Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Public Health' Category

Visit your doctor whenever you like

Typical hours when illness strikes is 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.  In the US, typical physician hours are 9-5, Monday through Friday. Although this is changing (CVS Minute Clinics have Saturday and Sunday hours), it is still difficult for individuals who are work and are ill to see a doctor without taking […]

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Are you really disabled?

When the government extends benefits to individuals with specific characteristics (e.g., poverty, disability), the number of people who claim to have these characteristics will necessarily increase.  For instance, there are reports that unemployed individuals who no longer qualify for welfare are now moving onto the disability rolls in large numbers.  Are these people really disabled? A recent study  by Gosling […]

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The Efficiency Frontier in Health Economics

Which treatments are better than others? Ideally, medicines that provide large health benefits and cost little will be preferred to those that offer little health benefits and/or cost a lot. In health economics, one way to systematically evaluate different treatments is the efficiency frontier. The efficiency frontier methodology is an extension of the standard approach […]

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I’d rather have HIV than diabetes

This is what a provocative article in the Spectator concludes. A recent large epidemiological study showed that, for those diagnosed with HIV now, life expectancy is similar to someone who does not have the virus. The medical profession now considers HIV a chronic disease; it’s regarded in public health terms in the same category as, […]

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Are we running out of antibiotics?

Nicole Allan of the Atlantic discusses why overuse of antibiotics is making them less effective.  The fact that antibiotics are less effective did not come as a surprise to many experts.  In fact, in 1945, “while accepting a Nobel Prize for discovering penicillin, Alexander Fleming warned of a future in which antibiotics had been used […]

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Free Heroin?

Giving away heroin may sound like a good plan for a start-up drug dealer.; get new customers hooked and them make money off their addiction.  Drug dealers aren’t the only ones considering giving heroin away for free; so are some European governments. The Economist reports: Over the past two decades many have come to favour […]

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Cancer Tidal Wave

People are living longer. That is good news. The bad news is that when you decrease the mortality rates for some diseases, you increase the likelihood that you die from other ones. For instance, if someone previously would have died of a heart attack at 50 year old in 1950, if that same person turned […]

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Lifetime protection aganst the flu?

The Atlantic has an interesting article about recent efforts to create a flu vaccine that protects patients against influenza for decades, or even their entire lifetime. Currently, the flu vaccine helps the body produce antibodies that attack influenza surface proteins. The problem is that the flu is quick learner; it readily mutates ts surface proteins […]

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Should the CDC warn Americans about a ‘potential’ epidemic?

Although at first glance, the answer would be ‘yes’, the answer is not so straight-forward.  Consider the case of the recent H7N9 influenza outbreak in China.  Although the media gave some coverage to this issue, the risk of a pandemic was not emphasized. The reason may be Bayesian updating.  Previous influenza threats in recent years […]

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NYC Soda Ban: Good Policy or Good Intentions Gone Awry?

New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg enacted a law that would limit New York City resident’s ability to purchase certain drinks.  No, not alcohol.  Soda.  NPR reports that the “ban would have limited the size of sugary drinks at restaurants, theaters and food carts to 16 ounces.”  Small businesses did not like the idea because large sugary […]

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