Health

Lloyd Austin’s Hidden Diagnosis: Why Some People Keep Serious Illnesses Private
Health

Lloyd Austin’s Hidden Diagnosis: Why Some People Keep Serious Illnesses Private

The U.S. defense secretary is facing scrutiny after failing to immediately disclose to the White House his recent prostate-cancer diagnosis and a related hospitalization, a breach of protocol for which he has apologized.But while the secretary, Lloyd J. Austin III, as a cabinet member, faces certain expectations about what he must disclose publicly regarding his health, and when he should do it, mental health experts who work with patients who have serious illnesses, such as cancer, say that reticence is common — even in the era of oversharing online.“I see it with my patients all the time,” said Dr. Andrew Esch, senior education adviser at the Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national health care advocacy organization based in New York City. “It’s very human to not want to have yourse...
F.D.A. Warned of Mental Side Effects from Asthma Drug, Singulair. Few Were Told.
Health

F.D.A. Warned of Mental Side Effects from Asthma Drug, Singulair. Few Were Told.

In early 2020, the Food and Drug Administration responded to decades of escalating concerns about a commonly prescribed drug for asthma and allergies by deploying one of its most potent tools: a stark warning on the drug’s label that it could cause aggression, agitation and even suicidal thoughts.The agency’s label, which was primarily aimed at doctors, was supposed to sound an alert about the 25-year-old medication, Singulair, also known by its generic name, montelukast. But it barely dented use: The drug was still prescribed to 12 million people in the United States in 2022.Children face the greatest risks of the drug’s ill effects, and while usage by minors did decline, it was still taken by 1.6 million of them — including Nicole Sims’s son. Ms. Sims had no idea why, at 6, her son start...
The Income Gap Jeopardizing Retirement for Millions
Health

The Income Gap Jeopardizing Retirement for Millions

Monique Louvigny, an event coordinator in the San Francisco Bay Area, economizes where she can. She drives a 10-year-old Prius, brings a thermos of coffee to work instead of patronizing a place with baristas, and takes advantage of a drive-through food pantry once a month.Laid off at 57, “I kind of reinvented myself,” she said. She rebuilt her career as a freelancer, overseeing receptions and conventions for many companies and institutions, including the local de Young and Legion of Honor art museums.But her income fell to less than $30,000 last year. “It’s erratic,” she said. “In January, I have 12 days of work.” In the summer, she might have only three or four.Ms. Louvigny, 64, feels fortunate on two fronts. For health insurance, she has qualified for Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid prog...
F.D.A. to Issue First Approval for Mass Drug Imports to States from Canada
Health

F.D.A. to Issue First Approval for Mass Drug Imports to States from Canada

The Food and Drug Administration has allowed Florida to import millions of dollars worth of medications from Canada at far lower prices than in the United States, overriding fierce decades-long objections from the pharmaceutical industry.The approval, issued in a letter to Florida Friday, is a major policy shift for the United States, and supporters hope it will be a significant step forward in the long and largely unsuccessful effort to rein in drug prices. Individuals in the United States are allowed to buy directly from Canadian pharmacies, but states have long wanted to be able to purchase medicines in bulk for their Medicaid programs, government clinics and prisons from Canadian wholesalers.Florida has estimated that it could save up to $150 million in its first year of the program, i...
Paxlovid Cuts Covid Death Risk. But Those Who Need It Are Not Taking It.
Health

Paxlovid Cuts Covid Death Risk. But Those Who Need It Are Not Taking It.

As Covid rises again, killing about 1,500 Americans each week, medical researchers are trying to understand why so few people are taking Paxlovid, a medicine that is stunningly effective in preventing severe illness and death from the disease.A study of a million high-risk people with Covid found that only about 15 percent who were eligible for the drug took it. If half of the eligible patients had gotten Paxlovid, 48,000 deaths could have been prevented, authors of the study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, concluded.It’s not because people don’t know about the drug — most do — but the reluctance seems to come from doctors worried about interactions with other drugs and people wary of a possible rebound case or the metallic aftertaste.Regional differences offer a clue, wit...
More Women Who Are Not Pregnant Are Ordering Abortion Pills Just in Case
Health

More Women Who Are Not Pregnant Are Ordering Abortion Pills Just in Case

Behind the NumbersData from September 2021 through April 2023 showed 48,404 advance provision requests and 147,112 requests from women seeking to terminate existing pregnancies. (Women in both categories completed telehealth consultations and Aid Access evaluated their medical information before prescribing pills.)Advance provision requesters were more likely than those already pregnant to be 30 or older, white and childless, and to live in urban neighborhoods with lower poverty rates than the national average. That might be partly because Aid Access offers free or reduced-price services to pregnant patients who need financial assistance, while advance provision requesters were expected to pay the full $110 cost, Dr. Aiken said.And because few organizations offer advance provision, women f...
La variante JN.1 ya domina en EE. UU.
Health

La variante JN.1 ya domina en EE. UU.

Hasta donde saben los expertos, la JN.1 no parece causar enfermedad grave en la mayoría de las personas, aunque hasta un caso leve puede hacerte sentir “bastante mal durante tres o cuatro días”, señaló Schaffner. Los síntomas de una infección por JN.1 son similares a los que causaban las variantes anteriores de covid, pues incluyen tos, fiebre, dolor de cuerpo y fatiga.Para protegerte contra la infección y enfermedad grave, los expertos siguen recomendando el uso de mascarillas, mejorar la ventilación en interiores siempre que sea posible, quedarse en casa si se está enfermo y pomerse la vacuna más reciente contra la covid.Las investigaciones preliminares muestran que las vacunas actualizadas contra la COVID-19 lanzadas en septiembre producen anticuerpos efectivos contra la JN.1, que tiene...
Ohio Governor Blocks Bill Banning Transition Care for Minors
Health

Ohio Governor Blocks Bill Banning Transition Care for Minors

BackgroundLawmakers passed the measure earlier in December. Those in favor of the bill argued that parents are pressured by doctors to sign off on transition care treatments for their children. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Gary Click, said parents are “being manipulated by the physicians.’’In addition to banning transition care for minors, the bill says medical professionals who provide the care could lose their licenses and be sued. It also prohibits transgender girls and women from playing on high school and college sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.On Friday, Mr. DeWine said that if the bill were to become law, “Ohio would be saying that the state, that the government, knows better what is medically best for a child than the two people who love that child the...
10 Nutrition Tips for a Healthy New Year
Health

10 Nutrition Tips for a Healthy New Year

As a health reporter who’s been following nutrition news for decades, I’ve seen a lot of trends that made a splash — and then sank. Remember olestra, the Paleo diet and celery juice?Watch enough food fads come and go, and you realize that the most valuable nutrition guidance is built on decades of research, in which scientists have looked at a question from multiple perspectives and arrived at something like a consensus.Here are 10 science-backed pearls to carry you into the new year.1. The Mediterranean diet really is that good for you.Decades of research support the Mediterranean diet — which is centered on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, nuts, herbs and spices — as one of the healthiest ways you can eat. Its heart-health benefits are numerous, and it has been li...
Serious Medical Errors Rose After Private Equity Firms Bought Hospitals
Health

Serious Medical Errors Rose After Private Equity Firms Bought Hospitals

The rate of serious medical complications increased in hospitals after they were purchased by private equity investment firms, according to a major study of the effects of such acquisitions on patient care in recent years.The study, published in JAMA on Tuesday, found that, in the three years after a private equity fund bought a hospital, adverse events including surgical infections and bed sores rose by 25 percent among Medicare patients when compared with similar hospitals that were not bought by such investors. The researchers reported a nearly 38 percent increase in central line infections, a dangerous kind of infection that medical authorities say should never happen, and a 27 percent increase in falls by patients while staying in the hospital.“We were not surprised there was a signal...