Health News StoriesExcerpts of Key Health News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of health news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Filing for bankruptcy is often considered a worst-case scenario. And for many Americans who do pursue that last-ditch effort to rescue their finances, it is because of one reason: health-care costs. A new study from academic researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues – either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills, the research found. Other reasons include unaffordable mortgages or foreclosure, at 45 percent; followed by spending or living beyond one's means, 44.4 percent; providing help to friends or relatives, 28.4 percent; student loans, 25.4 percent; or divorce or separation, 24.4 percent. The culprit ... was inadequate health-care insurance, according to a co-author of the research, Dr. David U. Himmelstein, a distinguished professor at Hunter College. Most families do not have enough saved for a simple emergency, let alone thousands of dollars in unexpected medical costs. A recent study ... found that only 40 percent of Americans have enough saved to cover a $1,000 emergency expense. To help combat this problem, Physicians for a National Health Program is advocating for a national Medicare for All program that would broaden insurance coverage for Americans.
Sweden, which has shunned the strict lockdowns that have choked much of the global economy, emerged from 2020 with a smaller increase in its overall mortality rate than most European countries, an analysis of official data sources showed. Infectious disease experts ... acknowledged [that the results] may indicate Sweden's overall stance on fighting the pandemic had merits worth studying. In the past week, Germany and France have extended lockdowns amid rising coronavirus cases and high death tolls, moves that economists say will further delay economic recovery. While many Europeans have accepted lockdowns as a last resort given the failure to get the pandemic under control with other methods, the moves have in recent months prompted street protests in London, Amsterdam and elsewhere. Sweden, meanwhile, has mostly relied on voluntary measures focused on social distancing, good hygiene and targeted rules that have kept schools, restaurants and shops largely open - an approach that has sharply polarised Swedes but spared the economy from much of the hit suffered elsewhere in Europe. Data from EU statistics agency Eurostat compiled by Reuters showed Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years. Countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns, such as Spain and Belgium, had so-called excess mortality of 18.1% and 16.2% respectively. Twenty-one of the 30 countries with available statistics had higher excess mortality than Sweden.
Note: Read a balanced, detailed description of Sweden's response to COVID in this New Yorker article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
When West Virginia declared a state of emergency to arrest the coronavirus, the social network that aids the homeless froze along with everything else. Ordered to shelter in place, people without shelter died at an alarming rate. In a bad year here ... two to four of the unhoused die. Over the past year, they have tallied 22 deaths, a sevenfold increase. Only two of the deaths are suspected to be from COVID-19. But all occurred during the collapse of the safety net that in normal times addresses the complex mix of afflictions–trauma, medical conditions, addiction–that accompany homelessness, and worsened during the profound isolation of the pandemic. What happened in [West Virginia] is happening across the country. Even before the pandemic lockdowns that fell hardest on low-income Americans –– and stand to push more people out of their homes –– the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported U.S. homelessness at 580,466 people, up 7% from a year earlier. Deaths are rising even faster. In San Francisco, the department of public health says deaths tripled over the past year in an unhoused population of 8,035. In Los Angeles, home to a vast homeless population tallied at 41,290, deaths increased by 32%. Homeless deaths in Washington, D.C., soared by 54%. In New York City, the Coalition for the Homeless reported a death rate up 75%. And over the past year, they died ... at a rate many times higher than the rate of deaths from the virus.
The end of humankind? It may be coming sooner than we think, thanks to hormone-disrupting chemicals that are decimating fertility at an alarming rate around the globe. A new book called Countdown, by Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist ... finds that sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973. Following the trajectory we are on, Swan's research suggests sperm counts could reach zero by 2045. Zero. Let that sink in. That would mean no babies. No reproduction. No more humans. Forgive me for asking: why isn't the UN calling an emergency meeting on this right now? The chemicals to blame for this crisis are found in everything from plastic containers and food wrapping, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting. Some of them, called PFAS, are known as "forever chemicals", because they don't breakdown in the environment or the human body. They just accumulate and accumulate – doing more and more damage. Swan's book is staggering in its findings. "In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35," Swan writes. In addition to that, Swan finds that, on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had. Given everything we know about these chemicals, why isn't more being done? Right now, there is a paltry patchwork of inadequate legislation responding to this threat.
AstraZeneca may have included "outdated information" in touting the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine in a U.S. study, federal health officials said Tuesday in an unusual public rift that could further erode confidence in the shot. In an extraordinary rebuke, just hours after AstraZeneca on Monday announced its vaccine worked well in the U.S. study, an independent panel that oversees the study scolded the company for cherry-picking data, according to a senior administration official. The panel wrote to AstraZeneca and U.S. health leaders that it was concerned the company chose to use data that was outdated and potentially misleading instead of the most recent and complete findings. The NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the incident "really is what you call an unforced error" and that he expects the discrepancy to be straightened out. But that nitty-gritty seldom is seen by the public, something now exposed by the extraordinary microscope being applied to development of the world's COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine is used widely in Britain, across the European continent and in other countries, but its rollout was troubled by inconsistent study reports about its effectiveness, and then last week a scare about blood clots that had some countries temporarily pausing inoculations. Company executives refused repeated requests from reporters to provide a breakdown of the 141 COVID-19 cases it was using to make the case for the shot's effectiveness.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
In the summer of 1981, when he was 13, Grant crashed a trail motorbike. Grant hadn't given this childhood memory much thought in the intervening years, but one hot August day ... he suddenly understood it as a clue to his dangerously unhealthy relationship with alcohol. The day before, a team of specialists at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital had given him an intravenous infusion of ketamine, a dissociative hallucinogen, in common use as an anaesthetic since the 1970s, and more recently one of a group of psychedelic drugs being hailed as a silver bullet in the fight to save our ailing mental health. To date, more than 100 patients with conditions as diverse as depression, PTSD and addiction have been treated in research settings across the UK, using a radical new intervention that combines psychedelic drugs with talking therapy. What was once a fringe research interest has become the foundation of a new kind of healthcare, one that, for the first time in modern psychiatric history, purports to not only treat but actually cure mental ill health. Under its influence, Grant had an out-of-body experience he struggles to put into words. "It was like I was sinking deeper and deeper into myself," he says. "Then I became whiteâ€¦ and I left my body. I was up on the ceiling, looking at myself, but I was just this white entity. I felt very serene and humbled; I finally understood my place in the universe, just a white speck of light, I wasn't the centre of everything and that was fine."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the healing potentials of mind altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
Now that the 2020 figures have been properly tallied, there is still no convincing evidence that strict lockdowns reduced the death toll from COVID-19. But one effect is clear: more deaths from other causes, especially among the young and middle-aged, minorities and the less affluent. The best gauge of the pandemic's impact is what statisticians call excess mortality, which compares the overall number of deaths with the total in previous years. That measure rose among older Americans because of COVID-19, but it rose at an even sharper rate among people aged 15 to 54, and most of those excess deaths weren't attributed to the virus. Preliminary reports point to some obvious lockdown-related factors. There was a sharp decline in visits to emergency rooms and an increase in fatal heart attacks because patients didn't receive prompt treatment. Many fewer people were screened for cancer. Social isolation contributed to excess deaths from dementia and Alzheimer's. Researchers predicted that the social and economic upheaval would lead to tens of thousands of "deaths of despair" from drug overdoses, alcoholism and suicide. As unemployment surged and mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs were interrupted, the reported levels of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts increased dramatically, as did alcohol sales and fatal drug overdoses. The number of excess deaths not involving COVID-19 has been especially high in US counties with more low-income households and minority residents.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Sweden's novel approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic has drawn both praise and fierce criticism, not just inside the Scandinavian country, but across the Western world. The country has so far resisted going into lockdown, unlike the rest of Europe, even during the peak of its second wave over Christmas. Sweden may be faring comparably better in terms of excess deaths - those greater than the usual number of deaths expected in a certain time period. Experts say excess deaths can indicate whether policies intended to combat the pandemic have unintended consequences, such as delaying treatment for other ailments and is an important measure of the overall efficacy of policy. While still performing worse than other Nordic countries on data from Eurostat, the official European Union statistics agency, and the University of Oxford, shows that Sweden recorded 7.9% excess deaths last year compared to the years 2016-19, according to the independent health news site Dagens Medicin. That means that the country had the 23rd lowest annual excess deaths out of 30 European countries - lower than the U.K. (15.1%), France (10.4%) and Spain (18.9%). Sweden also has a lower number of coronavirus deaths per million than those countries, all of which have gone under strict lockdowns during the pandemic.
Note: The media has consistently compared Sweden to its immediate neighbors Finland and Norway, which have done much better than Sweden, but were not hit hard in the beginning as Sweden was. With the exception of this a a very few other articles, they almost always fail to compare Sweden to other European countries, as they don't won't people to know how well they have done with no lockdown. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Nearly a year after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the nation's first statewide shutdown because of the coronavirus, masks remain mandated, indoor dining and other activities are significantly limited, and Disneyland remains closed. By contrast, Florida has no statewide restrictions. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has prohibited municipalities from fining people who refuse to wear masks. And Disney World has been open since July. Despite their differing approaches, California and Florida have experienced almost identical outcomes in COVID-19 case rates. How have two states that took such divergent tacks arrived at similar points? "This is going to be an important question that we have to ask ourselves: What public health measures actually were the most impactful, and which ones had negligible effect or backfired by driving behavior underground?" said Amesh Adalja ... at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Though research has found that mask mandates and limits on group activities such as indoor dining can help slow the spread of the coronavirus, states with greater government-imposed restrictions have not always fared better than those without them. California and Florida both have a COVID-19 case rate of around 8,900 per 100,000 residents since the pandemic began, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A great deal of conflicting information has emerged about the immune response that develops in patients who have recovered from Covid-19. The good news is that we are unlikely to be reinfected with Sars-Cov-2 repeatedly until it eventually wipes us all out. Most of the evidence ... shows that the immune response to this is quite typical for an acute viral infection. Initially, the body ramps up high levels of IgG antibodies, but after the infection is cleared, those antibodies drop to a baseline level, which may be below the limit of detection of some serological tests. Most people who recover from Covid-19 have detectable neutralising antibodies months after infection. This suggests that Sars-Cov-2 infection does produce an immune response that is protective, at least for several months. Furthermore, antibodies are not the only important part of the immune system. T-cells are also a key component to the immune response. They come in two flavours: helper T-cells, which coordinate immune responses and facilitate immunological memory, and killer T-cells, which kill infected cells. Previous studies have shown that Sars-Cov-2 infection induces robust T-cell responses. Interestingly, some people who have never had Covid-19 have memory T-cells from prior common-cold coronavirus infections that cross-react with Sars-Cov-2, suggesting that there may be some existing protection in the population. T-cells alone are unlikely to provide complete immune protection, but they are a key contributor to immune memory.
Note: The author of this article, Angela Rasmussen, is a virologist and affiliate of the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands have joined the growing list of countries that have suspended the use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford over blood clot concerns. The Dutch government said Sunday that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would not be used until at least March 29, while Ireland said earlier in the day that it had temporarily suspended the shot as a precautionary step. On Monday, the German government also said it was suspending its use, with the vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, calling for further investigations. The Italian medicines authority made a similar announcement on Monday afternoon and French President Emmanuel Macron also said the vaccine's use would be paused pending a verdict from the EU's regulator. Spain Health Minister Carolina Darias said Monday that the country will halt use of the shot for at least two weeks. Portugal and Slovenia also suspended the vaccine. Thailand has also halted its planned deployment of the vaccine. The move to pause its use by Dutch and Irish officials came shortly after Norway's medicines agency said it had been notified of three health workers being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Norway has put its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine program on hold.
Note: Many countries have resumed using this vaccine after Europe's medicines regulator concluded it was "safe and effective". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
The latest study to look at the long-term effects of Roundup, a popular weed killer developed by Monsanto in the 1970s, raises questions about the herbicide's possible contributions to poor health in certain communities. The study, published Tuesday in JAMA, tracked people over the age of 50 in southern California from 1993-1996 to 2014-2016, with researchers periodically collecting urine samples during that time. The percentage of people who tested positive for a chemical called glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, shot up by 500% in that time period. The levels of glyphosate also spiked by 1208% during that time. One trial from the UK, in which rats were fed low levels of glyphosate throughout their lives, found that the chemical contributed to a higher risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver and contributes to inflammation and scarring of the tissue. [Researcher Paul] Mills says that the levels of glyphosate documented in the people in his study were 100-fold greater than those in the rats. While Roundup was developed to eliminate most weeds from genetically modified crops – and thus reduce the amount of pesticides sprayed on them – recent studies have found that many weeds are now resistant to Roundup. That means growers are using more Roundup, which could only exacerbate potential negative health effects on people who consume those products.
Note: Bayer recently agreed to a $10 billion settlement over claims that its glyphosate-containing product RoundUp causes cancer. Meanwhile, Mexico is banning glyphosate and GMO corn. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and GMOs from reliable major media sources.
Sperm counts have been dropping; infant boys are developing more genital abnormalities; more girls are experiencing early puberty; and adult women appear to be suffering declining egg quality and more miscarriages. It's not just humans. Scientists report genital anomalies in a range of species, including unusually small penises in alligators, otters and minks. In some areas, significant numbers of fish, frogs and turtles have exhibited both male and female organs. Experts say the problem is a class of chemicals called endocrine disruptors, which mimic the body's hormones and thus fool our cells. This is a particular problem for fetuses as they sexually differentiate early in pregnancy. Endocrine disruptors can wreak reproductive havoc. These endocrine disruptors are everywhere: plastics, shampoos, cosmetics, cushions, pesticides, canned foods and A.T.M. receipts. They often aren't on labels and can be difficult to avoid. Chemical companies ... lobby against even safety testing of endocrine disruptors, so that we have little idea if products we use each day are damaging our bodies or our children. Still, the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the President's Cancer Panel and the World Health Organization have all warned about endocrine disruptors, and Europe and Canada have moved to regulate them. But in the United States, Congress and the Trump administration seemed to listen more to industry lobbyists than to independent scientists.
"My daughter, who had been completely normal until getting nine vaccinations in one day, was suddenly no longer there," said Terry Poling, mother of 9-year-old Hannah. Hannah Poling appeared to be like many children. At 19 months, her pediatrician noted she was "alert and active" and "spoke well." At that same visit, she got five shots - nine doses of vaccines. She almost immediately developed fever, seizures and severe health problems. Eight years later, the government has quietly conceded that vaccines aggravated a cell disorder nobody knew Hannah had, leaving her with permanent brain damage and autistic-like symptoms. Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Fla., is also a doctor. Weldon has long been pushing the government to aggressively work to develop ways to screen for children who might be the most susceptible to ill effects from vaccines. The government has been telling the public for more than a decade that there's absolutely no reason to be concerned about any link. "I wouldn't recommend they say something like that in light of the Poling case and the admission on the part of the government," Weldon said. A CBS News investigation uncovered at least nine other cases as far back as 1990, where records show the court ordered the government compensated families whose children developed autism or autistic-like symptoms in children including toddlers who had been called "very smart" and "impressed" doctors with their "intelligence and curiosity" ... until their vaccinations.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
The pandemic has punished people of all ages. But the emotional fallout for teenagers has been uniquely brutal. At just the age when they are biologically predisposed to seek independence from their families, teens have been trapped at home. Friends – who take on paramount importance during adolescence – are largely out of reach, accessible mostly by social media, which brings its own mix of satisfying and toxic elements. A June survey by the Centers for Disease Control found that a staggering 26 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds reported having serious suicidal thoughts in the past 30 days, compared with 16 percent of 25- to 44-year-olds and less than 4 percent of people ages 45 and older. And mental health visits to emergency rooms by 12- to 17-year-olds increased 31 percent in 2020 compared with the previous year. Other research shows teens have been getting more sleep and feeling less taxed by their formerly frenetic schedules. But the academic pressure cooker hasn't disappeared; it's moved online, where students are forced to manage much of their own time and learning, with less access to teacher assistance. Milestone moments like graduation and homecoming have been erased. "So much of their social lives and social development revolves around being at school, interacting with people," says Michelle Carlson, executive director of Teen Line, a Los Angeles based non-profit. "So they're having a hard time."
The reminders of pandemic-driven suffering among students in Clark County, Nev., have come in droves. Since schools shut their doors in March, an early-warning system that monitors students' mental health episodes has sent more than 3,100 alerts to district officials, raising alarms about suicidal thoughts, possible self-harm or cries for care. By December, 18 students had taken their own lives. The spate of student suicides in and around Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County district, the nation's fifth largest, toward bringing students back as quickly as possible. This month, the school board gave the green light to phase in the return of some elementary school grades and groups of struggling students. Over the summer ... Dr. Robert R. Redfield, then the C.D.C. director, warned that a rise in adolescent suicides would be one of the "substantial public health negative consequences" of school closings. Mental health advocacy groups warned that the student demographics at the most risk for mental health declines before the pandemic – such as Black children and L.G.B.T.Q. students – were among those most marginalized by the school closures. But given the politically charged atmosphere this summer, many of those warnings were dismissed as scare tactics. Parents of students who have taken their lives say connecting suicide to school closings became almost taboo.
A congressional report found many of the products made by the country's largest commercial baby food manufacturers contain significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, which can endanger infant neurological development. The report ... from the House Oversight Committee's subcommittee on economic and consumer policy found heavy metals in rice cereals, sweet potato puree, juices and sweet snack puffs made by some of the most trusted names in baby food. Gerber, Beech-Nut, HappyBABY (made by Nurture) and Earth's Best Organic baby foods (made by Hain Celestial Group) complied with the committee's request to submit internal testing documents. Campbell Soup, which sells Plum Organics baby foods, Walmart (its private brand is Parent's Choice) and Sprout Foods declined to cooperate. Although there are no maximum arsenic levels established for baby food ... the FDA has set the maximum allowable levels in bottled water at 10 ppb of inorganic arsenic. Hain ... used many ingredients in its baby foods with as much as 309 ppb of arsenic. Lead levels in baby foods should not exceed 1 ppb. Beech-Nut used ingredients containing as much as 886.9 parts per billion of lead. In addition, Gerber used carrots containing as much as 87 ppb of cadmium and Nurture sold baby foods with as much as 10 ppb of mercury. And even when baby foods tested over companies' internal limits for these heavy metals, they were sold anyway.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Harvey Pass, the chief of thoracic surgery at the National Cancer Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland, was sitting in his laboratory one spring afternoon in 1993 when Michele Carbone ... strode in with an unusual request. Carbone was asking Pass for his help in proving a controversial theory he had developed about the origins of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer. Mesothelioma was virtually unheard of prior to 1950. Pass, one of the world's leading mesothelioma surgeons, knew, like other scientists, that the disease was caused by asbestos exposure. But Carbone ... told Pass that he wondered if the cancer might also be caused by a virus - a monkey virus, known as simian virus 40, or SV40, that had widely contaminated early doses of the polio vaccine, but that had long been presumed to be harmless. In 1961 federal health officials ordered vaccine manufacturers to screen for the virus and eliminate it from the vaccine. Worried about creating a panic, they kept the discovery of SV40 under wraps and never recalled existing stocks. For two more years millions of additional people were needlessly exposed - bringing the total to 98 million Americans from 1955 to 1963. Since 1994 Carbone has written more than twenty studies and reviews investigating SV40's link to human cancer. "There is no doubt that SV40 is a human carcinogen," he says. Carbone suggests that the virus works in tandem with asbestos or by itself to transform healthy mesothelial cells into cancerous ones.
Government figures show the proportion of children who arrived in emergency departments with mental health issues increased 24% from mid-March through mid-October, compared with the same period in 2019. Among preteens and adolescents, it rose by 31%. Anecdotally, some hospitals said they are seeing more cases of severe depression and suicidal thoughts among children, particularly attempts to overdose. The increased demand for intensive mental health care that has accompanied the pandemic has worsened issues that have long plagued the system. In some hospitals, the number of children unable to immediately get a bed in the psychiatric unit rose. Others reduced the number of beds or closed psychiatric units altogether to reduce the spread of COVID-19. "It's only a matter of time before a tsunami sort of reaches the shore of our service system, and it's going to be overwhelmed," said Jason Williams ... at Children's Hospital Colorado. Children's hospitals in New York, Colorado and Missouri all reported an uptick in the number of patients who thought about or attempted suicide. Clinicians also mentioned spikes in children with severe depression and those with autism who are acting out.
Back in November, Ajeet Jain felt like he was living a nightmare. The large public hospital where he works in India's capital was full of covid-19 patients, hundreds of them so ill they required intensive care. Three months later, the situation is unrecognizable. The number of coronavirus patients at the hospital can be counted on one hand. Out of 200 ventilators, only two are in use. Hospitals treating covid-19 patients around the country report similar experiences. "It's a big, big relief," Jain said. The apparent retreat of the coronavirus in India, the world's second-most populous nation, is a mystery that is crucial to the future course of the pandemic. Epidemiologists in India say that there is only one likely explanation for the decrease in new cases: The virus is finding it harder to spread because a significant proportion of the population, at least in cities, already has been infected. The results of a nationwide antibody survey ... indicated that more than 1 in 5 Indians – about 270 million people – had been exposed to the virus as of early January. In major cities, infection rates are even higher. A recent study of 28,000 people in India's capital found 56 percent had coronavirus antibodies. By comparison, a study published last month estimated that more than 14 percent of the population in the United States had coronavirus antibodies as of mid-November. India has recorded 155,000 deaths, or about 112 per 1 million of population, compared with 1,362 per million in the United States.
Note: Could it be that India's usage of Hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are also playing a role? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.