Health care spending in the United States greatly exceeds that in other wealthy countries, but the U.S. does not achieve better health outcomes. Policymakers commonly attribute this spending disparity to overuse of medical services and underinvestment in social services in the U.S. However, there has been relatively little data analysis performed to confirm that assumption. Writing in JAMA, researchers led by former Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow Irene Papanicolas and mentor Ashish Jha, M.D., report findings from their study comparing the U.S. with 10 other high-income countries to better understand why health care spending in the U.S. is so much greater.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/29/health/coronavirus-n95-face-masks.html, posted Mar '20 by peter in health science security
“Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” the surgeon general, Jerome M. Adams, said in a tweet on Saturday morning. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
It is one unintended consequence of the Fukushima nuclear disaster almost a decade ago, which forced Japan to all but close its nuclear power program. Japan now plans to build as many as 22 new coal-burning power plants — one of the dirtiest sources of electricity — at 17 different sites in the next five years, just at a time when the world needs to slash carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming.
Even in a dense city like Paris, which has more than 21,000 residents per square mile, the concept as laid out by the Hidalgo campaign group Paris en Commun is bold. Taken at a citywide level, it would require a sort of anti-zoning—“deconstructing the city” as Hidalgo adviser Carlos Moreno, a professor at Paris-Sorbonne University, puts it. “There are six things that make an urbanite happy” he told Liberation. “Dwelling in dignity, working in proper conditions, [being able to gain] provisions, well-being, education and leisure. To improve quality of life, you need to reduce the access radius for these functions.” That commitment to bringing all life’s essentials to each neighborhood means creating a more thoroughly integrated urban fabric, where stores mix with homes, bars mix with health centers, and schools with office buildings.
https://parenting.nytimes.com/health/fatherhood-mens-bodies, posted Aug '19 by peter in health parenting science
Dr. Ruth Feldman, Ph.D., a social neuroscientist based in Israel, published a study of 112 mothers and fathers in 2010 which found that peaks in oxytocin (and by association, dopamine) occurred for women when they nurtured their children. In contrast, the peak for men occurred when they took part in rough-and-tumble play. Because young children’s brains seem to mimic the same oxytocin levels as their parents’ — meaning they’ll get a similar blast of feel-good oxytocin when playing with Dad and when being nurtured by Mom — they’ll be more likely to engage in that behavior over and over again specifically with that parent, which is critical to their development. Rough-and-tumble play not only cements bonds between father and child, but also plays crucial roles in a child’s social development.
https://www.seriouseats.com/2019/01/ask-the-food-lab-the-truth-about-msg.html, posted Mar '19 by peter in food health science
So where does that leave us in terms of using it for cooking? In the end, it seems that the subgroup sensitive to MSG is small enough and the adverse reaction rare enough that in all likelihood you’re gonna be just fine using it in your own food, especially if you make sure to eat a little MSG-free stuff to lay down a bed in your belly before getting to the goods. Moreover all evidence suggests that the effects are at worst a short-term discomfort with no long-lasting consequences.
Complementary Medicine, Refusal of Conventional Cancer Therapy, and Survival Among Patients With Curable Cancers
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2687972, posted 2018 by peter in health science
Question What patient characteristics are associated with use of complementary medicine for cancer and what is the association of complementary medicine with treatment adherence and survival?
Findings In this cohort study of 1 901 815 patients, use of complementary medicine varied by several factors and was associated with refusal of conventional cancer treatment, and with a 2-fold greater risk of death compared with patients who had no complementary medicine use.
Meaning Patients who received complementary medicine were more likely to refuse other conventional cancer treatment, and had a higher risk of death than no complementary medicine; however, this survival difference could be mediated by adherence to all recommended conventional cancer therapies.
Evidence That Lifelong Low Dose Rates of Ionizing Radiation Increase Lifespan in Long- and Short-Lived Dogs
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5347275/, posted 2018 by peter in health science
After the 1956 radiation scare to stop weapons testing, studies focused on cancer induction by low-level radiation. Concern has shifted to protecting “radiation-sensitive individuals.” Since longevity is a measure of health impact, this analysis reexamined data to compare the effect of dose rate on the lifespans of short-lived (5% and 10% mortality) dogs and on the lifespans of dogs at 50% mortality. The data came from 2 large-scale studies. One exposed 10 groups to different γ dose rates; the other exposed 8 groups to different lung burdens of plutonium. Reexamination indicated that normalized lifespans increased more for short-lived dogs than for average dogs, when radiation was moderately above background. This was apparent by interpolating between the lifespans of nonirradiated dogs and exposed dogs. The optimum lifespan increase appeared at 50 mGy/y. The threshold for harm (decreased lifespan) was 700 mGy/y for 50% mortality dogs and 1100 mGy/y for short-lived dogs. For inhaled α-emitting particulates, longevity was remarkably increased for short-lived dogs below the threshold for harm. Short-lived dogs seem more radiosensitive than average dogs and they benefit more from low radiation. If dogs model humans, this evidence would support a change to radiation protection policy. Maintaining exposures “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) appears questionable.
www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/what-s-really-behind-gluten-sensitivity, posted 2018 by peter in food health science
As data trickle in, entrenched camps have emerged. Some researchers are convinced that many patients have an immune reaction to gluten or another substance in wheat—a nebulous illness sometimes called nonceliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).
Others believe most patients are actually reacting to an excess of poorly absorbed carbohydrates present in wheat and many other foods. Those carbohydrates—called FODMAPs, for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols—can cause bloating when they ferment in the gut. If FODMAPs are the primary culprit, thousands of people may be on gluten-free diets with the support of their doctors and dietitians but without good reason.
Those competing theories were on display in a session on wheat sensitivity at a celiac disease symposium held at Columbia in March. In back-to-back talks, Lundin made the case for FODMAPs, and Alaedini for an immune reaction. But in an irony that underscores how muddled the field has become, both researchers started their quests believing something completely different.
Researchers at Curtin University in Australia observed 20 participants working at standing desks for two hours.
They found discomfort “significantly” increased for the lower back and lower limb regions, which correlates with previous research suggesting standing desk is responsible for swelling of the veins, which can endanger the heart.
Mental reactiveness also slowed down after roughly an hour and a quarter, however “creative” decision making was shown to marginally improve.