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Brainstorm Health: Sexual Assault’s Health Effects, Online Drug Sales

Good afternoon, readers. This is Sy.

The controversial fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is raging on. It’s a thorny issue that raises plenty of passions. But, politics aside, it’s also brought up important questions about the pervasiveness—and lasting effects—of sexual assault in America at large. And a new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine highlights how devastating those effects can be when it comes to long-term health.

The study examined hundreds of women who were, on average, 54 years old and experienced some sort of sexual harassment or assault in their past. Researchers set out to see whether such incidents were associated, over the long term, with problematic health outcomes such as higher blood pressure, elevated anxiety, and sleep disorders.

As we regularly note at Brainstorm Health Daily, correlation doesn’t equal causation. Still, the findings were striking. “Women with a history of sexual harassment had significantly higher systolic blood pressure (SBP), marginally higher diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and significantly poorer sleep quality than women without a history of harassment,” wrote the study authors.

There’s more: “Women with a history of sexual assault had higher depressive symptoms, anxiety, and poorer sleep quality than women without a history of sexual assault.”

High blood pressure and anxiety (conditions which may actually feed each other) are also related to poorer cardiovascular health and similar conditions. Which makes another statistic, noted by the researchers, even more concerning—an “estimated 40% to 75% of women have experienced workplace sexual harassment, and over 1 in 3 women (36%) have experienced sexual assault.”

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

Consumers flock to an online ‘Dallas Buyers Club.’ Reuters reports that frustrated consumers are taking to the Internet to snag new prescription drugs from a service that dubs itself as a “legal” version of the “Dallas Buyers Club.” The company is Amsterdam-based Social Medwork—and it’s hired the likes of former EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes to its supervisory board. Okay, so the Dallas Buyers Club label is a bit misleading; unlike that effort, Medwork is a legal service that requires a prescription and a doctor’s letter. But it speaks to the frustrations of patients who can’t get the medicines the want, and the lengths they’ll go to in order to acquire them. (Reuters)

INDICATIONS

The real price of drug R&D. The pharmaceutical lobby often holds up the high cost of research and development as a shield against drug pricing critics. But there’s a whole lot of nuance to those claims, according to a new study. In fact (and, keep in mind, this is a complicated picture), the median estimated costs for pivotal trials needed to approve 59 new drugs in 2015 and 2016 were just $19 million(Endpoints News)

REQUIRED READING

Walmart Is Massive, But Its International CEO Still Sweats the Small Stuffby Claire Zillman

Drybar CEO Alli Webb Proves You Don’t Need a Traditional Background to Build a Business Empireby Lisa Marie Segarra

Wi-Fi Is About to Get a Lot Easier to Understandby Chris Morris

A Combat Vet Exits Mayoral Race to Seek PTSD Treatmentby Ellen McGirt

Produced by Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

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