Health Briefs

Health Shorts

Pediatricians warn parents: Pot is not benign

(WNS)–America’s largest association of pediatricians is pushing back against a growing perception that marijuana is safe for teens. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Feb. 27 published a clinical report in the journal Pediatrics warning that nationwide marijuana legalization efforts have led to more access, stronger drugs, and lower perceived risks. More teens and adults think marijuana is harmless, even healthful. But it is a problem, argues the report. Several recent studies show significant marijuana use in adolescents can lead to impaired short-term memory; decreased concentration, attention span, and problem-solving skills; and alterations in motor control, coordination, judgment, reaction time, and tracking ability. Lung health is also negatively affected. Some studies link marijuana use with long-term psychiatric effects, including higher rates of depression and psychosis.

Bill would give bosses more access to workers’ health histories

(WNS)–The House Committee on Education and the Workforce recently approved HR 1313, whose bland stated purpose (“to clarify rules relating to nondiscriminatory workplace wellness programs”) hides an Orwellian reality. The bill would let employers punish employees for refusing to undergo genetic testing or disclose their health histories. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers may not ask employees about their health unless the questions are directly job-related. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) extends that protection to genetic information and family medical history. Exceptions to GINA are few, normally limited to the specific (and rare) circumstances where they make sense. There is a catch. Wellness programs, in which companies encourage employees to get health screening and preventive care, may legally ask questions that would otherwise violate ADA and GINA, but only if the programs are voluntary.

Droves of Canadian doctors opt out of euthanasia

(WNS)–Dozens of Canadian doctors who signed up to provide lethal injections have changed their minds, according to medical officials. At least 24 doctors in Ontario have asked to be removed from a list of physicians willing to participate in Canada’s Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) law, passed in June. Some 30 more have requested their names be put on hold. Jeff Blackmer, vice president of the Canadian Medical Association, said some doctors initially think they are helping patients end their suffering but find the reality much different. “We’re seeing doctors who go through one experience and it’s just overwhelming, it’s too difficult,” he said. “And those are the ones who say, ‘Take my name off the list. I can’t do it anymore.’”

Leave a Reply