Sunday, May 19

HEALTH

How to Talk About Sex With Your Partner
HEALTH

How to Talk About Sex With Your Partner

As a reporter who covers sex and intimacy, I spend a lot of time listening to experts extol the virtues of open, honest communication. To have good sex — and to keep having good sex over time — couples must be willing to talk about it, they say.But some people would rather leave their relationships than have those conversations, said Jeffrey Chernin, a marriage and family therapist and the author of “Achieving Intimacy: How to Have a Loving Relationship That Lasts” — especially if things in the bedroom aren’t going particularly well.“One of the things I often say to couples who are having trouble is: ‘I wish there was another way through this,’” he said. “But the only way I know to have a better sex life, or to resume your sex life, is to discuss it.”Dr. Chernin acknowledged how stressful ...
Study Suggests Waiting Longer Before Withdrawing Life Support
HEALTH

Study Suggests Waiting Longer Before Withdrawing Life Support

When a patient with a severe traumatic brain injury is comatose, in intensive care, unresponsive and hooked up to a ventilator, but not brain-dead, when is the time to withdraw life support? A small study on the fates of people in such situations suggests that doctors and patients’ families may make better decisions if they wait even a few days longer than usual.Often, a doctor sits down with family members within 72 hours of the patient’s admission to intensive care to discuss the patient’s prognosis, and whether they want to keep their loved one alive, or to remove life support.Experts say that many doctors would describe the outlook as grim — most likely death or severe disability. Reported outcomes of patients who had severe traumatic brain injuries show that most times the decision is...
Did You Have Syphilis When You Were Pregnant? We Want to Hear From You.
HEALTH

Did You Have Syphilis When You Were Pregnant? We Want to Hear From You.

Sexually transmitted diseases are resurging across the United States. More than 3,700 cases of congenital syphilis were reported in 2022, roughly 11 times the number recorded a decade ago.Syphilis during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth, and infants who survive may become blind or deaf or have severe developmental delays. But timely testing and treatment can prevent most of these outcomes.Sexually transmitted infections disproportionately affect communities of color. Socioeconomic status and education level can also influence prenatal care.I report on infectious diseases at The Times. I would like to hear firsthand from women who experienced syphilis when pregnant. Were you offered testing when pregnant? If you tested positive, were you treated? How did syphilis affect the ...
Family Members at One Another’s Throats? Call In the Mediator.
HEALTH

Family Members at One Another’s Throats? Call In the Mediator.

The four adult children were in agreement.Their father, William Curry, a retired electrical engineer and business executive, was sinking deeper into dementia. They had found a memory care facility about a mile from their parents’ house in Chelmsford, Mass., where they thought Mr. Curry would do better.But their mother, Melissa, who was 83 when her family began urging her to make this change in 2016, remained determined to continue caring for her 81-year-old husband at home, despite the increasing toll on her own health. When her children raised the issue of a move, “she wouldn’t discuss it,” said her daughter, Shannon Curry, 56. “She’d clam up. Sometimes she’d cry.”Yet Melissa Curry’s memory was faltering, too. She would forget to give her husband his medications, or get the doses wrong. T...
Can Parrots Converse? Polly Says That’s the Wrong Question.
HEALTH

Can Parrots Converse? Polly Says That’s the Wrong Question.

Half a century ago, one of the hottest questions in science was whether humans could teach animals to talk. Scientists tried using sign language to converse with apes and trained parrots to deploy growing English vocabularies.The work quickly attracted media attention — and controversy. The research lacked rigor, critics argued, and what seemed like animal communication could simply have been wishful thinking, with researchers unconsciously cuing their animals to respond in certain ways.In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the research fell out of favor. “The whole field completely disintegrated,” said Irene Pepperberg, a comparative cognition researcher at Boston University, who became known for her work with an African gray parrot named Alex.Today, advances in technology and a growing appr...
Milton Diamond, Sexologist and Advocate for Intersex Babies, Dies at 90
HEALTH

Milton Diamond, Sexologist and Advocate for Intersex Babies, Dies at 90

Academic conferences are usually staid affairs, but the 1973 International Symposium on Gender Identity, held in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, was an exception. Everything was peaceful until a psychologist named John Money stood and yelled, “Mickey Diamond, I hate your guts!”Milton Diamond, a sexologist who had gone by Mickey since childhood, was sitting on the other side of the room. Dr. Money and Dr. Diamond were bitter rivals: Dr. Money, a nationally recognized researcher at Johns Hopkins University, had long argued that sexual and gender identity are neutral at birth and shaped primarily by an infant’s surroundings.Dr. Diamond, who was just beginning his career at the University of Hawaii, strongly disagreed, and had said so repeatedly — including in a widely read 1965 critique of Dr. Money’s...
RFK Jr. Says Doctors Found a Dead Worm in His Brain
HEALTH

RFK Jr. Says Doctors Found a Dead Worm in His Brain

In 2010, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was experiencing memory loss and mental fogginess so severe that a friend grew concerned he might have a brain tumor. Mr. Kennedy said he consulted several of the country’s top neurologists, many of whom had either treated or spoken to his uncle, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, before his death the previous year of brain cancer.Several doctors noticed a dark spot on the younger Mr. Kennedy’s brain scans and concluded that he had a tumor, he said in a 2012 deposition reviewed by The New York Times. Mr. Kennedy was immediately scheduled for a procedure at Duke University Medical Center by the same surgeon who had operated on his uncle, he said.While packing for the trip, he said, he received a call from a doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital who had a different o...
First Patient Begins Sickle Cell Gene Therapy That F.D.A. Approved
HEALTH

First Patient Begins Sickle Cell Gene Therapy That F.D.A. Approved

On Wednesday, Kendric Cromer, a 12-year-old boy from a suburb of Washington, became the first person in the world with sickle cell disease to begin a commercially approved gene therapy that may cure the condition.For the estimated 20,000 people with sickle cell in the United States who qualify for the treatment, the start of Kendric’s monthslong medical journey may offer hope. But it also signals the difficulties patients face as they seek a pair of new sickle cell treatments.For a lucky few, like Kendric, the treatment could make possible lives they have longed for. A solemn and shy adolescent, he had learned that ordinary activities — riding a bike, going outside on a cold day, playing soccer — could bring on episodes of searing pain.“Sickle cell always steals my dreams and interrupts al...
Widening Racial Disparities Underlie Rise in Child Deaths in the U.S.
HEALTH

Widening Racial Disparities Underlie Rise in Child Deaths in the U.S.

Some Context: A frightening trend examined more closely.Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Children’s Hospital of Richmond had previously revealed that mortality rates among children and adolescents had risen by 18 percent between 2019 and 2021. Deaths related to injuries had grown so dramatically that they eclipsed all public health gains.The group, seeking to drill deeper into the worrying trend, obtained death certificate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public WONDER database and stratified it by race, ethnicity and cause for children ages 1 to 19. They found that Black and American Indian/Alaska Native children were not only dying at significantly higher rates than white children but that the disparities — which had been improving until 2013 ...
New Mutations Identified in Bird Flu Virus
HEALTH

New Mutations Identified in Bird Flu Virus

The bird flu virus sweeping across dairy farms in multiple states has acquired dozens of new mutations, including some that may make it more adept at spreading between species and less susceptible to antiviral drugs, according to a new study.None of the mutations is a cause for alarm on its own. But they underscore the possibility that as the outbreak continues, the virus may evolve in ways that would allow it to spread easily between people, experts said.“Flu mutates all the time — it’s what, sort of, flu does,” said Richard Webby, an influenza expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, who was not involved in the work.“The real key would be if we start to see some of these mutations getting more prevalent,” Dr. Webby said. “That would raise the risk level.”The virus, called H5N1, h...