Darius Tahir

Darius Tahir

Heartbeat tracking technology raises patients’ (and doctors’) worries

By: - October 9, 2023

If someone’s heart skips a beat, tech companies want to let them know about it. Gadget firms — starting with Apple and now Fitbit, which is owned by Google — are selling wearable devices that check heartbeat rhythms and alert users when something is out of sync. These products involve some feats of technology. Many […]

FDA leader Califf battles misinformation, sometimes with fuzzy facts

By: - July 30, 2023

Robert Califf, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, doesn’t seem to be having fun on the job. “I would describe this year as hand-to-hand combat. Really, every day,” he said at an academic conference at Stanford in April. It’s a sentiment the FDA commissioner has expressed often. What’s been getting Califf’s goat? Misinformation, […]

Need to get Plan B or an HIV test online? Facebook may know about it

By: and - July 10, 2023

Looking for an at-home HIV test on CVS’ website is not as private an experience as one might think. An investigation by The Markup and KFF Health News found trackers on telling some of the biggest social media and advertising platforms the products customers viewed. And CVS is not the only pharmacy sharing this […]

How mixed messaging sows the seeds of confusion, disinformation

By: - June 17, 2023

It was a late-spring House of Representatives hearing, where members of Congress and attendees hoped to learn lessons from the pandemic. Witness Marty Makary made a plea. “I want to thank you for your attempts at civility,” Makary, a Johns Hopkins Medicine researcher and surgeon, said softly. Then his tone changed. His voice started to […]

Artificial intelligence may be in place at your doctor’s office, but it’s not ready to see patients

By: - May 28, 2023

What use could health care have for someone who makes things up, can’t keep a secret, doesn’t really know anything, and, when speaking, simply fills in the next word based on what’s come before? Lots, if that individual is the newest form of artificial intelligence, according to some of the biggest companies out there. Companies […]

Social media is fueling enthusiasm for weight loss drugs. Are regulators watching?

By: and - April 24, 2023

Suzette Zuena is her own best advertisement for weight loss. Zuena, the “founder/visionary” of LH Spa & Rejuvenation in Livingston and Madison, New Jersey, has dropped 30 pounds. Her husband has lost 42 pounds. “We go out a lot,” Zuena said of the pair’s social routine. “People saw us basically shrinking.” They would ask how […]

Behavioral telehealth loses momentum without a regulatory boost

By: - January 15, 2023

Controlled substances became a little less controlled during the pandemic. That benefited both patients (for their health) and telehealth startups (to make money). Some potentially addictive medications — like buprenorphine and Adderall — are now far more available online to patients because of regulatory changes. Given the scarcity of qualified doctors to treat some of […]

A new use for dating apps — chasing STIs

By: - December 4, 2022

Heather Meador and Anna Herber-Downey use dating apps on the job — and their boss knows it. Both are public health nurses employed by Linn County Public Health in eastern Iowa. They’ve learned that dating apps are the most efficient way to inform users that people they previously met on the sites may have exposed […]

Embedded bias: How medical records sow discrimination

By: - October 3, 2022

David Confer, a bicyclist and an audio technician, told his doctor he “used to be Ph.D. level” during a 2019 appointment in Washington, D.C. Confer, then 50, was speaking figuratively: He was experiencing brain fog — a symptom of his liver problems. But did his doctor take him seriously? Now, after his death, Confer’s partner, […]

Big employers are offering abortion benefits. But will that information stay safe?

By: - July 9, 2022

In response to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Americans’ constitutional right to abortion, large employers thought they had found a way to help workers living in states where abortions would be banned: Provide benefits to support travel to other states for services. But that solution is only triggering questions. Experts warn that simply claiming the […]

Why the war in Ukraine might make root canals more difficult in the United States

By: - June 19, 2022

Russia’s assault on Ukraine is being felt worldwide, and the U.S. health care system is not immune. Both Russia and Ukraine are powerhouses in supplying certain commodities — in this case, ammonium nitrate and natural gas. These commodities, after being refined, can produce two gases crucial for the health care system: nitrous oxide, popularly known […]