WHO Plans To Develop International Guidelines For Human Gene Editing After Controversial Work From Chinese Scientist
The 18-member committee representing the World Health Organization will meet in March and begin to address calls for standards that scientists could adhere to. News on public health looks at an increase of heart attacks among young women; child flu deaths; a teen survey on mental health; sleep deprivation and health; a shortage of female surgeons; and HIV in rural America.
The Wall Street Journal:
WHO Reacts To Chinese Gene-Edited Twins With Plan For Global Guidelines
The World Health Organization established a new committee to set guidelines for scientists editing human DNA, just months after the controversial births of the world’s first gene-edited babies in China. The WHO’s 18-member committee of scientific experts, which includes a Chinese bioethicist, will meet in Geneva next month to “examine the scientific, ethical, social and legal challenges associated” with editing human genes and it will make recommendations, the organization said in a statement. (Rana, 2/21)
Heart Attacks Rising Among Young Women, Study Shows
The risk of having a heart attack appears to be rising among young women, according to a new study, and researchers are trying to figure out why. When analyzed across five-year intervals, the overall proportion of heart attack-related hospital admissions in the United States attributable to young patients, ages 35 to 54, steadily climbed from 27% in 1995-99 to 32% in 2010-14, with the largest increase observed in young women, according to the study, published recently in the journal Circulation. (Howard and Nedelman, 2/19)
What To Know About Child Flu Deaths
The death of a third Massachusetts child from the flu this season — identified Wednesday as a 4-year-old girl from Lowell — has stirred concern about the dangers of the contagious respiratory illness among young people. Last flu season, only one pediatric flu death was reported in the state, public health officials said. (Kempe, 2/20)
The New York Times:
Teenagers Say Depression And Anxiety Are Major Issues Among Their Peers
Most American teenagers — across demographic groups — see depression and anxiety as major problems among their peers, a new survey by the Pew Research Center found. The survey found that 70 percent of teenagers saw mental health as a big issue. Fewer teenagers cited bullying, drug addiction or gangs as major problems; those from low-income households were more likely to do so. (Zraick, 2/20)
The New York Times:
Sleepless Flies Lived Long Lives. Why Not Us?
Sleep — that absurd, amazing habit of losing consciousness for hours on end — is so universal across the animal kingdom that we usually assume it is essential to survival. Now, however, scientists who repeatedly disturbed the sleep of more than a thousand fruit flies are reporting that less slumber may be necessary for sustaining life than previously thought, at least in one species. A handful of studies involving dogs and cockroaches going back to the late 19th century suggest that being deprived of sleep can result in a shortened life span. (Greenwood, 2/20)
Tampa Bay Times:
Just 9 Percent Of Female Medical Students Want To Be Surgeons. What One Group Is Doing About It.
Fifty percent of medical students in 2018 were women, but only 9 percent of female medical students pursued a career in surgery, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Women make up less than 20 percent of all general surgeons, the group says, and fewer than 5 percent of surgical program chairs. (Griffin, 2/21)
Kaiser Health News:
Trump Administration Plan To Beat HIV Hits Rough Road In Rural America
One of the goals President Donald Trump announced in his State of the Union address was to stop the spread of HIV in the U.S. within 10 years.In addition to sending extra money to 48 mainly urban counties, Washington, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico, Trump’s plan targets seven states where rural transmission of HIV is especially high. Health officials and doctors treating patients with HIV in those states say any extra funding would be welcome. But they say strategies that work in progressive cities like Seattle won’t necessarily work in rural areas of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina. (Fortier, 2/21)