Health

Can You Recycle Medical Devices Like Insulin Pens, Inhalers and Covid Tests?
Health

Can You Recycle Medical Devices Like Insulin Pens, Inhalers and Covid Tests?

Associated media - Related media “What we really need is an evolving, specialized recycling infrastructure alongside the big five — paper, glass, plastic, metal and cardboard,” said Mitch Ratcliffe, publisher of the website Earth911. “That conversation is really picking up steam in some particular categories, but not in medical equipment at all.” A few designers and companies are exploring alternatives that are more reusable or safer for the environment. Inhalers The inhalers that many people use for treatment of asthma or other respiratory ailments contain potentially recyclable materials. But those with leftover medication or propellants may also be hazardous if incinerated or compacted. The steel or aluminum canisters containing the medication should generally be returned to a pha...
What to Know About Lead Poisoning in Children
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What to Know About Lead Poisoning in Children

Linked media - Related media How do I know if my children have high blood-lead levels? Lead exposure can go unnoticed until levels accumulate, doctors say. High levels of lead can result in stomach pain, vomiting, fatigue, learning difficulties, developmental delays and even seizures. Pediatricians recommend blood tests for infants and toddlers who live in homes built before 1978 or have other risk factors. Medicaid programs and some states require screening, but it is not typically advised for children older than 3. While officials have said there is no safe level of lead, parents do not automatically need to worry if traces of lead show up in a child’s blood test. The average blood-lead level among young U.S. children is under 1 microgram per deciliter of blood. “I don’t think they...
A Fading Weapon in the HIV Fight: Condoms
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A Fading Weapon in the HIV Fight: Condoms

Linked media - Connected media Gay and bisexual men are using condoms less than ever, and the decline has been particularly steep among those who are young or Hispanic, according to a new study. The worrisome trend points to an urgent need for better prevention strategies as the nation struggles to beat the H.I.V. epidemic, researchers said. Over the past decade, prevention medication known as PrEP has helped fuel a moderate drop in H.I.V. rates. And yet, despite persistent public health campaigns promoting the drugs, they have not been adopted in substantial numbers by Black and Hispanic men who are gay or bisexual. The use of condoms, which prevent H.I.V. as well as other sexually transmitted infections, has been declining across the board in recent years, not just among ...
UnitedHealth Cyberattack Disrupts Prescription Drug Coverage
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UnitedHealth Cyberattack Disrupts Prescription Drug Coverage

Related media - Linked media Updated on Feb. 27 to include new company statements. A cyberattack on a unit affiliated with UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest insurer, has disrupted drug prescription orders at thousands of pharmacies for about a week. The assault on the unit, Change Healthcare, a division of United’s Optum, was discovered last Wednesday. The attack appeared to be by a foreign country, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials, who expressed alarm at the extent of the disruption on Monday. UnitedHealth Group, the conglomerate, said in a federal filing that it had been forced to disconnect some of Change Healthcare’s vast digital network from its clients, and as of Tuesday, had not been able to restore all of those services. The company has not prov...
A Doctor’s Lifelong Quest to Solve One of Pediatric Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries
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A Doctor’s Lifelong Quest to Solve One of Pediatric Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries

Connected media - Linked media At the Kawasaki Disease Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, led by Dr. Burns, caring for children affected by Kawasaki disease is always linked to the search for the cause. On a recent Wednesday morning, Dr. Kirsten Dummer, a pediatric cardiologist, was examining the heart scans of a 2-year-old who showed signs of a large aneurysm on the right side of the heart. “The biggest question from parents is: How did this happen? How did my child get this? In every patient room, that’s what they fundamentally want to know,” she said. “Year after year after year, they come back and ask us, ‘Do you guys know more yet?’” Dr. Burns, who has continued to see patients herself, said those inquiries motivated her. “If we were all Ph.D.s in the laborat...
Cyberattack Paralyzes the Largest US Health Care Payment System
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Cyberattack Paralyzes the Largest US Health Care Payment System

An urgent care chain in Ohio may be forced to stop paying rent and other bills to cover salaries. In Florida, a cancer center is racing to find money for chemotherapy drugs to avoid delaying critical treatments for its patients. And in Pennsylvania, a primary care doctor is slashing expenses and pooling all of her cash — including her personal bank stash — in the hopes of staying afloat for the next two months.These are just a few examples of the severe cash squeeze facing medical care providers — from large hospital networks to the smallest of clinics — in the aftermath of a cyberattack two weeks ago that paralyzed the largest U.S. billing and payment system in the country. The attack forced the shutdown of parts of the electronic system operated by Change Healthcare, a sizable unit of Un...
Why ‘Fetal Personhood’ Is Roiling the Right
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Why ‘Fetal Personhood’ Is Roiling the Right

As I.V.F. grew in popularity, so did the concerns of its opponents. Standard practice involves creating multiple embryos, which are screened for genetic abnormalities, and the ones that appear healthiest can be transferred. Extra embryos are often frozen; by one count, there are a million and a half frozen embryos in the United States. After a designated time period, they may be donated to science or destroyed, just as the Catholic Church feared.The anti-abortion movement won a partial victory for protecting life at conception in 2001, when President George W. Bush banned the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research, but President Barack Obama reversed the policy eight years later.Starting in the late 2000s, voters rejected ballot initiatives to enshrine fetal personhood in at...
C.D.C. Shortens Isolation Period for People With Covid
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C.D.C. Shortens Isolation Period for People With Covid

Americans with Covid or other respiratory infections need not isolate for five days before returning to work or school, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday, a striking sign of changing attitudes toward the coronavirus.People with respiratory illnesses may resume daily activities if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of medications and if their symptoms are improving, agency officials said. Acknowledging that people can be contagious even without symptoms, the C.D.C. urged those who end isolation to limit close contact with others, wear well-fitted masks, improve indoor air quality and practice good hygiene, like washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes, for five days.The guidelines apply to Covid, influenza and respiratory syncyti...
One in Six Abortions Is Done With Pills Prescribed Online, Data Shows
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One in Six Abortions Is Done With Pills Prescribed Online, Data Shows

How It WorksPills are prescribed by virtual-only providers and by clinics that also offer in-person services. Patients fill out an online questionnaire or meet with a clinician via video or text chat. This method began nationwide in 2020, when the Food and Drug Administration began allowing abortion providers to mail pills without an in-clinic visit during the pandemic.Some of the prescriptions included in the new count were given to patients in states where abortion is banned, a new development made possible by shield laws. These laws protect clinicians in states where abortion is legal when they prescribe and mail pills to patients in states where it is not. Shield laws were in effect in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Washington during the period covered by the new data, ...
Lead-Tainted Applesauce Highlights Failings in Food Safety System
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Lead-Tainted Applesauce Highlights Failings in Food Safety System

The tainted applesauce might have gone unnoticed for even longer had it not been for a family in North Carolina.Early last summer, Nicole Peterson and Thomas Duong were alarmed by their young children’s blood-lead levels in a routine screening. Within weeks, the levels had doubled.Ms. Peterson said the couple worked with the local health department as they tried to determine what could be hurting their children. We “weren’t sleeping and we’re not eating — like this is driving us crazy,” said Ms. Peterson. She and her husband are suing Dollar Tree, where they bought the applesauce, and WanaBana, a U.S. distributor led by Austrofood officers.A Dollar Tree spokeswoman said the company is committed to the safety of the products it sells. Austrofood said that it had relied on its supplier’s cer...