Friday, June 30, 2017

Morning Rounds by Megan Thielking

Happy Friday, and welcome to the last day of June! I'm here to get you ahead of the day's health news. 

A quick note — Morning Rounds is taking a long holiday weekend (complete with barbecue and later alarms). There won't be a newsletter Monday or Tuesday, and I'll be back with your daily dose of health news first thing Wednesday morning. 

Trump nominates a new surgeon general 

President Trump has nominated Indiana’s health commissioner to be the next surgeon general, more than two months after firing former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in April. Dr. Jerome Adams had been appointed as the head of Indiana’s health department by Vice President Mike Pence during the latter's tenure as Indiana governor. Adams, who trained as an anesthesiologist, has advocated for addressing the opioid epidemic. It’s an issue he's had to grapple with previously — one month after he took office in Indiana, the first cases of an HIV outbreak were reported in the small town of Austin, Indiana. The virus had spread among people sharing needles to inject a prescription painkiller. Within a year, there were at least 181 cases in the town of fewer than 5,000 people.

Your ideas for the Healthy People 2030 goals

Yesterday I asked you what you’d like to see included in the US health department’s next set of big-picture public health goals, dubbed Healthy People 2030. Here’s a handful of the ideas Morning Rounds readers sent in:

  • "Address the immediate needs of the elderly U.S. public health crisis, which is growing more critical each decade. Provide resources not only for the patient but the caregivers so they can remain healthy in order to provide ongoing care." — Regina Reynolds

  • "I think public health officials need to focus on risk perception. Why does the public stir itself into a frenzy over Ebola, something there's pragmatically zero risk of them contracting, but changing people's diet and exercise habits remains nearly impossible? The next set of public health goals needs to clearly understand, and apply, the principles of risk perception." — Kate Sutcliffe

  • "Pandemics require more than vaccines, especially point of care diagnostics. We need to heed the lessons of the Ebola and Zika crisis experiences. Getting these products discovered, developed and on the market in a timely manner. We have the science, technology and skills. All we really need is the governmental will and policies to match." — David Beier

  • "I cannot begin to conceive of a healthy society until everyone has equal access to care, and that means 100 percent access." — Patrice Barrett

The dueling conferences of naturopaths and skeptics

Naturopaths are gathering in London this weekend for an alternative medicine conference — and just across the pond, skeptics of the practice are holding their own conference in New York City. Naturopathic providers from across the world will hear talks on intermittent fasting, natural solutions to low testosterone levels, and the chemistry of essential oils. It’s a good thing there’s an ocean keeping the two groups apart. One-time naturopath Britt Hermes — who’s now a fierce critic of the field — is giving a talk today about her former colleagues at the science and skepticism conference. The title: “The naturopaths are coming! The naturopaths are coming!”

Sponsor content by Shire

Recent Shire Announcement Underscores Heritage in ADHD

Shire has a long-standing heritage of helping to address the needs of individuals living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Shire continues its commitment following the U.S. FDA approval of a once-daily ADHD treatment option for appropriate patients. With the approval, Shire is working towards meeting the evolving needs of those with ADHD. Learn more about a treatment option from Shire. Intended for U.S. audiences. 

Inside STAT: Ben Folds, a surgeon, and music science


(dom smith / stat)

Surgeon and musician Charles Limb has put jazz musicians and freestyle rappers into fMRI machines to study how musical creativity comes about in the brain. He’s also zoomed in on the neural activity that lets us listen to a song while simultaneously singing it. Earlier this month, Limb joined musician Ben Folds and the National Symphony Orchestra for an off-the-cuff demonstration of the neuroscience of music. In two new videos, STAT explores the science of music with Limb and Folds — watch here.

Why was FDA so slow to act on faulty lead tests? 

Last month, the FDA announced a recall of Magellan blood lead tests that produced inaccurate results, a problem that stretched back to 2014. Now, a group of senators has a critical question for health officials — what took so long? Senate Democrats sent a letter to the directors of the FDA and the CDC asking for a slew of information, including more details on why no one has been able to figure out the cause of the faulty tests yet. “Reports indicate that Magellan was aware of problems with the accuracy of their tests as early as 2014,” they write, “yet for three years, parents, children, and providers continued to base healthcare decisions on these inaccurate results.”

Addiction medicine group isn't sold on new health bill

Senate GOP leaders anxious to marshal the votes for an Obamacare replacement bill have added $45 billion in funding to tackle the opioid crisis to the most recent draft. But following in the footsteps of other addiction experts, the American Society of Addiction Medicine has issued a strong rebuke of that proposal, because the bill still involves massive cuts to Medicaid. “No amount of grant funding can provide the sustainable, predictable, and flexible funding that health insurance can," they say, "and addiction treatment providers cannot rely on uncertain appropriations to run their practices.” 

New law targets shady marketing for addiction treatment

A new law that targets the disreputable marketing and business practices of some sober homes and addiction treatment facilities goes into effect in Florida tomorrow. The law follows a crackdown in the state on shady players in the recovery industry, including the middlemen known as brokers who often recruit individuals with addiction and arrange for their transportation to treatment centers. Those treatment centers are sometimes run by people with no experience in addiction treatment. The new law will require mandatory background screenings for owners, directors, and clinical supervisors of licensed treatment centers. It also gives welfare officials authority to make unannounced visits to those facilities. And while sober homes don’t have to be licensed, treatment centers will no longer be allowed to refer patients out to unlicensed sober homes.

What to read around the web today

  • All the “wellness” products Americans love to buy are sold on both Infowars and Goop. Quartz
  • California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death in childbirth. Vox
  • Medicare halts release of much-anticipated data. ProPublica

More reads from STAT

The latest from STAT Plus

Thanks so much for reading. Have a wonderful weekend! See you bright and early Wednesday morning, 


Have a news tip or comment you want to send me?

Send me an email