Memories Can Drive The Desire To Drink But They Can Also Be Tweaked To Help Curb Those Urges With Ketamine’s Help
Memories and environmental cues can trigger a relapse in someone struggling with alcoholism. Researchers have started playing with the idea of tinkering those memories and cues to prevent that very thing from happening. In other public health news: Eastern equine encephalitis cases, gene editing, psychological growth, caregiving, probiotics, and more.
With Ketamine, Researchers Rewrite Memories In Bid To Curb Drinking
Our memories are immensely powerful. For a person with alcohol use disorder, a memory triggered by a simple cue — like walking by a favorite bar or spotting a beer billboard — can drive a desire for a drink. But they’re also surprisingly pliable. And scientists are trying to curb harmful drinking by dredging up memories and rewriting them — with the help of a dose of ketamine, a longtime anesthetic which is also used recreationally and to treat certain mental health conditions. (Thielking, 11/26)
Why The Surge In EEE Cases? Rules On Samples Mean We May Never Know
A massive surge in human cases of Eastern equine encephalitis this autumn has raised urgent questions about whether the dangerous virus has changed. But federal regulations that are leading most states to quickly destroy any positive EEE samples they find will stymie future efforts to come up with any answers, worried arbovirus experts warned. The World Reference Center for Emerging Viruses and Arboviruses has been trying to amass specimens from this year’s EEE outbreak to place in its repository, the world’s largest and a resource from which researchers worldwide draw. (Branswell, 11/27)
The Associated Press:
1 Year Later, Mystery Surrounds China’s Gene-Edited Babies
Chinese scientist He Jiankui shocked the world by claiming he had helped make the first gene-edited babies. One year later, mystery surrounds his fate as well as theirs. He has not been seen publicly since January, his work has not been published and nothing is known about the health of the babies. "That's the story — it's all cloaked in secrecy, which is not productive for the advance of understanding," said Stanford bioethicist Dr. William Hurlbut. (11/26)
The New York Times:
Does Who You Are At 7 Determine Who You Are At 63?
On a brisk Saturday morning, one uncommonly cloudless and bright for late autumn on England’s moody North Sea coast, the filmmaker Michael Apted paced a sloping headland of mud and stubble with an air of fretful preoccupation. Though the day’s shoot would amount, in the end, to an additional five-minute increment of the documentary project that had intermittently consumed the entirety of his working life, these occasions never ceased to surprise and unnerve him. He had known Jackie, whose arrival was imminent, for 56 years, but her interviews could be volatile, and this one was particularly important, he felt, to get right. (Lewis-Kraus, 11/27)
The New York Times:
For Millennials Making Their Way, A Detour: To Caregiving
In the summer of 2017, soon after starting a new job, Ariel Brandt Lautman took her two young children to Denver to visit her mother. This wasn’t purely a social call. Her mother’s memory had been deteriorating for several years, and Ms. Brandt Lautman, who lives in Silver Spring, Md., needed to plan for her care. Ms. Brandt Lautman was 35 at the time, considerably younger than the typical caregiver. Each day was a juggling act. She worked from sunrise to 2 p.m., taking a break to drive her 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter to camp. (Garland, 11/27)
The New York Times:
What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics?
Walk into a health food store, or even a drugstore, and you’re likely to find an entire aisle, maybe two, dedicated to probiotics. Probiotics are live micro-organisms, usually bacteria, that provide health benefits when consumed at appropriate doses. According to some surveys, approximately four million Americans take probiotics, which are available as pills, powders, foods and drinks. Probiotics are a huge industry — at least a $40 billion dollar one, according to Zion Market Research — and popular brands sell for 35 cents to $1 a dose, with a shelf life of several months. (Moyer, 11/27)
The Washington Post:
A German Man Died From Bacteria In His Dog’s Saliva
The 63-year-old man showed up in the hospital with a burning sensation in his left leg and muscle pain in both. His flulike symptoms were severe, with labored breathing for three days. He had petechiae, or rounds spots on the skin that look like rashes as a result of bleeding capillaries, which made his legs look discolored. The patient’s heartbeat was stable, doctors said, even though he was running a temperature of 102. His labored breathing caused an inadequate supply of oxygen to his tissue. His failing kidneys were not producing urine, researchers wrote. (Beachum, 11/26)