Longer Looks: Interesting Reads You Might Have Missed

Each week, KHN finds longer stories for you to enjoy. This week’s selections include stories on the infant formula shortage, online medical data, mattresses-in-a-box, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and more.

The New York Times:
A Dad Took Photos Of His Naked Toddler For The Doctor. Google Flagged Him As A Criminal

Mark noticed something amiss with his toddler. His son’s penis looked swollen and was hurting him. Mark, a stay-at-home dad in San Francisco, grabbed his Android smartphone and took photos to document the problem so he could track its progression. … With help from the photos, the doctor diagnosed the issue and prescribed antibiotics, which quickly cleared it up. But the episode left Mark with a much larger problem, one that would cost him more than a decade of contacts, emails and photos, and make him the target of a police investigation. Mark, who asked to be identified only by his first name for fear of potential reputational harm, had been caught in an algorithmic net designed to snare people exchanging child sexual abuse material. (Hill, 8/21)

Los Angeles Times:
How A Mattress In A Box Left One Family With Health Issues And $20,000 In Damages

Vanessa Gutierrez began to notice the sores and rashes on her 5-month-old in May 2019. Around the same time, her other daughter, 9, experienced asthma flare-ups. The administrative assistant from Sacramento was baffled about what could be harming her children. “The baby got the worst of it,” Gutierrez said. “I thought she was overactive, but it was because she was feeling the burning.… It looked like little paper cuts all over the back of her legs.” After hours of internet research, Gutierrez grew convinced the culprit is what many of us spend up to one-third of our lives on: a mattress. She is now the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in Sacramento in July against the manufacturer of her mattress, Zinus Inc., alleging flame-resistant fiberglass fibers in the South Korean company’s products can escape and cause health problems, including skin and respiratory tract irritation, and persistent environmental contamination. (De Leon, 8/25)

The Wall Street Journal:
Can This Snorer’s Marriage Be Saved? Yes, With Mouth Tape

Mouth tapers affix a not-too-sticky adhesive strip, such as surgical tape, either horizontally or vertically across their lips. Devotees including Mr. Gesualdi, a Rhode Island used-car-dealership owner, say that snuffs snoring, in part by rerouting breath through the nose. The believers have gotten mixed messages from the medical establishment and hard-nosed resistance from skeptics who think mouth taping is best left to hostage movies. The little-studied practice could be risky, say doctors including Dr. Aarti Grover, medical director of Tufts Medical Center’s Sleep Medicine Center in Boston. “Let’s say you have some medical issues like acid-reflux disease,” she says. “Having tape over your mouth might be detrimental.” (Woo, 8/22)

The Washington Post:
When Kids Get Control Of Their Lunch, Healthy Options Get Easier 

One of the most effective ways to reach kids is to tap their desire for control. Putting them in the driver’s seat around food (with appropriate guidance, of course) gives them a sense of autonomy and investment, making them more likely to want and enjoy what they are eating. Gardening and cooking with kids are well known ways to foster such agency, but the possibilities don’t stop there. Every step of the meal process is an opportunity for engagement — the more hands-on the better. (Krieger, 8/18)

Congress Ordered Agencies To Use Tech That Works For People With Disabilities 24 Years Ago. Many Still Haven’t

Ronza Othman, a lawyer with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Baltimore, hasn’t been able to order a sandwich without help in her office cafeteria for a decade. Before the deli replaced workers with a touch screen in 2012, she would walk up to the counter and ask for a roast beef and cheddar sandwich with cucumbers, not pickles. But Ronza, who is blind, can’t work the touch screen as it doesn’t take voice commands. “I’m an attorney. I have a master’s degree in government and nonprofit management. I’ve raised children,” she said. “But I can’t get a damn sandwich by myself in my agency.” (Reader, 8/21)

Also —

USA Today:
Dr. Anthony Fauci Didn’t Just Treat Infectious Diseases, Colleagues Say. He ‘Served The Public For 50 Years.’

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s leadership and communication have always been “science-based, gracious, extraordinarily clear and offered with great diplomacy,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. Fauci’s enlightened leadership, Schaffner said, was critical to a public health community that found itself under incredible strain and sometimes attack. “Tony was our guide star in all of this, modeling what many of us did locally in our own communities in attempting to educate and implement public health measures,” he said. (Alltucker, Weise and Voyles Pulver, 8/23)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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