Nearly Every Hospital Patient Gets A Saline IV Bag. But Is There A Better Option?
Alternative intravenous fluids to the commonly used saline could save up to 70,000 lives a year, a new study finds. In other public health news: smoking while pregnant, memory loss, medical data, ALS, Weight Watchers, the U.S. pregnancy rate, and more.
The Associated Press:
What's In The IV Bag? Studies Show Safer Option Than Saline
New research calls into question what's in those IV bags that nearly every hospitalized patient gets. Using a different intravenous fluid instead of the usual saline greatly reduced the risk of death or kidney damage, two large studies found. The difference could mean 50,000 to 70,000 fewer deaths and 100,000 fewer cases of kidney failure each year in the U.S., researchers estimate. Some doctors are hoping the results will persuade more hospitals to switch. (Marchione, 2/27)
1 In 14 Women Still Smokes While Pregnant, CDC Says
About one in 14 pregnant women who gave birth in the United States in 2016 smoked cigarettes during her pregnancy, according to a report released Wednesday. The findings, gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, revealed that 7.2% of all expectant mothers smoked -- but that the percentage of pregnant smokers varied widely from state to state. (Howard, 2/28)
MIT Scientists Take Step Toward Treating Memory Loss Diseases Like Alzheimer’s
MIT neuroscientists may have taken a step toward treating brain disorders associated with memory loss — including epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers said in a recent paper. Here’s what the study, published Feb. 8 in the journal Neuron, said:First, a gene called Npas4 is necessary to create long-term memories. This gene exists in the brain’s CA3 subsection, one of three regions in the brain’s hippocampus, said Feng-Ju (Eddie) Weng, lead author of the study. (Takahama, 2/27)
Patients Would Like Their Data. Will The Medical Device Industry Listen?
Despite the growing openness of medical information in electronic health records and wearable gadgets, personal medical devices are still black boxes, off-limits to patients and caregivers. The industry, slow to adapt, has grappled with concerns over security, privacy, and patient safety. A web of balkanized regulations across several health agencies has further slowed potential changes. Typically, health care laws have considered data generated inside clinical settings part of the patient’s records. But the laws are less clear on how to treat data generated from implanted devices, which are often collected by device manufacturers or contractors they hire to manage that information. (Blau, 2/28)
Study Suggests A Possible Link Between ALS And Diesel Exhaust
Frequent exposure to diesel exhaust on the job is associated with a higher risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to a study by a Harvard researcher. “The overall risk of developing ALS is low, but our findings suggest that the greater the exposure to diesel exhaust, the greater the risk of developing ALS,” Aisha Dickerson of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said in a statement. (Finucane, 2/27)
The Wall Street Journal:
Weight Watchers Looking To Expand Beyond Dieting
Weight Watchers International Inc., coming off a turnaround plan that more than doubled profit for two-consecutive years, says it wants to be the global destination for wellness, a “partner in health and wellness.” “The world doesn’t need another diet,” Chief Executive Mindy Grossman said Tuesday during a conference call with analysts. “Today, healthy is the new skinny.” (Armental, 2/27)
Pregnancy Rate Might Predict Future Recessions, Researchers Suggest
When the economy takes a turn for the worse, birth rates go down. It's both common sense and an empirically observed phenomenon. But it's not the whole story. A team of economists, taking a closer look at the connection between fertility and recessions, found that conception rates begin to drop before the economy starts its downturn — and could even be used to predict recessions. (Domonoske, 2/27)
The Washington Post:
A New Study Shows One In Four Teens Are Sexting. Relax, Experts Say, It’s Mostly Normal.
A new data study shows that the number of teenagers sending and receiving sexts is on the rise. The analysis, which was published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that more than one in four teenagers reported that they’d received a sext, defined by the study as a sexually explicit image, video or message that is sent electronically. About 15 percent of people, slightly more than one in seven, reported sending a sext. (Rosenberg, 2/27)
The New York Times:
Sneeze Into Your Elbow, Not Your Hand. Please.
When you feel a sneeze or a cough coming on, covering your mouth prevents the spread of infectious germs. You probably knew that. But the way you cover up also matters, and there are plenty of people who haven’t yet heard the consensus guidance of health officials: If no tissue is available, you should aim into your elbow, not your hand. Even if that means breaking a long-held habit. (Victor, 2/27)