Viewpoints: Lessons On Rising Obesity Rates; Warning Signs About Driving While Stoned
Opinion writers focus on these health topics and others.
The New York Times:
The Toll Of America’s Obesity
Obesity rates in the United States continue to worsen. So, too, does economic inequality. Are these trends related? After remaining essentially flat in the 1950s and 1960s, the prevalence of obesity doubled in adults and tripled in children between the 1970s and 2000. According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control, the epidemic shows no signs of abating. Nearly four out of 10 adults are obese; for children, it’s nearly two out of 10. Most 2-year-olds today will develop obesity by age 35, according to a recent projection from our colleagues at Harvard. (David S. Ludwig and Kenneth S. Rogoff, 8/9)
Driving Stoned: Massachusetts Standard Needed
State public safety officials see the problem of stoned driving coming at them like a freight train. They may be doing their best to head it off, but without changes in the law, their best won’t be good enough. With medical marijuana already on the scene and the first recreational pot shops being licensed, the case for keeping drugged drivers from getting behind the wheel has grown more urgent. “Right now it’s not uncommon to hear people say, ‘I drive better when I’m high,’ ” Undersecretary for Public Safety and Security Jennifer Queally said at a news conference to introduce the department’s latest anti-impaired-driving campaign. “It’s not true for alcohol and it’s not true for marijuana.'' (8/9)
Zika Prevention Begins With Educated And Empowered Patients
Unfortunately, the Zika story is not over. To date, 4,900 pregnancy-related cases of Zika have been confirmed in the U.S. territories and a recent study released by the CDC found 1 in 7 babies exposed to Zika have birth defects and other health problems. These findings are tragic and prove that while there is no vaccine for the virus, we — meaning consumers, patients, healthcare providers, the healthcare industry, etc. — need to be more mindful and proactive with "our" health and the health of Americans as a whole by first considering preventative care and second by better understanding diagnosing of the virus. (Robert Segal, 8/9)
The World Needs More Birth Control, Not Less. Can Someone Please Tell The Catholic Church?
Better than debating the minority view against contraception is focusing on the globally restricted access to it. The world, especially the developing world, needs more condoms, not fewer. (Rich Barlow, 8/9)
The New York Times:
How To Quantify A Nurse’s ‘Gut Feelings’
At the start of my shift, at 7 a.m., my patient, newly admitted a few days before for a blood cancer, was talking and acting normally. By the end of my shift, 12 hours later, she had grown confused and her speech was garbled. A CT scan revealed bleeding in her brain. She was sent to intensive care and died the next day. This was years ago, but the case still haunts me. I believe that moving faster on her treatment might have prevented her sharp decline. But the medical team didn’t share my sense of urgency, and no obvious red flags signaled a coming emergency. Without a worrisome clinical value or test result to point to, my concern alone wasn’t persuasive. (Theresa Brown, 8/9)
San Antonio Press-Express:
Kavanaugh Puts LGBT Community’s Health Care At Risk
As a proud transgendered Latina woman living in Texas, I’m extremely concerned about President Donald Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh’s record and positions on the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights, and his support for “religious freedom,” which largely allows Christian fundamentalists to discriminate against those who don’t share their beliefs, spell loss of liberty for the rest of us. (Sofia Sepulveda, 8/9)
To Reduce Opioid Prescribing, Tell Doctors When Overdoses Kill Patients
Although prescribing peaked in 2011, it has declined only moderately and is still much higher than it was prior to the epidemic. As a behavioral scientist and a county medical examiner who has to deal with more and more bodies arriving at the morgue, we wondered why physicians continued to overprescribe despite the obvious harms. ...Let’s close the loop in opioid prescribing. Doctors need to know what’s happened to their patients, and that someone is paying attention, so they can help avoid deaths while they seek to alleviate pain. (Jason Doctor and Jonathan Lucas, 8/9)
Graduate Biomedical Education Needs An Overhaul.
One of the great educational success stories is that graduate training can teach individuals how to do deep scientific investigation. Today, such training, which dates back to the middle of the 19th century, is in desperate need of an overhaul. ...The R3 Initiative focuses on the fundamental principles that unite all scientific disciplines: rigorous research methods that insure reproducibility and awareness of the responsibility all practitioners of science should feel toward society and their discipline. While preserving the strength of traditional doctoral training — the capacity for deep investigation through laboratory-based thesis work — the R3 approach moves away from teaching mainly factual, discipline-specific knowledge to providing tools for continual learning in many spheres. (Gundula Bosch and Arturo Casadevall, 8/10)
The Washington Post:
D.C. Is Beating HIV/AIDS. There’s No Excuse To Drop The Ball Now.
At its peak, the HIV rate in the District stood at approximately 3 percent — higher than in parts of West Africa. After nine consecutive years of decline between 2007 and 2016, the rate has fallen to 1.9 percent, a remarkable achievement for city health officials who deployed a multipronged strategy against the virus that causes AIDS. But a new public-health report from the D.C. Department of Health raises concerns that these efforts may be stalling. (8/9)
Kansas City Star:
Kansas City Leaders Need To Get A Handle On Gun Violence
To stem the toll homicides are taking on Kansas City, Mayor Sly James wants to regulate guns like vehicles in Missouri. And Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith says the public could help solve some murder cases if residents cooperated with law enforcement. Both arguments are intriguing. But it’s going to take much more than appealing talking points and frustrated finger-pointing at state lawmakers to quell gun violence in the city. At least 25 people were wounded by gunfire last week. Six of the shootings were fatal. (8/9)