Gut Bacteria Identified As Culprit Of Brain Defect, Making Scientists Wonder What Other Havoc It Can Wreak
The report is the first to suggest convincingly that these bacteria may initiate disease in seemingly unrelated organs. In other public health news, lithium and bipolar disease, lead dust from firearms, vaping, a tragic medication error and cotton swabs.
The New York Times:
A Baffling Brain Defect Is Linked To Gut Bacteria, Scientists Say
Researchers have traced the cause of a baffling brain disorder to a surprising source: a particular type of bacteria living in the gut. Scientists increasingly suspect that the body’s vast community of bacteria — the microbiome — may play a role in the development of a wide variety of diseases, from obesity to perhaps even autism. (Kolata, 5/10)
Q&A: Why Lithium Helps Only Some People With Bipolar Disorder
We still don’t have a deep understanding of the basic biology of psychiatric disease. A new paper appearing in PNAS this week, however, begins to unravel the fundamental biological mechanisms of bipolar disorder — and why the drug lithium works only in some patients. The findings suggest a means to develop next-generation psychiatric drugs that might have fewer side effects than lithium, and perhaps ultimately allow for better diagnostics of bipolar disorder. (Keshavan, 5/10)
Lead Dust At Firearms Ranges Poses A Health Risk
Firearms safety is key for people who use weapons at work or for recreational shooting. But one risk has been little acknowledged: Lead dust exposure. In a standard bullet, a solid lead core wrapped in a copper jacket sits atop a stack of gunpowder and lead primer. When the gun fires, the primer ignites, the gunpowder lights, and some of the lead on the bullet boils. When the casing snaps out of the ejection port, lead particles trail behind it. As the bullet hurtles down the barrel of the gun, a shower of lead particles follows. (Chen, 5/10)
The New York Times:
Vape Shops Want To Do Good, But Fear F.D.A. Won’t Let Them Do Well
Like so many entrepreneurs who have opened vaping shops lately, Stephen D’Angelo was a heavy smoker who finally kicked nicotine after switching to electronic cigarettes, which he viewed as a healthier — and less smelly — alternative. Mr. D’Angelo runs a 500-square-foot store on a suburban corner in Hartsdale, N.Y., and, after seven months in business, has just started to turn a profit. But now his future — and those of thousands of other vaping entrepreneurs who have gotten into the business recently — is cloudy, since new Food and Drug Administration regulations seem poised to clamp down on e-cigarettes for health reasons. (Kelly, 5/10)
Medication Error: Woman's Skin 'Melts Off'
Three years ago, a Georgia woman went to the doctor because she was depressed. The medication worked at first, but then blisters broke out all over her body. For the first two weeks, "everything was OK," said Khaliah Shaw, 26. But then, "I was in excruciating pain. It felt like I was on fire," she said. Her skin was burning from the inside out. Her sweat glands melted. The doctor had prescribed lamotrigine in 2014. (Pierrotti and Wolfe, 5/10)
Cotton Swabs Cause Thousands Of Ear Injuries Each Year, Study Finds
In 73 percent of cases, children or caregivers were attempting to clean their ears with swabs, a practice that doctors say is dangerous. There is a misconception that cotton swabs are the perfect tool for cleaning the ear canal, said Dr. Kris Jatana, an associate professor at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and an otolaryngologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. (Viviano, 5/10)