#PNN_WhatWeAreReading

Here are some other local, state or national stories we are reading that may impact you, your practice or your patients.

Senators Seek Drop-In Centers for Youth in Mental Health Crisis | A bill making its way through the California legislature seeks to establish 100 youth drop-in centers across the state to support young people with mental health, substance use and physical health issues. Senate Bill 12, introduced by Senators Jim Beall (D-San Jose) and Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), seeks to create the centers under a new initiative called the Integrated Youth Mental Health Program. The drop-in centers would provide one-stop support for young people ages 12 to 25 who are unable or too embarrassed to seek help in a traditional medical or school setting. Centers would be designed in a way that’s inviting to teens and young people, and provide mental health, physical health and substance use treatment, along with educational, vocational and peer support from trained professionals. The program is modeled after similar, highly successful systems in Canada and Australia. If the bill passes, it would be the first time this model has been implemented in the United States, supporters said. “Young people with emerging mental health problems have difficulty right now in California finding timely, appropriate treatment and a service system that responds to their needs,” Beall said. “We have a drug overdose crisis, we have a suicide crisis, we have a behavioral health crisis that’s growing much faster than any other health issues in our state, especially (among young people) … This is establishing a new structure for our young people in California that will have a big impact on this problem.”

Do doctors even want the Apple Watch's health features? | With mountains of product leaks and an underwhelming amount of innovation, the moments of sincere, unmanufactured awe that Apple events used to be known for are few and far between these days. But at Apple's 2018 event, when COO Jeff Williams unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4's ability to take an honest-to-God Electrocardiogram (ECG) — a feat unconquered by any other consumer tech company — it felt like a true breakthrough. Using emotionally compelling advertising campaigns, Apple has been touting the ability of these features to save lives. At Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on Monday [June 3], the company [unveiled] a new Watch OS that offers even more health capabilities. Health features are a crown jewel priority for Apple; Tim Cook has even gone on the record several times with the somewhat astonishing statement that — forget the iPhone — Apple's greatest contribution may be to healthcare.

California, 2 Other States And DC Sue Purdue Pharma Over OxyContin Marketing | California, Hawaii, Maine and the District of Columbia filed lawsuits Monday [June 3] against the maker of OxyContin and the company's former president, alleging the firm falsely promoted the drug by downplaying the risk of addiction while it emerged as one of the most widely abused opioids in the U.S. The lawsuits were the latest by states and local governments against drug maker Purdue Pharma as the country grapples with an opioid epidemic. About a dozen states have also targeted Richard Sackler, the company's former leader, or members of his family. "Purdue and the Sacklers traded the health and well-being of Californians for profit and created an unprecedented national public health crisis in the process," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a news conference announcing the legal action by his state. "We will hold them accountable." Becerra, echoing allegations lodged against Purdue Pharma by other attorneys general across the country, said the company falsely introduced OxyContin in the 1990s as a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain. However, California's lawsuit alleges that Purdue and Sackler knew in 1997 that drugs containing oxycodone, such as OxyContin, were widely abused. Still, company representatives marketed it as not being addictive and downplayed the potential for abuse, the suit states.

A Doctor Speaks Out About Ageism In Medicine | Society gives short shrift to older age. This distinct phase of life doesn’t get the same attention that’s devoted to childhood. And the special characteristics of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond are poorly understood. Medicine reflects this narrow-mindedness. In medical school, physicians learn that people in the prime of life are “normal” and scant time is spent studying aging. In practice, doctors too often fail to appreciate older adults’ unique needs or to tailor treatments appropriately. Imagine a better way. Older adults would be seen as “different than,” not “less than.” The phases of later life would be mapped and expertise in aging would be valued, not discounted. With the growth of the elder population, it’s time for this to happen, argues Dr. Louise Aronson, a geriatrician and professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco, in her new book, “Elderhood.” It’s an in-depth, unusually frank exploration of biases that distort society’s view of old age and that shape dysfunctional health policies and medical practices. In an interview, edited for clarity and length, Aronson elaborated on these themes.

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