Viewpoints: Parkland Students Denounce Lack Of Federal Gun Reforms; Time To Listen To The States Legalizing Cannabis
Editorial pages focus on these public health issues and others.
The Washington Post:
Since Parkland, We’ve Been Demanding Action. Now It’s Time To Join Us.
On Feb. 14, our lives were forever changed by a gunman who killed 17 of our classmates and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. In just 11 minutes, our childhood ended. Our eyes were opened to a harsh reality: Mass shootings happen more frequently in America than anyplace else on the planet, and the gun lobby buys the silence of too many of our elected officials. (David Hogg and Emma González, 11/5)
The New York Times:
A Profusion Of Diagnoses. That’s Good And Bad.
Since the 1980s, there’s been rapid expansion in the number and complexity of medical diagnoses — a trend known as “medicalization.” A recent study found that the cost of 12 newly medicalized conditions — things like irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, low testosterone, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — now approaches $80 billion a year, or about 4 percent of total health care spending. That’s about as much as we spend on heart disease or cancer, and more than we spend on public health initiatives. Our ever-expanding armamentarium of diagnoses no doubt offers comfort, attention and a path to treatment for many previously undiagnosed — and undiagnosable — patients. But we may also be medicalizing much of normal human behavior — labeling the healthy as diseased, and exposing them to undue risk of stigma, testing and treatment. (Dhruv Khullar, M.D., 11/6)
Medical Schools Are Failing To Teach Doctors To Discuss Abortion
Safe, legal abortion is an essential part of health care. Nearly one-quarter of American women will have an abortion in their lifetimes, despite barriers such as closed clinics, lack of insurance coverage, and various forms of stigma. Providing abortion care also has its barriers, due in large part to the anti-abortion activism that distorts this basic health service. But there are hidden contributors as well, which pose more insidious risks to abortion access: Aspiring doctors are learning harmful ways of discussing abortion and their medical schools are doing little to stop it. (Benjamin E.Y. Smith, 11/6)
The New York Times:
Peer Review: The Worst Way To Judge Research, Except For All The Others
Even before the recent news that a group of researchers managed to get several ridiculous fake studies published in reputable academic journals, people have been aware of problems with peer review. Throwing out the system — which deems whether research is robust and worth being published — would do more harm than good. But it makes sense to be aware of peer review’s potential weaknesses. (Aaron E. Carroll, 11/5)
The Washington Post:
Keep Your Secondhand Smoke Off My Nachos, Please
In 2003, Montgomery County’s landmark clean indoor air act took effect, ensuring smoke-free air protections in places such as schools, health-care facilities and county office buildings. Thanks to that law, the county also became the first in Maryland — and among the earliest on the East Coast — to ensure 100 percent smoke-free air in all indoor restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments. In fall 2018, we have the chance to make history again. Bill 35-18, introduced by County Council member Sidney Katz (D-District 3), would make Montgomery County the first county in Maryland to have a smoke-free outdoor dining law. (Adam Zimmerman, 11/2)
Los Angeles Times:
Preexisting Conditions, Dialysis, Rent Control And The Gas Tax: A Preelection Guide For Voters
Figuring out how to bestow your vote can be nerve-racking even in normal elections. Tuesday’s election may be especially fraught with tension, given that Donald Trump’s racist duck calls have sullied the very principle of representative democracy. Things are especially complicated in California, where voters are confronted not only with races for governor, U.S. Senate and Congress, but 11 ballot measures. We’ve looked into the pros and cons of four of these over the last year or so, so to help readers understand what’s at stake, here’s a digest of what we’ve found. We’ll start with one overarching issue to consider when casting a vote for the House of Representatives — healthcare — and move down the ballot from there. (Michael Hiltzik, 11/5)
Diabetes Awareness Month: What The Diabetes Community Wants You To Know
My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 2006. He wasn’t yet two years old and most of what we knew about diabetes came from Wilford Brimley commercials. In the 12 years since, I’ve tried to educate and advocate about all types of diabetes. I host a podcast, and with November being Diabetes Awareness Month, I asked my audience: What would you like people without diabetes to know? Here are their answers: Diabetes is no one’s choice. No one with any type of diabetes deserves it or wants it. Yes, people with type 2 diabetes may be able to control their condition with diet and exercise, but if it were just that easy, everyone would be a size two. There are genetic and environmental factors contributing to diabetes in ways we don’t yet understand. Stop the blame and shame. (Stacey Simms, 11/5)
The Star Tribune:
Business Community Lends Its Muscle To Improve Mental Health Care In Minnesota.
This finding in a new report on Minnesota’s health care outcomes is heartbreaking: Just 8 percent of adults who seek medical care for depression — one of the most common mental illnesses — will be in remission at six months. The situation is even grimmer when looking at past years’ findings from the nonprofit Minnesota Community Measurement (MCM) group, which gathers and reports information on health care quality, cost and patient experience to drive state improvement. (11/5)