The procedure involves a doctor making an incision at the vaginal opening during labor. Despite established guidance of more than a decade that they should only be performed in emergencies, a USA Today analysis of hospital billing data finds dozens of hospitals in eight states with episiotomy rates of 20% or higher — and some nearly double that. In other public health news: gene-editing, vaccines, LGBTQ seniors, face mites, and more.
USA Today: Episiotomies Are Painful, Risky And Not Routinely Recommended. Dozens Of Hospitals Are Doing Too Many.
It’s a surgical cut made during childbirth that doctors have been officially warned for more than a decade does more harm to women than good. Mothers who receive episiotomies – an incision at the vaginal opening to create more room as a baby’s head appears – are more likely to suffer severe complications than if they had been allowed to tear naturally. (Young and Kelly, 5/21)
NPR: CRISPR Used To Modify Viruses And Create New Weapon Against Superbugs
Alphonso Evans rolls his wheelchair into a weight machine in the gym at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga. “I’m not so much worried about dying from a heart attack or diabetes, because I’m active. I know what to do to work against it: watch what I eat, exercise,” Evans says. “But what do I do about an infection? Or fighting off a bacteria — something inside me that I don’t see until it’s too late?” (Stein, 5/22)
NPR: Mitosis Model Shows Inner Workings Of Cell Division
How do we grow from a single fertilized egg into a fully grown person with trillions of cells? Our cells divide, of course! And it’s no mean feat. Each time a cell divides, it must duplicate our 23 pairs of chromosomes and make sure each “daughter” cell ends up with a complete set of genes. Errors are potentially fatal to the cell. Runaway cell division, which is the hallmark of cancer, is also serious business. (Harris, 5/22)
Stat: ‘What’s My Real Identity?’: As DNA Ancestry Sites Gather More Data, The Answer For Consumers Often Changes
To the companies selling tests, the ever-evolving DNA ancestry reports are more of a feature than a bug. Each website is upfront about the fact that a given test result is only as accurate as the data behind it. With more data come more granular conclusions that almost inevitably tweak ancestry results. And because genetic datasets have long been overwhelmingly white, even an incremental update can lead to pendular shifts for customers of color. The same phenomenon holds true for genetic tests offering information on health or disease risk. (Garde, 5/22)
Stat: Breaking The ‘Cold Chain’ For Delivering Vaccines, Inspired By Breath Strips
One of the many challenges in developing and delivering vaccines where they are needed is keeping them at the right temperature at the right price. Most vaccines, especially ones made from weakened forms of living viruses, must be kept cold to be effective. Scientists have tried many strategies to get around the need for a “cold chain” from supplier to patient, but their workarounds don’t fit the often hot climates in developing countries where threats like Ebola have emerged. (Cooney, 5/21)
Sacramento Bee: NIH Gives UC Davis $9 Million To Test Gene Editing Tools’ Safety
Primate researchers at the University of California, Davis, will be testing the safety and efficacy of gene editing tools that they expect will have future applications in humans, work that the university said Monday is being financed by $9 million from the National Institutes of Health. While discoveries in genome editing, such as the well-known CRISPR/Cas9 system, now make it possible to change DNA code inside living cells, challenges still remain before such techniques can be widely used in patient care to treat genetic diseases, UC Davis researchers said. (Anderson, 5/21)
The New York Times: Dog Person? It May Be In Your Genes
If you like dogs, it may be in your genes. Swedish researchers used a database of 35,035 identical and fraternal twins born between 1926 and 1996. They gathered information on their dog ownership from government and kennel club registries. Identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, are genetically more like each other than fraternal twins, who share only 50 percent. Twins share the same environment, so if a trait is genetic, identical twins will look more like each other in that trait than fraternal twins do. (Bakalar, 5/21)
Kaiser Health News: ‘Stonewall Generation’ Confronts Old Age, Sickness — And Discrimination
Two years ago, nursing professor Kim Acquaviva asked a group of home care nurses whether they thought she was going to hell for being a lesbian. It’s OK if you do, Acquaviva said, but is the afterlife within your scope of practice? After Acquaviva’s talk, an older nurse announced she would change how she treats LGBTQ people under her care. “I still think you’re going to hell, but I’m going to stop telling patients that,” the nurse told Acquaviva. (Aleccia and Bailey, 5/22)
The Wall Street Journal: Five Innovative Ways Cities Are Improving Life For Seniors
Cities are trying to make life better for their older residents. In many ways, cities have little choice, since people over 65 are the fastest-growing age group in the U.S. By 2030, about 20% of the U.S. population will be over age 65, according to the Census Bureau, up from 15% in 2016. By 2035 older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. (Oliver, 5/21)
NPR: Meet The Mites That Live On Your Face
It might give you the creepy-crawlies, but you almost certainly have tiny mites living in the pores of your face right now. They’re known as Demodex or eyelash mites, and just about every adult human alive has a population living on them. The mostly transparent critters are too small to see with the naked eye. At about 0.3 millimeters long, it would would take about five adult face mites laid end to end to stretch across the head of a pin. (Cassidy, 5/21)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Source : Kaiser Health