Stories We're Following This Week

News + Insights from Around the Web + The Patient's Playbook Bottom Line


Zika Takes Hold of Second Mosquito

"The Asian tiger mosquito is just a very, very aggressive feeder."

—Scientists discovered the first evidence of Zika virus in the Aedes albopictus,
aka Asian tiger mosquito, in Mexico and in the Americas. (The Atlantic)

Bottom Line: The good news for city dwellers is that the Asian tiger mosquito prefers rural environments. The bad news is that it's also considered the most invasive mosquito in the world, with resilient eggs and the ability to survive in cold-hardy environments. For tips on protecting yourself, check out our Zika interview with a world famous infectious-disease specialist.


Expectant Parents:
You Have 9 Months to Do Your Homework

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"Most hospitals overuse some medical interventions that can create health risks for both mother and child."

-Researchers say that too many hospitals still
perform unsafe birthing procedures. (Kaiser Health News)

Bottom Line: Too many women received Cesarean sections and episiotomies, and almost 80% of hospitals didn't have clinicians practiced in delivering babies under 3.5 pounds, according to a new report from the Leapfrog Group. Too often, as parents, we select maternity wards based on things like the comfort and decor of the recovery room. Instead, you need to be sure you're in a hospital that can handle any serious complications should they arise. 


The Other Side:
The Doctor Who Became a Patient

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"As I write this, I’m no longer just a physician. I’m a patient, and I’m waiting to hear if a lump I found was benign or malignant."

—An ophthalmologist learns that empathy is one of the most important
things they don't teach in medical school. (Fox News

Bottom Line: In this poignant essay, as Dr. Sreedhar Potarazu waits for a potential testicular cancer diagnosis, he comes to recognize the difficult decisions his own patients must face as they tackle serious illnesses. It's an important reminder that doctors are only human, and they struggle with some of the same emotional challenges we all face. 


Video: Is 'XPL' a Cosmetic Cure-All?

"The idea sounds like fantasy: an invisible film that can be painted on your skin and give it the elasticity of youth. Bags under the eyes vanish in seconds. Wrinkles disappear."

-Researchers are developing a "second skin," that they claim
will have important cosmetic and medical applications. (New York Times)

Bottom Line: Harvard and MIT scientists hope that XPL will be used not only to treat undereye bags, but also to help patients who struggle with eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. A report published this week, 
describes the first test of the product.