Why Can’t Dying Patients Get the Drugs They Want?

Supported by Health Why Can’t Dying Patients Get the Drugs They Want? Photo Nancy Goodman, with her 7-year-old daughter, Sarah Froman, started Kids v Cancer after her son, Jacob Froman, died of cancer at age 10. Credit T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times At first glance, a bill passed by the House of Representatives this week seems like the kind of thing anyone could get behind.
Known as the “Right to Try” legislation, it would allow terminally ill patients access to experimental drugs without the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.
But the bill and a similar one passed last summer by the Senate do little to address the main barrier that patients face in getting unapproved treatments: permission from the drug companies themselves.
In recent years, the arrival of breakthrough drugs for everything from cancer to rare diseases has led to a surge in the number of patients wanting early access to treatments. The pleas — sometimes driven by viral social media campaigns — h..

American Adults Just Keep Getting Fatter

Supported by Health American Adults Just Keep Getting Fatter Photo Public health experts said they were alarmed that efforts to educate people about the health risks of a poor diet do not seem to be working. Credit Mark Lennihan/Associated Press American adults continue to put on the pounds. New data shows that nearly 40 percent of them were obese in 2015 and 2016, a sharp increase from a decade earlier, federal health officials reported Friday.
The prevalence of severe obesity in American adults is also rising, heightening their risks of developing heart disease, diabetes and various cancers. According to the latest data, published Friday in JAMA, 7.7 percent of American adults were severely obese in the same period.
The data — gathered in a large-scale federal survey that is considered the gold standard for health data — measured trends in obesity from 2015 and 2016 back to 2007 and 2008, when 5.7 percent of American adults were severely obese and 33.7 percent were obese. The su..

Personal Health: Is It Time to Give Up on Fish Oil?

Supported by Well Is It Time to Give Up on Fish Oil? Photo Credit Paul Rogers About 15 years ago, when my cholesterol level began an inexplicable climb, I tried a slew of suggested dietary remedies that included eating more fish, along with a daily supplement of fish oil, which research at the time suggested would help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Alas, my body disdained my efforts and I finally had to take a statin. But I continued to follow a heart-healthy diet laden with vegetables and fish and took 1,200 milligrams of fish oil every night.
I now suspect that those thousands of gel-covered capsules I’ve swallowed over the years may have done little more than enrich the pockets of supplement producers and sellers. A number of extensive analyses have been conducted, some supporting and others refuting the value of fish oils to the cardiovascular system, along with studies of other purported health benefits that also have had mixed results.
The supplements contain omega-3 fa..

Global Health: Grindr App to Offer H.I.V. Test Reminders

Supported by Health Grindr App to Offer H.I.V. Test Reminders Photo Jack Harrison-Quintana, Grindr’s director for equality, said that the company hoped testing reminders would both slow H.I.V. transmission and reduce the stigma of being tested. Credit Mark Makela for The New York Times In an effort to shrink the global AIDS epidemic, the world’s largest gay dating app is changing its software this week to urge millions of users to get frequent H.I.V. tests.
Grindr, which claims to have 3.3 million daily users from every country in the world, will send men who opt into the service a reminder every three to six months, and simultaneously point them to the nearest testing site. It will also let clinics, gay community centers and other testing sites advertise for free.
The company is making the move to “reduce H.I.V. transmission and support our whole community — regardless of H.I.V. status — in living long and fulfilling lives,” said Jack Harrison-Quintana, Grindr’s director for equa..

The New Health Care: A Study on Fats That Doesn’t Fit the Story Line

A Study on Fats That Doesn’t Fit the Story Line Photo So which kind of fat is actually bad for you? Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times There was a lot of news this week about a study, published in the medical journal BMJ, that looked at how diet affects heart health. The results were unexpected because they challenged the conventional thinking on saturated fats.
And the data were very old, from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
This has led many to wonder why they weren’t published previously. It has also added to the growing concern that when it comes to nutrition, personal beliefs often trump science.
Perhaps no subject is more controversial in the nutrition world these days than fats. While in the 1970s and 1980s doctors attacked the total amount of fat in Americans’ diets, that seems to have passed. These days, the fights are over the type of fat that is considered acceptable.
Most of our fat comes from two main sources. The first is saturated fats. Usually solid at room tem..

Scaling Back: A New Policy Disagreement Between Clinton and Sanders: Soda Taxes

A New Policy Disagreement Between Clinton and Sanders: Soda Taxes Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have a new issue to disagree about: the wisdom of a soda tax.
A tax on sugary soft drinks, like the one proposed in Philadelphia and endorsed by Mrs. Clinton last week, divides the left. It can be seen as achieving an admirable public health goal of less sugar consumption or as a very regressive tax that falls more on the poor than the rich, since the poor tend to drink more soda.
While not the biggest issue the two candidates have tussled over, it is one that may reverberate across the country in coming years as more cities and states use the tax to raise revenue or improve citizens’ health.
Last week, Mrs. Clinton became the first presidential candidate to explicitly endorse a tax on sugary drinks. At a Philadelphia event Wednesday, she said a proposal there to use a soda tax to fund universal prekindergarten was a good idea.
“It starts early with working with families, working with k..