CDC’s Forbidden Words and Self Censoring

“CDC Officials have confirmed the existence of a list of forbidden words.”

On December 15th The Washington Post reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is banned from using such words as “science-based,” “evidence- based,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “vulnerable,” and “fetus.” The CDC has been urged not to include these words in the budget materials sent to the White House for approval.  Although the policy analysts at the CDC were given alternative phrases to use for science- based and evidence- based, the other terms were given no alternatives.

It seems clear from the New York Times article published December 16th that “forbidden” and “banned” was not accurate. According The New York Times, the CDC seems to be self censoring the language they plan to use when submitting requests for more money. However, this direct and abrupt change in language still speaks to the effect the Trump Administration is having on healthcare issues.

From this information it can be inferred that the CDC feels the need to self censor their proposals in gaining funding for disease research that would pertain to “fetus” or “transgender” issues. As of current, there are two specific programs the CDC supports that pertain to those phrases. “The CDC’s work on birth defects caused by the Zika virus includes research on the developing fetus,” and the CDC’S literature on HIV awareness and prevention among transgender people has identified transgender- specific research. Without including these very specific words in budget documents, the CDC is trying to protect the funding for certain projects.

In the past, the CDC has seen bipartisan support for their work in the identification, control, education, and prevention of diseases. However, these new changes may make it difficult to implement effective public health actions. Narrowing the scope on how diseases are researched can have adverse affects on the general public.

It is yet to be determined what the impact of the exclusion of these words will have on the disease research, but it is evident that “evidence-based,” “diversity,” “entitlement,” “fetus,” and “transgender” issues are not seen as a priority for the current government.

Gene Therapy

The FDA has just approved the first gene therapy treatment.

The gene therapy is a way to treat damaged, mutated, or harmful genes that cause diseases. As of December 19th 2017, individuals born with retinal dystrophy now have access to a cure through gene therapy.

By either replacing or controlling the gene that causes the disease, gene therapy can treat inherited diseases that previously had no cure. This is a huge step for those who have retinal dystrophy, “a rare condition that destroys cells in the retina needed for healthy vision,” which causes blindness. A new gene therapy treatment called Luxturna has been proven to restore vision and allows “patients to see things they have never seen before.”

The approval of the treatment is a vastly important step for gene therapy across the health sector, however, the high cost may cause issue. “There is a widespread expectation that it [Luxturna] could cost at least $1 million to treat each patient.”  The enormous cost could render this treatment infeasible for those who need the cure.  Still this is a big milestone, and  Luxturna’s success gives hope to patients who suffer from other incurable diseases.

Top Health Related Searches of 2017

According to CNN’s analysis of Google Trends, here is a list of the most googled questions relating to health.

  1. What causes hiccups?

  2. How to stop snoring?

  3. What causes kidney stones?

  4. Why am I so tired?

  5. How long does the flu last?

  6. What is normal blood pressure?

  7. How to lower cholesterol?

  8. What causes high blood pressure?

  9. What is ADHD?

  10. What is lupus?

Below are the questions answered, according to the search results generated by Google.

1. What causes hiccups?

“The most common triggers for hiccups that last less than 48 hours include:

  • Drinking carbonated beverages

  • Drinking too much alcohol

  • Eating too much

  • Excitement or emotional stress

  • Sudden temperature changes

  • Swallowing air with chewing gum or sucking on candy. “

Read more from the Mayo Clinic.

2. How to stop snoring?

“It depends on what is causing the snoring.

There are several potential causes of snoring, as well as factors that can make snoring worse. As mentioned, age is a variable. With advancing age comes an increased likelihood of snoring. Weight is also a powerful variable. The more you weigh, the more you snore.
Drinking alcohol generally makes snoring more frequent and louder.

Same with sleeping in the supine position – on your back.

So what can you do to stop snoring?:

  • Lose weight if overweight

  • Don’t drink alcohol (at least not after 5 pm.)

  • Try to sleep on your side”

Read more from American Sleep association here.

3. What causes kidney stones?

“Kidney stones form when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid — than the fluid in your urine can dilute. At the same time, your urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form.”

“Eating a diet that’s high in protein, sodium (salt) and sugar may increase your risk of some types of kidney stones. This is especially true with a high-sodium diet. Too much salt in your diet increases the amount of calcium your kidneys must filter and significantly increases your risk of kidney stones.”

To read more about kidney stones on the Mayo Clinic website, click here.

4. Why am I so tired?

Although there is no easy answer to people searching for the answer to this question, there is a lot of literature out there on the internet. If you find this is a persistent problem for you, be sure to talk to a doctor.

From amenia to thyroid problems are medical reasons for why you may be tired, but there are also day to day habits that may cause you to feel groggy .

According to WebMD, Five Common reasons for tiredness are:

  1. What you eat.

  2. How much water you drink.

  3. How much you sleep.

  4. How much you exercise.

  5. What you do to handle stress.

To read more from WebMD, follow this link.

5. How long does the flu last?

“Symptoms usually appear from one to four days after exposure to the virus, and they last five to seven days. For people who’ve had a flu shot, the symptoms may last a shorter amount of time, or be less severe. For other people, the symptoms may last longer.”

To learn more about the flu, visit the Harvard Medical School Harvard Health Publishing article.

6. What is normal blood pressure?

“Normal (optimal) range of less than 120/80 mm Hg.”

To read more, visit the American Heart Association website.

7. How to lower cholesterol?

 1. Eat heart- healthy foods

 2. Exercise on most days of the week and increase your physical activity

 3. Quit Smoking

 4. Lose weight

 5. Drink alcohol only in moderation

Read more from Mayo Clinic here.

8. What causes high blood pressure?

According to an article published by Medical News Today, the following list of causes has been linked to high blood pressure.

1) Age

2) Family history

3) Temperature

4) Ethnic background

5) Obesity and overweight

6) Some aspects of gender

7) Physical inactivity

8) Smoking

9) Alcohol intake

10) High salt intake

11) High fat diet

12) Mental stress

13) Diabetes

14) Psoriasis

15) Pregnancy

Read the in-depth article here.

9. What is ADHD?

According to the American Psychiatric Association:

“Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).”

Read more here.

10. What is lupus?

“Lupus is a serious disease that can affect anyone. It is most often diagnosed in young women, between the ages of 15 and 44. While the cause is not known, lupus is an autoimmune disease – in which your immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake – that can potentially damage many parts of the body. There is no known cure for lupus, though effective treatments are available.”

Learn more about Lupus from the Lupus Research Alliance website.