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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Hospitals have to share prices with patients, new executive order says 

President Trump on Monday signed an executive order that could force hospitals to disclose "prices that reflect what patients and insurers actually pay," health secretary Alex Azar told reporters. If implemented, it would also force hospitals and insurers to provide patients with estimates of their out-of-pocket costs before they receive health services. While the administration is casting the move as a win for patients, it faced instant pushback from industry players. Insurers, and even some economists, cautioned against a blanket rule on transparency, with the major lobbying group America's Health Insurance Plans warning that "publicly disclosing competitively negotiated, proprietary rates will reduce competition and push prices higher."

Q&A: Dr. Leana Wen on preserving Roe v. Wade and what she expects of 2020 candidates

In the seven months since Dr. Leana Wen took over as president of Planned Parenthood, many states have passed laws that prohibit abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. And abortion rights are a key issue in the upcoming presidential election. I caught up with Wen at the Aspen Ideas Health Festival in Colorado this past weekend to chat more.

What are the chances that Roe v. Wade could be overturned?

There are 14 cases that are one step away [from the U.S. Supreme Court], which is a terrifying thought. If Roe is overturned, then 25 million women would be living in states where abortion is outlawed, banned, and criminalized.

What are you looking for from 2020 candidates?

My expectation is for all our candidates to affirm that reproductive health care is health care. That abortion is part of the full spectrum of reproductive health care and that health care is a fundamental human right.

Read the full interview here.

How concern about immigration policies affects mental health

Immigration and immigration policy are being discussed everywhere, and some of the hard-line tactics being employed by the current administration have many immigrants worried. A new study surveyed a small group of U.S.-born Latinx adolescents and found that nearly half of them worried about being reported to immigration officials or being separated from families. Those who expressed concerns about immigration policy also had worse anxiety and sleep scores. Some children also had worse depression scores, although those differences were not statistically significant. The study’s authors didn’t know about the immigration status of the children's parents, but the findings nevertheless suggest that concerns about immigration have a negative effect on mental health.

Inside STAT: How an Alzheimer’s ‘cabal’ thwarted progress toward a cure for decades

 (Dom Smith/STAT)

You don’t ordinarily hear leading scientists describe a disease theory as a quasi-religious dogma being pushed by a “cabal,” but Alzheimer’s is no ordinary disease. Every amyloid-targeting drug has failed and there is still no cure or even a disease-slowing treatment — and more and more experts believe that the dominance of the 30-year-old “amyloid model” is partly to blame. But STAT’s Sharon Begley reports that scientists who had other ideas were regularly denied publication in top journals, speaking slots at important meetings, and funding. Working on the story, Sharon says, was “frustrating” because “scientists are still very reluctant to cross the amyloid-defending powers that be.” She also says it was “heartbreaking” to think of the progress we may have made against Alzheimer’s if “the amyloid model had not become an orthodoxy that researchers challenged at their peril.” STAT Plus subscribers can read more here.

Why are elite athletes different than the rest of us? Take a look at their microbes

Elite athletes can pull off physical feats that the rest of us can’t, and their microbes may be one reason why. Researchers looked at stool samples from Boston Marathon runners before and after the race and found that the post-race samples had an elevated number of a bacterium that breaks down lactate. The bacterium — known as Veillonella — is known for turning lactate into another compound that serves as an energy source for cells. Mice that were colonized with a strain of Veillonella from elite athletes also showed an increase in endurance. Could popping a probiotic pill of Veillonella help the non-elite among us do better with our running routines? Scientists say we’re not there yet.

Medical groups call for action on climate change

A group of 74 medical and public health organizations yesterday called for U.S. leaders to take action on climate change to prevent its negative effects on health and health inequities. The group — which includes the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, and others — called climate change “the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century,” and outlined 10 priority actions to reduce climate change, including emphasizing the need for active transportation (walking, biking, and taking public transit) to not only drive down carbon emissions but to also improve people’s health. Emphasizing the need for equity in climate action, the group also called for leaders to engage with communities that are vulnerable to both climate change and adverse health effects.

What to read around the web today

  • New noninvasive genetic tests for IVF embryos are in development. The Wall Street Journal
  • We tried to publish a replication of a Science paper in Science. The journal refused. Slate
  • Trying to eradicate malaria around the world. Axios
  • The hidden cost of GoFundMe health care. The New Yorker
  • Watch: At this hospital, drones are the new medical couriers. STAT

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,


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Tuesday, June 25, 2019


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