Doctors used to think the appendix was useless… but now we know it’s important to the immune system. And it turns out it may also be important in the development of Parkinson’s disease. A study in the journal Science Translational Medicine tracked nearly two million people in Sweden—some for as long as 50 years. It shows that people who’ve had their appendix out are about 20 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s. The study also shows that protein clumps found in the brains of Parkinson’s patients are found in the appendix as well.
Scientists have discovered some of the reasons why people with obesity have a higher risk of asthma. A study in the Journal of Physiology—Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology shows that inflammation in airways is greater in people with obesity. They’re also are more likely to over-respond to allergens in airway muscles… causing the airways to narrow. Researchers say the discoveries may improve asthma treatment.
And finally… makers of smoke alarms may be thinking of changing what they sound like. An alarm’s high-pitched squeals may wake up adults… but they don’t wake up kids. A study in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that more than half of children age five to eight sleep right through a standard smoke alarm for five minutes or more. But the sound of their mother’s voice wakes them up fast. When mom’s hollering to wake up, the average kid was sitting bolt upright, wide awake… in four seconds.
Acute myeloid leukemia, or AML is one of the deadliest cancers, with a five-year survival rate of about 25 percent… and even when a patient has a lasting remission, the disease almost always relapses. But a new study in the journal Nature Communications finds that the disease appears to be the fault of a single gene, which they’ve located. Researchers say the gene rewires the body’s entire set of blood-forming cells and tissues. They hope the breakthrough could eventually lead to a gene-targeted therapy and improve survival rates.
Scientists have discovered some of the reasons why people with obesity have a higher risk of asthma. A study in the Journal of Physiology—Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology shows that inflammation in airways is greater in people with obesity. Those with obesity are also more likely to over-respond to allergens in airway muscles…causing the airways to narrow. Researchers say the discoveries may improve asthma treatment.
Teachers often contribute to a diagnosis of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder in children… but a new study concludes they may be mistaking immaturity for ADHD. The study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry shows that it’s most often the youngest kids in a classroom who are diagnosed with ADHD. Experts also say that in children who are diagnosed… it appears that some parts of the brain mature up to three years later than in kids who are not labeled.
And finally… one good way to get the vitamins you need in the future may be to chew some gum. A study in the Journal of Functional Foods shows that gum loaded with vitamins delivers enough of them to significantly raise levels in the blood. Both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins were effectively delivered in gum… and researchers say most people think it’s a pleasant way to get nutrition.
Teenagers used to experience rites of passage including getting a driver’s license, going out on dates, drinking, having sex, & getting a job. They’re engaging in these activities much less often today. It means less risk, but may leave adolescents less ready for adulthood and independence. Experts discuss.
Babies and Their Gut Bacteria
Children have up to five times as much asthma and allergies as their grandparents, and a new study shows that an imbalance of gut bacteria in the first year of life may be why. An expert pediatrician discusses why this occurs and ways to address the problem.
Patients with asthma who haven’t responded well to treatment may be greatly helped by injections of a drug for eczema. Two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine show that patients with moderate to severe asthma reduced flare-ups by half or more after getting an injection of dupilumab,, a drug approved by the FDA for eczema in 2017. Patients taking the drug cut their emergency room visits about in half and those taking steroids for asthma were also able to reduce their dose.
Scientists have developed a prototype early warning system for the four most common types of cancer that makes a dark mole appear on the skin when it’s activated. Researchers call it a “biomedical tattoo” and say it would be inserted under the skin, monitoring genetic changes in the body. Mutations associated with lung, colon, breast or prostate cancer would make the implant turn a dark color, which would be visible through the skin. researchers say in the journal Science Translational Medicine that the test is at least 10 years away.
Surviving a heart attack may be as simple as exercise. A study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology tracked nearly 15,000 people for 40 years. It found that more than 10 percent of them eventually had a heart attack but those who had pursued a light exercise regimen were 32 percent less likely to die from it compared to people who had been sedentary. Those exercising at least moderately were nearly 50 percent less likely to die.
And finally, researchers say walking and chewing gum at the same time amounts to good exercise. A study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science shows that chewing gum while you walk raises heart rate over walking alone, and makes people walk faster and farther. For men over 40, that adds up to a significant additional calorie burn while for women it didn’t make as much difference.
Antibiotic resistance has left some serious infections with only one defense and the development of new antibiotics has slowed to a crawl, but a study in the journal Nature Microbiology reveals that scientists have found an entire new family of antibiotics in soil. Researchers say the new antibiotics kill a variety of bacteria, including MRSA, that are mostly resistant to current antibiotics. However its likely to take years before the find can be turned into an effective treatment.
We’ve reported on sibling abuse in the past and now a study in the journal Psychological Medicine shows that it can lead to mental illness later. Researchers say people who were bullied by a brother or sister are up to three times more likely than other children to develop schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or other psychotic disorders by age 18. Kids who are also bullied at school are four times more likely to develop mental illness.
And finally, babies crawling on the floor, especially on carpeting, kick up a lot of bacteria, dirt, pollen, and other biological bits and they breath a lot of that in. In fact, a new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology shows that crawling babies inhale four times what an adult would when they walk across the same floor. But scientists say its not necessarily a bad thing, exposure to allergens and microbes in infancy helps babies develop immunity and may reduce the chances they develop asthma and allergies later on.
Millions of people who think they have allergies, asthma, and sinus problems may actually have “silent reflux” which can travel up the esophagus all the way to the throat and head. An expert discusses telltale symptoms and the dietary triggers that can cause the disorder.
Dr. Jamie Koufman, Director, Voice Institute of New York, Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology, New York Medical College and author, The Chronic Cough Enigma.