Friday, October 30, 2020 | Kaiser Health News

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Longer Looks: Interesting Reads You Might Have Missed

Each week, KHN finds longer stories for you to sit back and enjoy. This week’s selections include stories on COVID, drug addiction, pregnancy, children’s health and the 2001 anthrax scare.

The Washington Post:
A Maryland Family Battled Covid-19 At The Same Time As Trump. It Devastated Them.

Carol Coates had battled covid-19 at the same time as the president. But instead of a suite at Walter Reed, the 46-year-old Black teacher self-isolated in the basement of her family’s home. And instead of the experimental cocktail of antibodies that Trump was given, she received get-well cards from her fifth-grade students. Carol had taught nine miles from the White House. But her illness unfolded in what seemed like a different universe than the one the president described. … It would take even more from Carlton Coates. His phone buzzed during his sister’s funeral, but the 43-year-old truck driver ignored it. It was only when he returned home and saw people gathered in the driveway that he knew something else had gone wrong. As they stepped out of the car, his fiancee pulled him aside. “I hate to tell you this,” she said, “but your mom passed away.” (Miller, 10/28)

Covid-19 Expert Akiko Iwasaki Fights A Different Virus: Sexism In Science

Even for one of the most high-profile virologists in the midst of the pandemic, it was not an event that will be easily forgotten. For nearly 10 hours on a recent Saturday, Akiko Iwasaki was feted at a virtual gathering celebrating her 50th birthday and the 20th anniversary of her Yale lab. Former and current colleagues showered her with gifts, reminisced about outings to bars, Six Flags, and campsites, and answered trivia questions (her favorite color is purple — Iwasaki is a huge Prince fan). (Chakradhar, 10/27)

The New York Times:
This Addiction Treatment Works. Why Is It So Underused? 

Steven Kelty had been addicted to crack cocaine for 32 years when he tried a different kind of treatment last year, one so basic in concept that he was skeptical. He would come to a clinic twice a week to provide a urine sample, and if it was free of drugs, he would get to draw a slip of paper out of a fishbowl. Half contained encouraging messages — typically, “Good job!” — but the other half were vouchers for prizes worth between $1 and $100. (Goodnough, 10/27)

North Carolina Health News:
Disrupting The Addiction Cycle 

Baby Tyler uttered his first word the other day, and much to Kerry T.’s surprise, that word was “dada.” “I’m the one taking care of you, not your daddy,” Kerry, 21, who did not want her full name used to protect her privacy, chided the six-month-old. Tyler grinned at his mom, flapping his arms this way and that. Kerry, from Maxton, a town of roughly 2,500 less than 20 miles from the South Carolina border, knows that she is lucky. She could have just as easily lost her child to foster care. The drugs she used could have killed him too, she knows. (Engel-Smith, 10/26)

The New York Times:
Protecting Your Birth: A Guide For Black Mothers 

The data is heartbreakingly clear: Black women in America have more than a three times higher risk of death related to pregnancy and childbirth than their white peers. This is regardless of factors like higher education and financial means, and for women over 30, the risk is as much as five times higher. While the recent national dialogue created in response to the data has been a critical leap forward, it has also brought up a lot of fear and questions from Black women about how we can prevent these outcomes. (Chidi and Cahill, 10/22)

The New York Times:
Depression In Pregnancy May Raise Risk Of Childhood Asthma 

A mother’s psychological distress during pregnancy may increase the risk for asthma in her child, a new study suggests. Researchers had the parents of 4,231 children fill out well-validated questionnaires on psychological stress in the second trimester of pregnancy, and again three years later. The mothers also completed questionnaires at two and six months after giving birth. The study, in the journal Thorax, found that 362 of the mothers and 167 of the fathers had clinically significant psychological distress during the mothers’ pregnancies. (Bakalar, 10/21)

The Wall Street Journal:
A Key To Healthier Adult Diets: Healthier Baby Diets

Feeding babies the right healthy foods during a critical window of time may help set them up for better health as adults, emerging research suggests. As the federal government weighs the first-ever dietary guidelines for children under 2, there’s evidence that the food habits of young kids influence their diet—and their health—later on. The science is still nascent and studies are generally small. But with childhood obesity on the rise and a growing understanding that the seeds of adult illnesses like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are planted in childhood, there’s increasing interest in how to shape the youngest palates. (Petersen, 10/26)

The New York Times:
Respecting Children’s Pain 

In a new report on pediatric pain in the British medical journal The Lancet, a commission of experts, including scientists, doctors, psychologists, parents and patients, challenged those who take care of children to end what they described as the common undertreatment of pain in children, starting at birth. Isabel Jordan, of Squamish, British Columbia, took part as a parent partner, along with her son Zachary, 19, who has a genetic condition, and lives with chronic pain. “Pain matters with every child and at every intersection with the health care system,” she said. But for her son, “it didn’t matter with many providers, doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, and that made for worse outcomes.” (Klass, 10/26)

Roll Call:
Pathogens, Nose Swabs, Flip Phones: What Work Was Like During Anthrax

After mail laced with anthrax showed up on Capitol Hill in 2001, things started to feel different. “You picked it up and it was all crinkly and crispy,” says Jim Manley of the letters he got after that, treated to kill any spores. Manley remembers the uncertainty of that time, when he worked as an aide for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. “It really was a surreal moment, right up there with the weirdest stuff I ever saw in 21 years in the Senate,” he says. “There was a lot of fear, a lot of paranoia.” (Cioffi, 10/29)

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