Health

Abortion Laws, Accidents and Lax Rules Now Imperil Fertility Industry
Health

Abortion Laws, Accidents and Lax Rules Now Imperil Fertility Industry

To the fertility patients whose embryos were destroyed at an Alabama clinic, the circumstances must have been shocking. Somehow, a patient in the hospital housing the clinic had wandered into a storage room, pulled the embryos from a tank of liquid nitrogen, and then dropped them on the floor — probably because the tank was kept at minus 360 degrees.The bizarre episode was at the center of lawsuits filed by three families that eventually reached the Alabama Supreme Court. On Friday, a panel of judges ruled that the embryos destroyed at the clinic should be considered children under state law, a decision that sent shock waves through the fertility industry and raised urgent questions about how treatments could possibly proceed in the state.Yet the accident in the Alabama clinic echoes a pat...
Alabama Says Embryos in a Lab Are Children. What Are the Implications?
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Alabama Says Embryos in a Lab Are Children. What Are the Implications?

The Alabama Supreme Court has opened a new front in the legal debate over when human life begins. Embryos created and stored in a medical facility must be considered children under the state’s law governing harmful death, the court ruled.Friday’s ruling was cheered by anti-abortion activists nationwide, who have long argued that life begins at conception. They were thrilled that, for the first time, a court included conception outside the uterus in that definition. But the strongest and most immediate effect of the decision will be on fertility patients trying to get pregnant, not women seeking to end their pregnancies.The Alabama ruling invites states to enact strict new regulations over the fertility industry that could sharply limit the number of embryos created during a cycle of medica...
How Sleep Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Insomnia and Mental Health
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How Sleep Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Insomnia and Mental Health

It started with mild anxiety.Emily, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she was discussing her mental health, had just moved to New York City after graduate school, to start a marketing job at a big law firm.She knew it was normal to feel a little on edge. But she wasn’t prepared for what came next: chronic insomnia.Operating on only three or four hours of sleep, it didn’t take long for her anxiety to ramp up: At 25, she was “freaking nervous all the time. A wreck.”When a lawyer at her firm yelled at her one day, she experienced the first of many panic attacks. At a doctor’s suggestion, she tried taking a sleeping pill, in the hopes that it might “reset” her sleep cycle and improve her mood. It didn’t work.Americans are chronically sleep deprived: one-third of adults ...
Old and Young, Talking Again
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Old and Young, Talking Again

On Fridays at 10 a.m., Richard Bement and Zach Ahmed sign on to their weekly video chat. The program that brought them together provides online discussion prompts and suggests arts-related activities, but the two largely ignore all that.“We just started talking about things that were important to us,” said Mr. Ahmed, 19, a pre-med student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.Since the pair met more than a year ago, conversation topics have included: Pink Floyd, in a long exploration led by Mr. Bement, 76, a retired sales manager in Milford Township, Ohio; their religious faiths (the senior conversation partner is Episcopalian; the younger is Muslim); their families; changing gender norms; and poetry, including Mr. Ahmed’s own efforts.“There’s this fallacy that these two generations can’t co...
More Young People Are on Multiple Psychiatric Drugs, Study Finds
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More Young People Are on Multiple Psychiatric Drugs, Study Finds

The NewsGrowing numbers of children and adolescents are being prescribed multiple psychiatric drugs to take simultaneously, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland. The phenomenon is increasing despite warnings that psychotropic drug combinations in young people have not been tested for safety or studied for their impact on the developing brain.The study, published Friday in JAMA Open Network, looked at the prescribing patterns among patients 17 or younger enrolled in Medicaid from 2015 to 2020 in a single U.S. state that the researchers declined to name. In this group, there was a 9.5 percent increase in the prevalence of “polypharmacy,” which the study defined as taking three or more different classes of psychiatric medications, including antidepressants, mo...
US Agencies Start Inquiry Into Generic Drug Shortages
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US Agencies Start Inquiry Into Generic Drug Shortages

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday that they would examine the causes of generic drug shortages and the practices of “powerful middlemen” that are involved in the supply chain.The federal agencies’ inquiry is aimed at the group purchasing organizations and drug distributors that have been in the spotlight in recent months as drug shortages reached a 10-year peak. The agencies want to examine the companies’ influence on how the drugs are sold to hospitals and other health facilities, assessing whether the middlemen put pressure on pricing and manufacturing that led to breakdowns.During Congressional hearings in the last year, oncology experts have testified about the effects of the shortages, describing difficult decisions that for...
Brooke Ellison, Prominent Disability Rights Advocate, Is Dead at 45
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Brooke Ellison, Prominent Disability Rights Advocate, Is Dead at 45

Brooke Ellison, who after being paralyzed from the neck down by a childhood car accident went on to graduate from Harvard and became a professor and a devoted disability rights advocate, died on Sunday in Stony Brook, N.Y., on Long Island. She was 45.Her death, in a hospital, was caused by complications of quadriplegia, her mother, Jean Ellison, said.As an 11-year-old, Brooke had been taking karate, soccer, cello and dance lessons and singing in a church choir. But on Sept. 4, 1990, she was struck by a car while running across a road near her home in Stony Brook. Her skull, her spine and almost every major bone in her body were fractured.After waking from a 36-hour coma, she spent six weeks in the hospital and eight months in a rehabilitation center. And for the rest of her life she was de...
H.I.V. Groups Warn of Privacy Risks in How C.D.C. Tracks Virus Samples
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H.I.V. Groups Warn of Privacy Risks in How C.D.C. Tracks Virus Samples

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday revised its guidelines for tracking the genetic signatures of viruses collected from people newly diagnosed with H.I.V., a controversial practice used by state and local health departments to curb infections.The updated policy encouraged health officials to be more transparent with their communities about the tracking, one of many changes sought by H.I.V. advocacy organizations concerned about how so-called molecular surveillance could violate patients’ privacy and civil rights.But the agency stopped short of adopting more significant changes that some advocates had pushed for, such as allowing health agencies to opt out in states where people can be prosecuted for transmitting H.I.V.“We’re in a period in which health data is increas...
J&J, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb CEOs Will Testify at Senate Hearing on Drug Prices
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J&J, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb CEOs Will Testify at Senate Hearing on Drug Prices

The chief executives of three major pharmaceutical companies are set to appear in front of the Senate health committee on Thursday to defend how much they charge for drugs in the United States, drawing them further into a confrontation with lawmakers and the Biden administration over the cost of some of the most widely used prescription medications.The three executives scheduled to testify — Joaquin Duato of Johnson & Johnson, Robert M. Davis of Merck and Christopher Boerner of Bristol Myers Squibb — are expected to clash with the health committee’s chairman, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who has made reining in drug prices a signature cause of his late-career years in Congress.Mr. Sanders plans to focus the hearing on why drug prices are higher in the United States...