Hospitals are now required to post prices for many procedures on their websites, including cash prices and what insurers pay. The intent of the federal rule is to allow patients to shop around, putting pressure on hospitals to compete on price. However, many hospitals have yet to follow the rule. Experts discuss the rule, its likely outcome, and how patients can use it to their advantage.
Where COVID-19 vaccination is high, it’s a getting-back-to-normal world after the pandemic. But even some vaccinated people won’t return to normal for months or years because of the psychological effects. Experts discuss why this occurs and how people can help themselves return to mental health.
More people die of lung cancer than breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined. A decade ago, a lung cancer diagnosis was often a death sentence. But now treatments are being developed that mean it can often be treated, especially if screening detects it early. A patient/advocate and researcher discuss.
Traffic engineers are learning that they can increase road efficiency and safety by eliminating left turns at many busy intersections, even those that have left turn arrows. This increases distance traveled for some people--some may have to make three right turns instead--but virtually everyone benefits in travel time, as package carrier UPS has learned. A traffic engineer and UPS official discuss how it could work.
Many patients arrive in the emergency room as a result of violence or car crashes—events in which police have an investigative interest. Sometimes, police needs clash with trauma care, and priorities are hashed out case by case. Experts discuss which priorities come first and when, and the procedures needed to smooth out sometimes contentious interaction.
Thousands of parents take their children to doctors each year seeking synthetic growth hormone to cure their relatively short stature, even though most of these children are merely late bloomers and have nothing wrong with them. Growth hormone also makes less difference in height than parents often imagine. Studies show that short stature generally does not create psychological damage. Experts discuss the issue.
Each year, some 400 US children over age 1, most of them toddlers, die overnight for no known reason. Families, longing for answers, often find that their families, friends, and even pediatricians are unfamiliar with this classification of death, or that they even occur. Family members who have lost a child, a medical examiner, and a research expert who has lost a child discuss SUDC.
Some people find that small “stones” are growing on their tonsils. They’re an accumulation of skin cells, food, and other debris. While they are not medically dangerous or painful, they often produce bad breath or sometimes pain. Two expert physicians discuss tonsil stones’ formation and treatment.
Infants, toddlers, and grade school children use many cues to learn language. Some of them are visual, involving seeing the mouth move. Some depend on clearly hearing speech. Both have been impacted by mask wearing during the pandemic. Experts now studying how far behind children are as a result discuss how language develops in children and how it’s been affected in the pandemic.
Hundreds of patients nationally have diseases that have confounded doctors and yielded no diagnosis and no reliable treatment. Today the Undiagnosed Diseases Network, founded and funded by the NIH, helps these patients, but its funding is uncertain beyond 2022. Patients and a physician leader of the UDN discuss the lonely plight of these patients and the hope UDN provides.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, public health experts have looked to vaccines with the goal of creating “herd immunity,” where so many people are vaccinated that the virus stalls out. Now it is clear we will not reach that goal, meaning the threat of the pandemic may drag on for years. One of the nation’s leading infectious disease experts discusses how we are missing the target and what it means.
Since the 1980’s, almost all production of generic drugs has moved overseas, where FDA inspectors have a much tougher time making sure they’re following rules for safety. An investigative journalist describes the ways she’s found that many drugmakers cut corners, putting safety at risk, and details what consumers can do to protect themselves.
The US birth rate has been declining since the Crash of 2008, but it took an even larger decline during the pandemic to levels unseen since the Great Depression. Today fertility rates are below replacement levels, which could have big impacts on education, employment, and the tax base years down the road. Experts discuss how people make fertility decisions and the impacts they can have on the nation.
Many of those who’ve had COVID-19 have suffered from a temporary loss of their sense of smell, but some have had what seems to be an even worse symptom weeks or months later—a distorted sense of smell, where everything, from coffee to flowers, smells sickeningly awful. An expert and a former sufferer discuss how disruptive to life this can be and what people can do to make it through to recovery.
In the mid-1960’s, many Ivy League and Seven Sister colleges as well as prestigious prep schools allowed researchers to photograph incoming students naked as part of work on a now-discredited theory linking physical characteristics to leadership potential. A former student who went through it, now a physician and writer, discusses how research ethics have changed in the last 50 years.