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Daily Briefing: Doctors Exasperated by Unending Demand for Narcotics

Daily Briefing: Doctors Exasperated by Unending Demand for Narcotics

Picture of Nathanael Johnson

"Cocaine toothache drops", 1885 advertisement of cocaine for dental pain in children. United States.

Drug Abuse: Just about every ER doctor and primary-care clinician faces people every day who want prescription narcotics, often for dubious dental pain, reports Catherine Saint Louis for the New York Times. There are some measures in place to track people who abuse painkillers, but the problem is ubiquitous and not easily fixed. 

Screening: A pair of studies suggest that-when a woman has unusually dense breast tissue or a family history of breast cancer-mammography should start in her 40s. This contradicts the recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Several top doctors said that the balance of evidence is not substantially changed by these findings, reports Rob Stein for NPR.

Genetics: Certain genes predispose people to a suite of disparate diseases. The ApoE gene seems to be connected to both hardening of the arteries and Alzheimers. Another (PTPN22), is associated with type 1 diabetes, lupus, Graves' disease, and rheumatoid arthritis - all autoimmune disorders. The findings could help researchers zero in on disease mechanisms reports Shirley S. Wang for the Wall Street Journal.

More Drug Abuse: As opiate addiction rises, more babies are being exposed to narcotics in utero, reports Pam Belluck for the New York Times.

Cost Transparency: Sarah Kliff, at the Washington Post's Wonkblog, profiles a company that allows online comparison shopping for medical procedures. The idea is to give patients a little more control over the charges, but there are significant barriers to creating a transparent market for treatments.

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Image via Kilobyte at Wikimedia Commons, originally from Encyclopedia Dramatica.

 

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