited when Actemra reached the U.S. market in 2010. Unlike competing drugs, it wasn’t associated with heart attacks, heart failure, or life-threatening lung complications. Yet hundreds of patients taking Actemra have died from such problems, and many more have suffered harm. STAT analyzed more than 500,000 side-effect reports on rheumatoid arthritis drugs, and found clear evidence that the risks of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and other conditions were as high or higher for Actemra patients than for patients taking some competing drugs. (Piller, 6/5)
The New York Times:
Are Pets The New Probiotic?
Scientists are paying increasing attention to the “indoor microbiome,” the billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that we share our homes and offices with. But not all those micro-organisms are bad for us, experts note. And exposure to a rich array of indoor germs may actually be salutary, helping stave off a variety of illnesses. (Schiffman, 6/6)
The New York Times:
Women With Aggressive Breast Cancer Are Living Longer
Women with metastatic breast cancer are living longer. In 1990, there were 105,354 women alive with the disease in the United States, according to a new analysis. Now that figure has risen to an estimated 154,794. (Bakalar, 6/5)
Botulism Outbreaks Usually Tied To Home Canning, UC Davis Expert Says
A major outbreak of botulism, a rare type of food poisoning, struck 10 people in Northern California over the last month, killing one Antioch man. Sacramento County health officials traced the illness to a gas station in Walnut Grove, where the victims were sickened after eating nacho cheese sauce from a dispenser. Botulism is caused by a dangerous nerve toxin created when a bacteria called clostridium botulinum multiplies in food. Symptoms begin with vomiting and blurred vision followed by a slow paralysis that can lead to respiratory failure if an antitoxin is not administered in time. (Caiola, 6/5)
San Antonio Press Express:
Report: Flesh-Eating Bacteria In Gulf Of Mexico Attack Man's Fresh Tattoo; He Died 2 Months Later
A 31-year-old man who died earlier this year contracted flesh-eating bacteria while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico with a freshly inked tattoo, according to a new report. The gruesome details of the man's death are documented in a BMJ case report published May 27, 2017, which chronicles how the bacteria slowly ate away the flesh on the man's leg in the weeks preceding his death. (Bradshaw, 6/5)