Health Stories Of The Week: Gender Bias, Sleep Justice And Iceland's Genetic Experiment

03/28/2015 10:12 am ET | Updated Apr 16, 2015
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ICYMI Health features what we're reading this week.

During this last week in March, we were captivated by the story of Iceland's cache of genetic information and an exposé on the problem of gender bias in medical experiments. We also affirmed a long-held belief that sleep habits tell the story of economic inequality in America.

Read on and tell us in the comments: What did you read and love this week?

1. Is Medicine’s Gender Bias Killing Young Women? -- Pacific Standard

Men are more likely than women to have heart attacks, but when women have heart attacks they are twice as likely to die. “Of course, the fact that women’s heart attacks are less likely to adhere to the ‘textbook’ model is not exactly an accident, since the textbook was, quite literally, written based on what men’s heart attacks look like.”

2. The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous -- The Atlantic

The one-size-fits-all mentality 12-step program doesn’t work for everyone. “How many celebrities can you name who bounced in and out of rehab without ever getting better? Why do we assume they failed the program, rather than that the program failed them?

3. How Sleep Became a Social Justice Issue -- Fast Company

“Sleep has its own caste system.” Sleep deprivation and the negative health outcomes associated with it further limit the social mobility of low-wage and shift workers -- who need to make ends meet and can’t afford to get the sleep they need.

4. Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery -- The New York Times

Angelina Jolie writes about her decision to surgically remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes to prevent cancer at age 39. “That same day I went to see the surgeon, who had treated my mother. I last saw her the day my mother passed away, and she teared up when she saw me: 'You look just like her.' I broke down. But we smiled at each other and agreed we were there to deal with any problem, so 'let’s get on with it.'”

5. TB Patients That the World Writes Off Are Getting Cured in Peru -- NPR

The harsh drugs that treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis have horrible side effects and treatment can last a whole year. While some countries leave patients to die, a non-profit in Lima is coaching patients through their yearlong recovery.

6. Are Ties to a Notorious Institution a Career Killer? -- Pacific Standard

It turns out that that the guilt-by-association factor of belonging to a discredited organization is real and nearly inescapable. "Stigma can be near inescapable, as former employees of Enron attested in 2014, more than a decade after the energy giant collapsed amid executive fraud."

7. Why More Women Don’t Breastfeed -- Pacific Standard

Despite a litany of health benefits linked to breastfeeding there are lots of reasons women opt out. Breastfeed is costly. Women who breastfeed are perceived as less competent than their peers. Women are shamed for breastfeeding in public. Nine research articles explain the myriad obstacles breastfeeding mothers in America face.

8. How Stockholm Became the Ultimate Walkable City -- CityLab

Getting rid of cars has helped Stockholm economy and improved both the health and the quality of life of its residents. "Increasingly, planners and advocates are talking about creating cities rich in human interaction, cities that provide a healthier environment that puts people above cars in a variety of ways."

9. Why Iceland Is The World’s Greatest Genetic Laboratory -- Wired

A new study in Nature Genetics reveals a series of findings that including a newly identified gene associated with Alzheimer’s disease and information about the most recent male ancestor shared by all humans. "It has active volcanoes, semi-tasty whale-based dishes, and a kick-ass travel advertising campaign. It’s also the best place in the world to do genetic research."

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