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On Medicine : The Rules of the Doctor’s Heart

M. was on this list of supplicants. His own heart, meanwhile, was failing so precipitously that he needed constant medical monitoring. Weird, deadly electrical rhythms arose out of his dying cardiac muscles, like ripples on a stagnating pond, necessitating defibrillating shocks to reset his rhythm. Fluid pooled in his feet, and the skin on his calves came off in strips. Photo Credit Photo illustration by Cristiana Couceiro There was a second reason to monitor M.’s status. Hearts are so rare that patients have to be under constant surveillance to ensure…

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Stricter Gun Laws Tied to Fewer Firearm Injuries After Gun Shows

Photo Gun shows in a state with weak gun restrictions increase the short-term risk for firearm-related injuries, a new analysis has found. Researchers studied deaths, emergency department visits and hospitalizations related to firearms before and after 915 gun shows in California and Nevada from 2005 to 2013. California has laws requiring background checks, waiting periods, documentation and Department of Justice surveillance at gun shows. Nevada has no regulations pertaining explicitly to gun shows. When gun shows were held in California, there was no difference between rates of firearm incidents in…

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U.S. Hospitals Wrestle With Shortages of Drug Supplies Made in Puerto Rico

Some device and supply companies have already begun limiting shipments of certain items from the island, ranging from mesh for repairing hernias to surgical scalpels and tools used in orthopedic surgery. On Monday, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, questioned companies’ statements that their plants were back in operation: “We understand that manufacturing is running at minimal levels, and certainly far from full production,” Dr. Gottlieb said in prepared remarks published Monday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He is scheduled to be questioned…

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The New Health Care: The Cookie Crumbles: A Retracted Study Points to a Larger Truth

Before the study period, about 20 percent of the children chose an apple, and 80 percent the cookie. But when researchers put an Elmo sticker on the apple, more than a third chose it. That’s a significant result, and from a cheap, easily replicated intervention. While the intervention seems simple, any study like this is anything but. For many reasons, doing research in nutrition is very, very hard. Photo Elmo, in puppet form at a Jim Henson exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, N.Y., looms large…

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Playboy to Feature Its First Transgender Playmate

When Ms. Rau — who has appeared in American Vogue, Italian Vogue and a Balmain campaign, among others — heard that she would be a Playmate, she cried from happiness, she said on Thursday. “It was a compliment like I’ve never had,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of beautiful compliments from gentlemen before, but this one really made me feel very special, beautiful and feminine. I was speechless.” But the announcement was not without resistance. A quick scroll through Playboy’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages on Thursday revealed a…

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During Labor, Lie Down

Photo Many doctors recommend that women in labor sit upright or walk to speed things along. But a randomized trial suggests the best bet may be to lie on your side. British researchers randomly assigned 3,093 first-time mothers with a low-dose epidural in the second stage of labor to either an upright position (walking, kneeling, standing or sitting up straight) or to a lying-down position (up to 30 degrees inclination). All the women had singleton pregnancies, and about 40 percent had their labor induced. The groups were similar in other…

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Global Health: The Long War on Polio, as Recalled by Its Generals

Photo Dr. Naveed Sadozai, left, describes efforts to vaccinate sheepherders in Afghanistan in a recent “Coffee With Polio Experts” video posted to YouTube. “Coffee With Polio Experts” will not be picked up by Hulu anytime soon, but there is something compelling in these short videos put out by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. The formula is simple: Doctors who have spent years fighting polio in the world’s most remote regions sit down over coffee with a World Health Organization representative to tell war stories. The production values are amateurish —…

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Ask Well: Why Are Hearing Aids So Expensive?

Photo Q. Why are hearing aids so incredibly costly? Is it patents? A lock on manufacturing? With today’s digital revolution, it would seem that they should be approaching the cost of eyeglasses. A. Hearing aids remain expensive — $900 to $3,500 or more per ear — but that is likely to be changing soon. The Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017, which became law in August, includes a provision for selling hearing aids over the counter to adults with mild to moderate hearing loss in two to three…

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