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Weekly Health Digest: Suicide And Race; Fat In Peoples’ Lungs; Zantac Recall; And Chinese Healthcare

A summary of important health news from the past week

Suicide Rates For Black Boys And Girls Disproportionately High

By: Kristen West Savali

New York University’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research has found that “Black boys between the ages of 5 to 12 are committing suicide at higher rates than any other racial or ethnic group.” From 2001 to 2017, the suicide rates among Black girls ages 13-19 basically doubled and rose 60 percent for Black boys of the same ages. The suicide incidence in Black children has been getting worse as the overall suicide rate has stabilized. Researchers hypothesize that Black children are committing suicide at higher rates because of disproportionate exposure to violence, traumatic stress and aggressive school discipline and their unlikeliness to seek help for depression, suicidal ideation and any attempts. Such deadly trends have prompted the Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health.

Fat found in overweight people’s lungs


Overweight or obese people have an increased risk for asthma. This could be explained by the findings of a study conducted in Australia where researchers found fatty tissue “in the lungs of overweight and obese people for the first time.” The study was published in the European Respiratory Journal and it analyzed 52 donor samples, post-mortem. The excess weight puts pressure on the lungs, causing a change in the structure of the airways and thus increasing inflammation in the lungs and increasing the risk for asthma. However, the excess fat also affects the lungs because it takes up space in the airway walls, limiting airflow. This finding is important because it is the first time body weight has been discussed as a factor that can affect the airway structure. In the future, researchers are curious to see whether or not these effects can be reversed by weight loss.

Zantac Recall Widens as Sanofi Pulls Its Drug Over Carcinogen Fears

By: Katie Thomas

Sanofi, a French multinational pharmaceutical company, has recently recalled the over-the-counter heartburn drug Zantac in the United States and Canada. This decision, however, was a month after the Food and Drug Administration warned the public that the drug and generic versions of the drug, contain a cancer-causing contaminant. Manufactures of generic versions of Zantac have already recalled their products, as well as Walgreen, CVS, and Walmart. Sanofi declares that they are committed to openess and transparency and that they will continue to communicate the upcoming results from their investigation. The F.D.A. advises those who use Zantac or over-the-counter versions to consider another heartburn medication.

China Is Striving for the World’s Best, Cheapest Healthcare

By Dong Lyu, Rachel Chang and Adrian Leung

Known for its healthcare inequality, China has launched an ambitious project to upgrade its healthcare system at a bargain price. By 2030, the country aims to develop a healthcare system worth $2.3 trillion dollars, over double its current value. In addition to investing in public hospitals, the Chinese government has ruthlessly negotiated drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, achieving discounts of up to 70%. This strategy could have important ramifications for the healthcare industry around the world.