Today's News and Commentary

About the public’s health

Cheer up! Optimists live longer: Don’t worry, be happy! “Optimistic people live as much as 15% longer than pessimists, according to a new study spanning thousands of people and 3 decades.” It is more advantageous for optimistic women, though.

Association Between Educational Attainment and Causes of Death Among White and Black US Adults, 2010-2017: This research is more evidence for an association between education and health/longevity. “In this serial cross-sectional study, estimated life expectancy at age 25 years declined overall between 2010 and 2017; however, it declined among persons without a 4-year college degree and increased among college-educated persons. Much of the increasing educational differences in years of life lost may be related to deaths attributed to drug use.”

Draft Recommendation Statement: Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adolescents and Adults: Screening: In this draft statement, the US Preventive Task Force “recommends screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in [all] adults ages 18 to 79 years.” The statement is open for comments until September 23, 2019.

Federal agency ends policy protecting migrants who receive medical care: “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said this week it has ended a policy that allows migrants to not be deported while they or their family members receive life-saving medical treatments.” A spokesperson for USCIS said “that the policy is not ending, but will instead be handled through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).” However, “The Associated Press, which first reported the policy change, said it obtained USCIS letters sent to applicants in the Boston area and that the correspondence made no mention of ICE taking over the program. Instead, the letters ordered the immigrants to exit the U.S. in 33 days or face deportation, according to the AP.”

Edited genes are not ready to be inherited: DNA changes should benefit patients but not yet their descendants (Financial Times, subscription required): As we consider the ethics of gene therapy for those afflicted with genetic diseases, we should be aware of the consequences of passing along those modifications to the next generation. In most cases we do not know what those consequences are.

About healthcare IT

Epic to gather records of 20 million patients for medical research: “Called Cosmos, the initiative aims to aggregate patients’ [de-identified] medical information from its customers to offer a wider base of information from which to enable real-world evidence based practice of medicine, even for conditions that are now currently rare and on which it’s difficult to have a large enough sample size on which to make medical decisions.”