Friday, March 1

Health

One in Six Abortions Is Done With Pills Prescribed Online, Data Shows
Health

One in Six Abortions Is Done With Pills Prescribed Online, Data Shows

How It WorksPills are prescribed by virtual-only providers and by clinics that also offer in-person services. Patients fill out an online questionnaire or meet with a clinician via video or text chat. This method began nationwide in 2020, when the Food and Drug Administration began allowing abortion providers to mail pills without an in-clinic visit during the pandemic.Some of the prescriptions included in the new count were given to patients in states where abortion is banned, a new development made possible by shield laws. These laws protect clinicians in states where abortion is legal when they prescribe and mail pills to patients in states where it is not. Shield laws were in effect in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Washington during the period covered by the new data, ...
Lead-Tainted Applesauce Highlights Failings in Food Safety System
Health

Lead-Tainted Applesauce Highlights Failings in Food Safety System

The tainted applesauce might have gone unnoticed for even longer had it not been for a family in North Carolina.Early last summer, Nicole Peterson and Thomas Duong were alarmed by their young children’s blood-lead levels in a routine screening. Within weeks, the levels had doubled.Ms. Peterson said the couple worked with the local health department as they tried to determine what could be hurting their children. We “weren’t sleeping and we’re not eating — like this is driving us crazy,” said Ms. Peterson. She and her husband are suing Dollar Tree, where they bought the applesauce, and WanaBana, a U.S. distributor led by Austrofood officers.A Dollar Tree spokeswoman said the company is committed to the safety of the products it sells. Austrofood said that it had relied on its supplier’s cer...
Your Inhalers and EpiPens Aren’t Very Healthy for the Environment
Health

Your Inhalers and EpiPens Aren’t Very Healthy for the Environment

Single-use insulin pens changed Brian Brandell’s life.Growing up with Type 1 diabetes in the 1970s, he had to carry glass syringes and vials of insulin wherever he went. So in 1985, when Novo Nordisk debuted a disposable prefilled pen that combined several doses of medication with a syringe, Dr. Brandell readily adopted the new device.“They were a godsend,” he recalled.But more recently, he began weighing the effects of all the plastic in the pens he had thrown away over the years, and the potential harm to people and his surroundings.“I’m using this lifesaving product,” he said with frustration, “but in order for me to use it, I’ve got to be willing to damage the environment.”It’s no secret that the world has a plastic problem. The versatile, durable and cheap material is clogging the wor...
Severe Frostbite Gets a Treatment That May Prevent Amputation
Health

Severe Frostbite Gets a Treatment That May Prevent Amputation

The first time Dr. Peter Hackett saw a patient with frostbite, the man died from his wounds. It was in Chicago in 1971, and the man had gotten drunk and passed out in the snow, his fingers so frozen that gangrene eventually set in.Dr. Hackett later worked at Mount Everest Basecamp, on Denali, Alaska, and now in Colorado, becoming expert in treating cold-weather injury. The experience was often the same: There was not much to do about frostbite, except rewarm the patient, give aspirin, amputate in severe cases and, more often, wait and accept that six months later the patient’s body might “auto-amputate” by naturally shedding a dead finger or toe.His mentor in Anchorage used to say, “Frostbite January, Amputation July,” remembered Dr. Hackett, clinical professor at the Altitude Research Cen...
Hydeia Broadbent, H.I.V. and AIDS Activist, Dies at 39
Health

Hydeia Broadbent, H.I.V. and AIDS Activist, Dies at 39

Hydeia Broadbent, who was born with H.I.V. and as a child became a leading voice in raising awareness about the virus and AIDS, died on Tuesday at her home in Las Vegas. She was 39.Her father, Loren Broadbent, confirmed the death. He did not cite the cause.Ms. Broadbent was 6 years old when she began telling of her struggle with H.I.V. on television, aiming to educate the public amid an epidemic that produced panic and stigma. Even when new treatments dramatically improved the long-term outcomes for people with H.I.V., she stressed that there was no cure and that infection was a life sentence, and she urged people to prevent its spread.In 1992, when she was 7, Ms. Broadbent was interviewed on Nickelodeon in a special program featuring Magic Johnson, the basketball star, who, after his own ...
These Whales Still Use Their Vocal Cords. But How?
Health

These Whales Still Use Their Vocal Cords. But How?

People have told stories of strange underwater sounds for thousands of years, but it took until the mid-20th century for scientists to pinpoint one of the causes: whales, singing and whistling and squeaking in the blue.The means by which some whales make these sounds has remained a mystery. A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature puts forth a new explanation, discovered thanks to a contraption that forced air through the voice boxes of three dead whales.The voice box, or larynx, is an ancient organ. “It evolved when fish crawled out of the sea and animals needed a way to separate the air they’re breathing from the food they’re taking in,” said Coen Elemans, an author of the study and a professor of biology at the University of Southern Denmark.The larynx functions like an antecha...
How Sleep Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Insomnia and Mental Health
Health

How Sleep Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Insomnia and Mental Health

It started with mild anxiety.Emily, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she was discussing her mental health, had just moved to New York City after graduate school, to start a marketing job at a big law firm.She knew it was normal to feel a little on edge. But she wasn’t prepared for what came next: chronic insomnia.Operating on only three or four hours of sleep, it didn’t take long for her anxiety to ramp up: At 25, she was “freaking nervous all the time. A wreck.”When a lawyer at her firm yelled at her one day, she experienced the first of many panic attacks. At a doctor’s suggestion, she tried taking a sleeping pill, in the hopes that it might “reset” her sleep cycle and improve her mood. It didn’t work.Americans are chronically sleep deprived: one-third of adults ...
75 Hard Has a Cultish Following. Is It Worth All the Effort?
Health

75 Hard Has a Cultish Following. Is It Worth All the Effort?

Two 45-minute daily workouts. One gallon of water. 10 pages of a nonfiction book. A diet. No “cheat meals” or alcohol. For 75 days.And if you mess up, you have to start from the beginning.Sound like a lot? It’s supposed to be. The program, called 75 Hard, is meant to build mental toughness. Some say that rigidity is what makes it great, and others say that makes it problematic.Since it was created in 2019, 75 Hard has developed somewhat of a cult following, with practitioners posting daily progress pictures and videos that sometimes rack up millions of views on TikTok and Instagram. One of Reddit’s biggest subreddits, with over 44,000 members, is dedicated to the program.But is it beneficial, and are the changes sustainable? Psychologists say that while the program can have mental-health b...
Did You Go Through Fertility Treatment?
Health

Did You Go Through Fertility Treatment?

As women have begun having babies later in life, the number of patients going through in vitro fertilization treatment has increased significantly.The medical treatment can be life-changing, but it also comes at a price, as some couples go deeply into debt to pay for medical care that health insurance does not always cover. Some research has questioned the effectiveness of newer aspects of fertility treatment, like genetic screenings, and some patients have filed lawsuits claiming that faulty chemicals destroyed their embryos. Private equity companies, seeing the industry’s rapid growth, have been buying up some of the country’s largest fertility clinics.The New York Times is looking to hear from readers who can share their recent experiences with in vitro fertilization treatment. Hearing ...
US Agencies Start Inquiry Into Generic Drug Shortages
Health

US Agencies Start Inquiry Into Generic Drug Shortages

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday that they would examine the causes of generic drug shortages and the practices of “powerful middlemen” that are involved in the supply chain.The federal agencies’ inquiry is aimed at the group purchasing organizations and drug distributors that have been in the spotlight in recent months as drug shortages reached a 10-year peak. The agencies want to examine the companies’ influence on how the drugs are sold to hospitals and other health facilities, assessing whether the middlemen put pressure on pricing and manufacturing that led to breakdowns.During Congressional hearings in the last year, oncology experts have testified about the effects of the shortages, describing difficult decisions that for...