Longer looks: Autism researcher's legacy; methadone for prisoners

Every week, reporter Jessica Marcy selects interesting reading from around the Web.

The New York Times Magazine: The Crash and Burn Of An Autism Guru
Andrew Wakefield has become one of the most reviled doctors of his generation, blamed directly and indirectly, depending on the accuser, for irresponsibly starting a panic with tragic repercussions: vaccination rates so low that childhood diseases once all but eradicated here —whooping cough and measles, among them — have re-emerged, endangering young lives. And yet here he was in Texas, post-career-apocalypse, calmly discussing his work, and a crowd of around 250 people showed up to listen. … When he finally took the podium, the audience members, mostly parents of autistic children, stood and applauded wildly (Susan Dominus, 4/20).

The Economist: Looking For A Band-Aid
Every child knows the tactic. When you are in trouble over one thing, cause a stir over another. On April 15th the Wall Street Journal reported that Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a giant health-care company, was in talks to buy Synthes, a medical-device maker. Neither company would comment, letting speculation swirl until Synthes confirmed the [rumor] three days later. The deal, said to be worth about $20 billion, would be the biggest in J&J's 125-year history. But it may not be enough to patch up the company's problems. J&J's recent troubles have been epic in scale (4/20).

The Atlantic: Giving Prisoners Addictive Drugs: Sometimes A Good Idea
Considering the high rates of opiate dependency among American prisoners (heroin and OxyContin), short-term jails seem like an ideal place for methadone programs. Several decades' worth of evidence confirm that methadone treatment works. Also well documented is the link between opiate use and crime. According to one National Institutes of Health report, over 95 percent of heroin addicts committed a crime during an 11-year time period. In New York, 12 to 25 percent of arrested felons tested positive for opiate use upon booking in 2003. The NIH says that treating opiate dependence markedly reduces criminal activity (Jessica Wapner, 4/25).

The New Yorker: Bitter Pills
Multitrillion-dollar piles of debt have a way of making people nervous, so it's not really surprising that Washington is now in the throes of budget-cutting hysteria. … Yet, strange as it may sound, the federal government does not have a spending problem per se. What it has is a health care problem. The cost of most budget items typically rises at a reasonable rate, if at all, but the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and the tax subsidy for employer-provided insurance has been rising much faster than everything else: in the past forty years, Medicare costs increased 8.3 per cent annually. If they're not controlled, Medicare and Medicaid will eventually be by far our biggest expense. Preventing that is the key to getting our fiscal house in order (James Surowiecki, 5/2).

The New Republic: Ask Not
No later than the first year of the next presidential term, we'll have to find a way of coming together around a plan to restore long-term fiscal sustainability. There are three principal impediments to agreement: the president's health reform law; Medicare and Medicaid; and taxes. I don't mean to suggest that other issues — such as defense and Social Security — are trivial, but only that the gaps on these issues seem easier to bridge (William Galston, 4/27).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


  1. Mike Robinson Mike Robinson United States says:

    Leave it to a reporter hiding behind a computer to say the things Miss Susan does about Andrew Wakefield. Susan, were you out sick the day that the reports came in about the C.D.C. and their fraud?  I guess so.  It's very well known and reported by REPUTABLE sources the very truth about the Autism/Vaccine LINK.  The C.D.C.'s researchers that 'debunked' Wakefield,  well they didn't debunk anything except your tax dollars - they put them in their pocket and spent them and lied.  Go read a real source of news and find out Susan,  then you'll know why the parents were clapping for Mr. Wakefield - someone that didn't take money for nothing,  but did research that tells the truth,  just like Rimaland did during his 40 years of research, and the Dr.s Gieir,  and and and and and and......so many studies it's unreal.  But Susan - if you and your friends want to pump babies full of mercury and now the non fight about the massive amount (a whopping 30 percent) of Formaldehyde used in ALL vaccines (along with live cultures of dead animals with the virus) WELL YOU GO RIGHT AHEAD AND GET THOSE SHOTS... YOUR LIES about Whooping cough are exactly that - Media based lies fed by the big PHARMA who profits from all those shots filled with items to preserve dead bodies.
    Have fun!

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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