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One Day of Work Has Optimal Mental Health Outcomes
A group of scientists has found that eight hours of work per week achieve peak mental health measures. The study, which was published in Social Science and Medicine, analyzed the link between work hours, mental health, and general well-being among more than 71,000 working-aged participants across a nine-year time span. Mental health issues decreased by approximately 30 percent when unemployed men or stay-at-home fathers worked one full, eight-hour workday. However, to see a similar gain, women only saw a similar increase after 20 hours of work. The authors noted, “Our findings support an alternative, more radical, theoretical perspective — a redistribution of working hours in society.”
WHO Urges Smarter Antibiotic Prescriptions
The World Health Organization (WHO) urged providers and healthcare professionals to exercise more caution when prescribing antibiotics. The organization provided a tool, called “AWaRe,” that measures antibiotics access, watch, and reserve to “reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events, and costs.” The global campaign aims to increase accessible antibiotics while decreasing prescriptions for drugs in the “watch” and “reserve” categories. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most urgent health risks of our time and threatens to undo a century of medical progress,” urging smarter, more precise prescribing.
HIV Prevention Pill Encouraged for At-Risk Populations
A revised set of guidelines encourages providers to offer a daily HIV-prevention pill to at-risk patients. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended “preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP)” for “the prevention of HIV infection.” Researchers noted that “the benefits vary by risk group, population subgroup, or regimen or dosing strategy.” The study analyzed the accuracy of “risk assessment tools to identify persons at high risk of HIV acquisition,” primary care’s adherence to PrEP, and the effectiveness and harms of PrEP. Researchers found “convincing evidence” that the benefits of PrEP outweighed the harms and urged providers to offer the prescription to high-risk populations.
White House Open to Reconfiguring Employer-Sponsored Insurance
The White House has laid out a 2020 rule that would afford workers a fund to shop around for insurance outside of employer-sponsored plans. Employers would contribute to a tax-exempt health reimbursement account (HRA) that would enable employees to select plans outside of employer offerings. “The goal of the final rules is to expand the flexibility and use of HRAs and other account-based group health plans to provide more Americans with additional options to obtain quality, affordable healthcare,” the rule stated.
Facebook Can Identify Health Issues
A recent study in PLOS ONE suggests social media posts can indicate health issues such as diabetes, depression, and substance abuse. Researchers from Penn Medicine and Stony Brook University scanned the post history of nearly 1,000 volunteers and compared the findings against patients’ electronic health records. Ten of the 21 conditions identifiable through Facebook were more accurately found through the app than through traditional demographics. “One challenge with this is that there is so much data and we, as providers, aren’t trained to interpret it ourselves — or make clinical decisions based on it. To address this, we will explore how to condense and summarize social media data,” said lead author Raina Merchant, MD, MS.