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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes have increased among youth

Consistent with previous data, a new CDC analysis finds that rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes among those aged 20 and younger have risen in recent years. Here’s more: 

  • Overall trends: Between 2002-2015, the incidence of type 1 diabetes among youth increased from 19.5 cases per 100,000 people to 22.3 cases among 100,000 people. The incidence of type 2 diabetes was 9 cases per 100,000 in 2002-2003, but increased to 13.8 cases per 100,000 people more than a decade later. 

  • Demographics: Type 1 diabetes increased among those who were diagnosed at age 5 and younger, as well as among those of Native American descent. Type 2 diabetes increased among all non-white racial groups. 

  • Limitations: The findings were based on data collected from a national study being conducted in five states, and are unlikely to be fully representative of the U.S. 

Q&A: Health apps need more transparent terms of service, law experts argue

A new policy paper in Science argues that health tech companies — those that make health apps or websites — can change terms of service without adequate notice and it leaves consumers with little control over their personal data. I spoke with Jessica Roberts and Jim Hawkins, law experts at the University of Houston, to learn more. 

Why can’t consumers avoid working with companies that aren’t good about updating consumers?
Hawkins: Unilateral amendments are in so many contracts that it would be very difficult for a consumer who wanted to avoid them to do so. If someone is looking for a diabetes app to track their blood sugar, it’s going to be really hard to find one that doesn’t include [ToS] that the company reserves the right to amend, sometimes with notice, and sometimes just putting it on the website.

What are you proposing has to change?
Hawkins: We’re urging Congress to step in and require that digital health tech companies get affirmative consent for any substantial changes in service.

Roberts: And it’s important that if consumers don’t consent to that set of changes, then they have the option to still be governed by the old set of terms.

STAT Plus subscribers can read the rest of our conversation here

Inside STAT: Disease modelers gaze into computers to see future of Covid-19

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. (COURTESY NIAID-RML)

Much like weather forecasters, those modeling disease outbreaks using mathematical equations are used to a fair amount of uncertainty. The teams working to model the current outbreak of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, have come up with a wide range of projections for how many cases Wuhan, China, is likely to see. Yet despite the guesswork-like nature of the task, modelers in recent years have gotten better about matching their projections to reality. Seasonal flu predictions offer the clearest example of this improvement: Every year, a dozen labs try to project the extent of a flu season, and have been coming ever closer to accurately forecasting the timing, peak, and short-term intensity of the disease. Read more from STAT’s Sharon Begley here

Per-person health care spending increased to nearly $6,000 in 2018

The Health Care Cost Institute’s latest report on health expenditure finds that in 2018, the per-person spending on health care for those under 65 was nearly $6,000. Here’s what else you need to know: 

  • 2018 spending: The average health care spending (before rebates and discounts) was more than $5,800 per person. Average out-of-pocket spending was $907 per person. 

  • Yearly trends: Spending in 2014 was nearly $5,000, almost 20% less than the 2018 figure. Spending in 2018 was a 4.4% increase over 2017’s figures, which was in turn 4.2% higher than in 2016. 

  • Growth factors: The report attributes the increase between 2014-2018 to more expensive services, more services being used over that period, and the slightly older and more female population using health services. 

AAAS meeting, with Bill Gates and other luminaries, gets underway

The American Association for the Advancement of Science is holding its annual meeting in Seattle right now, and the event — billed as the world’s largest general scientific gathering — has a lot of big names on the program. Later today, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates will be giving one of the plenary talks. He and his wife set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation almost two decades ago to offer financial support for a host of causes, including global health. Other notable plenary speakers include journalist Maryn McKenna, who has written extensively about antibiotic resistance, and social scientist Alondra Nelson, whose work has delved into the bioethical — especially racial — implications of genetics. 

And STAT’s own Sharon Begley will be at the meeting to receive this year’s AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Gold Award in the online category. She’s being recognized for a trio of stories on the fraught field of drug development and research on Alzheimer’s.

‘Champions of Science’ lawmakers announced

The Science Coalition — a nonprofit that advocates for research funding — just announced nine members of Congress as its latest class of “Champions of Science.” The designation, which has been handed out since 1999, is given to federal lawmakers who have served at least six years in Congress and whose voting record and other actions have demonstrated what the agency sees as a commitment to basic scientific research and funding for federal agencies. This year’s list includes two senators and seven representatives, including Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). Two of the awardees are Republicans, the other seven are Democrats. 

What to read around the web today

  • As opioid crisis intensified, many family doctors found promotional pitches were very good. STAT Plus
  • The cascading consequences of the worst disease ever. The Atlantic
  • Scientists ♥ their emojis, but it's complicated. NPR
  • A longtime health care investor recalls the insulin bong, praises discipline in valuations, and looks to South America. STAT Plus
  • South Sudan ignores reports on oil pollution, birth defects. Associated Press

Thanks for reading! There won't be a newsletter on Monday due to the Presidents Day holiday here in the U.S., but we'll be back Tuesday! 


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Friday, February 14, 2020


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