Health

Why I Almost Fired My Doctor
Why I Almost Fired My Doctor

I always liked my primary care doctor personally. He routinely welcomed me to his office with a cheery hello and a smile. We asked about each other’s children. We often discussed our respective exercise regimens, running in his case and pickup basketball in mine. For more than 20 years, we even confided about our ambitions as writers.

But I often questioned his judgment in medical matters.

Take, for example, the time my neck bother...

October 18, 2017

Earthquakes! Fires! Shootings! Storms! How Tech Can Help Ease ‘Disaster Fatigue’
Earthquakes! Fires! Shootings! Storms! How Tech Can Help Ease ‘Disaster Fatigue’

One of the first things I do every morning when I wake up is check the latest news on my smartphone. In the last few weeks alone, that means — like so many other people — I’ve started the day with some of the most horrific news imaginable: a mass shooting, devastating storms, terrible wildfires. It’s taken a toll on my overall well-being — and very likely yours, too.

I’ve been calling it “the bad news blues,” which is just a general feel...

October 18, 2017

A Gun to His Head as a Child. In Prison as an Adult.
A Gun to His Head as a Child. In Prison as an Adult.

As a child, Rob Sullivan watched his parents battle drug addiction and depression. Now a father himself, he’s struggling to break the cycle. The Times, in collaboration with the PBS series “Frontline,” tells the story.

LEBANON, Conn. — Rob Sullivan still remembers the gun and the sound of his mother’s high-pitched pleas. Two thieves had burst into his parents’ Hartford home. Demanding his father’s dope stash, one of the men placed a gun ...

October 18, 2017

On Health, de Blasio Focuses on Crises and Inequality
On Health, de Blasio Focuses on Crises and Inequality

Mr. de Blasio got the attention he wanted — for a cause, and for himself.

For critics of the mayor, and even some supporters of his policy vision, the fight over the hospital smacked of a cynical gambit and a portent of how politics could pre-empt serious policy.

In the mayor’s first term, pedestrian political calculations and battles with Albany have tainted some of his efforts on issues related to public health. But in general, t...

October 18, 2017

Trilobites: Fish Depression Is Not a Joke
Trilobites: Fish Depression Is Not a Joke

Can a fish be depressed? This question has been floating around my head ever since I spent a night in a hotel across from an excruciatingly sad-looking Siamese fighting fish. His name was Bruce Lee, according to a sign beneath his little bowl.

There we were trying to enjoy a complimentary bloody mary on the last day of our honeymoon and there was Bruce Lee, totally still, his lower fin grazing the clear faux rocks on the bottom of his ho...

October 18, 2017

7 Million American Men Carry Cancer-Causing HPV Virus
7 Million American Men Carry Cancer-Causing HPV Virus

The incidence of mouth and throat cancers caused by the human papilloma virus in men has now surpassed the incidence of HPV-related cervical cancers in women, researchers report.

The risk of infection was higher for smokers, for people who have had multiple sex partners, and for men who have sex with men. Frequent oral sex also increased the risk. The rate was higher among men who also had genital HPV. (Almost half of men aged 18 to 60 h...

October 18, 2017

Covering Condoms: A Notoriously Slippery Subject
Covering Condoms: A Notoriously Slippery Subject

Writing about condoms presents a conundrum. Reproductive health is serious, but condoms are almost guaranteed giggle-inducers. So covering a new line of condoms that are available in 60 different sizes was a bit of a balancing act.

On the one hand, there’s the public health importance of a new attempt to boost use of condoms, which, although they protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, are worn by only a third o...

October 18, 2017

Google Maps Pulls Calorie-Counting Feature After Criticism
Google Maps Pulls Calorie-Counting Feature After Criticism

Stephanie Zerwas, the clinical director of the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at the University of North Carolina, was trying to find a restaurant in Orlando, Fla., last weekend, so she put the address into Google Maps for directions.

She was baffled to see a new feature: The iPhone app told her that walking instead of driving would burn 70 calories. While it was perhaps meant as an incentive to walk, those with eating disorde...

October 18, 2017

Public Health: Trump’s Attack on Insurer ‘Gravy Train’ Could Actually Help a Lot of Consumers
Public Health: Trump’s Attack on Insurer ‘Gravy Train’ Could Actually Help a Lot of Consumers

All year, President Trump had threatened to release a metaphorical bomb into the Obamacare markets — canceling a certain type of payment to health insurers. Everyone was convinced it would destroy the marketplace.

But now it looks as if Obamacare markets won’t face wholesale devastation, regardless of whether that legislation passes. In 2018, at least, insurers may be made whole and consumers protected — even without the subsidies.

October 18, 2017

Phys Ed: Concussions in Teenagers Tied to Multiple Sclerosis Risk
Phys Ed: Concussions in Teenagers Tied to Multiple Sclerosis Risk

Here’s yet another reason to protect young athletes from head trauma: A large-scale new study found that concussions in adolescents can increase the risk of later developing multiple sclerosis. The risk of multiple sclerosis, or M.S., an autoimmune nervous system disorder with an unknown cause, was especially high if there were more than one head injury.

The overall chances that a young athlete who has had one or more head injuries will ...

October 18, 2017

Anthem Joins With CVS to Start Its Own Pharmacy Business
Anthem Joins With CVS to Start Its Own Pharmacy Business

The insurer is in the midst of a bitter legal battle with Express Scripts, its current pharmacy benefits manager, over claims that Anthem has been overcharged. The insurer said it will start the new business in 2020 after its contract with Express Scripts expires, estimating the savings from the new arrangement to be about $4 billion a year, the bulk of which it said would flow to customers in the form of lower drug costs.

As pharmaceuti...

October 18, 2017

Personal Health: Choosing the Best Moisturizer for Your Skin
Personal Health: Choosing the Best Moisturizer for Your Skin

With the cool air of fall upon most of us and winter’s cold, dry winds approaching, it’s time to get serious about caring for the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of skin, the body’s largest organ, which protects the vital tissues within.

Long thought to be biologically inert, the stratum corneum is now known to be an intricate, biochemically complex structure, the sanctity of which is critical to having healthy skin. It has a brick-...

October 18, 2017

The New Health Care: How a Healthy Economy Can Shorten Life Spans
The New Health Care: How a Healthy Economy Can Shorten Life Spans

At least, in the short term. In the long term, economic growth is good for health. What’s going on?

It’s a different story with agricultural economies. The Cutler, Huang and Lleras-Muney study, published as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, found that mortality rates fall when such economies are growing. Before 1945, when agriculture was more dominant in the United States economy, growth was not associated with rising...

October 18, 2017

A Condom-Maker’s Discovery: Size Matters
A Condom-Maker’s Discovery: Size Matters

Now, changes by the Food and Drug Administration and industry-standards groups have opened the door to the condom equivalent of bespoke suits. A Boston-based company has begun selling custom-fit condoms in 60 sizes, in combinations of 10 lengths and nine circumferences.

Will the development improve the appeal of condoms, the only birth-control method that protects against most sexually transmitted diseases? Public health experts are unsu...

October 18, 2017

Can Fathers Have Postpartum Depression?
Can Fathers Have Postpartum Depression?

In the days after his son was born, Rob Sandler found the thrill of becoming a new father replaced with dark feelings of dread and hopelessness. Those feelings, coupled with sleep deprivation and stress, culminated in a panic attack during his son’s bris.

As a group of old friends was saying goodbye after the ceremony, “I had this feeling that they were leaving and I was stuck in this situation that would never get any better,” said Mr. ...

October 18, 2017

Raising Concerns About a Widely Used Test to Measure Fertility
Raising Concerns About a Widely Used Test to Measure Fertility

Michele K. Bourquin, an account executive from Atlanta, was 36 and divorced when she first looked into freezing her eggs.

“I knew I wasn’t getting any younger, and my eggs were aging,” Ms. Bourquin said.

So she visited a doctor who gave her a blood test that’s often used to check a woman’s egg supply. It works by looking for anti-Müllerian hormone, or AMH, which is secreted by growing follicles, the sacs that house each egg.

...

October 18, 2017

A Diabetes Monitor That Spares the Fingers
A Diabetes Monitor That Spares the Fingers

For the past year and a half I’ve been buying a medical device from Italy that has improved my life immeasurably. It wasn’t easy: I roped in a good friend who had moved to Milan to buy the device and ship it to me because it wasn’t yet available in the States. And it was expensive: over $1,600 a year.

But my black-market purchase helps me manage my Type 1 diabetes without the need to draw blood from my callused fingers 10-plus times a da...

October 18, 2017

Patents for Restasis Are Invalidated, Opening Door to Generics
Patents for Restasis Are Invalidated, Opening Door to Generics

A federal judge in Texas invalidated four key patents for the dry-eye treatment Restasis on Monday, dealing a blow to its manufacturer, Allergan, which had sought to protect its patents by transferring them to a Native American tribe.

The ruling, by United States Circuit Judge William C. Bryson of the Eastern District of Texas, does not mean that generic versions of the drug will be available soon, however. Allergan said that it would ap...

October 18, 2017

2 Senators Strike Deal on Health Subsidies That Trump Cut Off
2 Senators Strike Deal on Health Subsidies That Trump Cut Off

WASHINGTON — Two leading senators, hoping to stabilize teetering health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, reached a bipartisan deal on Tuesday to fund critical subsidies to insurers that President Trump moved just days ago to cut off.

At the White House, virtually as the deal was being announced, Mr. Trump voiced support for it while insisting that he would try again to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health law....

October 18, 2017

Another Obama Decision Reversed? Now It's Food Safety.
Another Obama Decision Reversed? Now It's Food Safety.

WASHINGTON — Citing President Donald Trump's calls for deregulation, Republican lawmakers and the chicken industry are aggressively lobbying to speed up poultry inspection lines — a change the Obama administration had rejected after warnings it would endanger workers and increase food contamination.

The National Chicken Council has asked the USDA to allow poultry plants participating in a new inspection system to operate "at any line ...

October 18, 2017