Plan of Care

navigating through nursing school

In the News

Jut some health-related stuff I’ve read recently. I try not to link to, like, the entire New York Times health section, so I cut down on my linking tendencies a lot when I moved blogs. (I used to do things like … link to a good third of the New York Times health articles.) There are three, because usually when I link news items I go for three (sometimes five). Today it’s technically three and a half.

11 years old, on the pill and sexually active? The media loses the news again – an article explaining that 11-year-old girls are taking contraception, but it’s not why the mainstream media wants to jump to make you think. This quote stands out:

Taking hormonal contraception is, for many girls, a means of ensuring they don’t miss school.

Yes. While I hate to insert personal takes on my news generally, here, I can’t resist. (Blogs are supposed to be somewhat personal, right? … Right?) This is me, but my parents, unlike the parents of these 11-year-olds who are heavily involved in the decision, didn’t want me to take estrogens until I was an adult. So I had worsening medical problems until about a year ago, when a practitioner explained to me why it is that I was so disabled 7 days in 28, that it was causing neurological issues and that I needed to be put on medication to control it. So I sure know how it feels to be one of those kids who need hormonal contraception for reasons besides, say, contraception.

Taking hormones can be scary, and in some ways can be dangerous, and yes, it does increase the risk of stroke (this is something that really concerned my mother, which is part of why I waited until I was on my own).

There’s one more quote from that article I want to include, just because, well, it scared me.

During the course of today I’ve spoken to 15 journalists, mostly working for radio and TV news stations, and 13 of which have been male.

Through these conversations I discovered none of the journalists knew hormonal contraception had medical uses. All of them assumed hormonal contraception was simply used to prevent pregnancy. And because of this assumption it hadn’t occurred to them to find out what else hormonal contraceptives might be used for.

Really? Really?

A Heart Pump Ticks Down, and a Stranger Steps In to Help – I love Denise Grady’s pieces most of the time, and they are usually straight-up facts about what’s going on in the health world. This article about heart pumps and their uses includes a feel-good story with an unexpectedly happy ending (I expected a happy ending; I didn’t expect an ending as happy as I got!) and a look at the marvels of medical mechanics.

I didn’t know much of anything about these assist pumps before, and reading the article made me want to learn more. Our star’s pump gave him his own little miracle – the fact that it continued to function well past when they expected it would, giving him almost an extra hour of clot-free living – but the real miracle was the efficiency that the hospital’s nurse practitioner found a man to come in and save the day.

Should McDonald’s offer free statins? – This headline just made me start giggling. It’s completely ridiculous, and personally while I completely support drug therapy when it’s needed, I think that McDonald’s actually providing statins to customers is off-the-charts bizarre, but apparently Imperial College London actually did a study offering that conclusion.

Fast food outlets like McDonald’s and Burger King should offer statins to neutralize the elevated risk of heart disease associated with eating cheeseburgers and milkshakes, a new study suggests.

Later in the article they clarify:

The authors don’t suggest that MCDonalds’, Buerger King and their competitors to provide statins to the burger eaters.  But the message of the study is clear, taking statins can lower heart disease associated with dietary fat – total fat and trans fat.

Well, if they don’t, then why start the article like that? Apparently, because it was a good hook. It got people reading it. It definitely got me reading it – and linking it, too.

Another article on the same topic, Burger and a statin to go? Or hold that, please? opens:

Fast food outlets should hand out free cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to their customers to “neutralize” the heart risks of eating fatty foods like burgers and fries, British scientists suggested on Thursday.

So do they, in fact, actually want the statins handed out with the food after all? Who knows. I don’t. This article continues with,

“Complimentary statin packets are prone to … give Quarter Pounder consumers a sense of false security,” [Dr. Messerli] told Reuters Health by email.

My reaction to that has got to be another really? Do you think? Complimentary. Statin. Packets?! Not that there’s any way that restaurants handing out prescription drugs is a good idea. I think Reuters’ experts may have missed that despite how Food Consumer phrased it (and who’s getting reliable medical news from a website called Food Consumer, anyway? I can understand getting reliable food news from Food Consumer …) the British study isn’t literally saying that.

I think.

Considering it’s been contradicted enough times. First they said it, then they didn’t. I’m confident they didn’t actually mean that restaurants should be handing out prescription drugs, but the responses to it make it sound like not everybody is convinced.

If they did actually say that, I’m not going to a fast food restaurant in the UK anytime soon. Or asking Imperial College London for pharmaceutical advice.

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