Editorial authors examine these public health issues.
The New York Times: Headache research is advancing, though cures are elusive
I have a headache. Not the inferior, annoying “I have a headache” headache. I get that too. Almost everyone does, and they are a burden. No, when I say that I get a headache, I mean that a knot of pain rises deep in my head at largely unpredictable intervals, which is invariably perceived behind my right eyeball. Then it quickly clicks its way through the intensity scale, racing past the dull ache you might get from staring at the screen for too long, skipping the gloom you had the morning after your brother’s wedding, and skipping the excruciating, but fleeting stab of an ice cream headache and within a few minutes a pain so piercing and persistent that all I can do is grab something sturdy, rock it back and forth, and grunt until it subsides. (Tom Zeller Jr., July 23rd)
Newsweek: The pandemic won many for the cosmetic surgery knife
Many of us spent the pandemic months thinking about what our mug looked like on Zoom and other video chat services. Poor lighting was agony, and the lack of sunshine and exercise resulted in what is known as the “lockdown face”. In face-to-face meetings, we only see the people we speak to. Video calls – be it via Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or any other platform – confront us with a square on the screen reserved for our own kisser. This is usually a close-up with fine lines and droopy eyelids. Many of us didn’t like what we saw and something had to be done. Often it was a bit of cosmetic surgery. (from Harrop, July 22nd)
Modern Healthcare: Want to Avoid the Next Public Health Crisis? Have a strong preventive medicine workforce
Face the Facts: Our healthcare system was not prepared for COVID-19. From skyrocketing admission rates in emergency rooms and intensive care units to plummeting amounts of critical supplies, constant misinformation, and inconsistent testing, we’ve been taken by surprise. Before COVID-19, our healthcare system was bowed under the weight of the epidemic of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other chronic conditions that were common indicators of higher mortality from COVID-19. These diseases affect more than 129 million Americans and kill more than 1.7 million people each year – more than twice as many lives as the pandemic in the United States (Dr. M. “Tonette” Krousel-Wood, 7/22)
Statistics: Medicine needs to see what disability means, looks and feels
Licensors, employers and others have asked about my status: disabled or not disabled? When I first read this question on my new job onboarding forms, I was impressed with the consistency and dichotomy implied between the two possibilities. At the same time, I also appreciated that the impetus for this request was the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which had protected me throughout my internal medicine residency. This pioneering piece of legislation prohibits discrimination and promises reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with medical, physical and / or mental disabilities. (Maggie Salinger, July 23rd)
Bloomberg: Delta, Covid, RSV, Flu: What’s Worse Than a Pandemic? A twilight chemistry
The boring old winter flu is probably not at the top of the list of worries in the age of SARS-CoV-2. Especially not in the middle of a summer heat wave. And yet it should. Mankind has become so used to the annual flu waves that this was the baseline comparison when Covid first hit. (It will just be another flu, we said.) The implication was that the levels of flu, hospitalizations, and deaths were acceptable, even inevitable. (Therese Raphael, July 23rd)
Kansas City Star: Low-Income Missourians Earn Medicaid Expansion
On Thursday, the Missouri Supreme Court said – in a clear, unanimous vote – that Medicaid’s expansion is constitutional. That means 275,000 people who are now eligible for Medicaid will soon have to be enrolled in the program if they apply. It was a good day for the rule of law. It’s been a great day for the working poor who can get someone to look at that excruciating cough or skin infection. All Missourians should celebrate. You won your case. (7/22)
Statistics: Some patient advocacy organizations need a paradigm shift
Following the controversial approval of Biogens Aduhelm by the Food and Drug Administration last month, Alzheimer’s Association CEO Harry Johns condemned the “negative voices” focusing on the flaws in the FDA approval as “not pro-patient “. The Alzheimer’s Association wasn’t the only patient advocate to welcome the FDA’s questionable decision based on changes to a surrogate endpoint for Alzheimer’s disease – reduction in amyloid in the brain, a finding the FDA previously rejected and dozens earlier Studies could not be associated with better dementia outcomes. (Michael S. Sinha and Stephen Latham, July 23)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a round-up of health coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.