Federal Laws Protect Workers From Losing Jobs Because Of Depression. But Churches Are Exempted From That Rule.
Psychologists who specialize in treating ministers say that Christian pastors are still regularly fired after church elders discover they suffer from depression, bipolar disorder or other mental-health problems, and there are no protections in place to help them. In other public health news: fish oil, sepsis, doctor-patient relationships, chronic inflammation, safe driving, the burden of being a caregiver, and more.
The Wall Street Journal:
‘It’s Like I Got Kicked Out Of My Family.’ Churches Struggle With Mental Health In The Ranks.
In most industries, federal laws protect workers with disabilities, including mental illness. Church is an exception. Employees including pastors are still regularly fired after disclosing mental-health problems. For eight years, Brady Herbert led a booming church in Waco, Texas. The congregation had a couple hundred members when he took over and grew to an average of more than 1,200 people on Sundays. By early 2018, he told the church’s elders he was burning out and needed a break. They gave him a paid leave. (Lovett, 1/20)
The New York Times:
Fish Oil Supplements Tied To Sperm Health
Taking fish oil supplements may improve sperm quality in healthy young men, a new analysis suggests. Researchers studied 1,679 Danish men taking physical examinations for compulsory military service. Their average age was 19, and 98 of them reported taking fish oil supplements during the previous three months. (Bakalar, 1/17)
Treating Sepsis With Vitamin C And Steroid Mix Proved Ineffective In Study
Hope for an effective and inexpensive treatment for the deadly condition sepsis has dimmed following results of a major new study. Researchers had hoped that a simple treatment involving infusions of vitamin C, vitamin B1 and steroids would work against a disease that kills an estimated 270,000 people each year in the United States and 11 million globally. Sepsis, or blood poisoning, occurs when the body overreacts to infection. It leads to leaky blood vessels, which can cause multiple organ failure. (Harris, 1/17)
The Washington Post:
How Can You Be An Assertive Patient Without Antagonizing Your Doctor?
Was that a grin-and-bear-it expression your doctor flashed when greeting you? In what may be a well-kept professional secret, physicians dread encounters with about 15 percent of their patients. In 1978, the New England Journal of Medicine published what has become a classic on the subject: “Taking Care of the Hateful Patient.” (Clicksman, 1/19)
The Washington Post:
Chronic Inflammation Is Long Lasting, Insidious, Dangerous. And You May Not Even Know You Have It.
Most of us think of inflammation as the redness and swelling that follow a wound, infection or injury, such as an ankle sprain, or from overdoing a sport, “tennis elbow,” for example. This is “acute” inflammation, a beneficial immune system response that encourages healing, and usually disappears once the injury improves. But chronic inflammation is less obvious and often more insidious. (Cimons, 1/20)
This Coat Design Isn't Just Saving Lives. It's Launching New Careers For Homeless People
Now, a nonprofit aimed at solving that problem has accidentally led to one of the most successful homeless employment programs as the country's homeless crisis keeps growing. "This is so much bigger than anything I could have imagined," said Veronika Scott, the 30-year-old CEO and founder of the Empowerment Plan.The plan hires homeless people and teaches them how to make coats for the destitute suffering on the streets. These are not your typical coats. They transform into storage totes and full-length sleeping bags to protect against frostbite or death. (Yan, 1/21)
New Laws Could Protect Drivers From Highway ‘Ice Missiles’
At least four states — Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont — have bills pending that would require drivers to clear off excessive ice and snow and would impose fines for violators, said Samantha Bloch, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states allow police to ticket motorists if their vehicle is considered a danger or the driver can’t see through an icy or snowy windshield, Bloch said. But only a handful have laws specific to ice missiles. (Bergal, 1/21)
Patients Want To Die At Home, But Home Hospice Care Can Be Tough On Families
"I'm not anti-hospice at at all," says Joy Johnston, a writer from Atlanta. "But I think people aren't prepared for all the effort that it takes to give someone a good death at home." Even though surveys show it's what most Americans say they want, dying at home is "not all it's cracked up to be," says Johnson, who relocated to New Mexico at age 40 to care for her dying mother some years ago, and ultimately wrote an essay about her frustrations with the way hospice care often works in the U.S. (Farmer, 1/21)
Your Waist Size May Be More Important Than Weight For Multiple Heart Attack Risk
Heart attack survivors who carry extra weight around their belly are at greater risk of another heart attack, new research has found, another reason why measuring your waist may be more important than stepping on the scale. It's been known for a while that having a pot belly, even if you are slim elsewhere, increases the odds of having a first heart attack, but the latest study, which published Monday in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, is the first time researchers have found a link between belly fat and the risk of a subsequent heart attack or stroke. (Hunt, 1/20)
Baby Trend Strollers Sold At Target And Amazon Recalled For Fall Risk
Baby Trend is recalling some strollers sold at Target and Amazon because of a potential danger to the children riding in them.Both of the product's hinge joints can release and collapse under pressure, posing a fall hazard to children in the stroller, according to a notice posted late last week by the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission. Consumers who purchased any of four models of black Tango Mini Strollers should stop using them immediately and return for a refund, the company said. (Gibson, 1/20)
The Wall Street Journal:
A Placebo For Pain Relief—Even When You Know It’s Not Real
Some patients with chronic pain can get relief from a placebo even when they know it isn’t an active medication, a growing body of evidence shows. More researchers are looking at the idea of placebos—substances that have no actual pharmaceutical effect—as an alternative to traditional pain medications, which can be ineffective and carry significant side effects. Placebos might have particular potential for difficult-to-treat conditions like chronic back pain, cancer-related fatigue and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, researchers hope. (Reddy, 1/20)
The Washington Post:
Getting Enough Vitamin D In Wintertime Is Important To Your Health
Winter is upon us and so is the risk of vitamin D deficiency and infections. Vitamin D — which is made in our skin following sunlight exposure and also found in oily fish (mackerel, tuna and sardines), mushrooms and fortified dairy and nondairy substitutes — is essential for good health. Humans need vitamin D to keep healthy and to fight infections. The irony is that in winter, when people need vitamin D the most, most of us are not getting enough. So how much should we take? Should we take supplements? How do we get more? And, who needs it most? (Cantorna, 1/19)
What Is Perimenopause And How Young Can It Start?
Sarah Edrie says she was about 33 when she started to occasionally get a sudden, hot, prickly feeling that radiated into her neck and face, leaving her flushed and breathless. "Sometimes I would sweat. And my heart would race," she says. The sensations subsided in a few moments and seemed to meet the criteria for a panic attack. But Edrie, who has no personal or family history of anxiety, was baffled. She told her doctor and her gynecologist about the episodes, along with a few other health concerns she was starting to notice: Her menstrual cycle was becoming irregular, she had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and she was getting night sweats. Their response: a shrug. (Vaughn and Chatterjee, 1/18)
Los Angeles Times:
Closing Coal Power Plants Has Saved Thousands Of Lives, Study Says
The number of coal-fired power plants in operation across the country has plummeted in recent years, quickly changing the power mix — especially in states such as California. But what has that change meant in terms of health? Or even in the number of crops produced? (Nikolewski, 1/20)
Historically Racist Housing Policies Exacerbating Climate Change Effects In Low-Income Portland Neighborhoods
As the climate warms, heat waves are predicted to increase in both frequency and intensity. But that heat, and the threats to public health that come with it, will not be distributed evenly. In cities like Portland, some areas are referred to as “heat islands,” areas where development has exacerbated the effects of high temperatures. Now, a new study from Portland State University is showing, for the first time, that areas prone to excessive heat are disproportionately populated by low-income communities and people of color due to racist housing policies that stretch back more than a century. (Williams, 1/20)
Kaiser Health News:
Diagnosed With Dementia, She Documented Her Wishes. They Said No.
When she worked on the trading floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, long before cellphone calculators, Susan Saran could perform complex math problems in her head. Years later, as one of its top regulators, she was in charge of investigating insider trading deals. Today, she struggles to remember multiplication tables. Seven years ago, at age 57, Saran was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a progressive, fatal brain disease. She had started forgetting things, losing focus at the job she’d held for three decades. Then tests revealed the grim diagnosis. (Aleccia, 1/21)