from the world's big
France Just Radically Changed its Organ Donation Policy
Today, a person’s organs will be harvested, whether or not their family is against it.
Think of a place where you go periodically where you are around about 20 people. It can be your job, a classroom, or when you’re amongst fellow commuters on your daily ride to work. Now, picture those people vanishing, one by one before your very eyes, never to return. There is nothing anyone can do. And it doesn’t happen once, but over and over, day after day. Sound like the plot of a horror movie? It’s reality. 22 people are lost each day in the US waiting for a healthy organ for transplant.
Over 119,000 names are on the national transplant waiting list as you read this. Every ten minutes, another name is added. These are fathers, mothers, siblings, partners, and someday if your luck runs out, maybe even you. 30,970 transplants occurred in the US in 2015, the highest number on record. The rest wait and hope to get lucky.
There are some urban legends out there, such as first responders not administering lifesaving procedures if the person is an organ donor, which it goes without saying is patently false. However, there is an extreme shortage of organs the world over. And out of 1,000 deaths, only three people leave suitable organs. To compound the issue further, there aren’t enough donors on the list. While 95% of Americans say they support organ donation, only 48% are donors themselves.
Western Europe has a similar problem. There, the UK has one of the lowest rates of consent. A record number of transplants occurred in that country last year. Even so, the UK is 80% short of its target, which is supposed to be met by 2020. Relative opposition is one of the biggest stumbling blocks. Relatives can veto the process even if the person is registered to be a donor. In the EU, 86,000 were on the organ transplant list in 2014. Today a good percentage, around 19,000, are French nationals. Because of this, French MPs have taken a radical step to narrow the gap.
Viable organs for transplant are scarce. France is attempting to remove some roadblocks.
Starting January 1, instead of actively selecting to be an organ donor, adults in France will automatically be enrolled. There is an option to abstain, but you have to officially opt out. Currently the national refusal register (Registre National des Refus) has 150,000 people in its database. One can sign up online, however. So it isn’t terribly inconvenient. The process is even outlined on the bureau’s Facebook page. Those who are opposed who do not register, can leave a signed letter or even tell their loved one orally, which must be put into writing and given to their doctor at the time of death.
One shocking element, the person’s organs are harvested, whether or not the family supports it. This is because previous to the new law, when someone’s wishes weren’t made clear before their death, and relatives were approached about the subject of donation, the family refused up to 40% of the time. Health minister Marisol Touraine proposed this change in policy. In the new wording of the law, family members will be “told” of their loved ones organ donation rather than “consulted.” According to Socialist MP Michèle Delaunay, family members grieving over the death of a loved one often refuse donation initially, and later on regret it.
The law wasn’t without opposition. Around 270 healthcare professionals, mostly doctors and nurses, signed a petition against the new rules. Besides questioning its ethical stance, petitioners say the law could put more static between relatives and hospital staff during a trying time. One surgeon said it would make some family members “maddened” and even “unmanageable.”
French organ donation organizations were happy, as one might expect. One such group, Greffe de Vie, said it could save 500 to 1,000 lives per year, by its estimates. Other nations in Europe have similar systems, such as Spain, Austria, and Wales. Though controversy can crop up, research has shown that such a policy can boost organ donation. Other countries are also considering changes to their policies. This isn’t the only attempt by the French government boost organ donation. A film about it aimed at 15 to 25 year-olds was released last November, promoted by the Agence de la Biomédecine.
To learn more, click here:
Join The Daily Show comedian Jordan Klepper and elite improviser Bob Kulhan live at 1 pm ET on Tuesday, July 14!
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."