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Docsplaining: Health Humanities Are Not the Canary in the Dangerous Coal Mine


by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Doc• splain (/’däk splān) verb. Informal. (of an MD) explaining (something) to someone, typically a PhD, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing

At the 2018 Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics & Humanities, we were treated to two excellent plenary sessions: Jonathan Metzl on gun violence and Despina Kakoudaki on Frankenstein. The third plenary was a bit of an aggravating mystery to those of us in the audience who work in the health humanities and have built careers around that field.…

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When Hospitals Merge to Save Money, Patients Often Pay More The New York Times

The mergers have essentially banished competition and raised prices for hospital admissions in most cases, according to an examination of 25 metropolitan areas with the highest rate of consolidation from 2010 through 2013, a peak period for mergers.

What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick? The New York Times

But as ubiquitous as the phenomenon is, and as plentiful the studies that demonstrate it, the placebo effect has yet to become part of the doctor’s standard armamentarium — and not only because it has a reputation as “fake medicine” doled out by the unscrupulous to the credulous. It also has, so far, resisted a full understanding, its mechanisms shrouded in mystery. Without a clear knowledge of how it works, doctors can’t know when to deploy it, or how.

F.D.A. Plans to Seek a Ban on Menthol Cigarettes The New York Times

In a landmark move bound to further shake the tobacco industry, the Food and Drug Administration plans to propose a ban on menthol cigarettes next week as part of its aggressive campaign against flavored e-cigarettes and some tobacco products, agency officials said.

Genetics research ‘biased towards studying white Europeans’ The Guardian

People from minority ethnic backgrounds are set to lose out on medical benefits of genetics research due to an overwhelming bias towards studying white European populations, a leading scientist has warned.

Prof David Curtis, a geneticist and psychiatrist at University College London, has called on funding bodies to do more to address the emerging issue that genetic tests developed using samples from white Europeans can give meaningless results when applied to other ethnic groups. The problem could intensify as the clinical applications of genetics expand over the next decade.