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Opioid prescription policies may hurt those in chronic pain

Opioid prescription policies may hurt those in chronic pain

Guidelines aim to prevent opioid-related deaths by making it more challenging to get prescriptions, but they can also block access for those who desperately need them.

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Tinu Abayomi-Paul works as a writer and activist, plus one unwanted job: Trying to fill her opioid prescription. She says that some pharmacists laugh and tell her that no one needs the amount of pain medication that she is seeking. Another pharmacist near her home in Venus, Tex., refused to fill more than seven days of a 30-day prescription.

To get a new prescription—partially filled opioid prescriptions can’t be dispensed later—Abayomi-Paul needed to return to her doctor’s office. But without her medication, she was having too much pain to travel there, much less return to the pharmacy. She rationed out the pills over several weeks, an agonizing compromise that left her unable to work, interact with her children, sleep restfully, or leave the house. “Don’t I deserve to do more than survive?” she says.

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Robin Donovan
Robin Donovan is a science journalist based in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Vice, Neo.Life, The Scientist, Willamette Week and many other outlets.
How the body's immune resilience affects our health and lifespan

Immune cells battle an infection.

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Story by Big Think

It is a mystery why humans manifest vast differences in lifespan, health, and susceptibility to infectious diseases. However, a team of international scientists has revealed that the capacity to resist or recover from infections and inflammation (a trait they call “immune resilience”) is one of the major contributors to these differences.

Immune resilience involves controlling inflammation and preserving or rapidly restoring immune activity at any age, explained Weijing He, a study co-author. He and his colleagues discovered that people with the highest level of immune resilience were more likely to live longer, resist infection and recurrence of skin cancer, and survive COVID and sepsis.

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Peter Rogers
Dr. Peter Rogers grew up milking cows and building barns. This provided him the transferable skills necessary for a smooth transition into academic research. Three years of genetics research led to six years of immunology research, which led to a Ph.D. from Auburn University. That led to three and half years of instructional design research at Tufts University School of Medicine. His expertise includes biomedical sciences & technology, social determinants of health, bovine birthing, training & development, and cognitive psychology. He’s taught dozens of university courses, ranging from Principles of Biology to Advanced Medical Immunology. He is currently co-writing a book with his father, George Rogers, called "How to Correctly Hold a Flashlight: A Disagreement in Academic and Agricultural Perspectives."
A new injection is helping stave off RSV this season

The FDA approved a single-dose, long-acting injection to protect babies and toddlers from RSV over the fall and winter.

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In November 2021, Mickayla Wininger’s then one-month-old son, Malcolm, endured a terrifying bout with RSV, the respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus—a common ailment that affects all age groups. Most people recover from mild, cold-like symptoms in a week or two, but RSV can be life-threatening in others, particularly infants.

Wininger, who lives in southern Illinois, was dressing Malcolm for bed when she noticed what seemed to be a minor irregularity with this breathing. She and her fiancé, Gavin McCullough, planned to take him to the hospital the next day. The matter became urgent when, in the morning, the boy’s breathing appeared to have stopped.

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Susan Kreimer
Susan Kreimer is a New York-based freelance journalist who has followed the landscape of health care since the late 1990s, initially as a staff reporter for major daily newspapers. She writes about breakthrough studies, personal health, and the business of clinical practice. Raised in the Chicago area, she holds a B.A. in Journalism/Mass Communication and French, with minors in German and Russian, from the University of Iowa and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.