Astonishingly excellent.

August 24, 2016. 

Four hours.

In Huntington, West Virginia last week, there were 27 heroin overdoses within four hours, including one death. Officials believe that many victims were injected from a batch of the drug that was laced with Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Huntington has a population of about 50,000 people and usually sees around 18 to 20 overdoses in a week. “We have never seen anything like this before to this magnitude.”

The opioid epidemic. More Americans are dying from opioids than at any time in recent history, with overdose deaths hitting 28,000 in 2014. That amounts to 78 Americans dying from an opioid overdose every day. Note: The CDC uses opioid as an umbrella term for painkillers and drugs derived naturally from opium (AKA opiates), such as heroin.

Where’s the beef?

For most of the past decade, meat consumption in the U.S. was falling. Great news for environmental, health, and animal advocates. It’s not falling anymore. According to a recent analysis, consumption of meat in the U.S. rose by 5% in 2015, the largest increase in 40 years.

 Zika update.

The Zika outbreak in Florida is growing in two neighborhoods of Miami, including Miami Beach. The CDC advises pregnant women to avoid these neighborhoods and to consider postponing travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County. So far, 37 people are reported to have caught the virus in these neighborhoods. However, scientists are concerned that the outbreak in Florida may be more widespread. “Zika is one of those diseases that is always like an iceberg — you just see the tip,” says Alessandro Vespignani, a computer scientist at Northeastern University in Boston.

The effect on the brain. A new study demonstrates the damage to 45 Brazilian babies whose mothers were infected with Zika during pregnancy.

 Marijuana research.

While 25 states have approved the medical use of marijuana for certain conditions, including Parkinson’s, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and lupus, the research to back up the effectiveness of its use is sparse. The Obama administration is planning to remove a barrier to marijuana research in an effort to increase the supply of marijuana available to researchers.

Physician burnout.

According to a new study, nearly two-thirds of physicians feel more overworked now than when they first started their careers. Physicians report they are spending more time at work, leading to overexertion and a poor work-life balance. Many doctors feel they have less free time and are unsatisfied with the amount of time they get to spend with patients, with paperwork cutting into that time. The problem has become so intense that more than half of the physicians surveyed have considered leaving the medical field altogether.

The health of our next president.

Donald Trump, 70, and Hillary Clinton, 68, have been more secretive than many recent presidential nominees in sharing details about their health, despite the fact that they are senior citizens. Each released a brief medical statement in 2015 but have not added to it since.

Mr. Trump. He has provided only a four-paragraph statement from his gastroenterologist last December. While it lacked many important details, it described Mr. Trump’s blood pressure (110/65) and laboratory test results as “astonishingly excellent.” His doctor concluded that Mr. Trump “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Now, that’s astonishing.

Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Trump is questioning Mrs. Clinton’s “physical and mental strength and stamina” and sharing unfounded rumors that she is ill. You may recall that in 2012, she fainted at her home and suffered a concussion. Doctors found a blood clot, she was treated, and soon returned to her regular routine. In July 2015, Mrs. Clinton issued a two-page letter from her physician, attesting to her good health and fitness to serve as president.

It turns out.

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