The WHO Just Dashed the Dreams of Bacon Lovers Everywhere

Today, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer told the world that processed and cured meats – including hot dogs, sausages, bacon, and ham – cause colon cancer, putting them in Carcinogen Group 1, alongside cigarettes, asbestos and alcohol. According to their new report, eating 50g of processed meat a day can increase your risk of colon cancer by 18%. The WHO came up with this figure after this after a team of 22 experts from 10 countries reviewed over 800 cancer studies and a whole lot of epidemiological data on the consumption of processed and red meat. Scientists have been publishing on this link for years, but this statement from the WHO raises the stakes. The meat industry is not happy, and many of their researchers have pointed to other substances classified as carcinogens by the WHO (including coffee, wine, and yoga pants), that most people accept as a routine part of their daily lives. Either way, meat is definitely now on the cancer watch list. And guess which country consumes more of it than almost any other? That’s right – the US.
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The WHO Just Dashed the Dreams of Bacon Lovers Everywhere

When it comes to bugs v drugs, the bugs may be pulling ahead

Medical revolutions don’t always come to the tune of microchips and computer screens.  As we move forward in a system designed to save costs and reduce waste, we need to turn a critical eye to how we use antibiotics. If we can eliminate (or at least reduce) overprescribing, we can not only save money but also improve our patients’ overall health. We’re already seeing the price of excess antibiotic use: according to an article in Time last week, over half of all post-surgical infections are caused by antibiotic-resistant organisms. Can human drug innovation continue to outpace nature’s clever survival mechanisms? Only time will tell. This article suggests we might want to start thinking about changing our practices before we find out.
 
When it comes to bugs v drugs, the bugs may be pulling ahead

The (Virtual) Doctor Can See You Always

With the addition of newly insured patients thanks to the ACA, the AAMC predicts that there will be a shortage of up to 31,000 primary care physicians by 2025.  Dr. Leslie Saxon of USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies is trying to help improve access by virtually cloning herself and other physicians to increase the number of patients they are each able to see. It’s almost like telemedicine – but patients talk to programmed, virtual representations of their physicians, rather than humans on call. In addition to expanding access, these virtual doctors are backed by clinical decision support tools that are meant to take the bias out of medicine, and can even collect and use data from wearable devices.

The (Virtual) Doctor Can See You Always

Why Are Prescription Drugs So Expensive? Lots of Reasons.

Back in August the small pharmaceutical company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired sole distribution rights in the US for a drug used to treat a life-threatening parasitic infection. They immediately hiked the price from $13 to $750 a pill. Public outrage over the past week regarding this huge hike in price has shined a bright light on an already hot topic in healthcare: high prescription drug prices. Check out this short, straightforward article from the NY Times to get some background on the complexities of increasing prescription drug prices in the United States.

Article: Multiple Factors Cause High Prescription Drug Prices in the US

Why Are Prescription Drugs So Expensive? Lots of Reasons.