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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

‘A Huge Step Forward’: Research Breakthrough Sparks Hope For Preserving Fertility Of Young Boys With Cancer

KHN Morning Briefing

“Fertility issues for kids with cancer were ignored” for years, said University of Pittsburgh reproductive scientist Kyle Orwig. “Many of us dream of growing up and having our own families. We hope our research will help these young patients to do that.” Until now, boys hadn’t had a realistic option to preserve their fertility, but that may be changing.

House Democrats Want More Information On Sackler Family’s Role In Opioid Epidemic

KHN Morning Briefing

The family that found Purdue Pharma has come under intense scrutiny as of late after it was revealed just how deeply involved some of the members were in the early aggressive marketing tactics pursued by the opioid-maker. Meanwhile, an advocacy group is calling on the FDA to impose a moratorium on approving new opioids.

U.S. Prison System Hasn’t Adapted To Unique Health Challenges Brought By Large Increase Of Incarcerated Women, Report Find

KHN Morning Briefing

Amid reports on women giving birth while shackled to hospital beds, a new report tries to give solid data that looks at the reality of women who are behind bars. “The fact that nobody had collected this data before signals just how much this population is neglected,” said Dr. Carolyn Sufrin of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Miss. Governor Signs Restrictive Fetal ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Designed To Challenge Roe V. Wade

KHN Morning Briefing

The new Mississippi bill prohibits the abortion of a fetus with a detectable heartbeat, before the point where a woman may be aware she is pregnant. Although similar “heartbeat bills” have failed in court countless times, the measure is part of a wave of restrictive state-level legislation that is geared toward challenging Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, in the federal House, there’s no longer a single Republican who supports abortion rights.

Adolescents Treated With Some ADHD Drugs Like Adderall May Be At Higher Risk Of Having Psychotic Event

KHN Morning Briefing

The risk is “low enough that you can’t say, ‘just don’t prescribe Adderall,’” said Dr. Lauren Moran, the study’s lead author. “But from a public health perspective, there’s so many millions of people being prescribed these medications that it actually leads to thousands of people at increased risk of psychosis.” In other public health news: Zika, sugary drinks, depression and more.

Amid Vaccination Controversy, Ky. Governor Fondly Recalls Chicken-Pox Parties, But Experts Call The Practice Antiquated

KHN Morning Briefing

The practice of letting kids get chickenpox from sick friends or neighbors is a holdover from the days before the vaccination became widely available, and doctors say the method can lead to dangerous complications or death. Meanwhile, experts are using actual examples of social media activists attacking doctors and others advocating for vaccinations in order to better understand the resistance.

Expected Shortfalls For Black Lung Fund Will Be Covered By Taxpayers Instead Of Coal Companies

KHN Morning Briefing

In January, the tax rate coal companies pay to support the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund was cut in half, leaving sick miners and their advocates fearing future benefit cuts from a fund that is already about some $4 billion in debt. The Department of Labor said in a statement Wednesday that it is obligated to continue paying benefits to sick miners, so a shortfall would be covered by borrowing from taxpayers. In other environmental health news: unsafe drinking water, manufacturing industry’s lingering effects on health, coal ash and more.

Against The Backdrop Of Persistently High Suicide Rates, Program Finds Success With Veterans Helping Veterans During A Crisis

KHN Morning Briefing

Authorities are touting a Los Angeles County program as a breakthrough in policing that could save lives of veterans who are having a crisis. Since the program’s launch in September, local law enforcement agencies answering such 911 calls have dispatched not only deputies or officers but also two-person teams from the Veterans Affairs hospital in Long Beach. Supporters call the program the first of its kind and hope it will be replicated nationwide.

CDC Report Paints Grim Picture Of Rapidly Escalating Fentanyl Overdoses That Have Hit Vulnerable Communities Hard

KHN Morning Briefing

The death rate among African Americans from fentanyl-involved drug overdoses rose 141 percent each year, on average, from 2011 to 2016, and the death rate for Hispanics rose 118 percent in that period every year on average. Altogether, the records revealed that more than 36,000 Americans died with fentanyl in their systems during the study period. The majority of those deaths — 18,335 — occurred in 2016 alone. Meanwhile, the nation’s top medical advisers say that medication for addiction is vastly underused.

New Treatments Might Provide Hope To Patients With Rare Genetic Disease That Turns Tissue Into Bone

KHN Morning Briefing

The genetic disease, fibrodysplasia ossificans, in which the body’s machinery for healing goes awry, growing immovable bone where it doesn’t belong, had been languishing as nothing more than a medical curiosity. But a community of patient advocates rallied, and now there are three medicines in human trials, the most advanced of which could win Food and Drug Administration approval next year. In other public health news: weight lifting, primate emotions, the “bliss point” in food, and psychic mediums.

Catholic Church Has Given Green Light To Using Vaccines Derived From Aborted Fetal Cells, But One Family Is Still Suing Over Beliefs

KHN Morning Briefing

Experts offer an in-depth look at the belief system behind the Kentucky lawsuit filed by a family who didn’t vaccinate their son because of their religious beliefs. The Varicella vaccine, specifically, is derived from the cell lines of two fetuses that were electively aborted in the 1960s. “There are no further abortions that have occurred to continue these cell lines,” said Josh Williams, an assistant professor. Meanwhile, antivaccination activists are targeting parents on Facebook who recently lost a child with cruel taunts.