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Daily Rounds: Akin's Not Alone On 'Nuts' Rape Ideas; Steward's Maine Expansion; Burnt Out Docs: A Black Man's Sleeplessness

Health Experts Dismiss Assertions On Rape (The New York Times) — "The idea that during rape, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” to prevent pregnancy, as Mr. Akin said, has surfaced periodically among anti-abortion advocates over the past two decades, usually involving the term “forcible rape” to refer to what Mr. Akin called “legitimate.” Dr. John C. Willke, a general practitioner with obstetric training and a former president of the National Right to Life Committee, was an early proponent of this view, articulating it in a book originally published in 1985 and again in a 1999 article. He reiterated it in an interview Monday. “This is a traumatic thing — she’s, shall we say, she’s uptight,” Dr. Willke said of a woman being raped, adding, “She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic.” Leading experts on reproductive health, however, dismissed this logic. “There are no words for this — it is just nuts,” said Dr. Michael Greene, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School."

Steward health System Signs Letter Of Intent To Buy Mercy Health System Of Maine (The Boston Globe) — "Pushing forward with its plans to expand out of state, Steward Health Care System LLC, which has amassed a chain of 10 community hospitals in Massachusetts, signed a letter of intent to buy financially struggling Mercy Health System of Maine from a Catholic hospital group. The letter, which does not spell out financial terms, gives Boston-based Steward exclusive rights to negotiate with Mercy’s owner, Catholic Hospital East, a Pennsylvania-based network of 35 hospitals and other health care facilities operating in 11 states from Maine to Florida. If the talks succeed, the parties would reach an asset purchase agreement converting 140-bed Mercy from a nonprofit to investor-owned. The deal would be subject to approval by Maine regulators as well as Vatican officials, who signed off on Steward’s 2010 acquisition of a half dozen Caritas Christi Health Care Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts."

Nearly Half Of U.S. Doctors Struggling With Burnout (Reuters via NBC News) — "Job burnout strikes doctors more often than it does other employed Americans, according to a national survey out Monday. More than four in 10 physicians across the nation said they were emotionally exhausted or felt a high degree of cynicism, or "depersonalization," toward their patients, researchers found. "This high rate of burnout has consequences not only for the individual physicians, but also for the patients they are caring for," said Dr. Tait Shanafelt of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who led the research. Previous studies have shown burned-out doctors are more prone to thinking about suicide and to making medical errors than are their peers, Shanafelt added. The survey, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, is the first to evaluate burnout rates nationally across different medical specialties. It includes nearly 7,300 doctors who filled in questionnaires about their work-life balance in 2011."

How Well You Sleep May Hinge On Race (The New York Times) — "Moleendo Stewart can’t say for sure what’s caused his lifelong sleeping problems. But he has his suspicions. There’s the childhood spent in loud, restless neighborhoods in Miami. “You hear people shooting guns all night, dealing drugs,” said Mr. Stewart, 41, who lives in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn. He also cites his weight, 260 pounds, down from a peak of 310. Sleep experts would point to another factor working against Mr. Stewart: He is a black man. The idea that race or ethnicity might help determine how well people sleep is relatively new among sleep researchers. But in the few short years that epidemiologists, demographers and psychologists have been studying the link, they have repeatedly come to the same conclusion: In the United States, at least, sleep is not colorblind. Non-Hispanic whites get more and better-quality sleep than people of other races, studies repeatedly show. Blacks are the most likely to get shorter, more restless sleep. What researchers don’t yet know is why."

This program aired on August 21, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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