Have you ever felt like you were physically experiencing the emotions of a performer while taking in a lively musical, watching a beautiful film or visiting an intoxicating performance art exhibit at a museum? A relatively new field of brain research called neuroaesthetics studies how our brains convey sensation throughout our bodies in order to trigger aesthetic experiences. These incredible mechanisms of the brain are what allow us to truly appreciate the art we experience and to feel completely connected to the audience around us at a performance. This beautifully interactive piece by The Washington Post uses visuals and music from the New York City Ballet’s production of “Swan Lake” to guide the reader through this powerful relationship between art and the brain.
The Social Security Administration’s budget hasn’t changed since 2011, but today there are millions more people receiving disability or retirement benefits than there were 6 years ago. Additionally, long waits for disability hearings, and the appeals that often follow, can leave the lives of applicants at risk. This Seattle Times article provides insight into why this waiting game is so dangerous for applicants as well as what changes the Social Security Administration is working on implementing in an effort to improve the efficiency of the disability application process as a whole.
MCNTalk and most other news and information sources have discussed the opioid crisis frequently and at great length in recent years. One useful development: a relatively small software company, Appriss Inc., has designed software with the goal of reducing the number of prescriptions written. The software tracks relevant data in state prescription-drug-monitoring programs.
There’s a huge, on-going demand to see this kind of data: in 2016 alone there were 130 million opioid-related queries to monitoring programs, many made by emergency room physicians assessing patients with pain issues. A search of the data can let them know whether their patient has had any — possibly multiple — previous opioid prescriptions filled and therefore is at risk for addiction. Given the scope of the crisis – in 2016 there were 20,000 fatal overdoses from opioids nationwide – reducing access and identifying individuals at risk could save lives. For further details on the software and the crisis, including a discussion of concerns over data sharing and potential leaks, read more here.
“Fake News” is a real topic these days, but should those reading medical journals be concerned with it? Bloomberg has published an interesting, in-depth case study involving Srinubabu Gedela, Ph.D., whose quest to stock his home town’s library with more research journals for his diabetes studies has grown into an “internet publishing powerhouse” claiming 1,000 open-access journal titles posting 50,000 articles annually.
Per a 2016 lawsuit, the Federal Trade Commission terms his companies a “predatory publisher duping professionals.” The medical journal industry is not a small one: a 2015 study in the journal BMC Medicine estimated revenue generated at $10.5 billion annually for traditional journals from global subscriptions.
Jeffrey Beall, librarian from the University of Colorado, Denver, has ended up at the center of the controversy, having been tracking publishers for the past few years who seem to publish articles with little to no peer review, the traditional cornerstone of the industry. Beall estimates that as many as 25% of the publishers of “scientific” journals could fall into the “predatory” category. Check out this article in Bloomberg for more details.
The Academy Award-winning actress’ health and wellness e-commerce startup, Goop, is no stranger to criticism. Since its inception in 2008, Goop has achieved widespread success, raising almost $20 million in venture capital. At the same time, it has also faced widespread criticism, threats of legal action, and a surge of backlash to much of the marketing and advertising materials published on the company’s various platforms.
As a recent article on BuzzFeed highlights, Goop is the subject of a new set of investigations being conducted by the consumer watchdog group Truth in Advertising (“TINA”) regarding some of the claims made in the company’s advertisements. From the Rose Flower Essence Tincture, which is marketed as a tool to help combat panic attacks, to the concept of “Earthing,” allegedly advertised as a treatment for insomnia, TINA is calling out a handful of these products and treatments, requesting that Goop either provide scientific evidence for their various claims, or amend their marketing materials to clarify what exactly these products are medically proven to accomplish.
Amidst the endless reports and studies that have been coming out in recent years regarding the opioid epidemic and the various problems caused by certain treatments for chronic pain, a recent article in The New York Times delves into an alternative remedy that has helped its author get through his own struggles. By exposing his own personal journey through the chronic pain that has plagued several years of his life, the author is helping to shine a light on another, and oftentimes less prescribed, method of recovery. This method calls on the patient to forgo the usual “props” of braces, assisted seats, and pills and instead focus on conscientious breathing and other forms of meditative thought. While this method would not be an effective form of recovery for all patients struggling with chronic pain, it does at least provide another option for those who have not yet found relief through other means of treatment.
A recent article written in a joint effort by The New York Times and ProPublica highlights some of the struggles that more and more Americans are dealing with when they go to the pharmacy to fill their prescriptions. Today, generic drugs are still largely the products preferred by insurance companies and, therefore, by the patients who rely on their insurance companies to help cover much of the costs paid for their prescriptions.
However, many drug companies who produce original brand name versions of these drugs have begun employing strategic methods of combating their generic-producing competitors. Many such methods include offering discounts to insurance companies and middleman drug sellers for favoring their brand name products over generic versions. Discounts, however, rarely trickle down to the patient who is then forced to pay more money out-of-pocket for brand name prescriptions. Check out the article to find out more about how to combat paying more money for your prescriptions and to get a better understanding of the oftentimes convoluted world of prescription drugs.
Earlier this month the commission tasked with combating America’s opioid crisis recommended that the president declare a national state of emergency related to this crisis. Over the last few years, the opioid problem in the United States has grown exponentially worse, and the number of annual drug-related deaths has officially surpassed the number of deaths claimed by the H.I.V. epidemic at its highest point.
To help generate more widespread understanding of this epidemic, its history, and the steps being taken to combat it, The New York Times has recently published an article that answers several foundational questions concerning America’s leading cause of death for those under the age of 50. The article usefully breaks down the differences between opioids and opiates, illustrates the areas of the country in which the crisis is at its worst, and helps explain why the problem has grown so much in recent years. Aside from answering the basic questions surrounding the opioid epidemic, the article goes on to explore the complexities of proposed remedies to the solution, including the pros and cons of a plan that focuses on prevention versus one that targets treatment.
As group exercise classes become more and more popular, doctors have started noticing a troubling trend among their patients who engage in these oftentimes intense forms of exercise. The condition is known as rhabdomyolysis, and it most often occurs when overworked muscles begin to die and tear apart at a rapid level. The side effects include excruciating pain in the muscles and joints, as well as darker colored urine, nausea, and extreme fatigue.
Healthcare providers have started to observe that among the recent uptick in patients with rhabdomyolysis, the most common thread appears to be patients who begin new exercise routines at high intensity rates without giving their muscles time to prepare for the amount of wear and tear they will likely experience. And as the popularity of group exercise classes such as SoulCycle, P90X, and CrossFit grow, the more likely people are to experience this previously extremely rare phenomenon. Check out this recent article in The New York Times to learn more about this condition and how you can help prevent it from happening to you.
It seems that every day the news is filled with heated debate and muddled conversation regarding the ongoing issues surrounding health care policy in the United States. Politicians, economists, and even large percentages of the general public are weighing in on the topic, and the dialogue surrounding health care seems to grow louder with each passing day.
Health care policy is so widely debated because not only is it one of the more complex and intricate market economies in this country, but it also affects such a wide array of people. A recent article in The New York Times aims to help clarify many of the more confusing elements of the current health care system in the United States. The author explains the intricacies of “externalities,” deconstructs the negative consequences of adverse selection, explores the factors that lead customers to over-consume health care products, and much more. Ultimately, this article serves as a great tool in helping to understand the perplexing and decisive market of health care.