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Merck pays to settle Vioxx investigation, and a Thanksgiving roundup

Merck pays to settle Vioxx investigation, and a Thanksgiving roundup

Picture of Angilee Shah

Today's news roundup features the good and the bad in the fight against AIDS, health questions about food in cans, and a book for your long weekend. The Daily Briefing will go offline until Monday, so we sign off with some (health-related) Thanksgiving reads.

$950 Million: That's how much Merck will pay for its Vioxx misconduct. Bloomberg explains the case, the guilty plea and the fines.

BPA: Jon Hamilton reports on a new JAMA study at the NPR food blog The Salt: "The study confirms that canned food is a source of BPA exposure. But it does nothing to clear up the question of whether this sort of exposure to BPA has health consequences."

One Step Forward: While reports about successes in the fight against AIDS made headlines this week, Tom Paulson at Humanosphere writes about one big step back.

Testing Treatments

Read a Book:

The new (and free) edition of Testing Treatments: Better research for better healthcare, is highly recommended by Melissa Sweet. "The book recounts many of the salutary lessons of modern health care – featuring the stories of Vioxx, Avandia, HRT, and herceptin, amongst others – and includes suggestions for how general readers can help to improve the quality of information guiding healthcare decisions," she writes in Croakey.

Thanksgiving postcard of a football player and turkey, circa 1900

Happy Thanksgiving:

More drug resistant staph (otherwise known as MRSA) is being found in the meat (and turkey) we eat, reports Maryn McKenna at Wired. Emily Wax in the Washington Post debunks the Thanksgiving myths that makes "overeating virtually a patriotic responsibility":

The original Thanksgiving celebration was probably a 500-calorie meal that included small servings of venison, wild fowl and corn. It was eaten by men who were "chopping down wood with axes and hauling it home," said Kathleen Wall, colonial foodways culinarian at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass., a living museum of the 17th century. "These guys were not on the couch watching TV."

If MRSA and myths don't deter you, feel better that Thanksgiving is the "most psychologically correct holiday of the year." John Tierney writes about the health benefits of gratitude in The New York Times. And at the end of your meal, it might be useful to know, why do you get food comas? Christina Tsuei and Shirley S. Wang provide some answers in the Wall Street Journal.

(Like the postcard? It's circa 1900 and in the public domain via Wikimedia.)

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The Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 Symposium on Domestic Violence provides reporters with a roadmap for covering this public health epidemic with nuance and sensitivity. The next session will be offered virtually on Friday, March 31. Journalists attending the symposium will be eligible to apply for a reporting grant of $2,000 to $10,000 from our Domestic Violence Impact Reporting Fund. Find more info here!


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