Weekend Reading: Resolutions; Doctor-Patient Trust; And A Mysterious Diagnosis
Each week, KHN finds interesting reads from around the Web.
Happy New Year! Your Resolutions Won’t Bring You Joy
It is the new year. A time for growth. A time to explore new possibilities in life. A time to sidle up to the person hogging the treadmill you want at the gym and whisper, “This won’t make you any happier, you know.” Yes, that’s trolling. But it’s evidence-based trolling! Whether your resolution is to lose weight, stop smoking, or finally catch that road runner, research suggests that whether you achieve the goal or not might not matter as much for our overall happiness as we like to think. “Changing circumstances won’t make you hugely happier,” said Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at the University of California Riverside. In other words, the folks who are virtuous enough to keep their resolutions aren’t necessarily enjoying their lives more than the rest of us. And, if they are happier, it’s not because they kept their resolutions — it’s because they made the right resolutions in the right way. (Koerth-Baker, 1/2)
A Shattering Breach Of Trust: The Doctor Who Was Not Who He Claimed To Be
More than 200 of his former patients, including [Yvette] Hansberry, have joined a class-action suit against Dimensions Health Corp., which now operates the hospital where they were treated. The suit claims that the hospital was negligent in its hiring and credentialing of the man they knew as [Dr. Charles] Akoda — and that they had suffered “humiliation, shame, mortification and other injuries” under his care. The suit charges that he conducted unplanned emergency cesarean section surgeries that were “not medically necessary” and that, because his patients did not know his real identity, they were incapable of providing authorization or consent for any medical procedures. (McKinney, 1/3)
The New York Times Magazine:
He Thought He Just Had The Flu At First. Then His Heart Could Barely Pump.
They weren’t looking for a diagnosis, the middle-aged woman explained. Her husband had a diagnosis. They just wanted help figuring out why, even with all the treatments he was getting, he wasn’t getting better. Until a year and a half earlier, her 54-year-old husband had been perfectly healthy. Never missed a day of work, never took so much as an aspirin. Then he got what he thought was the flu. But even after the fever and congestion went away, the terrible body aches remained. He coughed constantly and felt so tired that just walking to the mailbox would leave him panting for air and shaking with fatigue. (Sanders, 1/2)
New Food Economy:
The Listeria Scare That Hit Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, And Walmart Lead To 100 Million Pounds Of Recalled Product—And No One Noticed
In a year with some record-breaking recalls—from romaine to cake mix to ground beef—the one initiated by McCain Foods, which ran for six weeks in October and November, may be the largest, and most significant. Why haven’t you heard of it? Because it’s not about finished products, but commercial ingredients—the invisible mortar of the food system. (Bloch, 1/3)
Scientists Have Been Studying Cancers In A Strange Way
In 1959, an American physician named Harry Eagle mixed up one of the most pivotal cocktails in medical history—a red blend of sugar, salts, vitamins, and amino acids that allowed scientists to efficiently grow the cells of humans and other animals in laboratory beakers. This red elixir, known as Eagle’s minimal essential medium (EMEM), became a bedrock of biological research. Sixty years later, the medium and its variants are still heavily used whenever researchers want to study animal cells, whether to investigate the viruses that infect us, or to work out what goes wrong when cells turn cancerous. (Yong, 1/2)
Why We Still Don’t Know How Many NFL Players Have CTE
Over the past few years, the NFL has been haunted by the early deaths of some former players whose brains showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by memory loss, mood disorders, dementia and other brain-related problems. But how prevalent is CTE, and how likely are players to develop it? Those remain unanswered questions, despite ongoing attempts to answer them. (Aschwanden, 12/17)