#14 The doctor is gone 👩⚕️
Also: Abortion pill delivery, impact of gut microbes on running performance & Dry January's effect on your sex life.
G’day healthcare aficionados. Today’s newsletter is 850 words long, or a 4 minute read.
Think about it 💡
🩺 And so the global strikes by healthcare professionals continue. The pandemic has exacerbated public health risks, workforce shortages, and burnout among health care workers - jeopardizing patient care. In the U.S. about 16,000 nurses originally voted to go on strike with no fixed end date. In the U.K., more than 45,000 junior physicians will go on a three-day strike in March to protest wages, if a vote for industrial action is successful. In France, as hospitals are on the verge of collapse, an informal group of physicians called for the closure of private practices to protest, among other things, the basic visit fee.
All hospital systems in Europe seem to have a fever. Last November, demonstrations in Madrid brought together hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers to demand better working conditions. In Germany, a small hospital is closing every month. These dire conditions combined with retirements leave the future all the more uncertain.
📮 Abortion pills in the wake of the Roe v. Wade reversal. Since the overturn, mail delivery of abortion pills has become a critical way for patients in the dozen or so states where abortion is virtually outlawed to get around these laws, attracting scrutiny from policymakers and advocates who are considering a number of steps to clamp down on their distribution.
On January 4th, the FDA denied a request by the anti-abortion group Students for Life to ban most telemedicine prescriptions and return to the 2011 limitations on the drug (mifepristone), which the FDA had relaxed by letting the pill be prescribed over the phone, sent by post, and retrieved from a local pharmacy.
The FDA also denied a request from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to facilitate access to these pills for patients who use them to treat a miscarriage as opposed to an elective abortion.
Social media changes teens’ brains 🧠
📱 Virtually all U.S. teens use social media, with 97% logging on every day and 46% reporting being online "almost constantly". In a new study, neuroscientists at the University of North Carolina conducted successive brain scans of middle school students between the ages of 12 and 15, a period of rapid brain development. On three occasions, about a year apart, the subjects' brains were scanned while they played a computer game that provided rewards and punishments in the shape of smiling or scowling peers.
💡 They found that children who routinely checked their social media feeds around age 12 displayed a distinct trajectory, with their sensitivity to social rewards from their peers rising over time. During task performance, frequent checkers showed increasing activity in three brain areas: reward processing pathways, brain regions that determine salience, and the prefrontal cortex, which assists in regulation and control.
❔ However, the results do not capture the extent of the brain changes, only their trajectory. Whether these changes are beneficial or detrimental is not known - yet.
Neat News 🗞️
💰 Employee healthcare benefits platform Peppy secured a $45M Series B to expand its B2B2C services to the US. Neat.
🔊 J.P. Morgan annual healthcare conference returned to San Francisco and with it an abundance of thrilling announcements about a mix of healthcare companies. Super neat.
💸 AMR Action Fund invested into BioVersys, a Swiss company whose product targets certain lung and bloodstream infections that kill up to 100,000 people a year. Ultra neat.
What the hellth? 🔬
📌 Drop the Pinterest mood board, motivation to exercise is already - literally - within you. A new study from Penn Medicine highlights a pathway connecting your little gut microbes to your little brain that increases exercise performance.
🐁 Researchers analyzed data from genetically diverse lab mice using machine learning algorithms to identify attributes that would best explain significant interindividual differences in the animals' running performance. They found that these differences were largely due to the presence of particular species of gut bacteria - including Eubacterium rectale and Coprococcus eutactus - in the better performing animals.
🏃♀️ These effects appear to be triggered by small molecules called metabolites that the bacteria produce. These stimulate sensory nerves in the gut to increase activity in a region of the brain that regulates motivation during exercise.
Clean Content 🧼
🎭 How healthtech stole the show at CES 2022.
📊 Spellbinding data on the shift of America's health care focus in 2023.
📌 Rock Health has released its year-end 2022 Digital Health funding report, which provides valuable insights into the post-pandemic-fueled digital health financing boom era.
This is what you came for 🍑
🍺January is well underway and with it comes the compelling need to cleanse ourselves of our vices. Like 20% of the population, alcohol may be the first sin you tackle. Turns out, besides the somewhat boring benefits (jk, good health is important), Dry January can also benefit your sex life. Even short-term alcohol consumption may inhibit communications that would otherwise enhance sensitivity, and thus cause erectile dysfunction. It also reduces female lubrication and makes it trickier to reach completion. No more bottoms up or down. Just bottoms 🩲.
Bye for now 👋.
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