How A Cholesterol-Related Gene Could Be Key To Cracking Alzheimer’s Prevention
Research on the APOE gene has been shunted aside in favor of focusing on beta-amyloid protein fragments. But after following a case study on a woman who didn't get Alzheimer's when she should have, there could be a sea change. In other public health news: bike helmets, hypnotherapy, and breast cancer.
Neglected Gene Plays Bigger Role In Alzheimer's Than Suspected
Just days after news that an ultra-rare form of a cholesterol-related gene called APOE protected a Colombian woman from developing early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (as one of her other genes supposedly fated her to), a second study is providing even stronger evidence that APOE might be the basis for preventing or treating Alzheimer’s. In the largest and clearest calculation yet of how the three different forms of APOE affect the risk of old-age Alzheimer’s (not the rare form that strikes in people’s 40s), scientists found that one variant raises the risk more than previously estimated. A second lowers it more than less rigorous studies reported — by a whopping 99.6% compared to the highest-risk DNA. (Begley, 11/11)
The New York Times:
Experts Back Mandatory Bike Helmets But Not All Cyclists Are Sold
It is a message that was drilled into bicyclists when they were children learning to ride for the first time: Wear your helmet so that you do not crack your skull. In some states, that is the law — for minors, anyway. But there are no statewide laws mandating that all cyclists, including grown-ups, wear helmets. The National Transportation Safety Board begs to differ. (Fortin, 11/9)
The Washington Post:
Hypnotherapy As An Alternative To Anesthesia? It's Used In Some Places For Minimally-Invasive Surgeries, Preoperative Anxiety, Pain
Diane Fresquez rests on an operating table at Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc hospital in Brussels, a pale blue cap on her head. She’s having her two tiny parathyroid glands removed. But for this operation, Fresquez is awake. Cradling her head with two hands and stroking her forehead is Fabienne Roelants, an anesthesiologist who is using hypnosis to get Fresquez through the procedure. (Bruno, 11/9)
The Washington Post:
My Mom Kept Her Breast Cancer Diagnosis A Secret From Me. It’s An All-Too-Common Tale.
Just before my junior year of high school, as the last precious days of summer vacation shrank away, my mom sat me down for a serious conversation. She calmly told me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer — a year earlier. I must’ve looked at her as if I’d just witnessed someone get hit by a truck. She quickly explained that it had been localized stage one, which meant she hadn’t needed chemotherapy, just a small operation and seven weeks of radiation. She said she didn’t tell me because she didn’t want to worry me over something that was no big deal. (Hirschlag, 11/9)
Kansas City Star:
Breakthrough Drug Wards Off One Of Deadliest Forms Of Cancer
They are called PARP inhibitors and they’re causing a stir of excitement and hope in cancer circles.The pills are used after surgery and chemotherapy in ovarian cancer patients like Jestila who have the BRCA gene, or so-called “breast cancer gene.” But new clinical trials found that the drugs markedly reduced the chance the cancer will come back in other patients as well. (Gutierrez, 11/9)