Daily Rounds: AIDS Activists Praised; Breastfeeding Reality; New Diet Pills; Shooter’s Parents’ Shame

World Bank president Jim Kim praises activists as AIDS conference opens (The World Bank) – “As we look back on the history of this epidemic, it is hard to say that there is any one moment when the tide began to turn. Because the truth is that we have been turning back the tide of AIDS, step by painful step, for 30 years.And at nearly every turn, it is the activists, and their communities, that have led the way. It was activists and communities who devised safer sex, promoted condom use, needle exchange and virtually all the behavioral prevention we use today. It was activists who transformed drug development and regulatory processes, and involved patients in clinical research, cutting drug approval times in half in the global north.”

The ideal and the real of breastfeeding (The New York Times) – “Many new mothers are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to feed their babies nothing but breast milk for six months. Health officials have likened the failure to breast-feed to the risk of smoking during pregnancy, adding to the distress and guilt suffered by these women. But as a recent study in Scotland showed, the gap between what is ideal and what is real is insurmountable for many families. The authors, who conducted 220 face-to-face interviews, mostly with pregnant women, new mothers and their partners, concluded that more realistic, achievable goals should be set, particularly in countries like the United States and Britain, which have struggled and thus far failed to meet targets for breast-feeding.”

Who should start using new weight loss pills? (The Boston Globe) – “The approval last week of a new weight loss pill called Qsymia means that doctors will soon be able to prescribe two new drugs to help overweight people shed pounds. Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the pill Belviq, the first drug approved for obesity in 13 years. Both drugs will hit pharmacies later this year and their cost, yet to be determined, will probably be about $100 to $200 a month. I asked Dr. Richard Siegel, co-director of the Diabetes Center at Tufts Medical Center about the new medications. Here are edited excerpts from our interview. Q. Which people are most likely to benefit from these drugs? A. Both drugs were approved for those who are obese — defined as a body mass index of 30 or above — or overweight with a BMI of at least 27 and a weight-related complication such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.”

Q&A: Understanding the mindset of a shooter’s parents (Time) – “To shed light on the unique heartache suffered by the families of those who carry out such deadly attacks, Healthland spoke with Dr. Harold J. Bursztajn, a forensic psychiatrist and co-founder of the program in psychiatry and the law at Harvard Medical School. What is likely going through the minds of the parents of the alleged Colorado shooter? ‘Very often it goes in one of two extremes. Either parents get overwhelmed with feelings of shame or feelings of guilt. It is often said that no one can break your heart as much as your own child. There is a great deal of truth to that especially when you have been watching a child, for whom you had great hopes and who had a brilliant mind, slowly losing his or her grip in reality. When the tragedy occurs, there is often self-incrimination of ‘I should have done this and I should’ve known’ [on the part of the parent]. This happens especially when you’re dealing with [a child] who may be more paranoid. In general, the more paranoid and less in touch with reality a child like this is, the less likely they are to communicate any specific plans to the parents.'”

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