Scientists Want To Upend Common Belief That Aging Is Systemic, Insisting We Should Be Pinpointing Problem Areas
"In a given individual, some systems age faster or slower than others," said biologist Michael Snyder, who led the study. "One person is a cardio-ager, another is a metabolic ager, another is an immune ager." In other public health news: 9/11 responders and cancer, the spread of China's pneumonia-like virus, dry January, genetic testing and more.
Scientists Bring Personalized Medicine To The Biology Of Aging
One 50-year-old has the nimble metabolism of a teenager, while another’s is so creaky he developed type 2 diabetes — though his immune system is that of a man 25 years his junior. Or one 70-year-old has the immune system of a Gen Xer while another’s is so decrepit she can’t gin up an antibody response to flu vaccines — but her high-performing liver clears out alcohol so fast she can sip Negronis all night without getting tipsy. (Begley, 1/13)
The Wall Street Journal:
9/11 Responders Have Higher Rates Of Leukemia, Study Shows
Researchers found an elevated incidence of leukemia in first responders and other workers at the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks compared with the general population. The study, by New York researchers, is the first to show an increase in the incidence of the blood cancer, which can occur years after exposure to carcinogens. (Grayce West, 1/14)
Woman In Thailand Is First Case With Novel Pneumonia Virus Outside China
Health authorities on Monday identified a pneumonia case caused by a previously unknown virus in Thailand — the first known infection outside of China, where the virus is thought to have begun spreading last month. The patient is a Chinese tourist from Wuhan, the city where the outbreak is occurring, health officials said. Thai authorities identified her as a 61-year-old woman who was recovering at a hospital in Nonthaburi province, the Bangkok Post reported. (Joseph, 1/13)
The New York Times:
Longing For Stability After A Childhood Spent In Hospitals
Silas Waller has measured his life in hospital stays. He has neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form on nerve tissue. The condition makes it hard for him to walk. “My childhood was a constant string of going to and from hospitals,” said Mr. Waller, 18. “My first year of high school, I had over 50 absences, purely because I had that many doctor’s appointments.” (Brown, 1/14)
Burnout Linked To Potentially Deadly Irregular Heartbeat, Study Says
If you're feeling bone-deep mental and physical exhaustion, or what is otherwise known as burnout, new research suggests you could be at a higher risk for a potentially fatal heart flutter. Atrial fibrillation, also called AFib or AF, is the most common heart rhythm disorder and the leading cause of stroke in Europe and the United States; it affects more than 33 million people worldwide. In the US, AFib is responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations every year. (LaMotte, 1/13)
Dry January Isn’t For Everyone, Experts Say
The holiday parties are over, the New Year’s resolutions are in and many likely revolve around a healthier 2020. For those who may have been overserved during December’s festivities, or are just looking for a challenge, that could include cutting out the glass of wine with dinner or the cocktails during nights out with friends. Dry January has become an annual trend in the past several years, prompting many to abstain from alcohol for the inaugural month of the year. (Thayer, 1/13)
Consumer Genetic Testing: What Do You Get For Your Money?
There are about 6.4 billion individual letters in the human genome. More and more, advertisements for consumer genetic tests promise to help regular people parse the information encoded in these genes. Companies offer a wide range of services, such as decoding ancestry and predicting disease risk. But we still don’t know what a lot of the human genome is for — so even though you’ll get a bunch of data, it might not actually be that useful as of yet. (Garde and Hogan, 1/14)
The Washington Post:
Can You Really Speed Up Your Metabolism?
Diet and exercise are all well and good, but what if you could also control your weight just by reading this article in a comfortable chair? That’s the promise of dietary supplements and lifestyle hacks that claim to speed up your metabolism. These products and processes, it’s said, will increase your resting metabolic rate, and voilà, you can lose weight with less calorie counting and exercise. (Douglas, 1/13)
Is It Wrong To Volunteer At An Orphanage?
For decades, spending time in orphanages has been a popular voluntourism activity. Critics call it "orphanage tourism." Sometimes it's a preplanned trip with a full week at the institution, arranged by an organization, church or travel agency. Other times, a vacationer might just set aside a couple hours to visit an orphanage and play with the kids. Although the unregulated nature of orphanage tourism means there are no reliable numbers on how many volunteers participate each year, the practice is widespread enough that the U.K. and Australia as well as the U.S. have taken public stands. (Lu, 1/13)
The New York Times:
How Insects Cope When Blood Rushes To Their Heads
You wouldn’t think gravity would be a big worry for insects. They’re so small. So light. An ant that fell from a second-floor balcony and landed on its head wouldn’t even get a bruise. Consequently, scientists have not concerned themselves greatly with what gravity does to insects. But a group of scientists who routinely put grasshoppers into the linear accelerator at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois decided to take a closer look. (Gorman, 1/13)
Addicted To Sugar? This Doctor Says It's 'The New Tobacco'
Caffeine and sugar are two well-known ingredients in Coca-Cola — but many soda drinkers may not realize the fizzy beverage also contains salt. But why add salt into a sugary drink? To make consumers thirsty and ready to buy more, says Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco. (Young, 1/13)