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 or on Twitter.
Josh Zeitlin's reads
Superheroes in your children's hospital. Earlier this month, Marvel Comics announced a special Guardians of the Galaxy issue that it will send to about 450 children's hospitals across the country. "This year’s comic is all about friendship, camaraderie, and relying on others when you need help," Mark Basso writes in a blog post. "There is nothing shameful about needing help from friends, family, or professional caregivers, and we wanted to underscore that theme in the story." You can view the comic here.
I'll write you a song, then get you a doctor. About 75 percent of music professionals don't have access to group health insurance, largely because so many are self-employed, according to Music Health Alliance, based in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. So the Alliance and Vanderbilt University Medical Center are now teaming up to get more musicians insured. Maybe they'll write a song about it one day.
Is a "Steve Jobs-style disruptor" just what health care needs? That's what physician Damon Ramsey argues in STAT News. "Few industries yearn for a Jobs-style disruption as much as health care does today," Ramsey writes. "With its labyrinths of regulation, deeply entrenched and antiquated information systems, and monopolies built upon thrones of indifference to the consumer experience, the health care industry has chained itself to archaic and inefficient processes while resisting its own rescue."
Josh's recent posts:
Sam Bernstein's reads
Is code speech? As Apple plots its legal defense against the government's efforts to force it to decrypt the cell phone of one of the San Bernardino Developmental Disability Center shooters, it's exploring a novel legal claim: Code is speech protected by the First Amendment. According to Bloomberg, Apple's lawyers plan to argue that forcing its coders to write new software would be a violation of their free speech rights.
Exploring mental illness and creativity. History is full of highly creative individuals who struggled with mental health issues, from Vincent Van Gogh to Virginia Woolf. But the connection between mental health and creativity is actually a bit murky, Claudia Hammond reports for BBC. The first problem: How can researchers measure creativity?
Why do donated organs go to waste? Some transplant centers reject a large portion of the organs they receive, Emma Yasinski reports for The Atlantic. That is all the more shocking considering an estimated 1,500 people in the United States die waiting for an organ. But some organs are literally not a good fit for patients and the logistics of moving organs to the right place at the right time can be daunting. When an organ doesn't match, sometimes doctors have no choice but to let it go to waste.
Sam's recent posts:
Aly Seidel's reads
Tourists come for the marijuana, end up in the ED. Recreational marijuana use is legal in Colorado, and some out-of-staters visit to partake—only to end up in the ED with "classic signs of marijuana intoxication," such as vomiting and hallucinations.
Legally skating over side effects. Pharmaceutical companies are required by law to list their drugs' potential side effects during TV advertisements. But many rely on voice actors to minimize some of these conditions as they narrate lists of possibly dangerous side effects.
Buying a blood pressure cuff: 5 hour trip, one way. Sharlene Adams's doctor told her to buy a blood pressure cuff to help manage her chronic illnesses. So the Baltimore resident set off to buy a cuff seven miles away: a round trip that required multiple bus transfers, three stops at a pharmacy, and 10 hours of dedication.
Next in the Daily Briefing
Study: The drop in readmissions isn't because of more observation stays. It's real.