Category : Health & Medicine

(Washington Post) Bryce Ward–Americans are choosing to be alone. Here’s why we should reverse that.

According to the Census Bureau’s American Time Use Survey, the amount of time the average American spent with friends was stable, at 6½ hours per week, between 2010 and 2013. Then, in 2014, time spent with friends began to decline.

By 2019, the average American was spending only four hours per week with friends (a sharp, 37 percent decline from five years before). Social media, political polarization and new technologies all played a role in the drop. (It is notable that market penetration for smartphones crossed 50 percent in 2014.)

Covid then deepened this trend. During the pandemic, time with friends fell further — in 2021, the average American spent only two hours and 45 minutes a week with close friends (a 58 percent decline relative to 2010-2013).

Similar declines can be seen even when the definition of “friends” is expanded to include neighbors, co-workers and clients. The average American spent 15 hours per week with this broader group of friends a decade ago, 12 hours per week in 2019 and only 10 hours a week in 2021.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology

([London] Times) Queen Elizabeth II biography reveals stoic monarch in final days

According to the Right Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, she was in “fantastic form” on the weekend before she died.

He told Brandreth that she was “so alive and engaging”, and how they spoke about her childhood, her horses, church affairs and her sadness over the war in Ukraine. “Her faith was everything to her. She told me she had no regrets,” he said.

Brandreth wrote: “Her Majesty always knew that her remaining time was limited. She accepted this with all the grace you’d expect.” The biographer claimed he “heard that the Queen had a form of myeloma — bone marrow cancer,” which he wrote would explain the tiredness, weight loss and mobility issues that were spoken about during the last year of her life.

Her death certificate stated that she had died of old age.

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on any of the claims in the book.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Books, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

The Bp of Sheffield gives a very personal address to his diocese disclosing his bout with colon cancer

My dear friends, it’s the Eve of Advent, a season I love. I love the strong liturgical backdrop we will enjoy for the next four weeks; I love the Advent hymns; I love the sense of anticipation and expectation. I love the sustained and deliberate focus, in this season of Joyful Hope, on the assurance of God’s coming kingdom.

But today, I want to look back and not forward, and I want to offer you a Presidential Address with a difference. This morning I want to speak very personally – to tell you about a particular health challenge I have had to face over the past five years. It’s basically a good news story, though I realise the new information may be a bit unsettling for some of you.

To cut to the chase: about four weeks ago, at the start of the month, I was, thank God, signed off by the colorectal department at the Northern General Hospital, because it is five years since I went through treatment for cancer of the colon, and I am no longer meaningfully at risk of a recurrence of the disease. This morning, I’d like to tell you about the diagnosis and treatment I experienced in 2017, and about the impact it has had on me as a person and as a bishop.

I realise this raises questions. Some of you may be wondering why I did not tell you about this at the time, in 2017? It’s a fair point. I do know that you would have been only too keen to pray for me and to care for me pastorally if you had known what I was going through back then. So why didn’t I tell you? Well, partly, I was simply protecting myself. I’m an extreme introvert and in that situation I needed some privacy. But in addition, in mid 2017, this Diocese had just emerged from a torrid Vacancy in See. By then, though I myself was pretty confident, on medical advice, that the prognosis was good, though I was pretty confident of being Bishop of Sheffield long-term, given what many of you had recently gone through, I was concerned that news of my illness might create additional instability and I thought that was the last thing this Diocese needed. So I chose not to go public.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Health & Medicine

(Front page of yesterday’s NYT) As Gen X and Boomers Age, They Confront Living Alone

In 1960, just 13 percent of American households had a single occupant. But that figure has risen steadily, and today it is approaching 30 percent. For households headed by someone 50 or older, that figure is 36 percent.

Nearly 26 million Americans 50 or older now live alone, up from 15 million in 2000. Older people have always been more likely than others to live by themselves, and now that age group — baby boomers and Gen Xers — makes up a bigger share of the population than at any time in the nation’s history.

The trend has also been driven by deep changes in attitudes surrounding gender and marriage. People 50-plus today are more likely than earlier generations to be divorced, separated or never married.

Women in this category have had opportunities for professional advancement, homeownership and financial independence that were all but out of reach for previous generations of older women. More than 60 percent of older adults living by themselves are female.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Children, Economy, Health & Medicine, Housing/Real Estate Market, Marriage & Family, Psychology

(Local paper) Flu vaccination low in South Carolina as virus rages unchecked

Only 1 in 5 people in South Carolina are vaccinated against the flu as the virus continues to fill doctors’ offices and hospitals. But with the holidays now in full swing, it is a good time to get a shot and get protected, doctors say.

With a heavy early surge of flu, the worst start to the season in a decade, only 21.2 percent of the Palmetto State’s population had received their seasonal vaccination, about 1.1 million people, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

That includes only 14.5 percent of children and 14.9 percent of adults under age 65. Nearly half of seniors — 49 percent — were vaccinated, DHEC reported. Those low rates can have consequences, particularly for kids, said Dr. Elizabeth Mack, chief of pediatric critical care at Medical University of South Carolina.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine

(VA) Shane Whitecloud–What Veterans Day means to me

I was sent back to Hawaii where I went to my chain of command to report the incident again. I was placed on restrictive duty for violating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I was discharged from the Navy in 1995 with a General Under Honorable Conditions discharge.

There weren’t a lot of resources for Veterans back then and the ones I heard about I was leery of. I fell into homelessness, drugs, and eventually incarceration. I was lost and alone. I didn’t want to be found. I attempted suicide twice before I turned 21. I used to tell people I’d never live to see 30.

I found that singing was my way of saving $40 on a shrink and I sang for touring rock bands for the next 20+ years. Something was still missing though. I never had that feeling of accomplishment.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, History, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Suicide

(C of E) How words of familiar prayers or hymns help people with dementia

Residents at Westview House in Totland Bay, on the Isle of Wight might be living with dementia – but they could remember the words to the Lord’s Prayer.

As Anne Powell started to lead the informal service in the care home, several seemed initially confused about what was going on.

But when Anne started to lead them in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, something amazing happened. Long-term memories kicked in, as many of them recited the words they had learnt decades ago. Something similar happened as they started to sing ‘All things bright and beautiful’.

This is the kind of ministry that Anne Powell offers regularly, as an ‘Anna Chaplain’.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(SA) People With Complete Paralysis Walk Again After Nerve Stimulation Breakthrough

Using a mix of electrical stimulation and intense physical therapy, nine people with chronic spinal injuries have had their ability to walk restored.

All suffered from severe or complete paralysis as a result of damage to their spinal cord. Incredibly, the volunteers all saw improvements immediately, and continued to show improvements five months later.

A recent study by researchers from the Swiss research group NeuroRestore has identified the exact nerve groups stimulated by the therapy, using mice as a starting point.

The nerve cells that orchestrate walking are found in the section of spinal cord running through our lower backs. Injuries to our spinal cord can interrupt the chain of signals from the brain, preventing us from walking even when these specific lumbar neurons are still intact.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(ITV) NHS nurses union announce first ever UK-wide strike in its 106 year history

NHS nurses are to strike over pay after members of the union representing close to half a million nurses across the UK were balloted.

More than 300,000 members were urged by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to vote for strike action in the union’s biggest strike ballot.

The walkout is the first UK-wide strike action in the RCN’s 106-year history.

Industrial action is expected to be held before the end of the year at some of the country’s biggest hospitals, including Guy’s and St Thomas’ opposite Parliament, the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, University Hospital Wales and Belfast’s Royal Victoria.

The results of the ballot come amid a growing threat of strikes across the health service.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(IE) Could Dementia be prevented by restoring and normalizing protein clusters?

Dementia is a disease that impairs memory and decision-making skills. The clean-up of toxic protein clumps could prevent neurodegenerative diseases, according to a new study.

The study was led by researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute. The research team discovered that focusing on the relationship between two key enzymes could prevent dementia. The proteins the researchers studied were the enzyme Fyn and the protein Tau. They studied the area of the brain that causes frontotemporal dementia, a form of brain disorder that forms when parts of the frontal and temporal lobes are damaged, affecting behavior, language and movement.

The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

The research team was led by Professor Frederic Meunier and Dr. Ramón Martínez-Mármol of the Queensland Brain Institute. Researchers found that Fyn, an enzyme that plays a significant role in learning and memory, became active when it was immobilized within the synapses – a link between two nerve cells – that connected hubs between neurons, where the enzymes normally communicate.

“Using super-resolution microscopy, we can now see these enzymes individually and in real-time, moving around randomly in live neurons,” said Dr Martínez-Mármol, lead author on the study.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Science & Technology

(CT) Ewan C. Goligher–Canada Euthanized 10,000 People in 2021. Has Death Lost Its Sting?

How then can we as Christians respond to the matter of physician-assisted death? First, we can call upon reason and the light of nature to affirm absolutely the value of life. Assisted death and suicide is said to be a matter of respect.

But to value a person is to value their existence. A willingness to deliberately end someone’s existence therefore necessarily devalues the person. If people matter, we must not intentionally end them.

Second, our churches can be communities where assisted death is inconceivable because the weak, the aged, the disabled, and the dying are regarded as priceless members of the community. We can be a place where those who suffer enjoy the devoted companionship, love, and support that reminds them of their value and bears them up through pain. This is, after all, what all of us long for.

Third, we can advocate for access to the very best medical and palliative care for those who are suffering or dying. The palliative care movement was started by a Christian physician, Dame Cicely Saunders, and has transformed medical care at the end of life. Yet access to good palliative care in the US, Canada, and the rest of the world is still far too limited.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Economist) Controversial new research suggests SARS-CoV-2 bears signs of genetic engineering

Erik van Nimwegen, from the University of Basel, says there are only small scraps of information and it is “hard to pull anything definitive out of that”. He adds, “one cannot really exclude at all that such a constellation of sites may have occurred by chance”. The authors of the paper concede this is the case. Kristian Andersen, a professor of immunology and microbiology, at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, described the pattern, on Twitter, as “random noise”.

Any conclusion that sars-cov-2 was engineered will be hotly contested. China denies the virus came from a Chinese lab, and has asked for investigations into whether it may have originated in America. Dr Washburne and his colleagues say their predictions are testable. If a progenitor genome to sars-cov-2 is found in the wild with restriction sites that are the same, or intermediate, it would raise the chances that this pattern evolved by chance.

Any widely supported conclusion that the virus was genetically engineered would have profound ramifications, both political and scientific. It would put in a new light the behaviour of the Chinese government in the early days of the outbreak, particularly its reluctance to share epidemiological data from those days. It would also raise questions about what was known, when, and by whom about the presumably accidental escape of an engineered virus. For now, this is a first draft of science, and needs to be treated as such. But the scrutineers are already at work.

Read it all.

Posted in China, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(Economist) Most people on antidepressants don’t need them–Time to wean them off

Almost 35 years ago American drug regulators approved Prozac, the first in a series of blockbuster antidepressants known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (ssris). Prozac and its cousins were lauded by patients and doctors as miracle drugs. They lifted low moods quickly and seemed to have no drawbacks. Divorce, bereavement, problems at work—a daily pill was there to help with that, and anything else which made you sad. Many people have stayed on these drugs for life. In Western countries today between one person in seven and one in ten takes antidepressants.

The shine of ssris has worn off. A growing number of studies show that they are less effective than thought. Drug companies often publish the results of clinical trials selectively, withholding those in which the drugs turn out not to work well. When the results of all trials submitted to America’s medicines regulator between 1979 and 2016 were scrutinised by independent scientists, it turned out that antidepressants had a substantial benefit beyond a placebo effect in only 15% of patients.

Clinical guidelines have been revised accordingly in recent years. No longer are drugs the recommended first line of treatment for less severe cases of depression. For these, self-help guidance, behavioural therapy and recommendations for things like exercise and sleep are preferable. For work burnout, a sick note for time off may suffice. The drugs are to be reserved only for more severe depression, where they can be truly life-saving.

Read it all.

Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(1st Things) Jonathon Van Maren–Canada’s Killing Regime

Krista Carr, executive vice president of Inclusion Canada, is one such Canadian. “Most families of children born with disabilities are told from the start that their child will, in one way or another, not have a good quality of life,” she told the National Post. “Canada cannot begin killing babies when doctors predict there is no hope for them. Predictions are far too often based on discriminatory assumptions about life with a disability.”

Roy’s statement is merely the latest episode in a series of euthanasia horror stories from Canada that are shocking even to dulled Western sensibilities. Canada’s Supreme Court overturned criminal prohibitions on assisted suicide in Carter v. Canada in 2015. Shortly afterward, parliament passed Bill C-14 in 2016, which legalized “medical aid in dying” (or MAiD) for adults with “enduring and intolerable suffering” and a “reasonably foreseeable death.” In 2021, Bill C-7 was passed, which legalized MAiD for those struggling with mental illness. Canada has become an international cautionary tale.

Impoverished people are turning to MAiD out of desperation because they cannot access the resources they need or the treatments they require in Canada’s broken healthcare system. The Toronto Star—the largest and most liberal newspaper in the country—called it “Hunger Games style social Darwinism.” The story detailed how one woman is considering assisted suicide because she cannot find an affordable place to live in her city with wheelchair access. Her tale is becoming a common one.

Sixty-three-year-old Alan Philips, who has lived with chronic pain for almost two decades, recently got approved for assisted suicide after trying for eighteen years to get spinal fusion surgery to relieve his agony. He cannot get the surgery and has been prescribed opioids instead. “I cannot get adequate healthcare,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics

(Bloomberg) Americans Reclaim 60 Million Commuting Hours in Remote-Work Perk

Americans who are working from home have reclaimed 60 million hours that they used to spend commuting to an office each day. They’re now using that time to get more sleep instead.

That’s the takeaway from a research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which analyzed data from the American Time Use Survey to see what US workers spent their time on when they weren’t stuck on a crowded train or locked in traffic. The main findings: Employees spent fewer total hours working and substantially more on sleep and leisure.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(Guardian) Vaccines to treat cancer possible by 2030, say BioNTech founders

Vaccines that target cancer could be available before the end of the decade, according to the husband and wife team behind one of the most successful Covid vaccines of the pandemic.

Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, who co-founded BioNTech, the German firm that partnered with Pfizer to manufacture a revolutionary mRNA Covid vaccine, said they had made breakthroughs that fuelled their optimism for cancer vaccines in the coming years.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Prof Türeci described how the mRNA technology at the heart of BioNTech’s Covid vaccine could be repurposed so that it primed the immune system to attack cancer cells instead of invading coronaviruses.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

[Former Auburn Football Player] Philip Lutzenkirchen and his legacy

Watch it all–used in the sermon yesterday morning by yours truly–KSH.

Posted in Alcohol/Drinking, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sports, Young Adults

(Lifeway) How Did the Pandemic Affect Church Shopping and Switching?

While many types of shopping were limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, one type became more prevalent—church shopping.

At the height of the pandemic, in October 2020, researchers Nicholas Higgins and Paul Djupe surveyed American churchgoers. They found more than a third (35%) reported visiting another congregation in person or online in the previous six months, according to their report published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. That would indicate a higher-than-normal amount of churchgoers who at least explored other churches. A pre-pandemic study from Pew Research found about half of Americans (49%) said they had looked for a new congregation at some point in their entire adult lives. And moving to a new location was the primary reason for this search (34%).

Of those who were attending a church in spring 2020, 18% reported no longer attending that same congregation by October. Again, that is higher than the pre-pandemic church-switching rate by 4 to 5 percentage points….

The biggest factor seems to be relational ties within the congregation. If a person is active and involved, all other factors don’t appear to move them much. Pastors and church leaders should prioritize increasing the commitment level of those at their church. The deeper churchgoers are involved—increased attendance, small group involvement, volunteering, etc.—the less likely it appears they are to leave.

“At least for now, the results suggest a considerable degree of congregational resilience in the face of overwhelming pressure,” the report concludes. Your church has suffered a shock to the system and probably lost some people. But you have endured and the people who remain are probably more committed than ever. As you move forward, work toward strengthening the ties of current churchgoers even more and assimilating new attendees quickly.Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(BBC) ‘Exploited’ foreign doctors worry about risk to UK patients

Doctors recruited from some of the world’s poorest countries to work in UK hospitals say they’re being exploited – and believe they’re so overworked they fear putting patients’ health at risk.

A BBC investigation has found evidence that doctors from Nigeria are being recruited by a British healthcare company and expected to work in private hospitals under conditions not allowed in the National Health Service.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has described the situation as “shocking” and says the sector needs to be brought in line with NHS working practices.

The BBC has spoken to several foreign medics – including a young Nigerian doctor who worked at the private Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital in 2021.

Augustine Enekwechi says his hours were extreme – on-call 24 hours a day for a week at a time – and that he was unable to leave the hospital grounds. He says working there felt like being in “a prison”.

The tiredness was so intense, he says, there were times he worried he couldn’t properly function.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Nigeria

(London Post) The Bishop of London joins calls for Government to publish Health Disparities White Paper

On Monday 10th October, the Health Inequalities Action Group (HIAG), a multi-faith initiative led by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, to explore London’s health inequalities and how faith groups can and do contribute to the health of their communities, published its report: ‘On Faith, Place and Health: Harnessing the Power of Faith Groups to Tackle London’s Health Inequalities’.

At an event at The Old Deanery near St Paul’s Cathedral, Bishop Sarah presented the report, which makes a series of recommendations aiming to tackle health inequalities. These include supporting the development and integration of an Interfaith Health Council with national health structures to represent faith communities.

The publication comes a few weeks after reports of the Government shelving the long-anticipated Health Disparities White Paper, which led to a coalition of over 155 medical organisations writing to the Health Secretary Thérèse Coffey, urging her to maintain the Government’s commitment to publish its white paper by the end of this year. In her remarks, Bishop Sarah restated those calls and pointed to the HIAG report as a further sign of the urgent need to address the rampant health inequalities faced not only in the Capital, but across the United Kingdom.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Health & Medicine, Psychology

World Mental Health Day: Church-run course giving support to people living with depression

Hope in Depression is a registered charity and has been running courses through churches since 2013. People attending the course explore the causes and symptoms of depression and anxiety, learn about brain chemistry and medication, hear about counselling and discover ways that have been clinically shown to aid recovery and continued wellbeing.

Christ Church’s course leader Denise Morris has run the online course twice a year since 2019. She says, “Hope in Depression is suitable for adults of all ages – we’ve had 18-year-olds and 80 year-olds on the course and men and women of all ages in between.  Many people who have done the course have reported improvements in their mood and ability to cope day to day. It really can help make a difference.”

The course has received positive feedback from attendees who highlight the relaxed, safe and caring environment.

As one explains: ‘Meeting others, knowing there are so many of us who experience depression – knowing I’m not alone. It’s so very important that this course is available to as many people as possible.’

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(FT) ‘A self-inflicted lockdown’: how the global the cost of living crisis puts lives on hold

When Sarah, a 29-year-old North American, quit her job in the film industry and came to study law in London, she hoped to put her life on a firmer financial footing. Two years on, that goal seems further away than ever.

Interest payments on a bank loan have gone up; she has lost weight having cut back on groceries; and feels isolated because going out costs too much. A soaring energy bill has forced her to move out of her previous flat-share.

And with earnings as a research assistant working out at £6.65 an hour, Sarah says it is “impossible to imagine” planning for the future.

“I’m fixing the problem directly in front of me, not building a long-term game plan,” she says. “Every relationship and facet of my life has been impacted . . . It’s as if you’re climbing a staircase and you don’t know if the next step is going to be there [or] if you’re going to fall through.”

Sarah is one of countless casualties of a global cost of living crisis that is forcing people around the world to put their lives on hold — forgoing social lives, scrapping house moves and weddings, hesitating to start a family or delaying retirement because of the financial pressures caused by high inflation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance, Psychology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Edith Cavell

Living God, who art the source of all healing and wholeness: we bless thee for the compassionate witness of thy servant Edith Cavell. Inspire us, we beseech thee, to be agents of peace and reconciliation in a world beset by injustice, poverty, and war. We ask this through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Spirituality/Prayer

(Stanford Medicine) 50 years of ethics: Scientists navigate an increasingly challenging field

It was a breakthrough discovery: a protein that cuts DNA at precise points, leaving overhanging sticky ends ready to glom onto a matching partner. Using the protein, researchers could cut and paste genetic sequences from one species into another as easily as a word processing program can rejigger a sentence.

These genetic gymnastics, first reported in 1972 by researchers at Stanford Medicine and UC San Francisco, launched a field known as recombinant DNA technology. But within months of the discovery, the research was halted — at the researchers’ request.

The technology, scientists feared, could lead to “Frankencells” that are antibiotic resistant or toxic or that incite cancer-causing proteins when the hybrid molecules were introduced into living cells. The scientists called a partial moratorium on this promising field of study — the first time researchers had voluntarily done such a thing.

“[This is] the first time that I know of that anyone has had to stop and think about an experiment in terms of its social impact and potential hazard,” said Paul Berg, PhD, the Robert W. and Vivian K. Cahill Professor of Cancer Research, Emeritus, then chair of biochemistry at Stanford Medicine. Berg, who was a leading figure in the nascent field, went on to share the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1980 for his work with recombinant DNA.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

CMU researchers discover a new type of microelectrode array which has the potential to transform how doctors are able to treat neurological disorders

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have pioneered the CMU Array—a new type of microelectrode array for brain computer interface platforms. It holds the potential to transform how doctors are able to treat neurological disorders.

3D printed at the nanoscale, the ultra-high-density microelectrode array (MEA) is fully customizable. This means that one day, patients suffering from epilepsy or limb function loss due to stroke could have personalized medical treatment optimized for their individual needs.

The collaboration combines the expertise of Rahul Panat, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Eric Yttri, assistant professor of biological sciences. The team applied the newest microfabrication technique, Aerosol Jet 3D printing, to produce arrays that solved the major design barriers of other brain computer interface (BCI) arrays. The findings were published in Science Advances.

Read it all.

Posted in Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(NYT front page) Health Panel Recommends Anxiety Screening for All Adults Under 65

A panel of medical experts on Tuesday recommended for the first time that doctors screen all adult patients under 65 for anxiety, guidance that highlights the extraordinary stress levels that have plagued the United States since the start of the pandemic.

The advisory group, called the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, said the guidance was intended to help prevent mental health disorders from going undetected and untreated for years or even decades. It made a similar recommendation for children and teenagers earlier this year.
The panel, appointed by an arm of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, has been preparing the guidance since before the pandemic. The recommendations come at a time of “critical need,” said Lori Pbert, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, who serves on the task force. Americans have been reporting outsize anxiety levels in response to a confluence of stressors, including inflation and crime rates, fear of illness and loss of loved ones from Covid-19.

“It’s a crisis in this country,” Dr. Pbert said. “Our only hope is that our recommendations throw a spotlight on the need to create greater access to mental health care — and urgently.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(Bloomberg) Atlanta Hospital Closes in the Midst of Poverty and Politics

The Atlanta Medical Center sits on a vast stretch of urban land, just one mile south of Ponce de Leon Avenue — the street that segregationists over a century ago designated as the dividing line between Black and White Atlanta.

That distinction was palpable on Thursday, when a group of Georgia religious leaders held a press conference outside the hospital, calling on Governor Brian Kemp to meet with them, and find a way to stop the planned closure of the 120-year-old medical center, along with others like it in the state.

“Let’s be honest, this is about devaluing Black and Brown and poor people,” said Reverend Shanan Jones, president of Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta. “Their lives are expendable. Their lives don’t matter.”

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Pastoral Theology, Poverty, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

Buckingham Palace says the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision

Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(WSJ) Schools Are Back and Confronting Severe Learning Losses

Delainey Tidwell says she loves reading. The tricky part for her is understanding the words on the page.

“I would read one sentence over and over again,” said the 9-year-old fourth-grader.

Though she returned to school in August 2020, repeated quarantines left her mostly on her own at home. Her father is a construction supervisor who has to be on site. Her mother works from home but gets few breaks during the day. Delainey sometimes had to care for her little sister during virtual school.

Delainey’s difficulty with comprehension is also hurting her in math class, where she struggles to understand word problems, said her mother, Danyal Tidwell, who pins some blame on the pandemic. “We want to give her every resource we can between school and home, because we want her caught up,” Mrs. Tidwell said.

For two years, schools and researchers have wrestled with pandemic-era learning setbacks resulting mostly from a lack of in-person classes. They are struggling to combat the learning loss, as well as to measure just how deep it is. Some answers to the second question are becoming clear. National data show that children who were learning to read earlier in the pandemic have the lowest reading proficiency rates in about 20 years.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine

(Gallup) Americans Not Convinced that Marijuana Benefits Society

Americans are evenly split in their views about marijuana’s effect on society, with 49% considering it positive and 50% negative. They are slightly more positive about the drug’s effect on people who use it, with 53% saying it’s positive and 45% negative.

People’s own experience with marijuana is highly related to their views on both questions.

Large majorities of adults who say they have ever tried marijuana — which is nearly half of Americans — think marijuana’s effects on users (70%) and society at large (66%) are positive.
Conversely, the majority of those who have never tried marijuana think its effects are negative: 72% say this about its effect on society and 62% about its effect on users.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Sociology