Weekend reads: The surprising reason why Tom Hanks might have diabetes

Interesting stories and studies from the past week

The Daily Briefing editorial team highlights several interesting health care stories and studies that didn't quite make this week's Briefing. What are you reading this weekend? Let us know in the comments.

Josh Zeitlin's reads

Housing and health. This tax code request could end up changing the way some hospitals improve the health of their communities. The American Health Association, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and Association of American Medical Colleges this month submitted research to the Internal Revenue Service that they say supports deeming housing as a community benefit.

Happy Birthday. In honor of Medicare's 50th anniversary yesterday, Brady Dennis of the Washington Post's "To Your Health" takes a look at the first payment Medicare ever covered, which was for Mary Augustus's surgery at Hartford Hospital.

Only 50,000 to go. The Twitter account @EveryICD10 has been  posting new ICD-10 codes and its description every few minutes, and has tweeted  more than 14,500 since June 9, a pace that would allow it to share all 68,000 codes by the Oct. 1 ICD-10 launch, Henry Powderly writes for Healthcare Finance. One of my favorite new codes is Y93.D: Activities involved arts and handcrafts.

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Sam Bernstein's reads

Hackers can take over your phone with a text. It's the biggest security breach you may have never heard of. Researchers from Trend Micro say there is a flaw in Google's Android operating system that could allow a hacker to take over your phone with a simple text message—and you don't even have to open it. Google says it has patched the vulnerability, but there is a catch. The vast majority of Android devices only receive updates after they are approved by the manufacturer or cell phone network operator. That can take months, if it ever happens at all. The researchers estimate nearly a billion devices are currently vulnerable to the exploit.

The philosophical downside of a Fitbit.  A "Skydiver" badge for climbing flights of stairs. A "Serengeti" badge for walking 500 miles. Would you like to tweet your accomplishment? In an essay for The New Inquiry, philosopher Moira Weigel takes aim at the potential downside of activity trackers. Do they train users to love lives that are all work?

Munich want to build a massive new highway system for bikes. It sounds like a biker's paradise. No intersections, no traffic lights, no cars. Munich is considering building a network of 14 two-way bike lines—each 13 feet wide. The network would cover about 400 square miles. And it even has a fantastic German name—Radschnellverbindungen.

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Dan Diamond's reads

The surprising reason why Tom Hanks might have diabetes. Dramatically gaining weight, or losing it, has helped actors get noticed and even win Academy Awards. But I thought this Washington Post article was interesting for how it looked at the lasting risk and damage from yo-yo dieting.

Samuel Pisar is dead. A remarkable obituary for a man who lived an incredible, death-defying life.

Do doctors need to be 'likable'? We discussed this on the latest episode of the Weekly Briefing, which you can also listen to below.




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