USA Today – With Congress stalled on health care, blacks still looking within their communities to bridge health disparities

For four days in late July, pastors, deacons and folks running church kitchens and health ministries gathered in the Birmingham church to discuss a range of issues, including health concerns disproportionately affecting African Americans in their congregations and communities. It was one of several efforts nationwide aimed at helping close the health gap between blacks and whites. In other places, barbers are checking customer’s blood pressures, local corner stores are stocking shelves with fresh produce, and some preachers are even banning fried chicken from Sunday church dinners.

Huffington Post – Loneliness could be a greater threat than obesity

Obesity-related illness has become a leading cause of death worldwide. But researchers now claim that, despite the accelerated prevalence of obesity, a “loneliness epidemic” in western societies could actually be a more urgent threat to public health.

HealthDay – Decline in kids’ ear infections linked to pneumococcal vaccine

American kids’ ear infections dropped threefold over 10 years, compared to the 1980s, largely due to pneumococcal vaccines that protect against one type of bacteria that causes them, a new study suggests. However, the study, which tracked more than 600 children from 2006 to 2016, also found a shift in the bacteria now triggering greater numbers of ear infections. The investigators also found that these germs are not killed by amoxicillin, the top-recommended antibiotic for the condition.

New York Times – Republican senator is on a mission to rescue the health care law

Senator Lamar Alexander voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act numerous times and wanted it gone. Now he is trying to save it — at least for the moment. The Republican effort to overturn the law is in shambles and the insurance program itself is in serious trouble, leaving Mr. Alexander to try to pick up the pieces. And he is doing so in a way that is virtually unheard-of in today’s Washington — an overtly and unashamedly bipartisan approach.