News Briefs: March 8, 2015

The Torch’s weekly news briefs are both a compilation of important and relevant current events in the domestic and global health sphere, as well as a list of must-read think pieces and articles that pertain to a domestic and global health discipline.

Coffee “Keeps Arteries Clean”

South Korean researchers released a report in the journal Heart showing that those who consume 3-5 cups of coffee per day (considered a moderate amount) were less likely to have early signs of heart disease on their medical scans.

Although coffee was once believed to increase the risk of a heart attack, screenings of 25,000 men and women at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul showed that those who drank “moderate” amounts of coffee had up to 40% less calcium in their arteries than those who drank no coffee.

Although the study stops short of recommending regular coffee consumption, this is an insightful new development into the investigation of coffee’s effects on the body.

Nurse Sues Employer after Contracting Ebola

Nina Pham, a nurse who gained international media attention after becoming infected with (and recovering from) the virus at Texas Health Presbyterian has sued the hospital for negligence, fraud, and invasion of privacy. She has claimed that the hospital was unprepared for a patient with Ebola and failed to properly educate and protect its workers from infection. She also alleges that the hospital made false statements about her condition and released a video of her without her permission.

Texas Health Presbyterian “remains optimistic that they can resolve the matter” and denies that it put anyone in harm’s way. In the meantime, Pham has been suffering from lingering effects of the virus and has been unable to return to work.

Obamacare at the Supreme Court

On Wednesday morning, Supreme Court justices debated for over an hour about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act commonly known as “Obamacare.” If the court ultimately rules against the Obama Administration (a decision that will not be public until May or June), more than 5 million Americans will be left without health care subsidies.

The current debate is ongoing over four words, “established by the states,” regarding the eligibility of those in states still operating under federally facilitated exchanges to receive subsidies for their care. It is the latest in a string of contested elements of the controversial law, which was signed into effect in 2010.


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