It's been an eventful summer, hasn't it? We've won great legal battles with the repeal of DOMA and the judicial rejection of New York's Stop And Frisk policy. We've faced difficulties, like the distressing conclusion of the Zimmerman trial. But just as there has been news in the realms of politics, those of us on the health beat have been pretty busy, too. There was big news and small (Prancercise, anyone?), and we loved covering it all.
Here are some of Summer 2013's biggest moments in health. Anything to add? Tell us in the comments!
One morning in late May, New Yorkers woke up to find a new presence in the city: a fleet of an estimated 6,000 new bikes, housed on racks around the city as part of America's largest bike-sharing program. While the project was met with some skepticism, residents and tourists alike have taken to it. According to an estimate on Citi Bike's site, as of August 26, the program's bikers have traveled a total of 5,550,424 miles. Not bad, NYC.
OK, we're claiming this one. Not only is marriage good for you, but teens (not just gay teens -- all teens) who grow up in accepting, gay-friendly communities are less likely to experience depression and thoughts of suicide. Now, as one big gay-friendly nation, united under a federal ruling (or, at least, trying to be), we can look forward to improved mental health for all.
Not very many people outside of Texas had heard of state Senator Wendy Davis until one fateful evening in June, when the Fort Worth rep stood in the state senate house and delivered an 11-hour filibuster in an effort to stop the vote on a restrictive abortion bill. Although the bill eventually passed, she spotlighted the struggle of poor and underserved Texan women in their efforts to seek affordable and accessible medical care.
And she had some pretty rad pink Mizunos.
On the other end of the, uh, historical-importance spectrum was Prancercise, a failed '80s-era exercise regime resurfaced on YouTube, to the delight and amusement of viral-video watchers the Internet over. But before you pooh-pooh this exercise routine, which takes its influence from the movement of horses, consider that it may actually be beneficial -- especially compared to sitting around on the couch. So make like an equid and prance!
While the blockbuster pastry of the summer -- the croissant-doughnut hybrid called the "cronut" -- is decidedly not a health story, we will lay claim to the recent news out of Toronto that as many as 79 foodies contracted food poisoning from "cronut burgers." And in so doing, they quite literally acted out our feelings about high-calorie food chimeras.
The Food and Drug Administration's plan to widen access to the morning-after pill to all ages was stalled in 2011 in an unprecedented overruling by the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. But this June, a judge struck down Sebelius' order, allowing the FDA to move forward with approved sales for all ages.
Google Glass Surgery
We tend to associate Google Glass with nerdy white guys. (Can you blame us?) But the technology could have a very practical, educational, and even life-saving role in teaching hospitals. This summer marked the first two medical procedures in which the operating physician was able to share his work and perspective by recording it with Google Glass.
Kale Kale Kale Kale
McD's Went Veg
Just under the wire, McDonald's debuted two new vegetarian wraps at the end of August. Previously a regional consideration in countries like India where a majority of the population is vegetarian, McDonald's decided to expand the offerings elsewhere -- starting with Canada.
And while, like everything under the Golden Arches, they weren't exactly healthy, the move can be seen as an acknowledgment of the 5 percent of Americans who go meatless -- and the overall recognition that plant-based meals are an often integral part of a healthy-eating plan.