Monday, March 4

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Homeless Advocate Takes On A.C.L.U., and It’s Personal

On the last Thursday of August, Jennifer Livovich spent the morning simmering beans and cheese sauce in her Boulder, Colo., apartment, preparing nachos. Then friends helped her load a truck with the food, along with donations she had secured — socks, toothbrushes, cellphones — to distribute at a downtown park where dozens of chronically homeless people congregate.“Hopefully, no drama,” she said as the truck pulled away.Ms. Livovich has become a central figure in Boulder’s efforts to help the homeless. In 2020, she created a nonprofit, Feet Forward, to serve several hundred people whom the county estimates lack permanent shelter. And she regularly consults with, and is consulted by, policymakers, housing officials and the Boulder County district attorney. In late November she wrote an op-ed...
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Why Anonymous Sperm Donation Is Over, and Why That Matters

In many states, if you are part of a couple raising a child, and you never marry or you get a divorce, and your partner wants to sever the connection, you can be deemed a legal stranger to a child you helped raise but with whom you don’t share a genetic tie. “I worry that people may be acting in good faith but don’t understand the situations of these families,” says Douglas NeJaime, a Yale law professor who is working with L.G.B.T.Q. organizations and other academics on a joint statement of principles about access to a donor’s identifying information. “There’s a real legal risk in many places. And then there’s the idea these laws express, which is that biological ties are more important than other ties.”Malina Simard-Halm, 27, the donor-conceived daughter of a pair of gay fathers, is a for...
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Fate of Billions for Opioid Victims From Sacklers Rests With Supreme Court

The speed with which the court scheduled the case may reflect its awareness of the opioid problem. But legal experts said its ruling would be unlikely to dwell on the public health crisis. The court, they said, will focus narrowly on the liability shield, an increasingly popular, though contentious, bankruptcy tactic.“I’m sure, though, that even if the opioid crisis doesn’t show up anywhere in the opinion, the court has to be bearing in mind that cities, states and individuals have been desperately waiting for these funds. They need to know the answer to this question so they can figure out what to do next,” said Adam Zimmerman, who teaches mass tort law at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.Though numerous pharmaceutical companies have been sued for their roles in...
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China Respiratory Illness: U.S. Health Officials Say Cause is Known

A small group of Republican senators on Friday called on President Biden to ban travel from China to protect against an outbreak of respiratory illnesses in children there, even as scientists and global and American health officials said there were no signs of a threatening new pathogen.Instead, those experts said, the evidence so far pointed to a surge of age-old infectious agents such as influenza, driven by the colder weather and China’s emergence from stringent Covid lockdowns. The World Health Organization said last week that China had shared data about its outbreak, including laboratory results from infected children, that did not show any unusual pathogens.Dr. Mandy Cohen, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, echoed that assessment on Friday. She said Amer...
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Desperate Families Search for Affordable Home Care

It’s a good day when Frank Lee, a retired chef, can slip out to the hardware store, fairly confident that his wife, Robin, is in the hands of reliable help. He spends nearly every hour of every day anxiously overseeing her care at their home on the Isle of Palms, a barrier island near Charleston, S.C.Ms. Lee, 67, has had dementia for about a decade, but the couple was able to take overseas trips and enjoy their marriage of some 40 years until three years ago, when she grew more agitated, prone to sudden outbursts and could no longer explain what she needed or wanted. He struggled to care for her largely on his own.“As Mom’s condition got more difficult to navigate, he was just handling it,” said Jesse Lee, the youngest of the couple’s three adult children. “It was getting harder and harder...
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What to Know About Home Care Services

Most older Americans want to live at home as long as they can, but finding and affording the help they need often isn’t easy. There are severe shortages of home health aides in many parts of the country. Hiring them is costly. And most middle-class people will have to pay for home care themselves if they will need it for the long haul. Here’s a guide to locating home care for an older person.What kind of home care do you need?After a fall or surgery, some older people will need short-term care at home from a nurse or therapist to help them recover. Medicare, the federal insurance program for those 65 and over, typically pays for this kind of home health care. A nurse can make sure a wound is healing properly, for example, while a physical therapist can help a person get back on their feet ...
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Scientists in Discredited Alcohol Study Will Not Advise U.S. on Drinking Guidelines

Five years ago, the National Institutes of Health abruptly pulled the plug on an ambitious study about the health effects of moderate drinking. The reason: The trial’s principal scientist and officials from the federal agency’s own alcohol division had solicited $60 million for the research from alcohol manufacturers, a conflict of interest and a violation of federal policy.Recently, that scientist and another colleague from the aborted study with alcohol industry ties were named to a committee preparing a report on alcohol and health that will be used to update the federal government’s guidelines on alcohol consumption.The appointments of the two men, Dr. Kenneth Mukamal and Dr. Eric Rimm, both of Harvard, have not been finalized yet, Megan Lowry, a spokeswoman for the National Academies ...
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Climate Change Drives New Cases of Malaria, Complicating Efforts to Fight the Disease

There were an estimated 249 million cases of malaria around the globe last year, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, significantly more than before the Covid-19 pandemic and an increase of five million over 2021. Malaria remains a top killer of children.Those new cases were concentrated in just five countries: Pakistan, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia and Papua-New Guinea. Climate change was a direct contributor in three of them, said Dr. Daniel Ngamije, who directs the W.H.O. malaria program.In July 2022, massive flooding left more than a third of Pakistan underwater and displaced 33 million people. An explosion of mosquitoes soon followed. The country reported 3.1 million confirmed cases of malaria that year, compared with 275,000 the year before, with a fivefold increase in the ra...
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U.S. Rate of Suicide by Firearm Reaches Record Level

The rate of suicides involving guns in the United States has reached the highest level since officials began tracking it more than 50 years ago, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The rate increased by more than 10 percent in 2022 compared with 2019, and in some racial and ethnic groups, the rise was significantly steeper, especially among Native Americans. Overall, about 27,000 of 50,000 suicides were carried out by gun in 2022.Federal researchers involved in the analysis suggested that the coronavirus pandemic might have exacerbated many of the known risk factors for suicide generally, which include social isolation, strained relationships, and drug and alcohol disorders. At the same time, outside experts noted, the increased rates also correlat...
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Abraham Bergman, Doctor Who Sought Answers on SIDS, Dies at 91

Dr. Abraham B. Bergman, a pediatrician who was instrumental in passing a federal law to combat sudden infant death syndrome, a once misunderstood loss that caused not just parental heartbreak but guilt and blame, and who put his stamp on other enduring public health laws, died on Nov. 10 in Seattle. He was 91.The cause of his death, on a family member’s boat, was amyloid heart disease, his son Ben Bergman said.In the 1960s and early ’70s, Dr. Bergman was president of the National Foundation for Sudden Infant Death, a grass-roots group that supported parents who had lost children to what once was commonly called crib death. Although SIDS, as the syndrome became known, was the leading killer of infants less than a year old, its cause was unknown. Parents often blamed themselves, marriages br...