Because the progressive disease is a complicated one that involves 1,500 rearrangements in the genetic code, about 10 percent of CF patients lack a treatment to slow down the disease and will die in their 40s. Other public health news focuses on cancer rates and obesity; aging surgeons; intimacy after cancer; walking buddies; cancer overtreatment for men; DNA tests; male sexuality; listening to your body; signs of depression; inmates’ mental illness; Ebola; diabetes; women’s heart attacks and more.
Stat: As Cystic Fibrosis Drugs Deliver New Hope, Progress Isn’t Reaching Everyone
Those medications, the first to be tuned to the genetic mutations that cause the disease, have helped people experience fewer flare-ups and hospitalizations. They have also brought the relief of simply feeling better and breathing easier. The drugs have been touted as a testament to what’s possible with precision medicine treatments, which target the roots of diseases instead of just addressing symptoms. The catch is that cystic fibrosis is not caused by one mutation, or a handful, but more than 1,500 different rearrangements in the code for the gene known as CFTR. (Joseph, 2/4)
The New York Times: Obesity Tied To Higher Cancer Rates In Younger People
The risk of developing obesity-related cancer is increasing in successive generations, along with increasing rates of obesity. Researchers studied the incidence of 30 of the most common cancers, including 12 that are obesity related, from 1995 to 2014 in people ages 25 to 84 — more than 14.6 million cases. The study is in Lancet Public Health. (Bakalar, 2/4)
The New York Times: When Is The Surgeon Too Old To Operate?
In the fall of 2015, Dr. Herbert Dardik, chief of vascular surgery at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey, nodded off in the operating room. Note that Dr. Dardik, then 80, was not performing the operation. He’d undergone a minor medical procedure himself a few days earlier, so he’d told his patient that another surgeon would handle her carotid endarterectomy, in which plaque is removed from the carotid artery to improve blood flow. (Span, 2/1)
The Washington Post: Breast Cancer Survivors Sometimes Encounter Sex And Intimacy Problems
Jill was just 39 in July 2010 when she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Her longtime boyfriend had felt a lump in her right breast. Two weeks later, she had a mastectomy and began chemotherapy. The shock, stress, fatigue and treatment took its toll on the relationship, and her boyfriend left. “That’s when I began to realize that breast cancer was not only threatening my life, but would affect me physically, emotionally and sexually going forward,” said Jill, a library specialist in Denver who asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy. (Sadick, 2/2)
The Washington Post: Lonely And Out Of Shape? Find Company While Walking Away Pounds.
On a mild January morning in Lafayette, Colo., 22 residents and five dogs gathered for a walk along the Coal Creek Trail. Bundled in puffy coats and fleece hats, they explored the great outdoors, taking in views of snow-covered Longs Peak. Two thousand miles away, in Naples, Fla., a cluster of walkers put in laps on the fitness trail around Lake Avalon. Meanwhile, outside the New Brunswick train station in New Jersey, dozens of men and women huddled together before setting off on the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail. (Rough, 2/2)
The Star Tribune: U Researchers Ask, Are We Overtreating Men’s Cancers?
Nearly 50 years after the United States declared war on cancer, the University of Minnesota is launching research into one of the chief casualties — men who survived their diseases only to encounter a lifetime of side effects from aggressive and even toxic treatments. Male death rates from prostate and testicular cancers have been halved since 1995 because of advances in radiation, chemotherapy and drugs that suppress cancer-fueling hormones such as testosterone. But the treatments take a toll, said Dr. Charles Ryan, a U prostate cancer specialist. Reducing testosterone alone can affect men’s mood, strength and energy. (Olson, 2/3)
The Wall Street Journal: Two Sisters Bought DNA Kits. The Results Blew Apart Their Family.
Sonny and Brina Hurwitz raised a family in Boston. They both died with secrets. In 2016, their oldest daughter, Julie Lawson, took a home DNA test. Later, she persuaded her sister, Fredda Hurwitz, to take one too. In May, the sisters sat down at the dinner table in Ms. Hurwitz’s Falls Church, Va., home to share their results. A man’s name popped up as a close genetic match for Ms. Hurwitz. Neither had ever heard of him. (Dockser Marcus, 2/1)
The Wall Street Journal: Debunking The Myths About Male Sexuality
What do men secretly want? Long-held stereotypes contend they’re always interested in sex; happiest being the pursuer; focused on the physical rather than the emotional connection. If we discuss male sexuality at all, we tend to focus on the darker, toxic side—the entitlement and aggression increasingly exposed by the #MeToo movement. (Bernstein, 2/2)
The Washington Post: First He Was Hoarse. Then He Couldn’t Chew. How One Man’s Hunch Led To The Truth.
Larry Weller didn’t want to spoil the party. Surrounded by relatives who had gathered to celebrate his oldest granddaughter’s 18th birthday at a favorite Italian restaurant, he fervently hoped that no one, other than his wife who murmured her concern, noticed what he was doing. (Boodman, 2/2)
NPR: Depression Symptoms Can Include Anger, And That’s Often Misunderstood
When registered nurse Ebony Monroe of Houston went through a period of being quick to anger about every little thing recently, she didn’t realize what it might mean for her health. “If you had told me in the beginning that my irritability was related to depression, I would probably be livid,” Monroe says with a laugh. “I did not think irritability aligned with depression.” (Greenfieldboyce, 2/4)
NPR: Good Treatment For Mental Illness Still Scarce In U.S. Prisons
Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half his life alone in a prison cell in Illinois — 22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once. “It was pretty broke down — the whole system, the way they treated us,” says the 43-year-old Rasho, who has been diagnosed with several mental health conditions, including severe depression, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder. (Herman, 2/3)
The Washington Post: Facts About The Ebola Virus
Since last summer, Congo has been in the crosshairs of the second worst outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. As of the end of January, more than 730 cases and 459 deaths have been reported. International public health officials are working to get effective treatments into the conflict-ridden region. The World Health Organization’s Ebola virus disease website is a clearinghouse for information on the epidemic, from details about its toll to publications about the virus and how the world is working to fight it. (Blakemore, 2/2)
Columbus Dispatch: Diabetics Need To Be Worried About Heart Disease
Under a new initiative dubbed “Know Diabetes by Heart,” the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association are partnering to reduce cardiovascular deaths, heart attacks and strokes in people with Type 2 diabetes. Those living with diabetes are twice as likely to develop and die from cardiovascular disease. (Smola, 2/3)
The New York Times: How One Woman Changed What Doctors Know About Heart Attacks
Katherine Leon was 38 and living in Alexandria, Va., when she gave birth to her second son in 2003. She was discharged from the hospital, but instead of getting better, she recalls, she kept feeling “worse and worse and worse. ”Five weeks after she had her child, Ms. Leon’s husband came back early from work and found her barely able to breathe. “I hate to use the word panic, because so many people say if it’s a woman she is just having a panic attack, but I was terrified,” she said. (Warraich, 2/1)
The Associated Press: Digital Design, QB Investments Could Aid Football Helmets
Football helmets could be getting another boost toward enhanced safety features with announcements by two major manufacturers Friday. Riddell has partnered with Carbon, a tech company that features 3-D printing, to bring digital design innovation and customization to head protection through its new Diamond helmets. (Wilner, 2/1)
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