Goldman asks: ‘Is curing patients a sustainable business model?’

When I first confronted my GERD stomach issues a few decades ago I had a choice: I could simply take an antacid pill each day for life or I could get surgery to fix it. The pill would’ve been easy, painless, and relatively inexpensive but I chose the surgery simply because I didn’t want to be dependent on Big Pharma.

This Golden Sachs analyst’s remarkable candor shows, in a nutshell, what’s wrong with a capitalistic health care system. What’s good for the patient is not always good for the investor. In fact, pretty frequently it’s not.

If you had any illusions about the true motivation of the medical industry you should now know the truth.

Wall Street greed is often why we can’t have nice things.

Goldman Sachs analysts attempted to address a touchy subject for biotech companies, especially those involved in the pioneering “gene therapy” treatment: cures could be bad for business in the long run.

“Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” analysts ask in an April 10 report entitled “The Genome Revolution.”

“The potential to deliver ‘one shot cures’ is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies,” analyst Salveen Richter wrote in the note to clients Tuesday. “While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow.”

Source: Goldman asks: ‘Is curing patients a sustainable business model?’

Back Pain May Be The Result Of Bending Over At The Waist Instead Of The Hips : Shots – Health News : NPR

It seems that Americans bend over all wrong. Learn how to hip-hinge, a more natural way to bend. Fascinating!

To see if you’re bending correctly, try a simple experiment.

“Stand up and put your hands on your waist,” says Jean Couch, who has been helping people get out of back pain for 25 years at her studio in Palo Alto, Calif.

“Now imagine I’ve dropped a feather in front of your feet and asked to pick it up,” Couch says. “Usually everybody immediately moves their heads and looks down.”

That little look down bends your spine and triggers your stomach to do a little crunch. “You’ve already started to bend incorrectly — at your waist,” Couch says. “Almost everyone in the U.S. bends at the stomach.”

In the process, our backs curve into the letter “C” — or, as Couch says, “We all look like really folded cashews.”

In other words, when we bend over in the U.S., most of us look like nuts!But in many parts of the world, people don’t look like cashews when they bend over. Instead, you see something very different.

Source: Back Pain May Be The Result Of Bending Over At The Waist Instead Of The Hips : Shots – Health News : NPR

There’s a better way to use a standing desk | Popular Science

I’m a little skeptical that a standing desk could be worse for you than sitting on your ass all day. I’m certainly not going to take as gospel a study with a mere 20 participants in it. As for the Canadian study, I have my doubts, too, but need to delve further into the science.

Often I think these studies are driven by the disdain that Sitters often show towards Standers. Desk discrimination is what it is.

There’s always that one person in the office—you know the one. The one with the standing desk. Whenever you happen to pass their cube you think, wow, there’s a person being proactive about their health. There’s someone fighting the good fight against modern society’s unavoidably sedentary lifestyle. Good on them, bad on me.

But is that really true? A growing body of evidence suggests that yes, sitting for long periods of time can have a detrimental effect on your health. But unfortunately, standing for large spans of the day isn’t that great either. And a recent study adds to this pile. This month in the journal Ergonomics, researchers report that when they had 20 participants stand for two hours at a time, subjects showed an apparent increase in lower limb swelling and decreased mental state.

Source: There’s a better way to use a standing desk | Popular Science

Lessons on Aging Well, From a 105-Year-Old Cyclist – The New York Times

Monsieur Marchand is my new hero.

At the age of 105, the French amateur cyclist and world-record holder Robert Marchand is more aerobically fit than most 50-year-olds — and appears to be getting even fitter as he ages, according to a revelatory new study of his physiology.

The study, which appeared in December in The Journal of Applied Physiology, may help to rewrite scientific expectations of how our bodies age and what is possible for any of us athletically, no matter how old we are.Many people first heard of Mr. Marchand last month, when he set a world record in one-hour cycling, an event in which someone rides as many miles as possible on an indoor track in 60 minutes.

Mr. Marchand pedaled more than 14 miles, setting a global benchmark for cyclists age 105 and older. That classification had to be created specifically to accommodate him. No one his age previously had attempted the record.

Mr. Marchand, who was born in 1911, already owned the one-hour record for riders age 100 and older, which he had set in 2012.

It was as he prepared for that ride that he came to the attention of Veronique Billat, a professor of exercise science at the University of Evry-Val d’Essonne in France. At her lab, Dr. Billat and her colleagues study and train many professional and recreational athletes.
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How Insulin Became Unaffordable | Harvard Political Review

This is appalling. People are dying because they can’t afford insulin.

The U.S. health care is broken. Only single-payer will fix it and I will support any politician who supports it. No one should die over profits!

On May 20, 2017, Smith turned 26, aging out of his parents’ insurance. Because he was a single man with a decent job, Smith didn’t qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The most inexpensive plan Smith and his mother could find on the Minnesota exchange was around $450 per month with a $7600 deductible. Smith could have afforded the monthly premiums, but the deductible made the plan too expensive. Although the family had been researching plans for Smith since February, he had to go off of health insurance entirely.

When Smith went to the pharmacy to pick up his insulin in early June, the bill was over $1300 without insurance. He couldn’t afford the medicine that day, and decided to ration his remaining insulin until he was paid. Smith did not tell his family that he was adjusting his carbohydrate intake so he could lower his dosage.

“He knew the signs of being in trouble with his diabetes,” Smith-Holt told the HPR. “But when your body starts shutting down like that, you’re not making very clear, rational decisions.”

On June 25, Smith went to dinner with his girlfriend, where he complained about stomach pains. It was the last time anyone saw him alive. He called in sick to work the next day. On June 27, Smith was found dead in his apartment.

Source: How Insulin Became Unaffordable | Harvard Political Review

Drug firms shipped 20.8M pain pills to WV town with 2,900 people | Health | wvgazettemail.com

Somebody needs to go to jail. Several somebodies, in fact.

Over the past decade, out-of-state drug companies shipped 20.8 million prescription painkillers to two pharmacies four blocks apart in a Southern West Virginia town with 2,900 people, according to a congressional committee investigating the opioid crisis.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee cited the massive shipments of hydrocodone and oxycodone — two powerful painkillers — to the town of Williamson, in Mingo County, amid the panel’s inquiry into the role of drug distributors in the opioid epidemic.

“These numbers are outrageous, and we will get to the bottom of how this destruction was able to be unleashed across West Virginia,” said committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., in a joint statement.

Source: Drug firms shipped 20.8M pain pills to WV town with 2,900 people | Health | wvgazettemail.com

The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s – The Atlantic

I’ve considered high-carb diets to be dangerous, and this troubling research linking high-carb diets to cognitive decline gives me yet another reason to avoid excessive carbs. Yikes!

In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has occasionally been referred to as “type 3” diabetes, though that moniker doesn’t make much sense. After all, though they share a problem with insulin, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by diet. Instead of another type of diabetes, it’s increasingly looking like Alzheimer’s is another potential side effect of a sugary, Western-style diet.

In some cases, the path from sugar to Alzheimer’s leads through type 2 diabetes, but as a new study and others show, that’s not always the case.

A longitudinal study, published Thursday in the journal Diabetologia, followed 5,189 people over 10 years and found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.

Source: The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer’s – The Atlantic

The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin: Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy

I stumbled upon this old but still relevant paper on the National Institutes of Health website, tracing our country’s current opioid epidemic directly to Purdue Pharmaceutical’s aggressive marketing campaign.

It is truly frightening to consider how many lives have been sacrificed – and continue to be sacrificed – in the name of profits for the pharmaceutical industry. These are real people who trusted their health care providers and were let down. So many families have been shattered and it makes me extremely angry.

America’s health care system is badly broken and needs a drastic fix.

Purdue promoted among primary care physicians a more liberal use of opioids, particularly sustained-release opioids. Primary care physicians began to use more of the increasingly popular OxyContin; by 2003, nearly half of all physicians prescribing OxyContin were primary care physicians.19 Some experts were concerned that primary care physicians were not sufficiently trained in pain management or addiction issues.

Primary care physicians, particularly in a managed care environment of time constraints, also had the least amount of time for evaluation and follow-up of patients with complicated chronic pain.

Source: The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin: Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy

How this sign put Berkeley in the center of the cellphone safety debate

If you’re in the market for a cellphone or tablet in the City of Berkeley, you will probably notice a sign displayed near the register of a cellphone retailer, or on store shelves.It’s a flier alerting customers of possible radiation exposure from mobile devices.

“Berkeley is the first city in the country to get stores to post warnings. It’s a small step, but it’s an important step,” said Joel Moskowitz, PhD, director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Family and Community Health at the University’s School of Public Health.

In 2009, Moskowitz turned his focus from scientific research on the health effects of tobacco to cellphones after a visiting scholar from the National Cancer Center in South Korea exposed him to scientific literature looking at whether mobile phone use increased the risk of tumors.

“The cellphone manufacturers want you to keep a minimum distance away from your body and you should find out what that distance is,” Moskowitz said. “If you keep the device by your body you will exceed the safety limits provided by the FCC.”

Source: How this sign put Berkeley in the center of the cellphone safety debate

Don’t keep cell phones next to your body, California Health Department warns | TechCrunch

Having worked with radio and radar in the military and also having had the danger of microwave radiation drilled into me as part of obtaining an amateur radio license, I’ve always thought that following prudent precautions with mobile phones is a good idea. I never, EVER keep my phone in my pocket while in a moving vehicle, a time when its transmitter is the most active. I limit the length of my calls, and choose text over voice whenever I can (texts use much less of the radio). I also make sure my phone switches to WiFi for its data whenever WiFi is available.

Smartphones are damn near indispensable but one has to respect the RF radiation they create. While there might not be agreement on the health effects they cause, mobile phones undeniably do create a lot of RF radiation.

As this week’s gutting of Net Neutrality shows, the telecom industry owns the FCC. If mobile phones really do pose a health risk don’t count on the FCC protecting you.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a warning against the hazards of cellphone radiation this week. Yes, the thing we are all addicted to and can’t seem to put down is leaking electromagnetic radiation and now California has some guidance to safeguard the public.

The CDPH asks people to decrease their use of these devices and suggests keeping your distance when possible.

“Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones,” said CDPH director Dr. Karen Smith.

Source: Don’t keep cell phones next to your body, California Health Department warns | TechCrunch