What We’re Reading: 08/14/20

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

13 States Make Contact Tracing Data Public. Here's What They're Learning

For contact tracing to be effective, programs need speed and completeness. But even a state like New Jersey—where contact tracing programs seem to have robust enough staff and resources—is reaching only half of new cases within 24 hours. And of those people, nearly half refuse to provide the names of contacts. Problems like these abound across the nation, each state reckoning with different challenges. This article presents clearly where more focus is needed to curb the spread and how states can learn from each other.  (From npr.org)

What a Doctor Learns From Watching You on Video Chat

Studies are showing some interesting benefits to video visits—the absence of white coat hypertension, better performance in cognitive tests for dementia. Generally, physicians are noting a decrease in test anxiety when seeing patients at home. Of course, physical exams and testing can’t be done over video, but what has emerged is newfound access to home life and environment. 

Literally going through medications in the medicine cabinet, having a look at what’s in the fridge, being shown safety hazards of stairs or absence of railings. This access can be very informative, but it’s not a liberating prospect for everyone. All the problems, the biases and systemic issues are still ever-present. Let’s use this as an opportunity to employ thoughtfulness.  (From theatlantic.com)

Lung cancer deaths are declining faster than new cases. Advances in treatment are making the difference

With coronavirus at the forefront, you may have missed the annual release of cancer statistics from the NIH and American Cancer Society. There’s usually a lot of interesting data to interpret, like the 2.2 percent decline in overall cancer deaths highlighted in the 2020 report (the largest-ever decline in one year). 

Instead of going wide, this article highlights the similar trends of two historically deadly cancers: lung cancer and melanoma. Particularly the conjunction between the steep decline in lung cancer deaths with the flat to increasing incidence of new cases. A deep dive into the uncoupling of incidence and mortality, hopefully leading to some hope on the horizon.  (From statnews.com)

Taking Lessons from a Bloody Masterpiece

Frankly, this is our favorite read of the bunch. The Gross Clinic, Eakin’s masterpiece of Dr. Samuel Gross in the operating theater, wasn’t always regarded as such. At the time people were horrified by the depicted gruesome realities. The blood, the mysterious faceless patient... Don’t let us ruin it with shallow explanations, click the link and zoom into the corners of this painting to bask in its brilliance. And maybe, just maybe, feel a pang of awe, gratitude for this thing called life.  (From nytimes.com)

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