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Updated: 2 hours 39 min ago

The Internet Has a Cancer-Faking Problem

May 10, 2019

(The Atlantic) – This condition of faking illness online has a name: “Munchausen by internet,” or MBI. It’s a form of factitious disorder, the mental disorder formerly known as Munchausen syndrome, in which people feign illness or actually make themselves sick for sympathy and attention. According to Marc Feldman, the psychiatrist at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa who coined the term MBI back in 2000, people with the condition are often motivated to lie by a need to control the reactions of others, particularly if they feel out of control in their own lives. He believes that the veil of the internet makes MBI much more common among Americans than the 1 percent in hospitals who are estimated to have factitious disorder.

More Than 700 Cases of Mumps in the US This Year, CDC Says

May 10, 2019

(CNN) – There have been 736 cases of mumps reported in the United States this year as of April 26, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s an increase of 310 cases of the illness in the last month. Previously, the CDC reported 426 cases of mumps as of the end of March.
The cases have been reported in 41 states and the District of Columbia.

The Rise of the Nursefluencers

May 10, 2019

(Vox) – On the other hand, regular influencers don’t usually have to worry about whether promoting, say, CBD oil violates medical ethics. HIPAA, the law that protects patient privacy and medical records, is also presumably not a high-priority consideration. But for Sarah, and many young health care professionals like her, a sizeable Instagram following is a salve for a litany of problems experienced by those in the field: burnout, odd hours, and a lack of a creative outlet, to start. So it’s not surprising that within the past few months, tons of accounts like hers have popped up, gaining huge followings — largely made up of fellow medical professionals — by posting an insider’s view of the industry.

Same-Sex Couples and Singles Use of Fertility Treatment Hits UK Record

May 10, 2019

(Thomas Reuters Foundation) – More people in Britain are opting for fertility treatment with the fastest growth among same-sex couples, single women and surrogates, the fertility watchdog said on Thursday, as modern families become increasingly diverse. While heterosexual couples accounted for 91 percent of patients – having about 68,000 treatment cycles in 2017 – they saw the smallest increase on 2016 of 2 percent, data from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) showed. On the other hand, treatments for female same-sex couples rose by 12 percent – to 4,463 cycles – and for single women by 4 percent – to 2,279 cycles – and for surrogates by 22 percent – to 302 cycles.

How Big a Problem Is Religious Objection in Health Care?

May 10, 2019

(NPR) – When a health care provider feels they have been forced to do something they disagree with on moral or religious grounds, they can file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services. Some high-profile cases have involved nurses who objected to abortion. For the last decade, HHS has gotten an average of one of those complaints per year. Last year, though, that number jumped to 343.

Genetic Medicine Is Poised to Create New Inequality. Here’s How to Fix It.

May 10, 2019

(Undark) – The Harvard team had stumbled upon one of the little-discussed skeletons in the closet of the burgeoning field of genetic medicine: Because the databases used in genetics research consist overwhelmingly of genomes from people of European descent, they can easily lead to misdiagnoses for the non-Europeans who make up the vast majority of the world’s population. In the Cambridge case, doctors diagnosed the hereditary form of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy by searching patients’ genomes for “pathogenic” genetic variants — those that rarely appeared in healthy control groups, as determined from a reference DNA database. However, most of the information in these reference databases was based on clinical studies done mainly on people of European lineage. The genetic variants flagged as pathogenic for the five African American patients turned out to be harmless, and quite common in people of African descent.

Hepatitis A Infections Increased by Nearly 300% Over Two Years, Report Says

May 9, 2019

(CNN) – Hepatitis A, a vaccine-preventable illness, like measles, has made a resurgence among adults in the United States who are at risk for the infection, according to a new report. Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed the number of cases reported to the agency through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System from 2013 to 2018. Hepatitis A infections increased 294% between 2016 and 2018, according to the study, published Thursday in the MMWR weekly report.

Coca-Cola Spent 8 mn Euros to Influence Research in France: Report

May 9, 2019

(Medical Xpress) – US beverage giant Coca-Cola paid more than eight million euros in France to health professionals and researchers in a bid to influence research, according to an investigation by French newspaper Le Monde published on Thursday. The newspaper said the aim of the funds was to have research published that would divert attention away from the detrimental effect of sugary drinks on health.

Gallbladders May Be Removed Too Often

May 9, 2019

(Reuters) – Many patients with gallstones and abdominal pain don’t feel better after a procedure to remove their gallbladder, and a recent study suggests this surgery may not always be necessary. Treatment guidelines in many countries recommend that doctors perform a minimally invasive operation known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy to remove the gallbladder when patients have abdominal pain associated with gallstones. But in non-emergency cases, there’s no consensus on how doctors should choose which patients might be better off with nonsurgical treatments and lifestyle changes.

State Bans Pesticide Linked to Developmental Problems

May 9, 2019

(Kaiser Health News) – California will ban the use of a widely used pesticide in the face of “mounting evidence” that it causes developmental problems in children, state officials announced Wednesday. Several studies have linked prenatal exposure of chlorpyrifos to lower birth weights, lower IQs, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism symptoms in children. The chemical is mostly used on crops — including citrus, almonds and grapes — but is also applied on golf courses and in other non-agricultural settings.

Radiation Therapy Consent Forms Too Difficult to Read

May 9, 2019

(Reuters) – Cancer patients usually get written consent forms to sign before radiation that are supposed to clearly spell out the treatment risks, but a new U.S. study suggests these forms are too complex for most patients to easily understand. While radiotherapy has become more precise in recent years, it can still damage some healthy cells and tissues in addition to destroying the cancer.

Children Conceived Via IVF Do Not Develop Slower

May 9, 2019

(Daily Mail) – Children conceived via IVF and other fertility treatments do not develop slower, research suggests. Babies born through assisted-reproduction technology (ART) are more likely to be premature or have a low birth weight, studies have shown. This has left some hopeful parents fearful that opting for IVF will cause their child to be ‘abnormal’, researchers claim. However, a new study has silenced these concerns after demonstrating youngsters born via ART are just as likely to achieve their developmental milestones as those conceived naturally.

The Vibrant Life of a Man with Early-Stage Dementia Challenges Every Common Assumption

May 9, 2019

(Quartz) – And the prospect of losing oneself, in general, often frightens people far more than the threat of physical pain. In Oregon, one of six US states with laws allowing physician-assisted suicide, only a quarter of the 1,275 terminally people who requested life-ending medications between 1998 and 2017 said they feared uncontrollable pain, according to a recent report in the California Sunday Magazine. A full 90.9% said they feared losing their autonomy. (All states bar dementia patients from accessing life-ending drugs.)

FDA Takes New Steps to Bolster Research on Pregnant and Lactating Women

May 8, 2019

(STAT News) – F ederal health officials on Wednesday rolled out two new draft guidances about how to study drug safety and efficacy in pregnant and lactating women, the latest in a series of steps to make sure women have the information they need to make medical decisions. The draft documents, released by the Food and Drug Administration, give drug makers insight into the agency’s thinking on when they should study a medicine in lactating women and how they can better monitor outcomes in pregnant women who are taking medications that have already been approved.

Addiction Medicine Mostly Prescribed to Whites, Even as Opioid Deaths Rose in Blacks

May 8, 2019

(NPR) – White drug users addicted to heroin, fentanyl and other opioids have had near exclusive access to buprenorphine, a drug that curbs the craving for opioids and reduces the chance of a fatal overdose. That’s according to a study out Wednesday from the University of Michigan. It appears in JAMA Psychiatry. Researchers reviewed two national surveys of physician-reported prescriptions. Between 2012 and 2015, as overdose deaths surged in many states, so did the number of visits during which a doctor or nurse practitioner prescribed buprenorphine, often referred to by its brand name, Suboxone. The researchers assessed 13.4 million medical encounters involving the drug, but found no increase in prescriptions written for African Americans and other minorities.

Driverless Cars: Researchers Have Made a Wrong Turn

May 8, 2019

(Nature) – This leads to something many academics overlook: driverless does not mean humanless. My research on the history of technology suggests that such advances might reduce the need for human labour, but it seldom, if ever, eliminates that need entirely. Regulators in the United States and elsewhere have never signed off on the use of algorithms crucial to safety without there being some accompanying human oversight.

In This Doctor’s Office, a Physical Exam Like No Other

May 8, 2019

(New York Times) – But on Wednesday, Dr. Snyder and his colleagues published a study suggesting that big data may succeed where conventional medicine fails. In 109 volunteers whose bodies were closely tracked and analyzed, the researchers discovered a host of hidden conditions that required medical attention, including diabetes and heart disease. “It turns out 53 out of 109 people learned something really, really important from doing these deep profiles,” Dr. Snyder said.

Viruses Genetically Engineered to Kill Bacteria Rescue Girl with Antibiotic-Resistant Infection

May 8, 2019

(Science) – With the standard treatments failing, Isabelle’s mother asked Spencer about alternatives—adding that she had read something about using viruses to kill bacteria. Spencer decided to take a gamble on what seemed like a far-fetched idea: phages, viruses that can destroy bacteria and have a long—if checkered—history as medical treatments. She collaborated with leading phage researchers, who concocted a cocktail of the first genetically engineered phages ever used as a treatment—and the first directed at a Mycobacterium, a genus that includes tuberculosis (TB). After 6 months of the tailor-made phage infusions, Isabelle’s wounds healed and her condition improved with no serious side effects, the authors report today in Nature Medicine.

Student Who Sued Over Chickenpox Vaccination Has the Disease

May 8, 2019

(ABC News) – The lawyer for a Kentucky high school student who wasn’t allowed to participate in school activities because he wasn’t vaccinated for chickenpox says his client has now contracted the illness. Attorney Christopher Wiest of Covington told The Kentucky Enquirer that 18-year-old Jerome Kunkel came down with chickenpox last week. Wiest says Kunkel is “fine” and “a little itchy.” After an outbreak, students who weren’t vaccinated were ordered to stay away from Our Lady of the Assumption Church school and activities.

Dementia-Related Marker Found in Former Pro Athletes with Concussion History

May 8, 2019

(Reuters) – Levels of a protein called tau in spinal fluid may help predict which former pro athletes with multiple concussions will end up with long lasting effects from their history of jolts to the brain, a new study suggests. Elevated tau levels found in some concussed former athletes were associated with signs of damage to brain-cell connection bundles on brain scans and with poorer performance on cognitive tests, the study team reports in Neurology.

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