Scientists Know Inflammation Is A Culprit In Many Diseases. They Just Don’t Know What To Do About It Yet.
Anti-inflammatory drugs have predictable and dangerous side effects, and messing around with a patient's immune system can just be asking for trouble sometimes. In other public health news: gene-editing, breast-feeding, a salmonella outbreak, student athletes, Lyme disease, and more.
Clues Point To Inflammation's Role In Many Diseases. Will Treatments Follow?
Inflammation has become one of the hottest buzzwords in medical science, pointed to as a culprit in causing or aggravating conditions ranging from allergy to autism to Alzheimer’s disease. But it’s far from clear that standard anti-inflammatory drugs, which have been around for decades, will help patients with those conditions, especially since they often come with dangerous side effects. So in labs across the country, scientists are trying to puzzle through the basic biology, understanding how inflammation leads to disease — and whether it’s possible to develop drugs that could interrupt that process. (Keshavan, 8/31)
Scientists Question Key Finding In Landmark Genome-Editing Study
A group of prominent scientists, including pioneers in genome-editing, have questioned the key finding of a headline-making study in which researchers reported using CRISPR to repair a disease-causing gene in viable human embryos. In the new, unpublished paper, posted this week to the biology preprint site bioRxiv and not yet peer-reviewed, scientists led by Maria Jasin of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center took aim at a startling claim in the embryo study. (Begley, 8/30)
The New York Times:
Breast-Feeding May Lower Risk Of Endometriosis
Breast-feeding is linked to a reduced risk for endometriosis, a new study reports. Endometriosis — the growth of uterine tissue outside the uterus — can cause severe pain and excessive bleeding during menstruation, among other problems. It is a chronic disorder with an unknown cause. (Bakalar, 8/30)
Turtles Tied To Salmonella Outbreak In 13 States
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series has been around for decades and has raked in millions of dollars in merchandise. Why? Because turtles are cool. Warnings about real live turtles giving salmonella to the people who handle them have also been around for decades, but people keep getting sick, and that's not cool. (Fulton, 8/30)
Protecting Student-Athletes From Heat, Head Injuries
Nearly 8 million kids participated in high school sports last year, the most in U.S. history. The shocking deaths of young student-athletes have prompted some states to weigh major changes. The California Legislature is considering a bill that would bring athletic trainers under state regulation. Others, including Texas and Florida, are strengthening policies on training during high heat and humidity and on the use of defibrillators during sporting events and practices. They are also moving to require schools to devise emergency plans for managing catastrophic sports injuries. And in response to growing concerns about concussions, the state of Texas recently embarked on the largest study ever of brain injuries to young athletes. (Ollove, 8/30)
7 Things I Learned While Reporting On Lyme And Other Tick-Borne Diseases
I’ve spent a lot of time in recent months reporting on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, talking with experts and public health professionals, and listening to more lectures about ticks than anyone who isn’t an entomologist should. I thought I had learned a lot about Lyme and tick-borne diseases in medical school, but we really only scratched the surface. (Scales, 8/31)
The New York Times:
Moving When Young May Strengthen The Adult Brain
Being active in youth may change the inner workings of brain cells much later in life and sharpen some types of thinking, according to a remarkable new neurological study involving rats. The study suggests that the effects of youthful exercise on the brain could linger deep into adulthood, potentially providing a buffer against the declines in brain health and memory that otherwise occur with age. (Reynolds, 8/30)
Kaiser Health News:
Soul Purpose: Seniors With Strong Reasons To Live Often Live Stronger
After making it through the maelstrom of middle age, many adults find themselves approaching older age wondering “what will give purpose to my life?” now that the kids have flown the nest and retirement is in the cards. How they answer the question can have significant implications for their health. (Graham, 8/31)
Iowa Public Radio:
Study: Babies Born To Mothers Living In Areas Of Very High Pesticide Exposure See Problems
Applying large amounts of pesticides to farm fields can have negative effects on babies born to mothers living nearby, according to new research. The data-crunching study published in Nature Communications looked at the farm-heavy San Joaquin Valley in California, where a variety of pesticides get applied to dozens of different crops including fruits, vegetables and nuts. (Mayer, 8/30)