12/18/2018: Health events in Boston today

Thanks to Fred Hapgood and his thorough list of lectures. As always, double check times, locations and access.

Noon.  “Can Machine-Learning Improve Cardiovascular Risk Prediction using Routine Clinical Data?”   Stephen F. Weng.   Countway Library 424.   Details, Registration.   This event will be streamed.

  • 4p.  “The Role of Sex and Gender in Metabolic Health and Function.”Deborah Clegg.   BWH:  Hale Bldg, 3rd Floor Conference Rm, 60 Fenwood Road.   Details.

4p.  “Tolerance and Immunity in Cancer.”   Ming Li.   Jimmey Fund Auditorium, 35 Binney St.   Details.   This event will be webcast.

6p.  “The Energy Blockchain.”   Nish Sonwalkar.   WeWork, 625 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.   Details, Abstract, Registration.


Globe: Will court ruling on the #AffordableCareAct impact #Massachusetts?

This morning’s Globe quotes Donald Berwick, MD, on the potential impact of last week’s court ruling declaring the ACA unconstitutional in Massachusetts.  Readers not yet eligible for Medicare take note.

…Massachusetts relies on billions of dollars in federal funding every year to provide coverage to lower-income residents, and the state’s health care system is deeply entwined with the federal system. So major disruptions to the federal law would extend here, several health care experts said Monday.

If the decision issued Friday were to stand, “it would be a disaster” said Dr. Donald M. Berwick, senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston and a former administrator of Medicare and Medicaid under President Obama.

For more, see Kaiser Health News coverage of the ACA. 

Some stats from the Massachusetts Health Insurance Survey.

Figure on uninsured in MA


Hello. I’m here: Globe reports on benefits of keeping #hospitalized #patients in the loop during #rounds.

Liz Kowalczyk reports on a BMJ study out of Boston Children’s Hospital 

Patient “rounds’’ — the crucial daily meetings when doctors and other caregivers determine treatment — often occur in hospital hallways and remote conference rooms.

But a study led by Boston researchers concluded that it’s far safer to do rounds right at the bedside, with the full involvement of patients and families.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and seven other pediatric hospitals found that harmful medical errors fell by 38 percent when they moved rounds into patients’ rooms and implemented strict protocols to involve patients and families in the discussion. They included limiting medical jargon and providing written summaries of treatment plans.

The story refers to this piece in Catalyst

In Boston, docs to use direct action to #protest the #price of #insulin

11/19 update: Audio from the event.

Activist docs argue that people are dying for lack of access to insulin. Tomorrow — Friday — the Right Care Alliance will take that complaint to the Sanofi offices in Cambridge.

More here from STAT, including a company statement noting that it provides free IMG_6677medications for some low-income, uninsured patients and will  “continue to explore innovative ways to find long-term solutions to help eliminate or significantly reduce the out-of-pocket expenses for patients.”

Here’s what the Right Care Alliance will do Friday:

 The mothers of two young adults with diabetes who died while rationing insulin last year will deliver the ashes of their children to Cambridge pharma corporation Sanofi. The mothers will be joined by activists from at least five local groups that are demanding a reduction in insulin prices so that no more people die.

Here’s what Dr. Saini has to say about the campaign:

More news about the price of insulin:

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson today filed a lawsuit against the nation’s three major manufacturers of insulin used to treat diabetes after prices more than doubled in recent years.

Press release: Sanofi has expanded its access program for people living with diabetes to include all Sanofi insulins*, helping patients get the insulin they need at a significantly reduced price.



Harvard Business Review on sexual harassment in health care

From HBR,  which has a three story pay-wall:

Many factors make an organization prone to sexual harassment: a hierarchicalstructure, a male-dominated environment, and a climate that tolerates transgressions — particularly when they are committed by those with power. Medicinehas all three of these elements. And academic medicine, compared to other scientific fields, has the highest incidence of gender and sexual harassment. Thirty to seventypercent of female physicians and as many as half of female medical students report being sexually harassed.

As we wrote in a recent New England Journal of Medicine article, “Imagine a medical-school dean addressing the incoming class with this demoralizing prediction: ‘Look at the woman to your left and then at the woman to your right. On average, one of them will be sexually harassed during the next 4 years, before she has even begun her career as a physician’.”


National Cancer Institute archives

 piece is not:

The declaration of “Time’s Up” for medicine feels at once urgent and aspirational. Putting an end to the culture of gender-based harassment is key to recruiting, retaining, and realizing the full potential of the female-majority health care workforce, including 1 in 3 physicians, and feels long overdue. Actually running down the clock on harassment, however, will depend on our willingness to undergo a complete transformation in how we conceive of, approach, and prioritize this problem.

11/7 Live streamed Harvard event: “Addressing Adolescent Mental Health Beyond the Clinic: Lessons from the Global South”

Live streamed Harvard event on adolescent mental health beyond the clinic.  The Child Mental Health Forum talks run through May.

10 AM- 11:15 a.m.  at the Judge Baker Children’s Center
53 Parker Hill Avenue, Boston,
Limited free parking available

November 7th, 2018 “Addressing Adolescent Mental Health Beyond the Clinic: Lessons from the Global South”

Vikram Patel, MBBS, PhD

The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Research Fellow,
Department of Global Health and Social Medicine,
Harvard Medical School and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Series runs through May ;

December 5th, 2018 “Genetics of Autism Spectrum Disorder”
Catalina Betancur, MD, PhD
Director of Research, INSERM Division,
Sorbonne University, Paris, France
January 9th, 2019 “Why do People Hurt Themselves? Using New Technologies to Better Understand, Predict, and Prevent Suicidal Behavior”
Matthew K. Nock, PhD
Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology,
Harvard University
February 6th, 2019 “Gender Identity Development in Children and Adolescents”
Elizabeth Freidin Baumann, PhD
Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School
Cynthia Telingator, MD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School
March 6th, 2019 “Exploring the Unique Needs of Adopted Teens: Four Essential Tasks for Parents and Providers”
Katie Naftzger, LICSW
Author of “Parenting in the Eye of the Storm: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years.”
April 3rd, 2019 “Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection”
Niobe Way, PhD
Professor of Developmental Psychology,
New York University
May 1st, 2019 “Treatment Strategies for Sleep Disorders in Children and Adolescents”
Jess Shatkin, MD, MPH
Professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
New York University School of Medicine

STAT: :Neuroinflammation is where we’re going to find [Alzheimer’s] drugs.”

That’s what Rudolph Tanzi, a prominent Alzheimer’s researcher at MGH says about the work of Robert Moir, a member of his team.  A story in STAT last week — which ran in today’s Globe – chronicles Moir’s struggle to get funding for a theory that


Alzheimer’s disease is a triggered by microbes in the brain.

If true, the finding would open up vastly different possibilities for therapy than the types of compounds virtually everyone else was pursuing, ” Sharon Begley writes…. 

If he and other scientists are right that beta-amyloid is an antimicrobial, that the brain goes on an amyloid-making immune rampage in response to pathogens, and that the rampage ignites neuron-killing inflammation, it suggests very different therapeutic approaches than the 30-year pursuit of amyloid destroyers.

“It used to be thought that stopping the plaques early was ‘primary prevention,’” Tanzi said. “I think primary prevention is stopping the microbes.” Treatment would mean leaving amyloid mostly alone (since it protects the brain from herpes and other viruses) but targeting inflammation, a biological fire that “kills 10 neurons for every one killed by amyloid and tau directly,” he said. “Neuroinflammation is where we’re going to find [Alzheimer’s] drugs.”

Noting the final paragraph. Not sure it applies here, but sometimes just a call from a reporter can move some wheels.  (See the Globe’s Fine Print column as an example.)

This month…(Moir) got an unheard-of email from NIH: The agency had found some extra money lying around in its budget. Would he please respond to the reviewers and resubmit his proposal? An over-the-moon Moir did. He expects to hear back in a few weeks.