Health

H.I.V. Groups Warn of Privacy Risks in How C.D.C. Tracks Virus Samples
Health

H.I.V. Groups Warn of Privacy Risks in How C.D.C. Tracks Virus Samples

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday revised its guidelines for tracking the genetic signatures of viruses collected from people newly diagnosed with H.I.V., a controversial practice used by state and local health departments to curb infections.The updated policy encouraged health officials to be more transparent with their communities about the tracking, one of many changes sought by H.I.V. advocacy organizations concerned about how so-called molecular surveillance could violate patients’ privacy and civil rights.But the agency stopped short of adopting more significant changes that some advocates had pushed for, such as allowing health agencies to opt out in states where people can be prosecuted for transmitting H.I.V.“We’re in a period in which health data is increas...
J&J, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb CEOs Defend Drug Prices at Senate Hearing
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J&J, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb CEOs Defend Drug Prices at Senate Hearing

The chief executives of three major pharmaceutical companies defended the prices of their drugs in front of the Senate health committee on Thursday, drawing them further into a confrontation with lawmakers and the Biden administration over the cost of some of the most widely used prescription medications.Lawmakers, including Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the panel’s chairman, noted that the companies charged more in the United States than in other wealthy countries, accusing them of profiting at the expense of American patients. The pharmaceutical executives — from Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb — conceded that patients in the United States paid too much but said that new medications arrived there faster than anywhere else in the world.Mr. Sanders, an independen...
Federal Records Show Increasing Use of Solitary Confinement for Immigrants
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Federal Records Show Increasing Use of Solitary Confinement for Immigrants

The United States government has placed detained immigrants in solitary confinement more than 14,000 times in the last five years, and the average duration is almost twice the 15-day threshold that the United Nations has said may constitute torture, according to a new analysis of federal records by researchers at Harvard and the nonprofit group Physicians for Human Rights.The report, based on government records from 2018 through 2023 and interviews with several dozen former detainees, noted cases of extreme physical, verbal and sexual abuse for immigrants held in solitary cells. The New York Times reviewed the original records cited in the report, spoke with the data analysts and interviewed former detainees to corroborate their stories.Overall, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is detai...
Cancer Diagnosis Like King Charles’s Is Not Unheard-Of
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Cancer Diagnosis Like King Charles’s Is Not Unheard-Of

A patient checks into the hospital for a routine procedure to treat an enlarged prostate. And, unexpectedly, a test done in the hospital — perhaps a blood test or an X-ray or an examination of the urethra and the bladder — finds a cancer.Apparently, something like that happened to King Charles III. When the British monarch was treated for an enlarged prostate in January, doctors found a cancer that the palace said is not prostate cancer. Charles started treatment Monday. The palace did not disclose what had led to the king’s diagnosis.While some prostate specialists like Dr. Peter Albertsen at the University of Connecticut called such situations “pretty rare,” other doctors said they were not unheard of.Dr. Otis Brawley, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, said a ma...
Users of Zepbound or Mounjaro Had Lower Blood Pressure in Study
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Users of Zepbound or Mounjaro Had Lower Blood Pressure in Study

A study of the weight loss drug tirzepatide showed that people who took it had significantly lower blood pressures after 36 weeks of using the medication.Tirzepatide, made by Eli Lilly, is used to treat Type 2 diabetes, under the brand name Mounjaro, and to treat obesity, under the brand name Zepbound. It is the latest among a new class of weight loss drugs, and its chief competitor is semaglutide, made by Novo Nordisk and sold as Ozempic for diabetes and as Wegovy for weight loss. For both drugs, researchers have been assessing whether they have additional effects that go beyond weight loss.The blood pressure study, supported by Eli Lilly and published on Monday in the journal Hypertension, was part of a larger effort to assess tirzepatide’s effects on weight loss. Researchers had already...
When a Spouse Goes to the Nursing Home
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When a Spouse Goes to the Nursing Home

Even as the signals of approaching dementia became impossible to ignore, Joseph Drolet dreaded the prospect of moving his partner into a long-term care facility.Mr. Drolet, 79, and his beloved Rebecca, 71, both retired lawyers and prosecutors in Atlanta, had been a couple for 33 years, though they retained separate homes. In 2019, she began getting lost while driving, mishandling her finances and struggling with the television remote. The diagnosis — Alzheimer’s disease — came in 2021.Over time, Mr. Drolet moved Rebecca (whose surname he asked to withhold to protect her privacy) into his home. But serving as her round-the-clock caregiver, as she needed help with every daily task, became exhausting and untenable. Rebecca began wandering their neighborhood and “getting dressed in the middle ...
6 Reasons That It’s Hard to Get Your Wegovy and Other Weight-Loss Prescriptions
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6 Reasons That It’s Hard to Get Your Wegovy and Other Weight-Loss Prescriptions

About 3.8 million people in the United States — four times the number two years ago — are now taking the most popular weight-loss drugs, according to the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, an industry data provider.Some of these prescriptions are for diabetes. The medicines are Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic and Wegovy (the same drug sold under different brand names), and Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro and Zepbound (also the same drug).Pent-up demand is even higher, because many people who want the drugs cannot find or afford them. Without insurance coverage, people have to pay out of their own pockets. If they obtain a coupon offering a discount from Eli Lilly, people with commercial insurance pay $550 a month for Zepbound. For those who are commercially insured, a coupon from Novo Nordisk for Wegovy ...
U.S. Makes Initial Offers in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations
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U.S. Makes Initial Offers in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations

Why It Matters: The price offers kick off negotiations.The medicines selected for negotiations are taken by millions of older Americans to treat conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart failure. The administration identified them in August, beginning a lengthy process intended to result in an agreed-upon price that would take effect in 2026, assuming the negotiation program survives legal challenges.The initial round of price offers is a key step in the negotiation process. Each drugmaker has until early March to accept the offer or propose a counteroffer to the government. A series of negotiation sessions could follow, with the process set to conclude by August.Health policy experts said the announcement of the initial round of offers amounted to a kind of starting gun, giving the Biden...
Runner With Long Covid Creates Flagstaff’s Dream Run Camp
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Runner With Long Covid Creates Flagstaff’s Dream Run Camp

Never one to waste a spare moment, Matt Fitzgerald clambered into the second row of his Mazda CX-90 on a recent weekday morning and cracked open his MacBook so that he could work on another book.Mr. Fitzgerald, 52, is many things — writer, public speaker, coach — but mostly he is prolific. He has written or co-written 34 books, most of them about running, endurance sports and nutrition. He writes early. He writes often. He writes a lot.“Sometimes I do feel like I’m doing B-plus work on a dozen things versus A-plus work on three or four,” he said. “But I am who I am. There’s always a couple of things where I try to give the absolute best of myself at any given time, and I guess that’s enough.”Mr. Fitzgerald has the sort of slim, athletic build that hints at another part of his identity: dis...
First Bird Flu Deaths Reported In Antarctic Penguins
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First Bird Flu Deaths Reported In Antarctic Penguins

Why It Matters: Penguins are already under pressure.The familiar black-and-white birds are facing numerous threats, including climate change, pollution and commercial fishing. Three Antarctic penguin species — emperor penguins, southern rockhopper penguins and macaroni penguins — are listed as vulnerable or near threatened.Before H5N1 arrived in the Antarctic region last fall, highly pathogenic bird flu viruses had never been documented in the area before. That means that the penguins are likely to have little existing immunity. And because they breed in large, crowded colonies, once one penguin is infected, the virus could spread rapidly, causing mass mortalities. (As the virus spread through South America last year, Chile reported the deaths of thousands of Humboldt penguins.)The extent ...