The tests that sort through DNA are costly, but Kevin Outterson, a professor of health law at Boston University, says they “advance what we do by more than a century.” Public health news is on mental health, ADHD in adults, mammograms and aging, mental health in jails, unsafe public housing, eye diseases, tetanus, lower sperm counts, and marijuana use among seniors, as well.
The New York Times: New Genomic Tests Aim To Diagnose Deadly Infections Faster
Ryan Springer’s mystery illness began last summer with a dull ache in his chest. Over the next few days, the symptoms grew more alarming: sharp pain with every breath, a rapid heartbeat and a spiking fever. Emergency room doctors at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Ill., were stumped. They ordered up a lung biopsy and started Mr. Springer, 47, on a broad-spectrum antibiotic. But his condition worsened, and doctors feared he might not survive the five or more days it would take to get the lab results back. (Jacobs, 2/24)
The New York Times: Mental-Health Researchers Ask: What Is ‘Recovery’?
For years, Claire Bien, a research associate at Yale, strained to manage the gossipy, mocking voices in her head and the ominous sense that other people were plotting against her. Told she had a psychotic disorder, she learned over time to manage her voices and fears with a lot of psychotherapy and, periodically, medication. But sometime in late 1990, she tried something entirely different: She began generating her own voices, internal allies, to counter her internal abusers. “I truly felt I was channeling my father, my ancestors, a wise psychiatrist, giving me advice,” said Ms. Bien, who has written a book about her experience, “Hearing Voices, Living Fully.” (Carey, 2/25)
The Wall Street Journal: An Unexpected New Diagnosis In Older Adults: ADHD
Many seniors get diagnosed with conditions like dementia or heart disease. Not Timothy McMichael. At the age of 60, he was diagnosed with a condition most often associated with school children: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. He started taking a low dose of a stimulant about a year-and-a-half ago and says his attentiveness and concentration at work have never been better. (Reddy, 2/24)
Reuters: Mammograms Not Helpful In Women 75 And Older, Study Finds
Women 75 and older do not benefit from regular screening mammograms, researchers reported on Monday, offering some of the first evidence on whether screening makes sense in these women. Although studies clearly show mammograms starting at age 50 prevent breast cancer deaths, until now, doctors have had little evidence about when to end screening, Dr. Otis Brawley of Johns Hopkins University and former chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, wrote in editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine. (2/24)
WBUR: America’s Mental Health Crisis Hidden Behind Bars
Across the country, there are dozens of places like Los Angeles’ Twin Towers, warehousing people in settings with inadequate staff, services and support. It’s a culmination of decades of policies affecting those with a mental illness. Many of the nation’s asylums and hospitals were closed over the past 60-plus years — some horrific places that needed to be shuttered, others emptied to cut costs. (Westervelt and Baker, 2/25)
ABC News: Thousands Of Public Housing Facilities Failed Smoke Alarm Inspections, ABC News Investigation Finds
More than 1 million people in the U.S. are living in federally-funded housing complexes that inspectors found had fallen short on working smoke detectors, an ABC investigation found. Three out of four of those complexes were also cited for other issues considered “life threatening,” such as electrical hazards and blocked fire exits. (Leigh, Pradelli, Brown, Simpson and Kelly, 2/24)
Reuters: Keeping Up Regular AMD Treatment Visits Tied To Less Vision Loss Over Time
People with a common age-related eye disease who show up regularly for their doctor’s visits get to keep more of their sight than those who skip appointments or stretch the time between visits, a new analysis suggests. Researchers examined data from a two-year study that compared different treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in the United States. (2/24)
Stat: Study: Adults Don’t Need Booster Vaccinations For Tetanus And Diphtheria
People who got all their vaccinations against tetanus and diphtheria in childhood don’t need booster shots to remain protected against the two rare but dangerous diseases, researchers conclude in a new study that found no difference in disease rates between countries that recommend adult revaccination every 10 years and countries that say completing childhood vaccinations is enough. (Cooney, 2/25)
CNN: Poor Diet Kills Sperm Count And Lowers Testosterone, Study Says
If sperm was an animal, science might worry that it’s heading toward extinction in Western nations. Total sperm count in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand dropped by up to 60% in the 38 years between 1973 and 2011, research found — an acceleration of a trend that began in the 1940s. More recent studies show the trend is continuing. (LaMotte, 2/24)
CNN: Marijuana Use Is Rising Sharply Among Seniors Over 65, Study Says, And There Are Serious Risks
The sweet scent of baking cookies wafting from grandma’s house may be mixed with a more pungent aroma these days. The smell of marijuana. The numbers of American seniors over age 65 who now smoke marijuana or use edibles increased two-fold between 2015 and 2018, according to research published Monday in JAMA. (LaMotte, 2/24)
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