(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘healthcare

“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom”*…

Some of the music to which we listened in 1971 [source]

What a difference five decades makes…

1971 was an eventful year: Intel released the world’s first commercial microprocessor, the 4004; the Aswan Dam was completed; Charles Manson and three of his followers received the death penalty: National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast for the first time; Walt Disney World opened in Florida: Mount Etna erupted (again): The “Pentagon Papers” were made public; the Attica Prion riots happened; the 26th Amendment (lowering the voting age to 18) was ratified; Amtrak, FedEx, the Nasdaq, and Greenpeace were created; China was admitted to the U.N.; Qatar and what is now the UAE were freed from British colonial rule; and so very much more…

Richard Nixon was U.S. President. Average income in the U.S. was $10,600; the average home price was $25,250. A movie ticket cost $1.50; a gallon of gas, $0.33. We listened to music the featured the albums pictured above; we saw Dirty Harry, A Clockwork Orange, The Last Picture Show, and Diamonds Are Forever at the movies; and we watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Partridge Family, McCloud, and Walter Cronkite on TV.

As we look back fifty years, we can see that 1971 seems– beyond the idiosyncratic consequences of the many events that distinguished it– to have been a point of inflection, of sustained changes in direction economically, politically, socially, and culturally:

A small selection from a plethora of charts that ask: “WTF Happened In 1971?

* Francis Bacon

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As we hit the stacks, we might recall that it was on this date in 1964 that the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., published the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States saying that smoking may be hazardous to health– and sparking national (and worldwide) anti-smoking efforts. While it wasn’t the first such declaration (nor even the first declaration by a U.S. official), it is notable for being arguably the most famous such declaration for its lasting and widespread effects both on the tobacco industry and on the worldwide perception of smoking. A federal ban on cigarette advertising on television went into effect… in 1971.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

January 11, 2021 at 1:01 am

“I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but I liken myself to the robber barons”*…

 

shkreli

 

In the spirit of the Razzies and the “Golden Fleece Award,” The Lown Institute initiated “The Shkreli Awards”…

A top ten list of the worst examples of profiteering and dysfunction in health care, named for Martin Shkreli, the price-hiking “pharma bro” that everyone loves to hate…

Nominees for the Shkreli Awards are compiled by Lown Institute staff with input from readers of Lown Weekly. Winners are determined by an esteemed panel of patient activists, clinicians, health policy experts, and journalists…

Browse the list of 2019’s (genuinely astounding, but sadly all-too-real) “winners” here.  Also see the 2018 and 2017 winners.

* Martin Shkreli

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As think healing thoughts, we might recall that it was on this date in 1854 that Anthony Fass, a Philadelphia piano maker, was awarded the first U.S. patent (#11062) for an accordion.  (An older patent existed in Europe, issued in Vienna in 1829 to Cyrill Demian.)

“Music helps set a romantic mood. Imagine her surprise when you say, ‘We don’t need a stereo – I have an accordion’.”  – Martin Mull

“A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, but doesn’t.”  – Tom Waits

accordion_patent source

 

Written by (Roughly) Daily

January 13, 2020 at 1:01 am

“Cura te ipsum”*…

 

Americans are increasingly sorting themselves by political affiliation into friendships, even into neighborhoods. Something similar seems to be happening with doctors and their various specialties.

New data show that, in certain medical fields, large majorities of physicians tend to share the political leanings of their colleagues, and a study suggests ideology could affect some treatment recommendations. In surgery, anesthesiology and urology, for example, around two-thirds of doctors who have registered a political affiliation are Republicans. In infectious disease medicine, psychiatry and pediatrics, more than two-thirds are Democrats.

The conclusions are drawn from data compiled by researchers at Yale. They joined two large public data sets, one listing every doctor in the United States and another containing the party registration of every voter in 29 states…

It would be tempting to conclude that it’s all about the Benjamins…  and data does support that:

But age and gender play roles too.  One can examine for oneself at “Your Surgeon Is Probably a Republican, Your Psychiatrist Probably a Democrat.”

* (Physician) heal thyself, from the Vulgate, Luke 4:23

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As we turn our heads and cough, we might recall that it was on this date in 1823 that Scottish chemist and waterproof fabric pioneer Charles Macintosh sold the first “raincoat.”

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 12, 2016 at 1:01 am

Say “ah”…

 click here for larger, interactive version

In 1960, hospital costs were were 38% of total U.S.healthcare costs; in 2010, they were 37%.  But in 1960, hospital costs were $9 billion of a total $23.4 billion in healthcare costs; in 2010, they were $814 billion of a total $2, 186 billion.  (Simple inflation, using the CPI as a metric, means that the 1960 figure, in 2010 dollars, would be around $1.8 billion.)

But in many ways more interesting than the growth in the overall total are the changes in how healthcare is financed– in who pays.  In 1960, for example, almost 100% of the spending on prescription drugs came out of the consumer’s pocket; by 2010, out-of-pocket spending was down to 20%.

Watch the healthcare economy evolve in the California Healthcare Foundation’s interactive graphic, “U.S. Healthcare Spending: Who Pays?

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As we stock up on supplements, we might spare an anatomically-correct thought for Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne (de Boulogne); he died on this date in 1875.  Regarded by many to be the “father of modern neurology,” Duchenne developed the first working understanding of the conductivity of neural pathways; he was the first to understand the effect of lesions on these structures; and he innovated diagnostic techniques including deep tissue biopsy, nerve conduction tests, and clinical photography.  He’s probably best remembered for identifying the myopathies that came to bear his name: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne-Aran spinal muscular atrophy, Duchenne-Erb paralysis, Duchenne’s disease (Tabes dorsalis), and Duchenne’s paralysis (progressive bulbar palsy).

source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

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