ICYMI: Cancer While Pregnant And Why Predicting Mass Shootings Is Futile

10 Oct

ICYMI Health features what we’re reading this week.

This week, we tuned in for the stellar first episode of Only Human, a new podcast from WYNC about how health shapes our lives. Podcast host and journalist Mary Harris chronicled her experience having breast cancer while she was pregnant with her second child, and left us more than ready for episode two.

In the wake of a mass shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, we spent time with a thoughtful essay, focused on a frustrated Columbia University psychiatrist, who told Science of Us he was finished talking with reporters about the causes of violence in mass shootings.

“If you tell me that there’s nothing we can do about guns, I’d say then we’re done,” Dr. Paul Appelbaum said. “We’ve conceded that we are willing to tolerate periodic slaughters of the innocent. There’s nothing more to say.”

Read on and tell us in the comments: What did you read, listen to and love this week?

1. Watching Highbrow TV May Actually Make You A Better Person — The Huffington Post

People who watched fictional television dramas performed better on an emotional intelligence test than those who viewed documentaries, according to a new study.  

Dramas are notorious for diving into human nature (who hasn’t felt invested in a character while watching a show like ‘The Good Wife?’), while the documentaries are less provocative when it comes to human emotions (no offense to Shark Week).


2. This Company Gave Away a Drug That Just Won the Nobel Prize and Helped Millions — Mother Jones

The Mectizan Donation program distributed more than a billion anti-parasitic treatments to people in the developing world — for free.

Merck’s gift to the World Health Organization is more than a medical breakthrough — it is truly a triumph of the human spirit.


3. Keep The Baby, Get The Chemo — Only Human

A pregnant woman worries about how her breast cancer chemotherapy treatments will affect her baby, and what will happen to her family if she has as recurrence.

 I think there were moments when I would sort of let myself fall down the rabbit hole of like, I don’t think anything horrible is going to happen this year, but the odds of something horrible happening five or 10 years from now, just went way up.


4. We Can’t Predict Who Will Commit a Mass Shooting. Gun Control Is the Only Way Out. — Science Of Us

Columbia University psychiatrist Dr. Paul Appelbaum is sick and tired of the people trying to anticipate who will commit a mass shooting based on behavioral patterns. 

There actually aren’t major differences between the overall rates of violence in the U.S. as compared to the rest of the developed world. Where the U.S. differs is in the number of homicides, and to Appelbaum that is largely attributable to the free flow of powerful guns.


5. Doctor’s 1974 Testimony Shows Just How Dangerous It Is When Abortion Is Illegal — The Huffington Post

Every year, 47,000 women die and millions more are seriously injured as a result of unsafe abortion practices. 

Legalization [of abortion] means safety, not permissiveness; education, not ignorance; dignity, not shame.


6. More Harm Than Good? — New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Psychiatric genetic testing is unproven and highly unregulated — and the rapidly expanding field is rife with conflict of interest. 

Patients also cannot find out for themselves if their doctor stands to gain financially by recommending a personalized medicine test.


7. This Is What It’s Really Like To Live With Schizophrenia — The Huffington Post

A new initiative pushes back on the misconception that people who suffer from schizophrenia can’t have stable, productive lives.

I chose the plain white makeup because I feel a lot of us are invisible. 


8. Crossing The Finish Line 25 Pounds Lighter — New York Times

Jen Miller struggles to reach her optimum running weight, while simultaneously staying true to her body-positive values. 

My first impulse was to tell myself, ‘I do not want to be at this spot on the scale,’ and guilt hit me almost immediately. I felt like I was trampling on every single thing I believed about women not needing to be as thin as fire poles in order to be attractive. What kind of feminist was I, anyway?

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