Genetic Mutation In Small Group Of Amish People May Hold The Key To Longer Lives
The Amish people involved in the study had unusually low levels of a certain protein mostly associated with blood clotting. Carriers of the mutation live on average to age 85, about 10 years longer than their peers, and seem to be completely protected from Type 2 diabetes. In other public health news: gun violence, Zika, robotic prosthetics, and more.
The New York Times:
Amish Mutation Protects Against Diabetes And May Extend Life
Amish people living in a rural part of Indiana have a rare genetic mutation that protects them from Type 2 diabetes and appears to significantly extend their life spans, according to a new study. The findings, published on Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, shed light on the processes underlying cellular aging and could lead to new therapies for chronic diseases, some experts say. The researchers are planning at least one follow-up trial that will recreate the effects of the mutation so they can study its impact on obese people with insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. (O'Connor, 11/15)
What If We Treated Gun Violence Like A Public Health Crisis?
When U.S. officials feared an outbreak of the Zika virus last year, the Department of Health and Human Services and state officials kicked into high gear. They tested mosquitoes neighborhood by neighborhood in Miami and other hot Gulf Coast communities where the virus was likely to flourish. They launched outreach campaigns to encourage people to use bug spray. And they pushed the development of a vaccine. (Kodjak, 11/15)
A Baby Exposed To Zika Virus Is Doing Well, One Year Later
Two years ago, when the Zika virus was first identified as the cause of microcephaly in babies, women were scared. Expectant mothers who got infected had no idea what the chances were of having a healthy baby. Researchers have since learned that while Zika infection is dangerous, about 94 percent of babies born to women infected with Zika appear to be normal at birth. (Simmons-Duffin, 11/15)
The Washington Post:
New Robotic Hand Named After Luke Skywalker Helps Amputee Touch And Feel Again
Keven Walgamott wasn’t sure what to expect when scientists first hooked up what was left of his arm to a computer. Last year — 14 years after he lost his hand and part of his arm in an electrical accident — he heard about a team at the University of Utah working on an experimental robotic arm. The prosthetic hand and fingers would be controlled by an amputee’s own nerves. Even more challenging, researchers were trying to restore the sense of touch to amputees through that robotic hand. (Wan, 11/15)
Young, Healthy And Planning For Death
Most people want to live and die on their own terms. But having the death one wants requires having a conversation about wishes and putting them in writing: how much medical intervention you want, whom you want visiting you, where you want to be cared for. It’s called advance care planning. A lot of Americans are putting it off till they’re older ... or not doing it at all. About two-thirds of adults in the U.S don’t have an advance care plan, according to a report published in July, even though Medicare and some private insurers will pay doctors to have these conversations and fill out advanced directives documenting end-of-life wishes with patients. In 2015, only 7 percent of people ages 18 to 29 had an advance directive. (Horton, 11/15)
Pop-Ow! 'Popeye' Deformity Can Be A Painful Armful
A 79-year-old man picked up an object with his left hand and suddenly felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. Something moved in his upper arm. And with that, he was Popeye. His right arm looked the same as it always had: lean and sagging a little with age. But his left biceps now sported a baseball-size bulge that looked like it could land a powerful punch. The brand-new muscle mound looked even bigger when the man flexed his biceps. The only thing was, it hurt. A lot. (Bichell, 11/15)