Rejecting Science; Healthcare Bill; Climate Change Diseases

The New War on Science: Why People Reject Good Data

Four recurring themes regarding why people reject science have been identified by social psychology researchers, giving insight into how trust in science can be restored.

  1. Skepticism of the messenger: If people find the source not credible, biased, lacking expertise, or having an agenda, they will more easily reject information.

  2. Pride creates prejudice: People whose identities are built around labels or certain social groups tend to dismiss information that appears to threaten their identity.

  3. Holding on to long-held beliefs: It’s easier for people to reject new information that goes against what they believe to be true, right, or important.

  4. Science isn’t easily explained: Complicated new scientific information is often presented in a way that’s difficult for people to understand.

Warm and inclusive wins: The researchers found warmer approaches that are inclusive to general audiences to be beneficial when communicating scientific messages.

Healthcare, Prescription Drugs Included in Major Funding Bill

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which includes major provisions for healthcare and prescription drug costs, was passed on Sunday by the Senate and heads to the House this week.

Healthcare changes: The package caps out-of-pocket prescription drug costs at $2000 for seniors and helps Americans pay for private insurance by lowering insurance premiums.

Negotiated drug prices: The legislation also allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with drug manufacturers, saving the federal government a projected $288 billion during the 10-year budget window.

In addition to healthcare and drug cost changes, the bill also allocates $375 billion over 10 years to climate change programs. The bill fell 50-50 along party lines in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaker vote.

Climate Change Can Worsen More Than Half of Infectious Diseases

Climate change can aggravate over half of known human pathogenic diseases, according to new research.

Worsened disease: The researchers linked 286 infectious diseases to specific climate change hazards. Of those diseases, 58% were worsened. Only nine conditions showed any benefit associated with the climate change.

Broadened habitat: One key finding was that warming and increased precipitation broadened the habitat of many pathogens. It also brought many pathogens and vectors like mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, birds, and mammals closer to people.

Encroached habitat: People are also moving closer to pathogenic hazards. For example, many people have sought refuge from record heat with water activities, thus increasing their exposure to water-borne illnesses.

“If we’re looking at the spread of some more serious or rare diseases in areas, to me then the answer is…we need to be aggressively mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s start with the source,” said Tristan McKenzie, PhD, a co-author of the study.

Kaitlin Edwards is a staff medical editor based in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @kaitmedwards. For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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