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No Longer A Problem Just For Royalty: Gout Has Become A ‘Disease Of The People’

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It’s become an increasing problem, but doctors are torn over how to treat it. In other public health news: Hep C drugs’ side effects, the psychology of asylum seekers, victims of tainted medicine, whooping cough, baby monitors and more.

Stat: Battle Erupts Over How To Treat Gout, No Longer The ‘Disease Of Kings’
It was once seen as the disease of kings, afflicting only the lazy and gluttonous. These days, however, gout is everywhere — and a bitter battle has broken out among physicians about how best to treat it. A form of arthritis, gout is characterized by unsightly bulges under the skin and incredible pain in the joints. Typically seen in older men, the disease now increasingly afflicts women and younger adults, often accompanied by obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. (McFarling, 1/25)

The New York Times: Are New Drugs For Hepatitis C Safe? A Report Raises Concerns
Drugs approved in recent years that can cure hepatitis C may have severe side effects, including liver failure, a new report suggests. The number of adverse events appears relatively small, and the findings are not conclusive. But experts said the report was a warning that should not be ignored. It involves nine widely used antiviral drugs that were heralded as a huge advance because they greatly increased cure rates, seemingly with few side effects. (Grady, 1/24)

Stat: Asylum-Seekers Rely On Psychologists To Back Up Their Stories Of Violence
To stay in the United States, asylum-seekers need to prove that they are at risk of persecution in their home countries. But often they have little evidence to back them up. The paper trails from their past lives — such as hospital or police records — are often inaccessible. If they were tortured in a secret government prison or persecuted by the police, that kind of official record may not exist at all. Instead, what remain are the stories that migrants tell, and whatever marks those experiences have left on their bodies and minds. So these cases depend on doctors and psychologists who can translate scars and symptoms into evidence — and who can tell when a person’s ability to testify may have been altered by trauma. (Boodman, 1/25)

NPR: Contaminated Drug Victims Watch New England Compounding Center Trial
Hundreds of people around the country are still suffering from complications linked to injections of tainted medicine produced at a Massachusetts pharmacy in 2012. A nationwide

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