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Category Archives: Health Care

Report – The Safety and Quality of Abortion Care in the United States

While legal abortions in the U.S. are safe, the likelihood that women will receive the type of abortion services that best meet their needs varies considerably depending on where they live, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  In addition, the report notes, the vast majority of abortions can be provided safely in office-based settings. The committee that wrote the report examined the scientific evidence on the safety and quality of the four abortion methods used in the U.S. — medication, aspiration, dilation and evacuation (D&E), and induction. It assessed quality of care based on whether it is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable according to well-established standards.  Most abortions in the U.S. are performed early in pregnancy; in 2014, 90 percent occurred by 12 weeks of gestation.  Medication and aspiration abortions are the most common methods and, together, account for about 90 percent of all abort ions. Serious complications from abortion are rare regardless of the method, and safety and quality are enhanced when the abortion is performed as early in pregnancy as possible.  Abortion-specific regulations in many states create barriers to safe and effective care. These regulations may prohibit qualified providers from performing abortions, misinform women of the risks of the procedures they are considering, or require medically unnecessary services and delay care, the report says. Examples of these policies include mandatory waiting periods, pre-abortion ultrasound, and a separate in-person counseling visit.  Some states require abortion providers to provide women with written or verbal information suggesting that abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer or mental illness, despite the lack of valid scientific evidence of increased risk. In 2014, there were 17 percent fewer abortion clinics than in 2011, and 39 percent of women of reproductive age resided in a county without an abortion provider.  In 2017, 25 states had five or fewer abortion clinics, and five states had only one abortion clinic.  In addition, approximately 17 percent of women travel more than 50 miles to obtain an abortion.The vast majority of abortions can be provided safely in office-based settings, the report says. In 2014, 95 percent of abortions were provided in clinics and other office-based settings. For any outpatient procedure, including abortion, the important safeguards are whether the facility has the appropriate equipment, personnel, and an emergency transfer plan to address complications that might occur. The committee found no evidence indicating that clinicians who perform abortions require hospital privileges to ensure a safe outcome for the patient…”

World Happiness Report 2018

“The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey of the state of global happiness. The World Happiness Report 2018, ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants. The main focus of this year’s report, in addition to its usual ranking of the levels and changes in happiness… Continue Reading

Report – Opioid Deaths Continue to Surge in New York State

“The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation. The sad fact is no matter the region of the country, there are people struggling with opioid addiction. Not only is every region touched, no group — rich or poor, rural or urban, black or white, men or women — is immune from the epidemic’s devastating effects.… Continue Reading

BBC – Why is cycling so popular in the Netherlands?

For all my friends, colleagues and fellow cyclists – wherever you may be cycling: “There are more bicycles than residents in The Netherlands and in cities like Amsterdam and The Hague up to 70% of all journeys are made by bike. The BBC’s Hague correspondent, Anna Holligan, who rides an omafiets – or “granny style”… Continue Reading

What happened to US diplomats – On Cuba, Diplomats, Ultrasound, and Intermodulation Distortion

Manuscript. March 1, 2018. On Cuba, Diplomats, Ultrasound, and Intermodulation Distortion. University of Michigan Tech Report CSE-TR-001-18 Chen Yan, Kevin Fu and Wenyuan Xu, Department of Systems Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, Computer Science & Engineering, University of Michigan – “This technical report analyzes how ultrasound could have led to the AP news recordings of… Continue Reading

Survey – Nearly half of parents worry their child is addicted to mobile devices

USA Today: “Parents berate themselves for staying glued to their smartphones. But they’re even more worried their kids can’t detach from the small screen. A survey from Common Sense Media and SurveyMonkey found 47% of parents worry their child is addicted to their mobile device. By comparison, only 32% of parents say they’re addicted themselves.… Continue Reading

Looming National Security Crisis: Young Americans Unable to Serve in the Military

The Heritage Foundation Report – “The military depends on a constant flow of volunteers every year. According to 2017 Pentagon data, 71 percent of young Americans between 17 and 24 are ineligible to serve in the United States military. Put another way: Over 24 million of the 34 million people of that age group cannot… Continue Reading

Record 21 States See Decline in Well-Being in 2017

“Nearly half of U.S. states saw their well-being scores decline by a statistically significant margin in 2017, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. And, for the first time in nine years of tracking changes in state well-being, no state saw statistically significant improvement from the year before. The 21 U.S. states that saw their well-being… Continue Reading

Study – Permafrost Stores a Globally Significant Amount of Mercury

“Researchers estimate the amount of natural mercury stored in perennially frozen soils (permafrost) in the Northern Hemisphere. Permafrost regions contain twice as much mercury as the rest of all soils, the atmosphere, and ocean combined.” [full text link to the study] Washington Post: “We already knew that thawing Arctic permafrost would release powerful greenhouse gases. On… Continue Reading

Web Integrity Project tracks changes to federal websites

“The Sunlight Foundation launched a new Web Integrity Project to track changes to federal websites. The first focus is on health and healthcare websites, and first findings are to be released next week…” See also – In its first year, the Trump administration has reduced public information online. Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence for Health and Health Care

Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News: “JASON: Artificial Intelligence for Health Care – The field of artificial intelligence is habitually susceptible to exaggerated claims and expectations. But when it comes to new applications in health care, some of those claims may prove to be valid, says a new report from the JASON scientific advisory panel. “Overall, JASON… Continue Reading

Advance care directive for dementia seeks to fill gap in standard advance directive

The New York Times: The New Old Age: One Day Your Mind May Fade. At Least You’ll Have a Plan: “…Dr. Barak Gaster, an internist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, had spent three years working with specialists in geriatrics, neurology, palliative care and psychiatry to come up with a five-page document that… Continue Reading