New Treatments Might Provide Hope To Patients With Rare Genetic Disease That Turns Tissue Into Bone
The genetic disease, fibrodysplasia ossificans, in which the body’s machinery for healing goes awry, growing immovable bone where it doesn’t belong, had been languishing as nothing more than a medical curiosity. But a community of patient advocates rallied, and now there are three medicines in human trials, the most advanced of which could win Food and Drug Administration approval next year. In other public health news: weight lifting, primate emotions, the "bliss point" in food, and psychic mediums.
Patients With FOP, A Grim Genetic Disease, See Hope On The Horizon
For decades, [fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva] was a medical curiosity, a disease without a treatment or even a biological explanation. But thanks to a well-organized patient group, some dedicated researchers, and a fair amount of scientific serendipity, the future of FOP could be unprecedentedly bright. ... There are three medicines now in human trials, the most advanced of which could win Food and Drug Administration approval next year. A community once relegated to what Kaplan calls “the backwaters of medicine” now sees a future in which a cocktail of therapies might arrest unwanted bone growth and halt FOP. (Garde, 3/20)
The New York Times:
Why Lifting Weights Can Be So Potent For Aging Well
Weight training by older people may build not only strength and muscle mass but also motivation and confidence, potentially spurring them to continue exercising, according to an interesting new study of the emotional impacts of lifting weights. The findings intimate that people worried that they might be too old or inept to start resistance training should perhaps try it, to see how their bodies and minds respond. (Reynolds, 3/20)
Frans De Waal Explores Primate Emotions In 'Mama's Last Hug'
When Frans de Waal started studying nonhuman primates, in the Netherlands more than 40 years ago, he was told not to consider the emotions of the animals he was observing. "Thoughts and feelings — the mental processes basically — were off limits," he says. "We were told not to talk about them, because they were considered by many scientists as 'inner states' and you only were allowed to talk about 'outer states.' " (Gross, 3/19)
The 'Bliss Point,' Or Why You Can't Just Eat One Cookie Or Potato Chip
Have you ever found yourself staring at an empty bag of cookies you just devoured? Don't beat yourself up. Your brain is wired to eat that cookie -- and the next 10. It's as automatic a response as running away from a loud noise. But resisting the cookies (or chips, or cakes, or chocolate-covered pretzels) doesn't have to feel like a constant cage match between willpower and craving. You can use the same science that food manufacturers use to make junk foods biologically irresistible to your advantage. (Gillespie, 3/19)
The New York Times:
Psychic Mediums Are The New Wellness Coaches
“Intuition is magical, but it’s not reserved for a couple of people,” said Laura Lynne Jackson, 46. She’s from Commack, N.Y., and makes her living as a psychic medium, and she was talking to hundreds who attended this year’s In Goop Health Summit in New York City (tickets start at $1000) who were there to learn how to tap into their inner intuition. “It’s for all of you,” she said. (Held, 3/19)