Scientists Upend Dogma On TB, Say It’s Also Spread By Aerosols
A team of South African researchers has found that simple breathing may be a bigger contributor to spreading tuberculosis than the traditionally accepted method of spreading by coughs — making it similar to covid in some regards. Mental health, salmonella and more are also in the news.
The New York Times:
Tuberculosis, Like Covid, Spreads In Aerosols, Scientists Report
Upending centuries of medical dogma, a team of South African researchers has found that breathing may be a bigger contributor to the spread of tuberculosis than coughing, the signature symptom. As much as 90 percent of TB bacteria released from an infected person may be carried in tiny droplets, called aerosols, that are expelled when a person exhales deeply, the researchers estimated. The findings were presented on Tuesday at a scientific conference held online. (Mandavilli, 10/19)
In other public health news —
Pediatric Groups Declare 'National Mental Health Emergency'
Leading pediatric healthcare organizations warn the surge of behavioral healthcare issues among children since the start of the pandemic has risen to the level of a national public health crisis. The American Academy of Pediatrics, along with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children's Hospital Association declared a national emergency in children's mental health on Tuesday. The organizations are asking for more federal funding to ensure access to mental healthcare services, telemedicine, and more support for school-based care which often is the first point of care. Schools provide an estimated 70% of their behavioral healthcare services, according to the School-Based Health Alliance. (Ross Johnson, 10/19)
California’s Mental Health Crisis: What Went Wrong? And Can We Fix It?
Gov. Gavin Newsom is steering a major transformation of California’s behavioral health care system, with much at stake in the years ahead. On Oct. 6, the Sacramento-based publication Capitol Weekly invited KHN’s Angela Hart to moderate an expert panel tackling the origins of the state’s broken system and potential solutions ahead. The lively discussion featured health care leaders with deep experience in the political, provider and research aspects of mental health and addiction. The panelists were Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of MLK Community Healthcare; former state Sen. Jim Beall, a Santa Clara County Democrat who spearheaded mental health legislation during his tenure in the legislature; Michelle Doty Cabrera, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California; and Janet Coffman, a researcher and faculty member with Healthforce Center at the University of California-San Francisco. (10/20)
Blood Pressure Medication Recalled Over Possibly Containing Cancer-Causing 'Impurity'
A Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. blood pressure medication is being recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for potentially containing a "probable human carcinogen." The voluntary recall includes the company's Irbesartan tablets and Hydrochlorothiazide tablets at the consumer level. In an Oct. 14 release, the agency said it made the assessment based on results from laboratory testing. (Musto, 10/19)
USDA Looks To Cut Salmonella Contamination In Poultry After Repeated Failures
The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Tuesday that it is kicking off an effort to substantially reduce the number of people each year who get sick from poultry products contaminated with salmonella. The context: The move comes after consumer advocates have repeatedly pressed the department to take a more aggressive approach to reducing salmonella in various chicken and turkey products. The country failed to meet its 2020 goals for cutting salmonella infections, although some testing data has suggested poultry products are less contaminated than they were previously. (Evich, 10/19)
The New York Times:
How Lifelong Cholesterol Levels Can Harm Or Help Your Heart
LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. Now a new study suggests that, like smoking, it has a cumulative effect over a lifetime: The longer a person has high LDL, the greater their risk of suffering a heart attack or cardiac arrest. Coronary heart disease, also known as “hardening of the arteries,” is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries that narrows the vessels and blocks the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. Often, people have no symptoms and remain unaware they have the disease for years until they develop chest pain or suffer a catastrophic event like a heart attack. (Bakalar, 10/18)