Groundbreaking Drugs Could Revolutionize Cancer Treatment. But There’s One Big Hold-Up.
Only a small percentage of patients are willing to test them out. In other public health news: the dangers of blinds; the link between sugary diets during pregnancy and asthma; vaping; probiotics; the human brain; yoga; and more.
Cancer Treatment Progress Stunted By Lack Of Volunteers
As recent years have seen great progress in treating cancer, the country’s second leading cause of death with almost 600,000 people dying from it last year, American researchers are struggling to keep the momentum. While they have developed more than 2,000 immunotherapy drugs, only five percent of patients are willing to test them. (Booker, 12/10)
Window Blind Cords Still Pose A Deadly Risk To Children
Andrea Sutton, a mom in Firestone, Colo., was trying to put her 3-year-old son Daniel down for a nap, but he wasn't having it. It was January, too cold for him to burn off much energy outside, and he was restless. She read him some books to settle him down and then left him to fall asleep. She returned with her 4-year-old daughter a little while later to check on him. They found him hanging from the cord of the window blinds, wearing like a necklace the V-shaped strings above a wooden knob that lowers when the blinds go up. (Haelle, 12/11)
The New York Times:
Sugary Diet During Pregnancy May Increase Asthma Risk In Children
Women who consume lots of sugar during pregnancy may increase the risk for asthma in their children, researchers report. Previous studies have suggested that poor diet and obesity are linked to the current increases in childhood asthma. This new study, in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, implicates sugary drinks and fructose, or fruit sugar. (Bakalar, 12/8)
The New York Times:
Some Older Smokers Turn To Vaping. That May Not Be A Bad Idea.
Jeannie Cox currently enjoys a flavor called Coffee & Cream when she vapes. She’s also fond of White Lotus, which tastes “kind of fruity.” She buys those nicotine-containing liquids, along with her other e-cigarette supplies, at Mountain Oak Vapors in Chattanooga, Tenn., where she lives. A retired secretary in her 70s, she’s often the oldest customer in the shop. Not that she cares. What matters is that after ignoring decades of doctors’ warnings and smoking two packs a day, she hasn’t lit up a conventional cigarette in four years and four months. (Span, 12/8)
Could Probiotics Protect Kids From A Downside Of Antibiotics?
It's a typical hectic morning at Michele Comisky's house in Vienna, Va., when she gets a knock on her front door. "Hi, how are you?" Comisky says as she greets Keisha Herbin Smith, a research assistant at Georgetown University. "Come on in." Comisky, 39, leads Herbin Smith into her kitchen. (Stein, 12/11)
The Washington Post:
Tour The Magnificent Ins And Outs Of The Human Brain
Your brain may be the most miraculous thing about you. Think about it: Its processing power would put the most powerful computer to shame.It’s the control center for a dizzying number of physical tasks. And it makes you you — not bad for a big lump of grayish matter. So why not feed your brain by learning more about it? It’s easy, thanks to the Harvard Brain Tour, a virtual journey through brains’ innate capacities and the discoveries they’ve prompted throughout the century. (Blakemore, 12/10)
The Washington Post:
More Older People Are Doing Yoga, But They Are Also Racking Up Injuries
Yoga may hold a key to aging well, suggests a growing body of research into its potential benefits for body and mind — benefits that include reducing heart rate and blood pressure, relieving anxiety and depression, and easing back pain. One recent study even raised the possibility of positive changes in biological markers of aging and stress in people who do yoga. So it’s no surprise that the number of yoga practitioners in the United States has more than doubled to 36.7 million over the last decade, with health benefits the main reason people practice, according to the Yoga in America Study conducted last year on behalf of Yoga Journal and the Yoga Alliance. (Krucoff, 12/10)
This Year, Consider Giving Presence Instead Of Presents
During the holiday season, many of us feel pressure to find our loved ones the "perfect" gift. Why? Because gift-giving has long been considered a prime way to express love. However, recent research suggests that gestures don't need to be large or have a hefty price tag to feel meaningful. The study, published this summer in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, suggests that small acts of kindness, not grand overtures, make people feel most loved and supported. (Fraga, 12/9)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Scientists Aim To Wipe Out Dementia And Other Diseases Of Aging
In 1997, when Japanese researchers accidentally discovered a gene variant that appeared to speed up aging in lab mice — which they stumbled upon while conducting an unrelated study on high blood pressure — they named it Klotho. ...[Dena] Dubal’s lab runs one of dozens of research initiatives under way at Bay Area universities, institutions and biotech firms — some funded by a new influx of venture capital — that show promise that modern medicine may be able to eradicate or prevent diseases for which aging is the biggest risk factor. (Ho, 12/8)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Skip The Pillbox — The Answer To Taking Your Medicine Might Be In Your Hand
American adults who grew up without the Internet and once didn’t see the value in getting a smartphone or downloading dozens of apps are increasingly seeking out new technologies. ...But one major challenge: The employees creating the app are often a couple of generations distant from their user base. (Thadani, 12/8)
Reverberations From War Complicate Vietnam Veterans’ End-Of-Life Care
Many of Ron Fleming’s fellow soldiers have spent the last five decades trying to forget what they saw — and did — in Vietnam. But Fleming, now 74, has spent most of that time trying to hold onto it. He’s never been as proud as he was when he was 21. Fleming was a door gunner in the war, hanging out of a helicopter on a strap with a machine gun in his hands. He fought in the Tet Offensive of 1968, sometimes for 40 hours straight, firing 6,000 rounds a minute. But he never gave much thought to catching a bullet himself. (Dembosky, 12/11)