Tuesday, November 15, 2022 – Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News Original Stories
Patients Complain Some Obesity Care Startups Offer Pills, and Not Much Else
A new wave of obesity care startups offer access to new weight loss medications. But do they offer good health care? (Darius Tahir, )
Medicare Plan Finder Likely Won’t Note New $35 Cap on Out-of-Pocket Insulin Costs
In August, Congress approved a $35 cap on what seniors will pay for insulin, but that change came too late to add to the online tool that helps Medicare beneficiaries compare dozens of drug and medical plans. Federal officials say beneficiaries who use insulin will have the opportunity to switch plans after open enrollment ends Dec. 7. (Susan Jaffe, )
Political Cartoon: 'A Gateway Drug?'
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'A Gateway Drug?'" by Mike Peters.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
Got you through covid;
Now our jobs are on the line.
Fickle public health
– Mark Fotheringham
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if we can include your name. Haikus follow the format of 5-7-5 syllables. We give extra brownie points if you link back to a KHN original story.
Opinions expressed in haikus and cartoons are solely the author's and do not reflect the opinions of KHN or KFF.
Global Watch
Longer Lifespans Drive Global Population To 8 Billion
Over the last 12 years, the tally jumped from 7 billion to 8 billion, the United Nations announced. This "milestone in human development" is attributed to improved access to health care, food, and more sanitary living conditions, though dropping birth rates are expected to slow the future pace.
Axios: World Population Reaches 8 Billion
Eight billion humans are living on planet Earth — a huge milestone officially projected for and being recognized Tuesday by the U.N. People are living longer, with generally better access to health care, food, clean water and sanitation than in past generations. A smaller share of humans live in extreme poverty. (Kight and Lysik, 11/14)
CNN: World Population Hits 8 Billion, UN Says, As Growth Poses More Challenges For The Planet
In a statement, the UN said the figure meant 1 billion people had been added to the global population in just 12 years. “This unprecedented growth is due to the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. It is also the result of high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries,” the UN statement read. (Subramaniam, 11/15)
Bloomberg: How The World Is Changing After Its Population Hit 8 Billion
The slowdown is in large part driven by wealthy countries, where the costly burden of raising a child and falling marriage rates have meant that countries from South Korea to France are facing population declines as not enough babies are born to replace the elderly. Even as governments resort to measures like payouts and better housing loans for families with more kids, the UN sees little sign of that shifting the needle. It projects that in the next three decades, the number of people below 65 in high-income and upper-middle-income countries will decline while the older demographic above that age will grow. (De Wei, 11/15)
In related news —
USA Today: Sperm Counts Drop Globally: What's Impact On Fertility, Men's Health?
From 1973 to 2000, sperm counts dropped by 1.2% per year, "which is a lot," said Hagai Levine, who helped lead the research. From 2000 to 2018, the decline was 2.6% per year, "which is an amazing pace." The United States is part of this larger trend. "In the U.S., due to availability of good data, we have the highest certainty that there is a strong and sustainable decline, but it's similar globally," Levine said. (Weintraub, 11/15)
After Roe V. Wade
Democrats Likely Won't Have Enough Votes To Codify Abortion, Biden Admits
The Democratic Party doesn't appear to have gained enough ground in the House of Representatives to ensure passage of a national right to abortion, the president said Monday.
Axios: Biden: Democrats Will Not Have Enough Votes To Codify Roe V. Wade
President Biden said Monday that he does not expect congressional Democrats will have enough votes to pass a bill codifying Roe v. Wade. If Republicans capture a narrow majority in the House, Biden's pledge to make an abortion rights bill the first piece of post-midterm legislation to send to Congress will go nowhere. (Gonzalez, 11/14)
More on abortion and reproductive rights —
AP: Lawsuit: Mississippi Abortion Ban Might Not Be Valid Yet
A group of anti-abortion doctors in Mississippi, where state leaders led the charge to overturn Roe v. Wade, say the validity of the state’s law banning most abortions remains uncertain and that further legal action is needed to clarify it and protect them from possible punishment by medical institutions. … The lawsuit argues that when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, it did not resolve a gray area in state law surrounding abortion rights. Attorneys for the doctors cited a 1998 Mississippi Supreme Court opinion called Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Fordice that holds that abortion is a right protected by the Mississippi Constitution. (Goldberg, 11/14)
AP: Kentucky Supreme Court Set To Weigh Statewide Abortion Bans
The future of abortion rights in Kentucky reaches a defining moment Tuesday when the state’s highest court hears arguments over a sweeping abortion ban put in place by the Republican-led legislature. The case before Kentucky’s Supreme Court is the first legal test since voters in Kentucky and three other states signaled their support for abortion rights in last week’s midterm election. Kentuckians rejected a ballot measure that would have denied abortion rights in the state’s Constitution. (Schreiner and Lovan, 11/15)
Houston Chronicle: Court Rules AG Paxton Won't Have To Testify In Abortion Case
The abortion funds are suing the state for protection to resume their work amid the state's newly enforced abortion bans. They have said Paxton's testimony is necessary because he and his office have made conflicting statements about the legality of helping Texas residents legally obtain abortions in other states, and he is the only person who can clarify their meaning and intent. (Goldenstein, 11/14)
The 19th: Advocates Prepare To Fight Laws That Could Threaten Fertility, IVF, Abortion
Anti-abortion politicians and ballot initiatives lost big at the ballot box in the 2022 midterms. But fertility treatment advocates and patients are gearing up to fight against the next wave of anti-abortion legislation and restrictions on reproductive health. (Panetta, 11/14)
Administration News
CDC, Army Remove From Apps Russian Code Cloaked As American
Reuters found that tech company Pushwoosh is Russian, though it presents itself as based in the U.S. Its computer code is used in thousands of apps, including 7 by the CDC. The health agency says that code has been removed over the security concerns.
Reuters: Exclusive: Russian Software Disguised As American Finds Its Way Into U.S. Army, CDC Apps
Thousands of smartphone applications in Apple and Google's online stores contain computer code developed by a technology company, Pushwoosh, that presents itself as based in the United States, but is actually Russian, Reuters has found. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States' main agency for fighting major health threats, said it had been deceived into believing Pushwoosh was based in the U.S. capital. After learning about its Russian roots from Reuters, it removed Pushwoosh software from seven public-facing apps, citing security concerns. (Pearson and Taylor, 11/14)
PCMag: Russian Code Found In US Army, CDC Apps 
Pushwoosh is a Russian company with headquarters in Novosibirsk, Siberia. It's registered to pay taxes to the Russian government, and is therefore subject to the same rules as other Russian companies—notably the sharing of user data with the Russian government upon request. … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) admitted it thought Pushwoosh was a US company and has now removed the company's code from multiple public-facing apps. (Humphries, 11/14)
More news from the CDC —
Daily Mail Online: Public Health Purge At The CDC Sees 3,000 Staff Who Were Hired During The Covid Crisis Laid Off 
More than 3,000 scientists and public health experts hired to assist the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) pandemic response are being let go. Their contracts are set to expire over the coming weeks across the US and they will not be renewed, as part of the country's winding down of Covid spending. The CDC Foundation — an independent body that supports the CDC's work — recruited 4,000 epidemiologists, communication experts , and public health nurses during the pandemic. (Andrews, 11/14)
Vaccines and Covid Treatments
Study: Moderna's Bivalent Shot Offers Strong Protection Against Variants
The findings did not clarify whether the updated shot offers better protection than its original jab. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden repeated his vow Monday that Americans will need to get only one covid booster shot each year.
NBC News: Moderna Says New Booster Raises Antibodies Against Omicron Subvariant B.Q.1.1
In people who got the updated booster, neutralizing antibodies against BA.4 and BA.5 were about fivefold higher in those with a previous Covid infection and sixfold higher in those without a documented infection, the company said. (Lovelace Jr., 11/14)
The Washington Post: Moderna Says New Booster Increases Protection From Omicron Subvariants
The data is encouraging because it shows that the bivalent booster shots, which were updated to match the BA.4 and BA.5 versions of the omicron variant and began to roll out in September, are providing protection against newer coronavirus variants ahead of a possible winter surge of cases. … The findings, which are not yet peer-reviewed, are similar to results that Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, presented this month about their bivalent coronavirus vaccine booster. (Johnson, 11/14)
In news from the Biden administration —
San Francisco Chronicle: Biden Touts ‘Once A Year’ Promise On Vaccines
President Biden on Monday repeated the promise that most Americans will only need to receive an annual booster shot against COVID-19 despite widespread skepticism from infectious disease experts who think waning vaccine efficacy will necessitate more than one dose every 12 months. (Vaziri, Buchmann and Kawahara, 11/14)
ABC News: Biden Administration To Renew Fight For More COVID Funding With $10 Billion Request
After multiple failed attempts this past winter and spring to secure more money to address the pandemic, the White House plans on requesting $10 billion during the lame-duck session of Congress before newly elected lawmakers begin in January, sources familiar with the discussions confirmed to ABC News. (Haslett, 11/15)
In other news about covid vaccines and treatments —
The Hill: COVID Boosters Could Prevent Up To 51,000 Hospitalizations Among Kids: Report 
A robust COVID-19 booster campaign among children could potentially avert nearly 51,000 pediatric hospitalizations over the coming months according to new projections released by the Commonwealth Fund. In its analysis, the Commonwealth Fund projected two scenarios: booster vaccination rates match that of flu shot uptake by the end of 2022 or 80 percent of eligible individuals receive a booster in the same time frame. (Choi, 11/15)
CNN: Covid-19 Boosters Could Keep Thousands Of Kids Out Of Hospitals, But Uptake Remains Low
Higher Covid-19 vaccination rates among US children could prevent thousands of pediatric hospitalizations and millions of missed school days, according to an analysis published Tuesday by the Commonwealth Fund and the Yale School of Public Health. (McPhillips, 11/15)
CIDRAP: Study: Few Veterans Used COVID-19 Antivirals, Antibodies 
The frequency of use of these therapies has not been well-described, so the authors of the study used the Veterans Affairs health care system (VA) to examine if and when the therapies were used among COVID-19 positive patients ages 18 and older seen in VA hospitals between Jan 1 and Feb 8, 2022. Among, 111,717 VA enrollees included in the study, … only 4,233 (3.8%) received any pharmacotherapy within the VA or through VA Community Care. (Soucheray, 11/14)
Reuters: NBA Is Sued By Fired Referees Who Refused COVID Vaccines 
The National Basketball Association has been sued by three longtime referees who say the league fired them this year after they refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19 over religious objections. (Stempel, 11/14)
Covid-19 Crisis
Covid Is Sending More Infants Under 6 Months Old To Hospital
The situation prompted CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to urge mothers to get vaccinated in order to protect youngsters not yet eligible for shots. Separately, a study shows rapid home tests aren't very sensitive to omicron covid.
Bloomberg: COVID Hospitalizations Are Rising In Infants Under 6 Months, CDC Says
“We’re seeing more and more of those younger babies getting hospitalized,” Walensky said. “That’s really where we’re trying to do some work now because we think we can prevent those by getting mom vaccinated.” (Griffin, 11/14)
On covid testing —
CIDRAP: Study: COVID-19 Rapid Home Tests Not Highly Sensitive For Omicron
Dutch researchers reveal that the sensitivities of three commonly used rapid antigen tests, when used in asymptomatic people in the Omicron period, were very low and suggest repeat testing after a negative test. … Participants with negative tests also filled out a questionnaire, which showed 54.8% retested in the 10 days following a negative test, with 24.6% testing positive. (11/14)
More on the spread of covid variants —
Fortune: What Is BN.1? Meet The Newest Omicron Spawn Being Tracked By The CDC
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday added a 16th variant to the list of those it’s tracking—BN.1.The newly singled-out strain was estimated to comprise just over 4% of U.S. infections through Saturday, making it the sixth most common variant in the country. It came in just above BA.4.6, a descendant of Omicron spawn BA.4, which was prominent globally this summer. (Prater, 11/14)
USA Today: New COVID Variants Emerging After BA.5: What Is BQ.1 And BQ.1.1?
BA.5 — once the dominant variant during the summer months — now makes up less than a third of new COVID-19 cases heading into the holidays. Edging it out are sublineages BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, which make up nearly half of new cases and appear to be gaining ground. (Rodriguez, 11/14)
CIDRAP: Omicron BA.2 Tied To More Symptoms And, Rarely, Brain Swelling In Kids 
A greater proportion of BA.2 patients (75.9%) reported at least one of 26 symptoms, compared with 70.0% of those with BA.1, 63.8% with Delta, 54.7% with Alpha, and 45.0% with the wild-type virus. (11/14)
Fortune: Sick With A New Omicron Variant? Be Prepared For This Symptom, New Study Says 
If you’ve come down with one of the newer COVID variants related to “stealth Omicron” BA.2, you might want some fever-reducer at the ready. Among more than 200 patients in India who were infected with several BA.2 strains, the vast majority—82%—experienced a fever, according to an article published last week in Cureus Journal of Medical Science. (Prater, 11/15)
Walmart Agrees To Pay $3.1 Billion To Settle Opioid Lawsuits
The retail giant reiterated that it "strongly disputes” allegations that its pharmacies improperly filled prescriptions for the painkillers and did not admit liability with the settlement plan. Other pharmaceutical news is on drug imports from Canada, a new treatment for advanced ovarian cancer, how a fake tweet sparked a panic at Eli Lilly, and more.
AP: Walmart Offers To Pay $3.1 Billion To Settle Opioid Lawsuits
Retail giant Walmart on Tuesday become the latest major player in the drug industry to announce a plan to settle lawsuits filed by state and local governments over the toll of powerful prescription opioids sold at its pharmacies with state and local governments across the U.S. The $3.1 billion proposal follows similar announcements Nov. 2 from the two largest U.S. pharmacy chains, CVS Health and Walgreen Co., which each said they would pay about $5 billion. (Mulvihill, 11/15)
The Wall Street Journal: Walmart To Pay $3.1 Billion To Settle Opioid Lawsuits
The agreement resolves a collection of lawsuits brought by states, cities and Native American tribes. Earlier this month, CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. agreed to pay roughly $5 billion apiece to settle the lawsuits. The companies didn’t admit wrongdoing in their deals. … Each state, local government and tribe will need to decide whether to participate in the settlement. Plaintiff’s attorneys that lead negotiations are encouraging them to do so, saying the payments hold the pharmacies accountable for their alleged roles in the opioid abuse. (Terlep and Nassauer, 11/15)
On drug imports —
News Service of Florida: Feds Push Back On Florida's Claim That FDA 'Dragged Its Feet' On Canada Drug Imports 
The Biden administration this week asked a judge to reject allegations that the Food and Drug Administration has “dragged its feet” on a Florida proposal to import prescription drugs from Canada and has not properly complied with a public records request. (Saunders, 11/14)
Axios: Get Ready For A Drug Importation Revival
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul’s shared interest in expanding drug importation could emerge as a populist sequel to Democrats’ drug pricing bill next year — and rekindle friction between the hill, pharma and the Food and Drug Administration. (Bettelheim, 11/15)
In other pharmaceutical news —
Stat: Immunogen Wins FDA Approval For Advanced Ovarian Cancer Drug
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a new treatment for patients with advanced ovarian cancer — an antibody that delivers a targeted dose of chemotherapy directly to cancer cells. (Feuerstein, 11/14)
Modern Healthcare: Blue Cross Plans Expand Access To Prescription Digital Health Tools
A growing number of Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers have agreed to pay for patients to use prescription digital therapeutics, paving the way for broader coverage among carriers and kick-starting an emerging sector. (Perna and Tepper, 11/14)
KHN: Patients Complain Some Obesity Care Startups Offer Pills, And Not Much Else 
Many Americans turn to the latest big idea to lose weight — fad diets, fitness crazes, dodgy herbs and pills, bariatric surgery, just to name a few. They’re rarely the magic solution people dream of. Now a wave of startups offer access to a new category of drugs coupled with intensive behavioral coaching online. But already concerns are emerging. (Tahir, 11/15)
KHN: Medicare Plan Finder Likely Won’t Note New $35 Cap On Out-Of-Pocket Insulin Costs 
A big cut in prescription drug prices for some Medicare beneficiaries kicks in next year, but finding those savings isn’t easy. Congress approved in August a $35 cap on what seniors will pay for insulin as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, along with free vaccines and other Medicare improvements. But the change came too late to add to the Medicare plan finder, the online tool that helps beneficiaries sort through dozens of drug and medical plans for the best bargain. Officials say the problem affects only 2023 plans. (Jaffe, 11/15)
Also —
The Washington Post: A Fake Tweet Sparked Panic At Eli Lilly And May Have Cost Twitter Millions
The nine-word tweet was sent Thursday afternoon from an account using the name and logo of the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., and it immediately attracted a giant response: “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” … Inside the real Eli Lilly, the fake sparked a panic, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. (Harwell, 11/14)
Health Industry
Electronic Messages To Cleveland Clinic Providers Could Prompt $50 Bills
Patients' insurance companies might soon be billed for messages that take five minutes or more to answer. Separately, staffing shortage news is from Indiana and Texas.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer: Some Electronic Messages To Cleveland Clinic Healthcare Providers Could Cost $50
Sending an electronic message to a Cleveland Clinic physician could cost as much as $50 per message, due to a change in procedures announced Monday. (Washington, 11/14)
More on staffing shortages —
Indianapolis Star: Indiana Hospitals Rely On Virtual Nurses Amid Labor Shortage
Increasingly hospital systems such as Community Health Network are augmenting their stressed nursing workforces with virtual nurses. These licensed professionals can swoop in remotely to ease the hospital workload by taking over tasks that can be done long distance such as admissions or discharges. (Rudavsky, 11/15)
The Texas Tribune: Texas’ Nursing Homes Are Missing Something: Nurses
Robert Lozoya started a recent shift as a nurse manager for Carillon, Lubbock’s biggest senior home, at 7 a.m. For the next 12 hours, he triaged his duties, picking up the slack for the nurses who did not show up for work. He made sure patients didn’t choke on their lunch, treated wounds and fielded a myriad of calls to doctors, families and pharmacies. (Lozano, 11/15)
In other health industry news —
Detroit Free Press: Some Metro Detroit Hospitals Awash In Red Ink
Some nonprofit hospital systems in metro Detroit have emerged from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic to face budgets awash in red ink. Systems including Henry Ford Health and the legacy Beaumont hospitals within the newly formed Corewell Health show negative operating margins and millions in losses in their latest financial reports. (Reindl, 11/14)
Stat: Google's New Pilot Tests The Power Of Search Tools In Health Care
Mile Bluff Medical Center is a long way from Silicon Valley. The 40-bed hospital is situated in a central Wisconsin city of 4,400 people, where caregivers are about as likely to encounter a moose as a machine learning engineer. That is, until now. (Ross, 11/14)
Boston Globe: Why Did A Celebrated Oncologist Hide Her Breast Cancer Diagnosis?
When Barrett Rollins walked into the bathroom of his Beacon Hill home, he was stunned to find his wife lying on the uneven tile floor covered in blood. Rollins and his wife, Jane Weeks, were physicians and researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and lived steps from some of the world’s best hospitals. But Weeks didn’t want medical help. Instead, without looking at her husband, she calmly explained that she was dying. (Bartlett, 11/14)
Mental Health
Life May Seem Normal, But Our Mental Health Might Have Missed The Memo
Some people never quite shook off the anxiety and blues that spiked during the height of the pandemic. Doctors say covid depression is real and shouldn't be ignored as the pandemic drags on and people return to their new version of normal.
The New York Times: Covid Depression Is Real. Here’s What You Need to Know
The World Health Organization noted this year that anxiety and depression increased by 25 percent across the globe in just the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. And researchers have continued to find more evidence that the coronavirus wreaked havoc on our mental health: In a 2021 study, more than half of American adults reported symptoms of major depressive disorder after a coronavirus infection. The risk of developing these symptoms — as well as other mental health disorders — remains high up to a year after you’ve recovered. (Sheikh, 11/12)
The New York Times: As The Pandemic Drags On, Americans Struggle For New Balance
Most Americans want to get back to normalcy and are unwilling to let Covid rule their lives any longer, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Covid response coordinator, said in an interview. “Those two sets of goals are achievable,” Dr. Jha said, so long as Americans keep getting vaccinated, test when necessary and wear masks in crowded public settings. “We shouldn’t act like it’s 2019,” he added, “but we also should not act like it’s 2020.” (Rabin, 11/14)
In other mental health news —
The Boston Globe: Teens And Young Adults Are Self-Diagnosing Mental Illness On TikTok. What Could Go Wrong?
On the positive side, the TikTok videos (or postings on other social media sites) can give people insight into themselves and propel them to seek professional help, experts say. If you look for it, it’s even possible to find content from actual mental health experts, and all this attention on mental health is bringing what was once a taboo subject into the light. But too often, experts say, suggestible people mistake having one or two symptoms with having the disorder itself. (Teitell, 11/15)
The Wall Street Journal: How To Prevent Winter Depression With Shorter, Darker Days Approaching
For people dreading the approach of shorter days and fewer hours of sunlight, now is the time to prepare your body to fend off the winter blues. Many of us notice a natural turndown in mood as the brain responds to less daylight in the winter, especially in the northern part of the country, says Kelly Rohan, professor of psychological science at the University of Vermont, who researches seasonal affective disorder. You might have a dip in energy levels, want to sleep more or crave more carbohydrate-heavy foods, she says. (Dizik, 11/14)
Stateline: Health Harms Of Mass Shootings Ripple Across Communities
But a growing body of research reveals that the negative effects of mass shootings spread much farther than previously understood, harming the health of local residents who were not touched directly by the violence. Mental health experts say the recognition should prompt authorities to direct more attention and resources toward preventing such events — and helping a broader group of people after they occur. (Ollove, 11/14)
Bloomberg: Ketamine Telehealth Companies May Face Trouble When The Public Emergency Expires
Covid-era measures that allowed doctors to remotely prescribe ketamine, an often-abused drug increasingly popular for treatment-resistant depression, could unwind this spring. That could spell trouble for companies such as Mindbloom and Nue Life that will be forced to rethink their businesses amid concerns that at-home access has increased abuse of the drugs. (Huet, 11/14)
Modern Healthcare: Mental Health Epidemic Creates Emergency Department Backlog
Patients are being held in emergency departments for as long as months as they await psychiatric beds. Many outpatient referral partners have cut back or are struggling with staffing. The patient burden is straining ill-equipped hospitals, taxing already overburdened staff and delaying care. (Kacik and Hudson, 11/14)
AP: Lawsuit: 2 Wyoming Mental Patients Dead, Procedures Ignored
Two Wyoming State Hospital patients died while staff at the mental health institution failed to follow procedures in a series of choking, neglect and medication error incidents over the past four months, a lawsuit alleges. (Gruver, 11/14)
If you are in need of help —
Dial 9-8-8 for 24/7 support from the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. It’s free and confidential.
Lifestyle and Health
Small And Premature Babies Benefit From Skin-To-Skin Contact: WHO
New guidelines from the World Health Organization point to benefits of skin contact with caregivers for low weight or early babies, rather than being immediately placed in an incubator — called "kangaroo mother care." Also in the news, a link with artificial light during sleep and diabetes risk.
Reuters: Skin-To-Skin 'Kangaroo' Care Boosts Premature Babies' Chances – WHO 
Babies born too early or too small should be kept in "skin-to-skin" contact with a caregiver rather than being put in an incubator straight after birth to improve their chances of survival, the World Health Organization said. The new guidelines around "kangaroo mother care" mark a significant shift from current protocols for premature babies and the U.N. health agency's earlier advice. The guidelines are also particularly pertinent for births in areas with poor access to technology and reliable electricity, the WHO said. (Rigby, 11/15)
How does “kangaroo care” really work? Read this Cleveland Clinic explainer —
What is kangaroo care?
In other health and wellness news —
CNN: Artificial Light While Asleep Linked To Higher Diabetes Risk
Sleeping in a room exposed to outdoor artificial light at night may increase the risk of developing diabetes, according to a study of nearly 100,000 Chinese adults. People who lived in areas of China with high light pollution at night were about 28% more likely to develop diabetes than people who lived in the least polluted areas, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Diabetologia. (LaMotte, 11/14)
Stat: Brains Of Black Americans Age Faster, Study Finds
The brains of Black adults in the U.S. age more quickly than those of white and Hispanic adults, showing features linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias as early as mid-life, according to a new study. (McFarling, 11/14)
NBC News: FDA Warns Of Rise In Reports Of Child Poisonings Linked To Cough Medicine
Poison control centers in the U.S. have seen an increase in reports of children ingesting a type of prescription cough medicine, a study published Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration found. (Lovelace Jr., 11/15)
USA Today: Lung Cancer Screenings Save Lives. But Why Do So Few At Risk Get Them?
Lung cancer screening has been proven to save lives. But according to a new study, only 5.8% of people eligible for a free, low-dose CT scan  actually get screened for lung cancer – far below levels seen for colorectal, breast and cervical cancer screens. (Weintraub, 11/15)
In celebrity news —
AP: Roberta Flack Has ALS, Now 'Impossible To Sing,' Rep Says 
A representative for Roberta Flack announced Monday that the Grammy-winning musician has ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and can no longer sing. The progressive disease “has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak,” Flack’s manager Suzanne Koga said in a release. “But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.” (11/14)
The Washington Post: ALS, A Rare But Deadly Disease, Can Silence Anyone. Here’s What To Know
Anyone can be affected by the relatively rare amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to experts. Notable athletes, politicians, entertainers and tens of thousands of Americans have all had to manage the disease. On Sunday, a representative for R&B singer Roberta Flack announced that she had been diagnosed with ALS, which has “made it impossible to sing.” (Brasch, 11/14)
The Washington Post: Jay Leno Hospitalized After Suffering Gasoline Burns From Garage Fire 
Comedian Jay Leno suffered burns to his face and hands after a gasoline fire at his garage on Sunday, according to the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles, where he is being treated. (Rao, 11/14)
State Watch
RSV Pressures On Michigan Hospitals Lead To Calls For Bailout Aid
Crain's Detroit Business reports on the pressures that Michigan Health and Hospital Association is under, including financial ones and the rising burden of kids with RSV. Meanwhile, in California a child aged under five has died of a combined flu and RSV infection.
Crain's Detroit Business: RSV Surge Forces Michigan Healthcare Providers To Seek Bailout
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association is pursuing unallocated American Rescue Plan Act funds and an allocation from the state general fund to stabilize the industry, John Karasinski, director of communications for the Lansing industry group, told Crain's in an email. (Walsh, 11/14)
Los Angeles Times: California Child Dies Of Flu And RSV
Underscoring the worrisome conditions, California Department of Public Health officials on Monday reported the season’s first death of a child under 5 due to flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. “This tragic event serves as a stark reminder that respiratory viruses can be deadly, especially in very young children and infants,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, California’s public health director and health officer, said of the pediatric death. (Money and Lin II, 11/14)
ABC News: Mom Shares Dangers Of RSV As 7-Month-Old Is Hospitalized
A Washington state mother is warning about the dangers of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, after her 7-month-old daughter was hospitalized with the illness. Mya Walker said her daughter, Ariella Rain, was a happy, healthy baby until the end of October, when she started developing symptoms of RSV. (Kekatos, 11/15)
More health news from across the U.S. —
AP: 5 Deaths At NYC Nursing Home Blamed On Legionnaires' Disease 
Five people died of Legionnaires’ disease over the summer at a New York City nursing home that had been cited repeatedly for improper maintenance of the cooling towers where the Legionella bacteria can spread, The New York Times reported. The outbreak at Amsterdam Nursing Home, a 409-bed facility in upper Manhattan, was the city’s worst since 2015 when a cooling tower in the Bronx was blamed for an infection that caused 16 deaths. (11/14)
North Carolina Health News: Lawsuits Charging Harm To Nursing Home Residents Crawl Forward
Residents of the Citadel of Salisbury, a COVID-devastated nursing home, have charged that they were damaged by the facility’s deliberate understaffing. Similar cases have taken years to move forward, meanwhile those who claim harm are aging and dying. (Goldsmith and Crumpler, 11/15)
The Boston Globe: R.I. Residents Struggle To Meet Basic Needs, New Blue Cross Blue Shield Index Shows 
The Rhode Island Life Index 2022, funded by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island in partnership with the Brown University School of Public Health, reveals trends in Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of quality of life issues. The report, published Monday, showed an overall index a score of 59, four points lower than in 2021, marking the lowest index score of the report’s history. (Gagosz, 11/14)
Editorials And Opinions
Viewpoints: Mental Health Apps Have A Data Dark Side; Evusheld Not Protecting Against New Variants
Editorial writers tackle these public health topics.
Scientific American: Mental Health Apps Are Not Keeping Your Data Safe 
Mental health technologies such as bots and chat lines serve people who are experiencing a crisis. They are some of the most vulnerable users of any technology, and they should expect their data to be kept safe, protected and confidential. (Piers Gooding and Timothy Kariotis, 11/15)
San Francisco Chronicle: Why New COVID Variants Just Sent Me Back To Solitary Confinement
For those of us who are immunocompromised, last month was a real gut punch. As the headlines started trickling in — “Certain variants not neutralized by Evusheld” — visions of sugarplums and a normal-adjacent holiday season surrounded by family and friends and a feast-laden table disappeared. (Dipti S. Barot, 11/12)
Dallas Morning News: What Hispanic Publications Reveal About The 1917-18 Influenza Pandemic
The 1917-18 flu pandemic was one of the most deadly infections, killing approximately 50 million people at its peak. Despite its severity and impact, information surrounding the pandemic was limited because of the heavy censorship during World War I. However, Hispanic publications of the time allow us to have a better understanding of the impact of this disease. (Carolina Lopez-Herrera, 11/15)
Scientific American: Climate Change Is Fueling A Public Health Crisis. Doctors Need To Address This 
It’s time for doctors to recognize, and policy makers to plan for, the effect of climate change on people’s health. My colleagues and I are working at George Washington University on this issue. (Neelu Tummala, 11/14)
Stat: Medicare Advantage Has Failed. Replace It With Medicare Future
Medicare Advantage began life as a brilliant idea: a public-private partnership to keep older people healthier and reduce costs. At the time in 1992, both President George H.W. Bush and his challenger, Bill Clinton, supported it. Twenty-five years later, a different consensus is clear. (Steve Cohen, 11/15)
The CT Mirror: The Sunshine Protection Act Is A Shortsighted Plan
It’s the time of year when sunlight, or lack thereof, in the evenings, emerges as a health concern — made even worse by the dreaded change from daylight savings time (DST) to Standard time (ST). The change contributes to an uptick of a host of mental and physical health concerns every year, from diet and mood changes to stroke and automobile accidents. (Mindy Reutter, 11/15)
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