Weekly Reader - October 31, 2022

Welcome to Finestra’s Weekly Reader, wherein we recount intriguing, important, or infamous health care-related stories you may have missed over the past week.

Weekly Reader - October 31, 2022
Photo by Mathew Schwartz / Unsplash

Welcome to Finestra’s Weekly Reader, wherein we recount intriguing, important, or infamous health care-related stories you may have missed over the past week.

  • Climate Change Magnifies Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke in Care Deserts. (Kaiser Health News) "Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges shows the number of pulmonary disease specialists in the U.S. dropped nearly 11% from 2014 to 2019."
  • This online resource helps older adults prepare for doctor’s visits. (The Washington Post) “Between new technologies, a confusing health-care system, hurried providers and health issues such as memory and hearing loss, doctors and aging patients sometimes have trouble finding common ground. And negative stereotypes about aging can leave patients feeling condescended to or unheard.”
  • Hospitals Have Been Slow to Bring On Addiction Specialists. (Kaiser Health News) “Discharging a patient without specialized addiction care can mean losing a crucial opportunity to intervene and treat someone at the hospital. Most hospitals don’t have specialists who know how to treat addiction, and other clinicians might not know what to do.”
  • A ‘Tripledemic’? Flu and Other Infections Return as Covid Cases Rise. (New York Times) “Flu cases are higher than usual for this time of year and are expected to soar in the coming weeks. A third virus, R.S.V., is straining pediatric hospitals in some states.”
  • If You’re Worried About the Environment, Consider Being Composted When You Die. (Kaiser Health News) “Human composting doesn’t mean you’re tossed into a bin with potato peels, crushed eggshells, and coffee grounds. Rather, you’d be placed in a metal or wooden vessel, enveloped by organic materials such as wood chips, alfalfa, and straw, and then slowly reduced to a nutrient-packed soil.”
  • It’s A Bad Time To Be A Booster Slacker. (The Atlantic) “Since the new booster became available in early September, fewer than 20 million Americans have gotten the shot, according to the CDC—just 8.5 percent of those who are eligible.”
  • BMI: The Mismeasure of Weight and the Mistreatment of Obesity. (Kaiser Health News) "[BMI was] invented almost 200 years ago by a Belgian mathematician as part of his quest to use statistics to define the 'average man.'"
  • Experts say children should get a COVID-19 bivalent booster. Here’s what you need to know. (Public Broadcasting Service) “The latest CDC data shows that less than a third of children ages 5-11 have been fully vaccinated with the initial two-dose vaccine series. For 12- to 15-year-olds, that figure is nearly 56 percent — still far below the 78 percent of people 18 and older who’ve received the two initial doses of the vaccine.”
  • Baby, That Bill Is High: Private Equity ‘Gambit’ Squeezes Excessive ER Charges From Routine Births. (Kaiser Health News) "[OBEDs] come with a requirement that patients with pregnancy or postpartum medical concerns be seen quickly by a qualified provider, which can be important in a real emergency. But it also means healthy patients […] get bills for emergency care they didn’t know they got."
  • Sober October: How a month of no drinking can benefit your sleep, overall health. (CNBC) “You've probably heard of Dry January, but what about Sober October? People all across the country use the month of October to dedicate 31 days to being alcohol-free. Not only do participants experience the general clarity that comes with being sober, but many also see some physical and mental health benefits as well.”
  • New Generation of Weight Loss Medications Offer Promise — But at a Price. (Kaiser Health News) "[…No] single [weight-loss] drug is a magic solution by itself, and it’s possible many patients will need to take the drugs long term to maintain results. On top of that, the newest treatments are often very costly and often not covered by insurance."