Are Fecal Transplants Lifesavers Or Barriers To Innovative New Drugs? It Depends On Who You Ask.
Experts on both sides of the issue pitched their sides to FDA officials at a meeting on the safety of fecal transplants that follows close on the heels of a study on what went wrong when one patient died following the procedure. In other public health news: CRISPR, memory, ear health, burnout among doctors and nurses, obesity in children and more.
After An Unprecedented Death, FDA Is Offered Divergent Forecasts On Future Of Fecal Transplants
They may be unparalleled lifesavers. Or they may be keeping lifesaving drugs off the market. For more than three hours on Monday, FDA officials heard dramatically different forecasts for the future of fecal matter transplants, a relatively new therapy that is mostly used to treat recurrent Clostridium difficile infections. The meeting happened less than a week after a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed new details about the first-ever death associated with the procedure. (Sheridan, 11/5)
You Had Questions For David Liu About CRISPR, Prime Editing, And Advice To Young Scientists. He Has Answers
While Mother Nature takes first prize in the race to develop new forms of CRISPR, biochemist David Liu is a close runner-up — and his CRISPR inventions have the potential to treat or prevent a long list of dreaded diseases, from progeria to Tay-Sachs. In 2016 Liu and his junior colleagues invented CRISPR “base editing,” which seamlessly changes a single DNA letter; that simplest of all edits may be all that’s required to repair mutations that cause thousands of inherited diseases. Last month he gave the world “prime editing,” which can delete long lengths of disease-causing DNA or insert DNA to repair dangerous mutations, all without triggering the chaotic (and possibly harmful) genome responses introduced by other forms of CRISPR. (Begley, 11/6)
The New York Times:
The Right Kind Of Exercise May Boost Memory And Lower Dementia Risk
Being physically fit may sharpen the memory and lower our risk of dementia, even if we do not start exercising until we are middle-aged or older, according to two stirring new studies of the interplay between exercise, aging, aerobic fitness and forgetting. But both studies, while underscoring the importance of activity for brain health, also suggest that some types of exercise may be better than others at safeguarding and even enhancing our memory. (Reynolds, 11/6)
From Lawn Mowers To Rock Concerts, Our 'Deafening World' Is Hurting Our Ears
Our ears are complicated, delicate instruments that largely evolved in far quieter times than the age we currently inhabit — an early world without rock concerts, loud restaurants, power tools and earbuds. Writer David Owen describes our current age as a "deafening" one, and in his new book, Volume Control, he explains how the loud noises we live with are harming our ears. (Davies, 11/5)
Burnout Is Rampant Among Doctors And Nurses. Can The Arts Help?
For decades, art therapy has been used to help patients. But today, people like Moss are looking at how it can also help health care providers. It’s a shift that has come about out of necessity, experts say, because stress and burnout among doctors, nurses and other hospital staff has become a public health crisis. (Flock, 11/5)
Only Children Are More Likely To Be Obese, Study Says
Only children may be at a higher risk for obesity than children who have siblings, according to a new study published Wednesday. The study looked at the eating habits and body weight of only children -- called "singletons" by researchers -- and found they had less healthy eating habits and beverage choices than families with multiple children. (LaMotte, 11/6)
Kaiser Health News:
For Young People With Psychosis, Early Intervention Is Crucial
Andrew Echeguren, 26, had his first psychotic episode when he was 15. He was working as an assistant coach at a summer soccer camp for kids when the lyrics coming out of his iPod suddenly morphed into racist and homophobic slurs, telling him to harm others — and himself. Echeguren fled the soccer camp and ran home, terrified the police were on his heels.He tried to explain to his mom what was happening, but the words wouldn’t come out right. His parents rushed him to a children’s crisis center, where an ambulance arrived and transported him to the adolescent psychiatric facility at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco. (Rinker, 11/6)
Medical Groups Differ On When To Start Colon And Rectal Cancer Screening. Here's Why
Conflicting recommendations on when and how average-risk adults should get screened for colon and rectal cancer could leave you confused -- but new guidance aims to make sense of it all. The American Cancer Society recommends to start regular screening at age 45, while other recommendations have stuck with recommending to start at age 50. The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recommends not using colonoscopy as a primary screening test, while other recommendations do. (Howard, 11/4)