Editorial writers focus on on these public health stories and others.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Vaping Bans Like Massachusetts’ Will Not Stop Illness Outbreak
Vaping-related illnesses have captured the attention of public officials and news media alike, and the evidence is alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of last Thursday, over 1,000 cases of lung injury associated with vaping products have been reported in the last few months, with most patients reporting that they used THC-containing products. Many cases are gruesome; one Mayo Clinic pathologist likened the injuries to those seen in people exposed to poisons like mustard gas. Though documented injuries and deaths have been climbing, the cause is not clear because the cases to date have not linked to a single product or substance. Though the CDC has cautioned those purchasing vaping products to avoid getting them from informal sources (or “off the street”), it is also possible that legal, regulated products are partly to blame. Simply put, we need more evidence. (Shaleen Title and Michael S. Sinha, 10/7)
Boston Globe: Governor Baker, Lift The Ban So Adults Can Vape
Two weeks ago, Governor Charlie Baker pushed through a ban on vaping. Although it applies only to those who sell e-cigarette supplies, and it’s for only four months, the net effect for most who vape is that they can no longer engage in the practice. Some are heading to New Hampshire for their supplies, and others might turn to the black market. But for the rest, vaping is no longer an option. (Tom Keane, 10/7)
Stat: Free-Trade Policies Contributed To The Opioid Overdose Epidemic
To examine the connection between trade policies and opioid deaths, we analyzed county-level data from both the Department of Labor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As we wrote in the journal SSM ‑ Population Health, for every 1,000 people who lost their jobs in a county there was a 2.7% rise in opioid-related overdose deaths. After fentanyl entered regional heroin supplies in 2013, the same 1,000 trade-related job losses led to an 11.3% spike in overdose deaths.Statistics are complicated. We can’t say for sure that job losses are killing people. Yet it seems likely that there’s a relationship. Economists at Yale and the Federal Reserve Board showed a similar relationship between imports from China and overdose deaths. There is growing evidence that economic and social upheaval fundamentally fuel the opioid crisis. (Adam Dean and Simeon Kimmel, 10/8)
The Washington Post: I’m A Transgender Attorney Fighting For My Community. Will That Make A Difference To The Supreme Court?
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases on Tuesday, each of which asks the court to decide whether it is legal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on discrimination because of sex to fire a worker because of the worker’s transgender status or sexual orientation. The case of Aimee Stephens, one of the three workers who were fired just because of their LGBTQ identity, is deeply personal to me. Like Aimee, I am transgender. And in the five months since the court agreed to hear R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC, I have lived and breathed this case. (Chase Strangio, 10/6)
The New York Times: It’s 2040. We Need To Keep Abortion Legal In New York.
As the New York legislature convenes this week to begin debate on S9764, I would like to offer my thoughts as a gynecologist who still provides that rarest of services, abortion. Our legal status is under threat, as our lives have been for decades. More important, the legislators pressing for the passage of this bill are dishonest in their motives and willfully blind to the consequences of its probable passage. (Lucy Ferriss, 10/7)
Stat: Time In Range: A New Blood Sugar Metric For People With Diabetes
With nearly 300 blood sugar measurements a day, CGMs offer a new way to evaluate how well an individual is controlling his or her diabetes: time in range. This is expressed as a percentage of the time an individual’s blood sugar is within the target values. This metric, recently endorsed by the American Diabetes Association and by an international consensus committee, correlates nicely with control of diabetes and the implied development of complications such as vision loss, kidney problems, and low blood sugar excursions. Greater time in range has been linked to more stable glucose control, which should lead to fewer complications. (Lorena Alarcon-Casas Wright, 10/8)
The Wall Street Journal: Got Oxygen?
Why do elite athletes get better by training at high altitudes and how do cancer tumors develop their own blood supply? The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday was awarded to Americans William Kaelin Jr. and Gregg Semenza and Sir Peter Ratcliffe of Britain for their groundbreaking research that helps answer these and other questions behind many medical breakthroughs. …We live in a great age of biological discovery that promises medical advances for decades if governments have the wit to allow it. This year’s Nobel is another illustration of how a better understanding of human physiology is improving medicine and lives. (10/7)
The Hill: Urgent Action Needed To Stop Preventable Deaths Of Children Around The World
Around the world, more children are surviving than ever before, according to a new report from an inter-agency group led by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). Deaths of children under the age of five have been nearly halved since 2000. Yet we still lost 5.3 million children under the age of five last year. More than 290,000 mothers also lost their lives during pregnancy or childbirth according to the latest estimates, which greatly increases the risk of their children dying. Let me take a moment to put that into perspective: 5.3 million is greater than the entire population of South Carolina. Put another way, 5.3 million children dying each year is equivalent to an airplane carrying 300 children crashing every 30 minutes, every day last year. Imagine if that happened? (Cyril Engmann, 10/7)
The Washington Post: D.C. Is Awash In Illegal Guns. How Do You Think They Get There?
So far this bloody year, about 450 people have been hit by gunfire in the nation’s capital. They were executed, injured or they killed themselves, according to the incidents gathered by the Gun Violence Archive. Among the victims: 11-year-old Karon Brown, who was shot dead in Southeast Washington in July. Brothers Roy’Ale and Roy’Nal Hill, 12 and 13, who were injured in separate attacks; Roy’Nal was left paralyzed. Just this past weekend, a 14-year-old girl was wounded by bullets when she bent over to tie her shoe outside a grocery store in Shaw. (Petula Dvorak, 10/7)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.