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.