Medical Notes 18-48


Medical Notes this week…

Millions of American kids are allergic to peanuts… and for some, being exposed to peanuts can be fatal. But a study in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that gradually ramping up exposure to tiny amounts of peanut protein every day for a year can make it safer. At the start of the study, none of the nearly 500 four-to-17 year old subjects could tolerate eating even one-tenth of a peanut. After a year of treatment, two-thirds of them could eat at least two whole peanuts… so an accidental exposure was no longer life threatening.

More American children are living in three-generation households than ever before. A study in the journal Demography shows that nearly 10 percent of children, or about seven million kids, are living with both a parent and grandparent. That’s nearly double the figures from roughly 20 years ago. Multi-generational homes are more common among the economically disadvantaged… but researchers say the fastest growing group now includes moms who are older, wealthier, more educated. And single.

If you thought volunteering to help out a co-worker is a good thing… think again. A study in The Journal of Applied Psychology shows that it’s better to wait to be asked before you help. Scientists say helpers who jump in without being asked often don’t have a good handle on what they’re doing, so they don’t get much gratitude for it… and the person being helped starts feeling incompetent. Better to stick to your own business, researchers say… until you’re asked.

And finally… if you can’t get enough coffee, it may be all in your genes. A study in the journal Scientific Reports finds that people who are genetic super-tasters for the bitter taste of caffeine are 20 percent more likely than average to drink at least four cups of coffee per day.

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Medical Notes 18-45


Medical Notes this week…

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.

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18-38 Segment 2: Gene Research and Our Medical Future

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Gene research has made incredible leaps in the last decade. A physician/Pulitzer-prize winning author explains what our new knowledge means for our immediate medical future, given our struggles with genetic knowledge in the past.

Guests:

  • Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University and author, The Gene: An Intimate History

Links for more information:

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16-28 Segment 2: Our New Genetic Knowledge

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Gene research has made incredible leaps in the last decade. A physician/Pulitzer-prize winning author explains what our new knowledge means for our immediate medical future, given our struggles with genetic knowledge in the past.

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Subscribe and review on iTunes!

Click here for guest information and the transcript

16-12 Segment 1: Incidental Genetic Findings

 

Synopsis: Genetic testing has become a widespread reality in the past five years, but doctors are struggling with what many genetic findings really mean. Should patients should be told about the presence of genes that might be either dangerous… or perfectly harmless? Experts discuss.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Dan Roden, Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Biomedical Informatics and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Personalized Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Dr. Gerald Feldman, Professor of Molecular Genetics in Medicine, Pediatrics and Pathology, Wayne State University and President, American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics; Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton, member, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society and Professor of Pediatrics and Law, Vanderbilt University

Links for more information:

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Subscribe and review on iTunes!

Click here for the transcript