Friday, May 27, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Longer Looks: Interesting Reads You Might Have Missed

Each week, KHN finds longer stories for you to enjoy. This week’s selections include stories on mental health, Alzheimer’s, smartphone accessibility updates, menstrual leave, covid, hockey great Vladimir Konstantinov, and more.

The Washington Post: In Wyoming, A Suicide-Attempt Survivor Takes On Toxic Masculinity

Bill Hawley believes too many men are unwilling or unable to talk about their feelings, and he approaches each day as an opportunity to show them how. … On paper, Bill is the “prevention specialist” for the public health department in Johnson County, a plains-to-peaks frontier tract in Wyoming that is nearly the size of Connecticut but has a population of 8,600 residents. His official mandate is to connect people who struggle with alcohol and drug abuse, tobacco addiction, and suicidal impulses to the state’s limited social service programs. Part bureaucrat, part counselor, much of Bill’s life revolves around Zoom calls and subcommittees, government acronyms and grant applications. But his mission extends beyond the drab county building on Klondike Drive where he works. One Wyoming man at a time, he hopes to till soil for a new kind of American masculinity. (Del Real, 5/23)

Fortune: Mental Health At Work: How Accommodations Can Help Employees—And Companies—Thrive

Mental distress can have a huge impact on job performance, leading to lack of engagement, lowered communication with coworkers, errors in work, and for some, a total inability to function. And it’s not uncommon for physical health to suffer alongside these issues, which can lead to further disability. What many employees—and leaders—may not know is that people with a mental disorder diagnosis are afforded protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That means they have a right to request changes to the hiring process, the way the job is done, or certain aspects of their work environment if their disability presents a barrier for them in these areas. (Ellis, 5/22)

The Washington Post: Apple And Google Are Building More Smartphone Features For People With Disabilities

Together, Apple and Google are responsible for the software that powers nearly all of the world’s smartphones. And within the last week, both of them have outlined plans to make that software more useful for users with disabilities. Google was up first, showing this month accessibility updates that will be folded into some of the support apps the company maintains. Apple followed suit with a bevy of accessibility feature announcements, too, which are widely expected to appear in the new iOS 16 software update due later this year. Some of the features these companies previewed aim to make the world easier to navigate for the blind and vision impaired. Others were designed to make music, movies and conversations easier to follow for people who can’t hear well — or at all. (Velazco, 5/19)

The Wall Street Journal: Alzheimer’s Researchers Probe New Treatment Paths

The commercial failure of Biogen Inc.’s drug Aduhelm is putting new focus on the state of research into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. More than six million people in the US are living with the progressive type of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, an advocacy group. Aduhelm was hailed as a potential blockbuster that targeted a root cause of the disease by clearing a sticky protein known as amyloid from the brain. Abnormal accumulations of amyloid called plaque and tangles of another protein known as tau are characteristic features of the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. (Mosbergen, 5/22)

The Washington Post: Surviving Inflation One Plasma Donation At A Time

Tuesdays she asked for the needle in her left arm, and one afternoon in late April, Christina Seal, 41, arrived at the clinic after work. The parking lot was almost full, as usual. She had been giving plasma for nearly six months, and she had a routine locked in place. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Two Sam’s Club protein shakes and an iron supplement a day to keep herself serviceable. Afterward, vitamin E oil on her skin to prevent needle scars. The routine had helped tame into normalcy what at first had felt so bizarre. “I never thought I would be in a position where I would have to sell my plasma to feed my children,” she would say later. (Swenson, 5/21)

The Washington Post: Menstrual Leave: Why Some Companies Are Offering Time Off For Periods

The job descriptions at CHANI, a queer- and feminist-led company that makes a popular astrology app, list a variety of perks to entice potential employees: salaries starting at $80,000 a year, an annual tech stipend, a nice 401(k) match and four months of paid parental leave. The Los Angeles-based company also offers a more unusual benefit: “unlimited menstrual leave for people with uteruses.” The policy is one example of a growing push to eliminate the taboo around periods and recognize the physical discomforts menstruation can cause. “It’s incredibly painful to have a uterus, and yet from a young age, we’re taught to push through this pain and keep working,” said Sonya Passi, the company’s CEO. (Haupt, 5/25)

Los Angeles Times: TikTok And Instagram Algorithms Are Scaring Pregnant People

When Adriana Lopez found out that she was pregnant, one of the first places she turned was TikTok. Immediately, she began to search for posts about morning sickness and other side effects, Lopez recalls. This was the Stockton resident’s first pregnancy, and she wanted to be prepared. But the app soon began pushing her in a direction that made her uncomfortable. During her first trimester, she said, her “For You” page — the TikTok feed where the app’s seemingly psychic algorithm curates an ever-more-personalized stream of videos — filled up with videos about miscarriages. By her second trimester, it had switched over to clips about genetic disorders and stillbirths. (Contreras, 5/25)

AP: New Law Puts NHL Great Konstantinov’s 24/7 Care In Jeopardy

Vladimir Konstantinov has traded hockey sticks for an Uno deck. Many, in fact. The onetime Soviet and Detroit Red Wings star plays so often that he goes through a pack per week, wearing out cards with the hands that once made him one of the world’s best defensemen. During a recent visit to the Konstantinovs’ suburban Detroit condominium, he handily defeated his longtime nurse, Pam Demanuel, and smiled. That’s about as good as it gets for him these days. Since suffering severe brain damage when his drunken limousine driver crashed while Konstantinov was a celebrating the first of the Red Wings’ back-to-back championships in the late 1990s, the former NHL great and Red Army team captain has had to rebuild his life. Now 55, he needs help walking, eating, drinking and brushing his teeth, and a caregiver stays awake while he sleeps in case he needs to walk to the bathroom. Although he seems to understand questions, his answers are limited to a few words and aren’t always easy to understand. (Lage, 5/27)

We covid —

The New York Times: The Michigan Mink Mystery: How Did An Interspecies Outbreak Unfold?

To date, coronavirus infections have been detected in mink on 18 American farms, the most recent in Wisconsin in February. Even as Congress considers a ban on mink farming, there is still no national system for proactive surveillance on mink farms, which are not required to report cases to federal authorities. And officials have not released much information about the outbreak investigations they have conducted; some of those details are reported here for the first time. Together, the secrecy and spotty surveillance make it difficult to determine how much of a risk mink farms pose, scientists say. And it threatens to leave experts blind to the emergence of worrisome new variants that could spill back into humans, extending the pandemic. (Anthes, 5/22)

The Washington Post: Tracking Coronavirus In Animals Takes On New Emergency

Researchers Sarah Hamer and Lisa Auckland gave their masks and gowns as they pulled up to the suburban home in College Station, Tex. The family of three inside had had covid a few weeks earlier, and now it was time to check on the pets. Oreo the rabbit was his usual chill self, and Duke the golden retriever was a model patient, lying on his back as Hamer and Auckland swabbed their throats and took blood samples. But Ellie, a Jack Russell terrier, wiggled and barked in protest. “She was not exactly happy with us,” Auckland recalled. “But we’re trying to understand how transmission works within a household, so we needed samples from everyone.” (Cha, 5/20)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.