A few weeks ago, I was asked to give a plenary at the Chronic Disease Alliance of Kansas, in part on emerging threats. One of the emerging threats I highlighted was social isolation, which increases your risk of death by about a quarter. The reason I brought it up wasn't the shocking statistic (we've known that for a while, and we know people spend more time alone as they age), but because we're now seeing a remarkable rise in the number of young men not working and filling their excess time with video games (covered in a previous link dump; near the bottom). I've become interested enough in the topic that I'm hosting a workshop on it at October's Intersections of Faith and Health conference in Salina. So I was thrilled to see James Chung's well-produced (as always) video looking at ways for local people to be better neighbors. If the data is to be believed, it could be a really powerful intervention.
John Urschel, NFL offensive lineman and erstwhile MIT math grad student, abruptly retired after the JAMA publication of chronic traumatic encephalopaty data (covered in a previous link to health).
He has something to fall back on other than football. Bold prediction: this is the start of a trend. Football will gradually become like boxing and attract mostly down-on-their luck types who don't have another option for income. Or the NFL will make wholesale changes to the way the game is played (just kidding; that'd never happen).
This article on poorly differentiated syndromes and the promise of genetics in solving them is (rightly) pretty hard on doctors. But I'm curious about what patients and families would like out of doctors who are presented with unsolvable conditions (unsolvable with local expertise, maybe, but maybe unsolvable altogether). When I was still in full-time academic practice, I saw 2-3 patients per day with chronic fatigue as their presenting symptom. I do not recall ever coming up with a unifying diagnosis for any of them, although we certainly found some previously unknown diagnoses. I would have been happy--thrilled, actually--to send them somewhere that had resources and expertise to look more closely at their disease states. But I just didn't know or didn't have the resources. And I know most of those patients left thinking I was a bad doctor.
The Tarahumara of northern Mexico, made famous by the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, are being coerced into smuggling drugs by cartels.