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Why Your Doctor Wants to Talk about Guns

September 28, 2018

(CNN) – our doctor already talks to you about sex, drugs and alcohol, but should they talk to you about guns, too? A newly-formed coalition of healthcare providers thinks so — and patient intervention is just one part of their plan to reduce what they call an “epidemic” of gun violence. The organization, Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic, known as SAFE, is demanding an increase in federal funding for gun violence research, and is calling on lawmakers to implement “evidence-based policy” on guns.

When Conventional Wisdom Is Put on Trial

September 28, 2018

(Undark) – Leigh, a former economist at Australian National University, fills his account with tantalizing examples that reinforce the Scared Straight lesson: When we go with our gut, we’re often wrong. Making teenage girls care for a demanding baby doll does not diminish, but according to one study actually doubles their risk of teen pregnancy. (Those baby dolls are cute.) Advancing microcredit in the developing world does not significantly raise household income. (It just puts people in debt.) Annual physicals do nothing to prevent illness.

World’s First Human Case of Rat Disease Discovered

September 28, 2018

(CNN) – For the first time, a case of rat hepatitis E has been discovered in a human in Hong Kong. A 56-year-old man has been diagnosed with the disease, researchers from the University of Hong Kong said. It was not previously known the disease could be passed from rats to humans.

In the Race to Use Genetic Tests to Predict Whether Antidepressants Will Work, Science Might Be Getting Left Behind

September 28, 2018

(STAT News) – With the new test (part of a $249 product), Color joins several dozen companies probing patients’ DNA in search of insights to help inform decisions about which psychiatry medications patients should take. They’re touting applications for depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But some top psychiatrists say the evidence doesn’t support the commercial rush.

Recent Research Sheds New Light on Why Nicotine Is So Addictive

September 28, 2018

(Scientific American) – Although our society currently finds itself focused on the tragic epidemic of opioid overdoses, there remains no better example of the deadly power of addiction than nicotine. The measure of a drug’s addictiveness is not how much pleasure (or reward) it causes but how reinforcing it is—that is, how much it leads people to keep using it. Nicotine does not produce the kind of euphoria or impairment that many other drugs like opioids and marijuana do. People do not get high from smoking cigarettes or vaping. Yet nicotine’s powerful ability to reinforce its relatively mild rewards results in 480,000 deaths annually.

Kingdom Surrogacy Law Set to Lift Burden from ‘Victims’

September 28, 2018

(The Phnom Penh Post) – Hundreds of rights organisations from 18 countries campaigned for “a global ban on women’s womb rental” on Monday during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. Exhorting heads of governments to implement a ban on surrogacy and to stop funding UN agencies that advocate its legalisation, they issued a statement which read: “Surrogacy is a serious violation of the rights and dignity of women and children. It is a form of women’s reproductive exploitation and it treats newborns as commodities.”

Uterus Transplantation–Ethically Just as Problematic as Altruistic Surrogacy

September 28, 2018

(Science Daily) – In 2014, the first child to have been gestated in a donated uterus was born. Although research into uterus transplantation is still in an early phase, many see the donations as a success. Researchers have now studied ethical aspects of uterus transplantation. The results show that uterus transplantation with living donors is ethically just as problematic as altruistic surrogacy.

‘A National Emergency’: Suicide Rate Spikes Among Young US Veterans

September 27, 2018

(The Guardian) – Suicide rates have jumped substantially among young military veterans, according to new data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans aged 18 to 34 have higher rates of suicide than any other age group, the VA says in its National Suicide Data Report. The rate for those young veterans increased to 45 suicide deaths per 100,000 population in 2016, up from 40.4 in 2015, even as the overall veteran suicide rate decreased slightly, according to a copy of the report reviewed by the Guardian.

On the Trail of a Deadly Disease That Cuts Down Farmworkers in Their Prime

September 27, 2018

(Bloomberg) – As its name indicates, the causes of [chronic kidney disease of unknown origin] are poorly understood. What’s not in question is that it’s deadly. Symptoms—including vomiting, exhaustion, and weight loss—often don’t appear until the disease is well advanced, by which time damage to the kidneys cannot be reversed. Without access to dialysis or a kidney transplant, there’s little hope of survival. CKDu first gained international recognition for its impact on sugar cane workers in Nicaragua, where it’s killed at least 20,000 young men in the past decade, according to experts who describe it as an epidemic.

Biomarkers in Spinal Fluid Offer Method for Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

September 27, 2018

(UPI) – Researchers have developed a spinal fluid test that can accurately identify most patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a clinical study. By tapping amyloid and tau levels in cerebrospinal fluid, Columbia University neurologists may have found a reliable way to help diagnose the disease. The findings were published this week in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Give-up-itis: When People Just Give Up and Die

September 27, 2018

(The Conversation) – The term give-up-itis was coined by medical officers during the Korean War (1950-1953). They described it as a condition where a person develops extreme apathy, gives up hope, relinquishes the will to live and dies, despite the lack of an obvious physical cause. The medical officers also noted that the lucidity and sanity of give-up-itis victims were never in question and no observation of psychosis or depression has ever been reported, even up to death.

Instagram Has a Drug Problem. Its Algorithms Make It Worse

September 27, 2018

(Los Angeles Times) – Instagram is known for its celebrity posts and photos of enviable vacations. But it has also become a sizable open marketplace for advertising illegal drugs. The company has pledged a crackdown in recent weeks, but it is struggling to keep pace with its own algorithms and systems, which serve up an array of personalized drug-related content aimed directly at people who show an interest in buying substances illicitly.

Infanticide in Kenya: ‘I Was Told to Kill My Disabled Boy’

September 27, 2018

(BBC) – Ms Njoki and Ms Kipchumba are not alone. A new study in Kenya has found that 45% of mothers interviewed by a leading charity faced pressure to kill their babies born with disabilities. The survey found that the situation was worse in rural areas – where the figure could be as high as two in every three mothers. Most of the women interviewed by Disability Rights International said their children were considered “cursed, bewitched and possessed” and that a belief prevailed that the mothers were being punished for their sins, including being “unfaithful to their husbands”.

Combined Birth Control May Reduce Ovarian Cancer Risk

September 27, 2018

(CNN) – Use of contemporary birth control pills, patches or rings that contain both estrogen and progestin was linked to a reduced risk for ovarian cancer in women of reproductive age, according to a new study published in the medical journal BMJ.  The findings from the observational study backed up prior data that showed similar results with the use of older forms of oral birth control, widely used until the 1980s.

Insulin Prices Could Be Much Lower and Drug Makers Would Still Make Healthy Profits

September 27, 2018

(STAT News) – As prices for diabetes treatments continue to roil consumers, a new study suggests that manufacturers could make both human and analog insulins at low costs and still pocket a profit. After analyzing expenses for ingredients, production, and delivery, among other things, the researchers contend that the price for a year’s supply of human insulin could be $48 to $71 a person and between $78 and $133 for analog insulins, which are genetically altered forms that are known as rapid or long-acting treatments.

A Dual Origin for Blood Vessels

September 27, 2018

(Nature) – Blood-cell lineages and the endothelial cells that line the interior of blood vessels have an intertwined biology and interrelated embryonic origins. Our current knowledge indicates that endothelial cells differentiate directly from one of the three main cell layers of the early embryo (the mesoderm), and that a subset of endothelial cells subsequently gives rise to haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), from which adult blood cells derive. In a paper in Nature, Plein et al. reveal a second origin for endothelial cells, and refine our understanding of the relationship between the endothelial and blood lineages.

What’s the Dollar Cost of Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s?

September 27, 2018

(U.S. News & World Report) – Almost $200,000 over the course of two years. That is the cost of the care that a family member typically gives a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. That’s according to a new study that attempted to put a price tag on the burden of the day-to-day help that millions of folks with the memory-robbing disease need for shopping, cooking, cleaning, eating, taking medicine and looking after their well-being.

Ketamine Gives Hope to Patients with Severe Depression. But Some Clinics Stray from the Science and Hype Its Benefits

September 26, 2018

(STAT News) – An investigation by STAT shows that Kalypso’s sweeping claims are hardly uncommon in the booming ketamine treatment business. Dozens of free-standing clinics have opened across the U.S. in recent years to provide the drug to patients who are desperate for an effective therapy and hopeful ketamine can help. But the investigation found wide-ranging inconsistencies among clinics, from the screening of patients to the dose and frequency of infusions to the coordination with patients’ mental health providers. A number of clinics stray from recommendations issued last year by the American Psychiatric Association.

Survival After Cardiac Arrest May Depend on Which EMS Agency Shows Up

September 26, 2018

(Reuters) – Whether you survive a cardiac arrest may depend, at least in part, on which emergency medical services agency shows up to treat you, a new study suggests.  Researchers found a wide variation in cardiac arrest survival rates depending on which EMS agency provided initial treatment, according to the study published in JAMA Cardiology. In fact, the odds of surviving to hospital discharge could vary by more than 50 percent for two similar patients treated by two randomly selected EMS agencies.

Why Chinese Medicine Is Heading for Clinics Around the World

September 26, 2018

(Nature) – And next year sees the crowning moment for Choi’s committee, when the WHO’s governing body, the World Health Assembly, adopts the 11th version of the organization’s global compendium — known as the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). For the first time, the ICD will include details about traditional medicines. The global reach of the reference source is unparalleled. The document categorizes thousands of diseases and diagnoses and sets the medical agenda in more than 100 countries.

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