Rise in Early Cervical Cancer Detection is Linked to Affordable Care Act

In the New York Times article by Sabrina Tavernise, she discusses a study based on the National Cancer Data Base which has found an increase in early-stage detection of cervical cancer in women ages 21-26. Researchers suspect that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has had an effect on this trend of early detection. Continue reading “Rise in Early Cervical Cancer Detection is Linked to Affordable Care Act”

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Excerpts from “How Doctors Think”

In the NPR broadcast that included excerpts from Jerome Groopman’s “How Doctors Think”, Groopman talks about the nature of rounds with medical students. When he was a medical student, rounds was a time to learn not only diagnostic information but also a time to observe their superiors and how they conducted themselves. Now that Groopman is the one conducting the rounds, he has seen a shift in the purpose of rounds. The old way of conducting rounds was criticized and therefore the way Groopman conducts rounds now is solely focused on diagnostic information. Students are taught to follow a set of algorithms and practice guidelines organized into decision trees. Groopman draws attention to this issue because the consequences it has for patients with issues that do not fit into these decision trees. This shift in focus made me think of how this might impact how a condition may become medicalized. If a condition isn’t recognized as a part of one of these decision trees, how could it ever become medicalized? For a condition to be medicalized it has to be excepted by a medical profession as legitimate but these decision trees only allow for a finite amount of diagnoses and treatments.

Medical Child Abuse

The Boston Globe article, “A medical collision with a child in the middle” discusses a term that I have never heard before: “medical child abuse”. This is a new term that is used to describe a broad range of cases where health care providers believe that parents are harming their children by pushing for unnecessary tests and treatments for their children. This term along with the story told in the article about Justina and the Pellitiers, made me think about how this new allegation shifts the doctor-patient relationship. There is a certain amount of patient choice in the doctor patient relationship but in the case of most children, this patient choice is a decision for a child’s parents. By taking away parent’s custody of their children, are hospitals removing patient choice from this relationship? If an adult patient is pushing for certain treatments or tests, doctors can refuse but that is not as extreme as parent’s losing custody of their children. Without their parents, how does the doctor patient relationship change for children?

Dementia-related healthcare more expensive than other diseases

In the article “Dementia-related healthcare more expensive than other diseases” by Stephen Feller, he discusses the alarming difference in end of life care for patients diagnosed with dementia compared to other common causes of death. A study recently conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Again, found that compared to people with disease like cancer and heart disease, a patient diagnosed with dementia on average will spend fifty percent more in the last five years of life.

Continue reading “Dementia-related healthcare more expensive than other diseases”

How Gender Affects Mortality and Morbidity

In the article “Understanding Racial-ethnic Disparities in Health: Sociological Contributions” by Williams and Sternthal, there is table that compares the life expectancies of black and white men and women from 1950 to 2006. I think the point of the table was to point out the difference between the two races but I am wondering about the difference between the two genders. I believe that there is an evolutionary reason for women’s life expectancy to be higher than men’s but I am wondering how social factors affect the difference between men and women’s life expectancy. The table in this article only goes back to the 1950’s but I am wondering even before the 1950’s if there was still the same pattern in  life expectancy between genders. Did the progressing role of women in society have an effect on their life expectancy?

Did the Affordable Care Act Improve Health Outcomes?

In the New York Times article assessing if the Affordable Care Act is working, one of the sections focused on assessing health outcomes following the ACA. The article states that for the most part it is too early to tell if the act as improved health outcomes. The one population that the act does have enough data on is young people, specifically 18-25 years old. This group saw an improvement in health outcomes because of the part of the Affordable Care Act that extended the age that children could stay on their parents insurance from 19 to 26. The article goes on to state that there was little change in health outcomes for young adults from 27-29. With these mixed early results, how will an evaluation of health outcomes be conducted in the future? How much time will have to pass before we can evaluate the effectiveness of this act on health outcomes? By the time we have enough information, will we be able to reevaluate the act and attempt to improve health outcomes even more?

The new, baffling world of dense breast diagnosis

In 2011, the Are You Dense, Inc. was formed with the mission of ensuring that women with dense breast tissue have access to early breast cancer diagnosis by being informed of their breast density and the limitations of mammography. As a means of achieving this mission, this organization is pushing for states to pass legislation requiring health facilities to notify women when they have dense breasts. The CNN article by Barbara Feder Ostrov “The new, baffling world of dense breast diagnosis” discusses the confusion and unrest caused by this seemingly well-intentioned movement. Continue reading “The new, baffling world of dense breast diagnosis”