“Black scholars have a burden of trying to convince their colleagues that their research topics are not far from mainstream and that they are legitimate and have value,” said Alycia Mosley Austin, a neuroscientist, who was not involved in the study. Public health news is on body-contouring procedures, unsafe sleep positions, a new trial for sickle cell disease, innovation costs, service dogs in restaurants, childhood trauma, research on psychedelics, carbon monoxide poisoning, ADHD, diet and depression, cartilage regrowth, and caregiving for older adults.
Stat: Racial Disparity In NIH Funding Partly Driven By Research Topic
Ever since a landmark 2011 study supported the long-held notion that African American scientists were significantly less likely than white researchers to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health, researchers have sought to better understand what’s behind the gap. A new paper builds on that previous work to find that research topic choice is partially driving the disparity, accounting for 20% of the funding gulf. (Chakradhar, 10/10)
The New York Times: Is This The Shape Of Things To Come?
To Laura Salter, a fashion and lifestyle blogger, it seemed that no amount of diet and exercise would shrink her love handles or inner thighs. She thought that what she called the “obvious bulges” in her clothing were affecting her self-confidence and thus her work, but liposuction wasn’t an option. She has three children and no time for recovery. So in February 2018, Ms. Salter, 42, decided to have her fat frozen off, paying $2,400 — yes, a blogger who paid — for a roughly two-hour cryolipolysis, or fat freezing, session. (Rubin, 10/9)
The Star Tribune: Sleep Positions Tied To Majority Of Unexpected Infant Deaths In Minnesota, Study Finds
The sudden and mysterious deaths of 40 to 50 infants in Minnesota each year might be categorized as “unexplained” in official records, but state health research has found a very explainable reason why they occurred: unsafe sleep environments. The state Department of Health announced Wednesday that 82% of the sudden unexplained infant deaths reported in the state in 2016 and 2017 were related to sleeping (74 out of 90 total deaths). Most involved babies who were placed to sleep on surfaces other than cribs, or with loose bedding or fluffy blankets or toys that present suffocation hazards. (Olson, 10/9)
NPR: Can CRISPR Help Patients With Sickle Cell Disease?
Victoria Gray slides open a closet door, pulls out a suitcase and starts packing piles of clothes. “My goodness,” says Gray. “Did I really bring all this?” Gray, who has sickle cell disease, is the first patient with a genetic disorder who doctors in the United States have tried to treat using the powerful gene-editing technique CRISPR. (Stein, 10/10)
Stat: Illumina Confronts The Innovator’s Dilemma
DNA sequencing powerhouse Illumina announced a partnership with diagnostics giant Qiagen this week that is exactly the kind of shrewd tactical move that has long cemented the firm’s dominance in the market for machines that read genetic code. Investors, however, seem to feel that, in this case, past performance is no guarantee of future results. The 15-year partnership gives Qiagen the right to develop diagnostic test kits using Illumina’s MySeq and NextSeq DNA sequencers — in other words, to create tests that are used to help pick the right drugs for cancer patients, and, eventually, in other diseases. (Herper, 10/9)
The Wall Street Journal: The $64,000 Question: Why Didn’t Restaurant Allow A Service Dog?
A Manhattan restaurant owner has been ordered to pay $64,000 in fines and damages after his employees were accused of refusing to seat a customer with a service dog. A New York City administrative judge levied the penalty in a ruling last month in which he said the restaurant violated the city’s human rights law. The ruling followed a trial in the spring after the city’s Commission on Human Rights brought a complaint against Besim Kukaj, a restaurateur who owns multiple eateries in Manhattan. (Honan, 10/9)
Modern Healthcare: Kaiser Launches Childhood Trauma Research With $2.75 Million
Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday said it will invest $2.75 million to research how to help prevent and mitigate the health effects of adverse childhood experiences. The funding will go toward an initiative to identify clinical and community-based interventions that can be used to address childhood trauma. Studies have indicated those adverse events can lead to riskier health behaviors and a higher likelihood of developing chronic conditions in adulthood. (Johnson, 10/9)
WBUR: How Psychedelic Substances Can Help Treat Anxiety, Depression And Other Mental Illnesses
Johns Hopkins University has launched a center for psychedelic research with $17 million in donations solely from private donors, the first of its kind in the U.S. The establishment of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine signals “a new era of research in therapeutics and the mind,” according to the center’s director, Roland Griffiths. (Hobson and McMahon, 10/9)
Stat: In Rats, Treatment For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Comes From Bright Light
Scientists hunting for new ways to treat carbon monoxide poisoning are trying a new tactic: hitting blood with bright lights to break the stranglehold of the toxin. But outside experts say the approach — one of several potential treatments currently being studied — only underscores how complicated it is to stop carbon monoxide from wreaking havoc on the body or to reverse the damage it has already done. (Thielking, 10/9)
KCUR: Doctors Stand By Meds For Treating Kids With ADHD But Many Experts Say That’s The Wrong Approach
When children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, stimulant medications like Ritalin are usually the first line of treatment. Doctors recently issued new guidelines that mostly uphold the role of those medications, but many experts argue that other effective behavioral treatment methods are being ignored. …They advise that anyone 6 or older should start taking medication and get behavioral therapy as soon as they are diagnosed. Children 5 and younger are advised to start with behavioral treatment first. (Smith, 10/9)
WBUR: Changing Your Diet Can Help Tamp Down Depression, Boost Mood
A randomized controlled trial published in the journal PLOS ONE finds that symptoms of depression dropped significantly among a group of young adults after they followed a Mediterranean-style pattern of eating for three weeks. Participants saw their depression “score” fall from the “moderate” range down to the “normal” range, and they reported lower levels of anxiety and stress too. (Aubrey and Chatterjee, 10/9)
CNN: Humans Have A ‘Salamander-Like’ Ability To Regrow Cartilage, Study Finds
Humans may not be able to regrow amputated limbs like salamanders can — but we do have a “salamander-like” ability to regrow damaged cartilage, a new study has found. The study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, found that “cartilage in human joints can repair itself through a process similar to that used by creatures such as salamanders and zebrafish to regenerate limbs,” according to the press release by Duke Health, which helped lead the research. (Yeung, 10/10)
Kaiser Health News: Drumbeat Builds For A Peace Corps Of Caregivers
Imagine a government program that would mobilize volunteers to help older adults across the nation age in place. One is on the way. The Administration for Community Living, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, is taking steps to establish a National Volunteer Care Corps. If it’s successful, healthy retirees and young adults would take seniors to doctor appointments, shop for groceries, shovel snowy sidewalks, make a bed or mop the floor, or simply visit a few times a week. (Graham, 10/10)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.