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
Vote for cats. Especially this cat. Treat yourself this Friday by checking out the nominees for Washingtonian's 2017 Cutest Cat Contest. You can vote for multiple felines, but I hope you'll at least cast a vote for Abe. His owner (one of my Advisory Board colleagues) thinks Abe is purrrfect. Sorry, I couldn't resist the cat pun.
A good read on Medicaid. When President Johnson signed Medicaid into law in 1965, the program "almost escaped notice," Kate Zernike, Abby Goodnough, and Pam Belluck write in the New York Times. In 1966, 2 percent of the U.S. population had Medicaid coverage. By 2015, it was 21 percent. The Times explores the changes to Medicaid over the years, the Americans affected by them, and the current politics of the program.
Floaty McFloatface. Speaking of fun competitions, the Isle of Wight council (in England) is soliciting nominations for the name of a new floating bridge. In a press release, the council said it would veto the suggestion of "Floaty McFloatface"—and that pretty much caused a popular uprising. An online petition to have the nomination included garnered more than 1,600 signatures within a few hours, and the council has since changed course. Next, the council will select what it considers the top six suggestions, which will go to the public for a vote. I for one hope Floaty McFloatface emerges victorious.
Sam Bernstein's reads
Is this what's next in pain management? Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have published a study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Mental Health that found virtual reality headsets cut patients' pain scores by 24 percent, on average. That's about twice as much as the drop among patients who watched a nature video on a regular television. It's the latest sign that virtual reality will play a new an interesting role in health care. For instance, another recent study found virtual reality headsets can help surgical residents prepare for trauma surgery, Fierce Healthcare reports.
The McDonald's Quarter Pounder gets a makeover. The iconic fast food restaurant says it plans to start making its Quarter Pounder burgers with fresh instead of frozen beef. According to the Wall Street Journal, the move is part of a push by the company to "return to its burger roots." Some customers are not thrilled with the upcoming change. Missourian Paul Morton, 32, says, " I'm just terrified about this. I just want it to taste like when I was 10." Burger anxiety is real.