What We’re Reading: 02/28/20


A few highlights from around the web that made it into our feeds this week.

Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus

This one is for your kids! They are likely hearing the word "coronavirus" in school, online, or on TV and probably have a lot of questions. Here, the information from experts has been packaged in a way kids can both relate to and enjoy. (From npr.org)

Drop in cancer deaths reflect failures of our society. Really

Cancer death rates were 2 percent lower than expected in 2017. Then in 2018, they were another 2 percent lower. Most people guessed it was due to expensive cutting-edge new cancer treatments, but in those same years, life expectancy fell by a month and then rose by a month. 

Meaning, in both 2017 and 2018, more than 80 percent of our cancer progress was offset by rising death rates from conditions unlikely to be improved by drug discovery. In 2017 alone, suicides rose by 4 percent, deaths from diabetes by 2 percent. This article highlights a critical reality: “Poverty, not genetic mutations, underlies each of these conditions.”  (From bostsonglobe.com)

How Lifesaving Organs For Transplant Go Missing In Transit

Kidneys and pancreases have longer shelf lives than hearts, which means they often fly commercial to get to the recipient, and just as you would expect some get lost in transit. There are many factors at play, one being the lack of a national system to manage the transport of long-distance matches.  

When an average of nine people a day die waiting for a kidney, losing even one organ because it missed its connecting flight is a tragedy. Even worse, without a federal agency managing oversight, there is little data showing how often these problems occur. “If Amazon can figure out when your paper towels and your dog food is going to arrive within 20 to 30 minutes, it certainly should be reasonable that we ought to track lifesaving organs, which are in chronic shortage,” says David Axelrod, a transplant surgeon. (From khn.org)

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