Latest Morning Briefing Stories

A ‘Smart Pill’ To Help Patients Remember To Take Meds Was Touted As New Era In Care. Now Researchers Are Pushing Back.

KHN Morning Briefing

The researchers argue that the evidence used to approve the product — called Abilify MyCite — was not only weak, but failed to demonstrate the technology improves adherence, a key point if the goal is to improve health outcomes. In other public health news: neuron research, seasickness, surgery, scooter safety, broken heart syndrome, and more.

Prominent Vaping Researcher Asks For Study Linking E-Cigarettes To Heart Attacks To Be Retracted

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The spat is over a study that claimed adult vaping was “associated with” a doubled risk of heart attack. Brad Rodu, a University of Louisville professor, says that when he obtained the federal data, he found the majority of the 38 patients in the study who had heart attacks had them before they started vaping. In other news, Juul has hired a prominent researcher known for his work on nicotine and the adolescent brain.

Dangerous Heat Wave In Midwest, Along East Coast Prompts Officials To Find Ways To Protect Vulnerable Homeless, Seniors

KHN Morning Briefing

Around the country, cities are mobilizing outreach teams, armed with supplies of water, to check on residents living on the streets or in housing without air conditioning. “We are treating this as the emergency it is,” said Josh Kruger, communications director for the Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services. In the District of Columbia, where the heat index is supposed to reach 115 this weekend, the mayor has declared a state of emergency and is keeping shelters open round the clock so people can try to cool off.

The Small Rural Towns Where Millions Of Painkillers Flooded In Just As Economy Was Bottoming Out

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After the release of new data about just where the billions of pain pills went to during the start of the opioid crisis, media outlets take a look at the places that were hardest hit. “There’s not a lot to do,” said Dennis Boggs, 45, a chef at Burger King in a small Virginia town. That’s his explanation for the drug use. “It gives them something to do around here.” Meanwhile, rare criminal charges are brought against an Ohio opioid distributor.

Amid State-Level Wars On Abortion, Hollywood Cuts The Melodrama In Favor Of More Straight-Forward Depictions

KHN Morning Briefing

It used to be in popular culture that abortion was always portrayed as an agonizing decision that led to serious mental health complications for the women if they opted for the procedure. Now, even as the abortion wars heat up in state Legislatures, on the screen, it’s being toned down. “You’re definitely seeing more of the matter-of-fact ‘I am pregnant, I don’t want to be, I’m going to have an abortion,’” said Gretchen Sisson, a sociologist at University of California, San Francisco.

At House Hearing On Detained Children, Lawmakers Accuse Homeland Security Agency Of Having ‘Empathy Deficit’

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Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, assured lawmakers at the hearing that the “vast majority” of families who are detained at the border are being kept together. Lawmakers used the hearing to criticize the agency, which has come under fire for the conditions in which the detainees have been held as well as allegations of a toxic culture that’s supported by high-ranking officials.

EPA Announces It Won’t Ban Pesticide That Its Own Experts Say Is Linked To Serious Health Problems In Children

KHN Morning Briefing

In making the ruling on chlorpyrifos, the EPA said in a statement that the data supporting objections to the use of the pesticide was “not sufficiently valid, complete or reliable.” The agency said “there is good reason” to continue allowing farmers to use chlorpyrifos, “given the importance of this matter and the fact that critical questions remained regarding the significance of the data addressing neurodevelopmental effects.”

Biden, Sanders Duke It Out Over Health Care In Public Scuffle That Highlights Party Tensions Over High-Profile Issue

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Presidential hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden would take separate paths on how to address health care, with Sanders going for an overhaul approach and Biden favoring building on what exists. The two philosophies have come to divide a crowded pack of Democrats as the election season starts kicking into gear, and in the past few days Sanders and Biden have been publicly swiping at each other over the issue. Meanwhile, governors are particularly worried about candidates’ rhetoric about getting rid of private insurers.

Mothers Separated From Children At Border To Sue Trump Administration: ‘To Have Us Separated Was An Injustice.”

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Lawyers for the families are set to argue that the U.S. government intended to inflict emotional distress on them. They plan to make that assertion under a law that allows individuals to sue the U.S. government for negligence and misconduct. “The government clearly intended to inflict emotional distress,” said Erik Walsh, a lawyer with the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Arnold & Porter. News on the border crisis also looks at: how an asylum ban could worsen overcrowding; many teens in Florida released to families; and an agent’s alleged harassment of a mother, as well.

Dealing With The Loneliness Epidemic: ‘Tea With Strangers’ Group Is Latest Experiment To Bring People Together

KHN Morning Briefing

To fight isolation, a health problem that a former surgeon general said can be as debilitating as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, several groups are working to create in-person connections. A group started by one former lonely heart in San Francisco invites strangers to talk over tea and has caught on in more than a dozen other cities. Public health news also focuses on: higher rates of memory loss reported among LGBTQ Americans; winners and fairness issues; sleep-tracking devices; drugs that bring on memory loss in older adults; Netflix’s decision to re-edit “13 Reasons Why”; critics of “Neuralink’; coping with the heat wave; a new way to diagnose pancreatic cancer; why STI’s are more common; mosquitoes; ticks in unsightly places; and more.

Planned Parenthood Chief’s Ouster Raises Question: In This Landscape, Can Group Really Steer Away From Abortion Wars?

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Interviews with staffers suggest there were managerial problems beneath Dr. Leana Wen’s tenure. But the former chief’s departure also highlights an organization at a philosophical crossroads. Where Wen wanted to treat abortion less as a war and more as a health care issue, other leaders in the organization see an aggressive leader as necessary in this time of crisis. Meanwhile, cracks are appearing in the anti-abortion movement, as well, even as members rack up victories.

Effort To Hold Someone Accountable For Devastating Opioid Crisis Is Ever Narrowing In On Drug Companies

KHN Morning Briefing

Previously undisclosed data–obtained by The Washington Post and HD Media, publisher of the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia–on the distribution of painkillers during the epidemic cements drug companies as the target for blame. The numbers reveal “clear heinous, criminal distribution that has visibly contributed, if not caused, the crisis our country is facing with opioid use disorder,” the anti-drug group Shatterproof said in a statement. The drug companies are facing thousands of lawsuits over the issue. News on the epidemic comes out of New York, Tennessee, Arizona and Kansas, as well.

Can Autistic Kids Use Computerized Eyewear To Recognize Facial Expressions? Google Glass Researchers Say It Holds Promise.

KHN Morning Briefing

Research is being performed to see if children can learn to identify emotions and interact with people by using technology. Other advances like Alexa could also help, researchers claim, adding that rigorous testing needs to take place. Public health news also looks at: simple ways to avoid heat wave deaths; Elon Musk’s experiments for paralyzed patients; the link behind fewer children’s deaths and universal background checks; a new way to manage menstrual cycles; Latin America’s TV ad redo to fight obesity in children; paying people to stop smoking; links between early puberty and migraines in girls; benefits of going barefoot; and more.