A mutant viral strain can stop the anti-flu medication Xofluza from working. Other public health news reported over the weekend covers depression, mental health struggles, gene-edited babies, anti-aging research, medication dosages for kids, hospital toxic waste, multiple sclerosis and more.
The Wall Street Journal: Flu Drug Called ‘Silver Bullet,’ But Some Doctors Prescribe Caution
A new pill that can kill the flu virus in 24 hours with a single dose has become the most-prescribed influenza treatment in Japan, which is suffering through its worst flu season in two decades. But some doctors are backing away from the drug after new evidence emerged about mutant viral strains that prevent it from working well in some patients. The pill, called Xofluza, was discovered by Osaka-based Shionogi 4507 & Co., and it was approved last year by regulators in Japan and the U.S. In the U.S., it is marketed by Roche Holding AG’s Genentech unit. (Fujikawa and Davis, 2/11)
The Associated Press: Depression 101: Dallas Schoolkids Learn About Mental Health
In a scenario playing out in more and more classrooms around the world, a Dallas teenager recently asked her classmate if anything was wrong, noting that she hadn’t been acting like herself. The brusque reply: “Just leave me alone.” The ninth-graders at the Uplift Hampton Preparatory school were role-playing as part of a program that aims to teach teens how to spot the signs of depression in themselves and others. (2/9)
The New York Times: A Mother Tried To Save Her Son For Years. Now He’s Accused Of Killing Her.
Jason Reeves, 32, struggled for years to find his way, frequently running afoul of the law and grappling with mental health issues. In spite of it all, his mother, Paulette, stood by him, trying to help her son climb out of his personal morass. This month, everything came crashing down. (Winston, 2/10)
Stat: Sean Parker Calls Gene-Edited Babies A ‘Sputnik 2.0 Moment’
He is famous for his founding roles at Facebook and Napster, but these days the billionaire philanthropist Sean Parker is turning his attention to fighting cancer. Three years ago, he announced a $250 million investment to build teams of scientists for immunotherapy research, one of the hottest fields in taking on cancer. In an interview with STAT last week in his hotel suite overlooking Central Park, Parker spoke intensely about his belief that the government needs to move far more aggressively in investing in biotech, life sciences, and health care. (Berke, 2/11)
Kaiser Health News: A ‘Fountain Of Youth’ Pill? Sure, If You’re A Mouse.
Renowned Harvard University geneticist David Sinclair recently made a startling assertion: Scientific data shows he has knocked more than two decades off his biological age. What’s the 49-year-old’s secret? He says his daily regimen includes ingesting a molecule his own research found improved the health and lengthened the life span of mice. Sinclair now boasts online that he has the lung capacity, cholesterol and blood pressure of a “young adult” and the “heart rate of an athlete.” (Taylor, 2/11)
NPR: What’s The Right Dose Of Medicine For Kids?
It’s the middle of the night and you wake up to the disturbing sound of your little one crying and sniffling with a cold, sore throat or fever. And, if you’re like many parents, you reach into the medicine cabinet, seeking some relief. But giving medication — and getting the dose right — can be more challenging than you might think. Jesse and Shannan Ridall live in Palmyra, Pa., with their three young children. Jesse says the lined markings on dosing devices of children’s medicine can be confusing, especially when they show both teaspoons and milliliters. (Neighmond, 2/11)
PBS NewsHour: How U.S. Hospitals Cleaned Up Their Toxic Trash
It was an ironic discovery: Medical centers designed to treat patients could actually be harming them. In 1994, the Environmental Protection Agency released a report that found that incinerators used by many hospitals throughout the United States were a top of emitter of harmful air pollutants, including mercury and dioxin. (Vinopal, 2/8)
The Washington Post: Website Has A Trove Of Studies, Personal Stories About Multiple Sclerosis
How close is a cure for multiple sclerosis? That’s difficult to answer: Researchers are still working hard to understand the potentially disabling disease. But MS studies are growing. In 2018, the term “multiple sclerosis” appeared in the titles of more than 3,000 articles in PubMed, the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s search engine for academic research on life sciences and biomedical topics. That’s a torrent of information. (Blakemore, 2/10)
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Fight Against Curbing Secondhand Smoke Stalls, CDC Says
The past three decades have seen a drop in the number of nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke, but those numbers are no longer declining, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 58 million American nonsmokers – or 1 in 4 – were exposed to secondhand smoke from 2013–2014, the CDC said. (Washington, 2/11)
The New York Times: A New Treatment For A Painful Penis Curvature
Sometimes it takes the licensing and advertising of a treatment to get patients to seek help, even for a medical problem that is often painful and psychologically devastating. Such is the case with Peyronie’s disease, a scarring and bending or curving of the penis that can make sexual intercourse difficult or impossible for both straight and gay men. It most often afflicts middle-aged men, usually the result of an injury that may not have been noticed. Injury can occur during a sports activity, accident or vigorous sex when the erect penis is bent or pounded against bone. (Brody, 2/11)
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