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What We're Reading: DOJ Investigating Police Treatment of the Mentally Ill


What We're Reading, August 30, 2016: the Justice Department is investigating police treatment of the mentally ill; researchers identify overtreatment based on imaging procedures; and 2 drug compounds may prevent the Zika virus from replicating in the body.

A new report out of Baltimore has highlighted a growing problem: police mistreatment of the mentally ill. According to the Associated Press, although police forces are trying to improve training to respond to people with mental illness who are in the throes of a crisis, there are concerns that officers aren’t adequately prepared for these situations. The Justice Department has included the treatment of mentally ill people in its civil rights investigations—which includes racial discrimination and excessive force—of police departments.

There is a need for guidelines to help physicians determine when incidental findings discovered during imaging procedures present a risk and when they do not need to be pursued. Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center found that providers have gone overboard in flagging minor abnormalities, leading to more testing and treatment, according to The Wall Street Journal. The researchers assert that there should be some instances for not disclosing incidental findings—for example, when telling the patient might result in financial, psychological, or clinical consequences. However, the recommendation is controversial because some incidental findings can significantly affect patients if providers fail to follow up.

An FDA-approved drug may help fight Zika infection by stopping the virus from replicating in the body. Researchers have been studying 2 different groups of drug compounds, one of which is approved to treat tapeworm, reported the Miami Herald. The researchers have focused their work on drug compounds with the shortest path to clinical use. The drugs still need to be tested on animals infected with the Zika virus.

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