Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Trump to meet with experts on youth vaping

Bookending a week in which the Trump administration seemingly backed off a proposed federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes, the president today is set to have a meeting to discuss youth vaping. Trump will convene medical experts, health advocates, and representatives from the vaping industry. The proposed ban, introduced in September, would include all non-tobacco flavors, but the administration has since relented from putting menthol on that list. 

In other vaping news, Massachusetts lawmakers just passed the most strict vaping ban in any state thus far. Gov. Charlie Baker proposed a four-month temporary ban on all flavored products back in September, but the new bill — which awaits Baker’s signature — prohibits menthol and mint flavors for both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, as well as places a 75% excise tax on vaping products.  

Highlights from our inaugural STAT Summit

We just wrapped up our first STAT Summit, and here are a couple of highlights: 

  • On the future of bionic limbs: “If we lived in a future world in which you could replace your limbs and they’re as good or better as if you replaced your biological limb, would you be upset if you lost your biological limb? No, you wouldn't,” said Hugh Herr of the MIT Media Lab, who is the subject STAT’s feature-length documentary, “Augmented.” 

  • On Biogen’s decision to pursue an Alzheimer’s drug targeting amyloid: "We didn't think that amyloid as a drug target had been adequately tested,” said Dr. Al Sandrock, chief medical officer at Biogen. “We believe in amyloid as a target because of the human genetics.” 

  • On the FDA's struggle to regulate CBD: “We don’t know what happens if you take CBD every day for a year or we don't know what happens if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding,” said Dr. Amy Abernethy, principal deputy commissioner of the FDA. “We don’t know about CBD for people who are older in life or have other medical conditions.”

For a more thorough look at what happened at the event, check out #STATSummit on Twitter.  

Obesity rates have dropped among children from low-income families

Although obesity has historically been especially prevalent among children from low-income families, new CDC data find it is now less common among young children in families who rely on a federal nutrition assistance program. Looking at data from more than 12 million children ages 2-4 whose families are enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, researchers found that rates of obesity went from around 16% in 2010 to less than 14% six years later. Researchers also found that between 2010-2014, the prevalence of youth obesity decreased in 34 of the 56 agencies that administer the WIC program. One potential cause for the decrease: a change in food available through the program to include more fruit, vegetables, and whole wheat products. 

Inside STAT: What is HIPAA, and what does it cover?

(Alex Hogan/STAT)

We’re back with a new episode of our “The Fact, STAT!” video series, and this installment looks into the patient privacy law known as HIPAA. Regular Morning Rounds readers may know that HHS has opened an investigation into Google’s recent partnership with the Catholic hospital chain Ascension — and the question at the heart of the investigation is whether this deal violates HIPAA. In the video, STAT’s Megan Thielking explains how HIPAA was established in 1996, and how, in some cases, patients don’t actually have to consent to having their data shared. Learn more from Megan and STAT’s Alex Hogan here

Global report finds adolescents are not getting adequate exercise

The first-ever report on physical activity among adolescents across the globe finds that 80% of school-aged children don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. Guidelines from the WHO and U.S. public health agencies recommend that adolescents get at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every day. The WHO has set a goal of reducing physical inactivity among adolescents by 15% by 2030, and the new report found that there has been more progress among boys than girls toward that goal. Data from 1.6 million children ages 11-17 across 146 countries found that nearly 78% of boys and 85% of girls don’t get enough physical activity. Girls and boys in Asia Pacific countries were the least likely to get the recommended amount of exercise, while boys from high-income countries in the West and girls in South Asia were most likely to be active. 

New digital tool shows effect on states if Roe v. Wade were overturned

The nonprofit Center for Reproductive Rights just launched a new digital tool that shows how access to abortion would vary across states if Roe v. Wade were overturned. Several states have attempted to enact stricter restrictions on abortion in the hopes of triggering a Supreme Court challenge to the 1973 decision that has protected abortion access. The new tool allows users to search for laws by U.S. state or territory and categorizes places by four levels of protection. Seven states — including New York and California — have specifically protected abortion in their state constitutions, and would therefore be unaffected by a change in federal law. However, 24 states labeled “Hostile” — including Kentucky and Pennsylvania — would immediately ban the procedure if Roe. v. Wade were overturned. 

What to read around the web today

  • Meet Niyi Fadeyi, STAT 2019 Wunderkind. STAT
  • Thank God for Judy Blume. The New York Times
  • They bring medical care to the homeless and build relationships to save lives. NPR
  • Across several continents, infecting mosquitoes with bacteria results in dramatic drops in dengue illness, trials show. STAT
  • Investigation reveals widespread double dipping in NIH program to pay off school debt. Science

Have a great weekend! See you Monday, 


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Friday, November 22, 2019


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