Tag: health policy

Are Happy Facebook Pics Proof That You Aren't Depressed?

By Brett Israel | November 24, 2009 7:00 am

Facebook-picConsider this post to be your daily reminder to check your social network privacy settings–too much transparency could cost you your insurance benefits, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

Nathalie Blanchard, a Granby resident, says she’s suffering from severe depression that has made it impossible for her to work full-time for the past 18-months.

She says her sick leave payments were cut after insurance giant Manulife obtained profile pictures on Facebook showing her at bars, whooping it up during her birthday and on a beach holiday.

Blanchard, who lives in Quebec province, said her doctor told her to go have some fun, but apparently her insurer thought she was having too much to be depressed. According to another CBC article, the moments of revelry didn’t cure her condition:

“In the moment I’m happy, but before and after I have the same problems” as before, she said.

She’s taking them to court, in what should be an interesting case to test social media’s reach into the real world. The case suggests a host of other difficult questions: Can insurance companies raise your premiums if they see a picture of you smoking a cigarette on the internet? Will the court decide you can make a medical diagnosis from a Facebook picture? What about a weekend’s worth of happy tweets?

Another take home lesson, kids, is that should you make headlines, for whatever dubious reason, your Facebook pics will also be on the news. However in this case, Blanchard offered up her photos to get her story to the media. ABC News has a short video interview with Blanchard on their site.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Desperate For Facebook Friends? Buy Some!
Discoblog: Computer Program Can “Out” Gay Facebook Users
Reality Base: Charged With a Crime? Better Check Your Facebook Pictures

Image: Facebook

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

Forget the Pesticide, California Says—Just Send in Sterile Moths

By Andrew Moseman | June 20, 2008 3:01 pm

Northern Californians say no to spraying pesticides.California residents need no longer worry that anti-moth pesticides will rain down from the sky onto their houses. But they should still be on the lookout for thousands and thousands more moths.

The light brown apple moth, native to Australia, invaded northern California in March 2007 and state agricultural officials say it is a major threat to many different crops proceeded to chow down on crops. Initially, the state planned to spray moth-infested areas, including residential ones, with a chemical that acts as a phony pheromone, mimicking the female scent and throwing the males off course so they don’t mate. According to The New York Times, there were “numerous complaints” of respiratory problems after the chemical was sprayed last November. And after an outcry from Northern Californians who didn’t want it in their town, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger relented and changed course.

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Antibiotic-Free Pigs Carry More Pathogens, But is That a Bad Thing?

By Andrew Moseman | June 12, 2008 4:11 pm

Should pigs recieve antibiotics?Advocates of “organic” or “natural” foods get up in arms about some of the practices at big commercial hog farms—especially putting antibiotics into the livestock feed to make the animals grow faster. The idea simply makes some people uncomfortable, but more importantly, the overuse of antibiotics in animals, just like in hospitals, can worsen the problem of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. According to a study out of Ohio State University, however, pigs that went without antibiotics were more likely to carry human pathogens like salmonella and trichinella.

The team of scientists led by Wondwossen Gebreyes studied around 600 pigs. About half lived in indoor commercial hog farms and received antibiotics; the other half lived the old-fashioned way, outdoors and antibiotic-free. The non-treated swine showed more salmonella infections, 54 percent compared to 39 percent of the treated pigs, and more infections of toxoplasma and trichinella.

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Malaysian Scientists Hope Sterilized Mosquitoes Will Wipe Themselves Out

By Andrew Moseman | May 22, 2008 1:49 pm

Mosquitoes carry malaria, dengue and other deadly diseases.The best way to confront a mosquito problem might be to release millions more mosquitoes — if the new batch of bugs harbors a Trojan Horse to kill future generations.

The mosquitoes in question are prolific carriers of the virus causing dengue fever, which afflicts about 50 million people per year. Malaysia saw more then 30,000 cases and 67 deaths from dengue in 2007, according to the Hong Kong government’s Travel Health Service.

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Big Sugar Rears Its Big Bitter Head

By Lizzie Buchen | April 29, 2008 11:03 am


A few months ago at a party, one of my friends pulled a group of us aside, pulled an inconspicuous clear plastic bag out of his pocket, and cautiously opened it as we peered inside. The bag contained a small handful of red berries—magical berries, he proclaimed—which would completely alter our reality. He’d been under the mind-warping influence of such berries before, and was able to get his hands on them in San Francisco. Eat these berries, and afterwards… everything tastes sweet.

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MORE ABOUT: health policy, sugar

Organ Transplants Gone Horribly Awry

By Melissa Lafsky | April 8, 2008 4:55 pm

istock_000004949780small.jpgTransplanting organs is an inherently risky business, as the powerful immune-suppressing drugs that allow recipients’ bodies to accept new organs can readily cause infection, cancer, and other health problems. But if the organ itself is diseased, the results can be devastating. The AP reports that 15-year-old Alex Koehne, whose parents agreed to donate his organs once they learned he was close to dying of bacterial meningitis, in fact died of a rare form of lymphoma that wasn’t found until his autopsy. As a result, the patients who received his liver, pancreas, and kidneys also developed the same cancer.

Two of them died, while the kidney recipients are currently undergoing treatment for the disease.

Meanwhile, the family of Tony Grier—a transplant recipient who died after receiving a cancerous lung—suing the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the doctors who performed the transplant. His family claims that hospital officials told Grier he was getting the healthy lungs of an 18-year-old (a claim that the hospital denies) while in fact, the lungs came from a 31-year-old woman who smoked heavily and may have had a history of illegal drug use. Read More

MORE ABOUT: cancer, health policy

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