How Viruses Tag-Team With Bacteria To Trick Immune System By Providing A Decoy
A chance observation a few years ago has provided insight into how viruses and bacteria work together during infections. In other public health news: pain, pedestrian deaths, mental health, allergies, ADHD, genetics, and mosquitoes.
Viruses Act As Decoys, Helping Bacteria Evade The Immune System
These viruses weren’t supposed to affect humans. They were supposed to ride along inside bacteria — unobtrusive hitchhikers taking advantage of another microbe’s machinery. But that wasn’t what Dr. Paul Bollyky and his colleagues saw in their lab dishes three or four years ago. The viruses seemed to be changing the behavior of human immune cells. Instead of gobbling up bacteria as they normally did, white blood cells just sat there. (Boodman, 3/28)
The New York Times:
At 71, She’s Never Felt Pain Or Anxiety. Now Scientists Know Why.
She’d been told that childbirth was going to be painful. But as the hours wore on, nothing bothered her — even without an epidural. “I could feel that my body was changing, but it didn’t hurt me,” recalled the woman, Jo Cameron, who is now 71. She likened it to “a tickle.” Later, she would tell prospective mothers, “Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as people say it is.” It was only recently — more than four decades later — that she learned her friends were not exaggerating. (Murphy, 3/28)
Why Pedestrian Deaths Are At A 30-Year High
Across the U.S., 6,227 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in 2018, the highest number in nearly 30 years. The findings from a Governors Highway Safety Association report show that many of these deaths occurred in big cities like Houston and Miami. The signs are all over most cities — stretches of road without crosswalks and people needing to walk on roads built for rush-hour traffic. But the real increase, experts say, comes from larger trends: drivers and pedestrians distracted by their phones and a growth of larger vehicles on the road. (Stachura, 3/28)
Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb Reflects On Her Own Experiences With Therapy
Even therapists need someone to talk to sometimes. Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist who started seeing a therapist herself five years ago, when the man she thought she would marry unexpectedly broke up with her, shattering her sense of the present and the future. "My reaction was the reaction of everybody that I told at the time, [which] was 'This guy's a jerk! You dodged a bullet!' " Gottlieb says. "But once I go to therapy, I start to see — or I'm forced to see — the situation, and my role in it too." (Gross, 3/28)
The New York Times:
Are My Allergies All In My Head?
Doctors have long suspected a connection between allergies and the psyche. In 1883, Dr. Morell Mackenzie, a pioneer in the field of ear, nose and throat medicine, observed, “It has long been noticed that attacks of prolonged sneezing are most apt to occur in persons of nervous temperament.” In the 1940s, doctors discovered that allergic patients could be tricked into experiencing allergy attacks. In one case, a doctor exposed a patient to a goldenrod plant, without telling the patient that the plant was artificial. The patient immediately developed sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. These symptoms resolved quickly once the doctor revealed his deception to the patient. (Klasco, 3/29)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Childhood ADHD Soared In Recent Years, Blue Cross Study Finds. But What About Treatment?
The rate of commercially insured children diagnosed with ADHD climbed 32 percent in Pennsylvania and 25 percent in New Jersey in less than 10 years, according to a new study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The Greater Philadelphia area, including South Jersey and Delaware, saw a 33 percent increase. The national increase was 31 percent. (Giordano, 3/28)
Los Angeles Times:
Using Genetics To Try To Figure Out How To Get Mosquitoes To Stop Biting Us
Among all the beasts in the animal kingdom, perhaps none is more dangerous to humans than the mosquito. The whiny insects aren't just irritating — they can be deadly. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reckons that mosquitoes are responsible for at least 700,000 deaths worldwide each year, thanks to their ability to transmit diseases such as malaria and yellow fever with a single bite. (Netburn, 3/28)
How Mosquitoes Use Human Sweat To Find And Bite Us
Targeting this receptor might offer a new way to foil blood-seeking mosquitoes and prevent the transmission of diseases including malaria, Zika virus and dengue, according to the study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology. "We found a receptor for human sweat, and we found that acidic volatiles that come off of us are really key for mosquitoes to find us," says Matthew DeGennaro, a neurogeneticist at Florida International University in Miami. (Greenfieldboyce, 3/28)