Can This Judge Solve the Opioid Crisis? – News by Jan Hoffman – NYT

“CLEVELAND — Here are a few choice mutterings from the scrum of lawyers outside Courtroom 18B, about the federal judge who summoned them to a closed-door conference on hundreds of opioid lawsuits:“Grandstander.”

“Pollyanna.” “Over his head.”

And the chorus: “This is not how we do things!”

Judge Dan Aaron Polster of the Northern District of Ohio has perhaps the most daunting legal challenge in the country: resolving more than 400 federal lawsuits brought by cities, counties and Native American tribes against central figures in the national opioid tragedy, including makers of the prescription painkillers, companies that distribute them, and pharmacy chains that sell them. And he has made it clear that he will not be doing business as usual.

During the first hearing in the case, in early January, the judge informed lawyers that he intended to dispense with legal norms like discovery and would not preside over years of “unraveling complicated conspiracy theories.” Then he ordered them to prepare for settlement discussions immediately.Not a settlement that would be “just moving money around,” he added, but one that would provide meaningful solutions to a national crisis — by the end of this year.”

David Lindsay: I recommend the whole article above. This judge is amazing. He is using Organization Development theory and techniques, to bring the parties together, to share important information, and to work on collective problem solving. It’s brilliant, and he might get the parties in 400 federal lawsuites to work together.


The Economic Case for Letting Teenagers Sleep a Little Later – The New York Times

“A Brookings Institution policy brief investigated the trade-offs between costs and benefits of pushing back the start times of high school in 2011. It estimated that increased transportation costs would most likely be about $150 per student per year. But more sleep has been shown to lead to higher academic achievement. They found that the added academic benefit of later start times would be equivalent to about two additional months of schooling, which they calculated would add about $17,500 to a student’s earnings over the course of a lifetime. Thus, the benefits outweighed the costs.”

Scientists at Harvard and other places have already published research that teenagers are wired to get up later than other folks, and need more sleep than most everyone else.

Congress Rejects Trump Proposals to Cut Health Research Funds – The New York Times

” “The spectacular increase provided by the Senate Appropriations Committee is amazing in the current fiscal environment,” said Anthony J. Mazzaschi, a lobbyist at the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. “Neither the Senate nor the House paid much attention to the president’s recommendations.”T

e appropriations committees in both houses rejected Mr. Trump’s proposal to slash payments to universities for overhead — the “indirect costs” of research financed by the health institutes. These include the cost of utilities, internet service, data storage, the construction and upkeep of laboratories and compliance with federal rules protecting human subjects of clinical research.”

The new bills also protect family planning services.

The Case for a Breakfast Feast – The New York Times

“Dr. Kahleova says the take-home message is like the old proverb, to eat “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” ”

Great article. I will give up dinner, tomorrow.

Here is a cogent comment by one who obviously agrees with the piece, but has little interest in a big breakfast.


NYC 22 hours ago

The message should be: eat one big meal and one medium meal during the day, depending on when you feel most hungry, and always eat a light dinner. Many traditional cultures, from Europe to Asia to Latin America, including people in the Blue Zones, eat medium breakfasts, large lunches, and small dinners, and they don’t snack. The key is to let your body rejuvenate while you’re sleeping; don’t make it digest food during this crucial period.

It’s High Time for Ticks- Which Are Spreading Diseases Farther – The New York Times

“With the expansion of the suburbs and a push to conserve wooded areas, deer and mice populations are thriving. They provide ample blood meals for ticks and help spread the pests to new regions.

Originally from the Southeast, the lone star tick, for example, is heading north; it can now be found in 1,300 counties in 39 states. The blacklegged tick, also called the deer tick, is expanding its territory, too. In a recent study, Dr. Eisen reported a nearly 45 percent increase since 1998 in the number of counties with blacklegged ticks.”

How We Really Die – by Frank Bruni – NYT

“A friend of mine once said the way to stop smoking is to close your eyes, think about the person you dislike the most,” Bloomberg, 75, told me. “Now, do you want to be at their funeral or you want them to be at yours?”

Great op-ed.
Here is a good comment:
6 hours ago

We regularly give our children a substance we would never feed our animals; because it would be too detrimental to their health. A substance so addictive that in MRIs, it lights up the brain like cocaine; which makes it the ultimate gateway drug. A substance that causes chronic inflammation; which is the cause of modern scourges like cancer, metabolic syndrome, auto-immune diseases, and depression.
Our government subsidizes the production of this product which makes it so inexpensive it is added to 80% of our processed foods. 30% of us eat less than maximum recommended amount. But, the other 70% manage to bring our per capita consumption to an amount over double the recommended limit. Our consumption of this product mirrors obesity rates.
If we stopping subsidizing and over consuming this product, we would save millions of lives and billions of dollars.
The product, also known as high fructose corn syrup, is sugar.

Reply 175 Recommended

California Cautions Cell Phone Users: Keep Your Distance | EWG

“In human epidemiological studies, cell phone use has been linked to an increased risk of brain and salivary gland cancers. Studies from teams of scientists in several nations have raised troubling questions about possible associations between heavy cell phone use and altered brain metabolism, sleep disturbance, and even diminished sperm count and sperm damage. In 2011, the World Health Organization declared cell phone radiation a possible carcinogen.

Animal studies support the findings in people. A multi-year study from the U.S. National Toxicology Program found that male rats exposed to radio-frequency radiation from before birth through two years of age had a greater chance of being diagnosed with a brain cancer called malignant glioma, as well as developing a tumor found on the heart. The radiation levels to which the rats were exposed included levels that current cell phones are allowed to emit.”

Source: California Cautions Cell Phone Users: Keep Your Distance | EWG

No Wonder the Republicans Hid the Health Bill – The New York Times

“Republican House leaders have spent months dodging questions about how they would replace the Affordable Care Act with a better law, and went so far as to hide the draft of their plan from other lawmakers. No wonder. The bill they released on Monday would kick millions of people off the coverage they currently have. So much for President Trump’s big campaign promise: “We’re going to have insurance for everybody” — with coverage that would be “much less expensive and much better.”

More than 20 million Americans gained health care coverage under the A.C.A., or Obamacare. Health experts say most would lose that coverage under the proposal.”

Great editorial. I liked the statement, that the new bill returns $$600 Billion to tax payers who make over $200 million a year over ten years.

This comment below, explains to me for the first time, why a single payer system is the best solution, and in a civilized society, probably the only one.   Bruce Rosenblitz, wrote: “The real driver of costs is that the providers are a protected cartel with inelastic demand. Medicine is essentially a private sector entitlement that operates without supply/demand market controls. The free market only works when the customer can refuse to buy. It’s pay me or die. That’s not a market. It’s extortion.” This is the clearest explanation for the reason for a single health payer system I have ever heard. You can’t say no to health care, the way you can refuse an extra pair of shoes. Here is the whole comment.

Bruce Rozenblit is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 11 hours ago

“The sheer stupidity of this plan and its cruelty are beyond comprehension.

Increased competition between insurers will not lower prices. They all have about the same costs and overhead. All they can do is offer a slightly different batch of covered items.

My premiums at age 61 are $9,000. Without the subsidy of $5300, I’m out. Can’t afford it. This plan will raise my rates to at least $12,000 ($14,000?) and give me $4000 back. I still can’t do it. I’ll be living off of rice and beans.

I can’t save for an HSA if I’m tapped out on premiums. I still have to come up with a big deductible if I get sick. I’m not a pauper. I’m straight up middle class. IRA contributions? Forget it.

More choices won’t help because no one schedules getting sick or having an accident. Consequently, we don’t know what we may need in terms of coverage.

The real driver of costs is that the providers are a protected cartel with inelastic demand. Medicine is essentially a private sector entitlement that operates without supply/demand market controls. The free market only works when the customer can refuse to buy. It’s pay me or die. That’s not a market. It’s extortion.

If they jettison the subsides, many millions of middle class will be forced to drop out. The young will walk away without mandates.

Health care is not like buying a TV or sofa. The only choice needed is to be taken care of when we get sick or injured. No market can do that. Single payer can.”

Reply 1088 Recommended

Surge In Mice Is A Harbinger For Lyme Disease : NPR

“”We’re anticipating 2017 to be a particularly risky year for Lyme,” Ostfeld says.Keesing and Ostfeld, who have studied Lyme for more than 20 years, have come up with an early warning system for the disease. They can predict how many cases there will be a year in advance by looking at one key measurement: Count the mice the year before.”

Source: Surge In Mice Is A Harbinger For Lyme Disease : Goats and Soda : NPR

Obamacare Sabotage – by Vikas Bajaj – The New York Times

“The Trump administration doesn’t have a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, but it’s already trying to sabotage the law. It has canceled advertisements meant to encourage people to pick insurance policies on ahead of the Jan. 31 sign-up deadline.

This is a shameless attempt to drive down enrollment, especially among young people, who tend to wait until the last minute to get insurance but who are essential to the program because they tend to be healthier than older people and thus help spread the cost. Lower enrollment gives President Trump more ammunition in his fight against what he calls “the failed Obamacare disaster.” “