News and Views

The news of the cholera epidemic in Yemen is beyond comprehension. The disease is spreading with unprecedented speed. There are over 600,000 people infected and 2,000 dead - in about six months time. 

In July, the numbers being reported were a staggering 5,000 new cases a day. Although the overall rate of newly infected has slowed recently, down to around 3,000 cases per day - that is certainly no reason for celebration. This still remains the most explosive cholera epidemic on record. 

How does a bacterium that is micrometers long cause such devastation? 

Vibrio cholerae naturally exists in two places - water and the human small intestine. The bacteria sets up an infection in someone after they consume water contaminated with Vibrio cholerae. ...

Kurt Eichenwald is an interesting guy -- in the same way that a 47-car pileup on the freeway is interesting. He is, according to his Twitter bio, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a New York Times bestselling author. He also has written for Newsweek, where he penned one of the best essays I have ever read about conspiracy theories.

You would think that a man with such enormous influence would wield it with great responsibility. But you would be wrong. Last year, he tweeted -- without any evidence whatsoever -- that he believed Donald Trump...

I have traveled all across America and to 18 countries in Europe. My wife, who was born and raised in Poland, agrees with me: The Pacific Northwest is the most beautiful part of the world*.

Come visit in the summertime, when the weather is almost certain to be sunny and in the 70s. (We pay for this natural beauty with rain the other nine months of the year.) In Seattle, on a clear day, you can see the Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east. To the southeast is the glorious Mt. Rainier, which towers over the region at a breathtaking 14,411 feet. Because most trees in this neck of the woods are evergreen, the Pacific Northwest is beautiful all year round.

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I cannot say enough how important it is for physicians to have a working knowledge of junk science. While it sometimes can be difficult to not get snarky when patients claim they have nonsense diagnoses, it behooves the clinician to approach this type of situation with extreme diplomacy.  We cannot do this if we are not equipped with the knowledge to combat the plague which is medical quackery. 

The really sexy word around town, as I have noticed, is "wellness." Empires are built on the notion that we are, at baseline, not well.  And unless we buy what they sell, we will not attain both inner and outer beauty. What I did not know is how pervasive these wellness "clinics" are and the plethora of websites touting benefits that have no real foundation in evidence based medicine...

A disturbing video (start at minute 4:55) went viral of Utah nurse Alex Wubbels being handcuffed, while screaming as she tried to do her job. The images obtained from University Hospital and Detective Jeff Payne's body cameras reveal the standoff. At issue: if the police officer could obtain a blood sample from her patient who was hurt from a July 26 collision that involved a fatality. 

In an ironic twist, as the nurse painstakingly endeavors not to violate the rights of her patient she ultimately is handcuffed screaming, "You are assaulting me! Help!"

Nurse Wubbels contended that she was not permitted to take blood from an unconscious patient unless these conditions were met: 1) the patient was under arrest, 2)...

Nothing irritates me more than using a disaster like a hurricane Harvey to propel a political agenda. Be informative, wonderful. Be supportive, even better. Be encouraging, yes! Add ‘at all costs’ directives to messaging that serves to stress people enduring ever mounting stress, trauma, fear, worry under extreme circumstances—well, that’s just not ok.

This misguided narrative is at the core of announcements the La Leche breastfeeding group is presently releasing, among them:

Breastfeeding may or may not be the right thing for a family experiencing this unprecedented blow to personal— physical and emotional — health, family well-being, livelihoods, relationship...

So what's more disturbing: The revelation that roughly a third of the athletes at the 2011 track world championships were doping – undetected – or that it took six years for the news of such a remarkable breakdown to become public?

If this was a race, using the sport's parlance, you might say they'd break the tape simultaneously. 

But while you mull that over, for your consideration here's what took place. 

Using anonymous questionnaires, a study was conducted that involved more than 2,100 athletes combined from the track championship as well as the 2011 Pan-Arab Games. Following their performances, and given the choice of whether to answer, they were presented with this question: 

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Like North Korea, everybody agrees that fake news is a big problem. But also like the Hermit Kingdom, nobody really knows what to do about it.

Facebook, a site from which a substantial number of people acquire their daily news, has decided that pages that post fake stories will be banned from advertising. That's a perfectly fine decision, but it raises a bigger and more profound question: Who decides which news is fake? Mark Zuckerberg?

The Trouble with Fake News

According to TechCrunch, Facebook collaborates with third-party fact-checkers to...

Homeopathic products look just like the medicines they are placed next to on the shelves. However, when it comes to how these products are made - they are vastly different.

This is being brought to center stage through an investigation by FDA into Raritan Pharmaceuticals. If that name sounds familiar, it's because they are one of the companies involved in the homeopathic teething products scandal that allegedly resulted in the illnesses and deaths of infants.

The inspections resulted in two warning letters sent to the company. 

The first warning letter, sent on June 20 of this year, was to Raritan Pharmaceuticals. During an inspection of their facility in ...

Secretary Price of HHS has delayed implementation of a new payment methodology, bundled care for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), which provides a fixed payment for all the services from just before admission until 90 days after discharge. Bundled payments, or a single payment for a unit of service, comes from an assembly line sensibility and has only been tested on surgical care, specifically hip and knee surgery. With a bundled payment, hospitals or health systems accept the risk because both savings and losses accrue to them, not the Center for Medicare Services (CMS). [1] 

In this week’s JAMA Surgery, a study from Michigan’s Value Collaboration, a group of 76 (73%) of Michigan’s hospitals shows the...