This Chemical Formula Helped U.S. Win WWII. But Now It’s Poisoning Americans.
At bomb-making plants and ordnance testing ranges across the United States, RDX has spread into the soil and contaminated water supplies. ProPublica investigates the chemical formula and its negative health consequences. In other public health news: college students and mental health; loneliness; dementia; and the brain's destructive impulses.
The Bomb That Went Off Twice
From the first reports of RDX contamination on American soil, the Pentagon has either ignored or actively sought to discount RDX’s threat to public health and the environment, according to ProPublica’s review of thousands of pages of EPA and Pentagon documents and the accounts of more than 23 current and former officials and lawmakers. (Lustgarten, 12/18)
College Students With Mental Health Challenges Often Feel Alone. Not Here
Taking time off from college for mental health problems is a loss. It’s a loss of independence, of routine, of friends, of a place, a purpose, and a clear-cut goal. NITEO fills that gap. It gives the students a peer group and a place to go three days a week. It gives them assignments, accountability, and a personal coach to cheer them on. It gives them a path forward. It also gives students an explanation for their absence from campus. It’s not easy to tell friends they’re home for the semester due to a mental health issue. Instead, they can say, “I’m taking classes at Boston University this semester.” And it’s true. (Thielking, 12/19)
The Washington Post:
Loneliness Can Make You Sick
Loneliness can tank your mood, but can it affect your health, too? All signs point to yes. It turns out that feeling lonely can do more than make you sad: It can predict the way your body will respond to and bounce back from various health challenges. Lonely people are more likely to get sick, and researchers want to know why. (Blakemore, 12/18)
Los Angeles Times:
Preventing Dementia: The Promising, The Disappointing And The Inconclusive
What's proven to prevent the development of dementia after the age of 80? Not brain training, not medication, not regular exercise, not a healthier diet and not a busy social calendar, according to a series of reports published Monday. But ask the question a bit differently, and the answer is not quite as discouraging: What should you be doing anyway right now that might delay or prevent the development of dementia late in life? (Healy, 12/18)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Dementia Cannot Be Prevented By Various Interventions, New Research Says
Last July, an international commission optimistically concluded that one-third of dementia may be preventable.With an aging population headed into the period of prime risk for developing Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia, that seemed like good news. But a comprehensive set of papers published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine reached a seemingly opposite conclusion: There is no proven intervention for preventing late-life dementia. (Fauber, 12/18)
Could A Zap To The Brain Derail Destructive Impulses?
Picture this: While reaching for the cookie jar — or cigarette or bottle of booze or other temptation — a sudden slap denies your outstretched hand. When the urge returns, out comes another slap. Now imagine those "slaps" occurring inside the brain, protecting you in moments of weakness. (Landhuis, 12/18)