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Top news stories from AMA Morning Rounds®: Week of June 5, 2023


Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of June 5, 2023–June 9, 2023.

The New York Times (6/8, Jewett) reports, “A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended approval of a monoclonal antibody shot aimed at preventing a potentially lethal pathogen, respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in infants and vulnerable toddlers.” The “treatment, called Beyfortus” (nirsevimab) “by its developers Sanofi and AstraZeneca, would be the second such therapy that the FDA has allowed to be given to very young children to prevent RSV.” The advisors voted unanimously in support of providing “the treatment to infants born during or entering their first RSV season.” They also “voted 19-2 for giving the shot to children up to 24 months of age who remain vulnerable to severe disease.”

CNN (6/7, Howard) reports, “When asked serious public health questions related to abuse, suicide or other medical crises, the online chatbot tool ChatGPT provided critical resources—such as what 1-800 lifeline number to call for help—only about 22% of the time,” researchers concluded in findings published online June 7 in a research letter in JAMA Network Open. For the study, investigators “ ChatGPT responded to 23 questions related to addiction, interpersonal violence, mental health and physical health crises.” The study’s conclusion “suggests that public health agencies could help AI companies ensure that such resources are incorporated into how an artificial intelligence system like ChatGPT responds to health inquiries.”

The AP (6/6, Schoenbaum) reports the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) “declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. on Tuesday and released a guidebook pointing to laws it deems discriminatory in each state, along with ‘know your rights’ information and resources to help people relocate to states with stronger LGBTQ+ protections.” The “nation’s largest organization devoted to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans said travel advisories aren’t enough to help people already living in states where” legislation has “targeted LGBTQ+ people.”

The Hill (6/6, Migdon) reports, “At least 525 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced this year in 41 states, [HRC] said in its warning, including more than 220 pieces of legislation that explicitly target transgender people.” Over “76 anti-LGBTQ bills have become law this year by HRC’s count, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.”

According to The Hill (6/2, Gans), the U.S. “has increasingly fallen behind in its average life expectancy over the past few decades, according to a new report.” Investigators “found that a disadvantage in U.S. life expectancy began in the 1950s and has worsened especially during the past four decades as dozens of ‘globally diverse’ countries have performed better.” The findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health.

The Hill (6/5, Weixel) reports, “A federal appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday about whether to continue a pause of a Texas district court’s ruling that struck down an ObamaCare provision requiring insurers to cover preventive services for free.” In May, “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit temporarily paused Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision until a panel could hear oral arguments on whether the pause should be continued during the appeals process.” Maintaining the stay “until the court rules on the merits of the case would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to continue to mandate most insurance companies cover the HIV prevention drug PrEP as well as a range of preventive services like annual physicals, cancer screenings and Pap tests with no cost-sharing for patients.”

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