Alternatives to Opioids for Pain: Americans consume 80 percent of the opioid painkillers prescribed worldwide, ultimately resulting in the deaths of more than 20,000 Americans each year of overdoses of these drugs. The crisis is making doctors look at alternative medicine therapies for a substitute for these drugs. Experts discuss modalities that have shown success.
Giggling Epilepsy: Epilepsy can show itself in many ways, including as episodes of giggling and laughing. An expert discusses the case of a nine-year old boy with such seizures, the danger they posed, and the novel way he was treated.
Donated blood saves 4.5 million American lives each year, but has a short shelf life, low portability and must be available for all blood types. Researchers have sought safe and effective blood substitutes for 60 years, and a few viable alternatives are in animal testing.
Going gluten-free is very popular, but a new study finds that if you don’t have celiac disease, there’s no point in it. In fact, it may even hurt you. The 25-year study in the journal BMJ shows that people who eat the lowest levels of gluten have a 15% higher risk of heart disease. Researchers say the results aren’t necessarily cause-and-effect, but when people restrict heart-healthy whole grains to reduce gluten exposure, they often end up eating more refined grains.
Kidney transplants in children are helping them survive longer. A study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that 96% of children who got a new kidney about 10 years ago are still alive today. The transplanted kidneys themselves are also surviving longer—78 percent of living donor kidneys are still functioning 10 years later, compared to less than half a few decades ago. Better immunosuppression drugs get much of the credit.
And finally, if you’ve heard fewer kids complaining about being bullied lately, there’s a reason. Researchers have documented a significant decline in school bullying over the last 10 years. An ongoing study in the journal Pediatrics asks students about their experience with bullying over the last month. Since 2005, the proportion of children saying they’d been bullied has dropped about two percent per year to below 10 percent. Fewer than half of students also say they’ve witnessed bullying in the most recent survey. In 2005, about two-thirds of kids said they’d witnessed it.
Blood Substitutes: DNA mutations happen all the time in the body, but the immune system usually detects and deals with them. When the system fails, cancer results. Yet some animals, such as elephants, almost never get cancer, and scientists have learned that the elephant DNA repair system is 20 times more powerful than the human system. Experts explain how they hope to tap this knowledge.
E-cigarettes and Oral Health: Experts have a lot of questions still unanswered about electronic cigarettes, but evidence is starting to accumulate that the effect on the oral cavity can be as significant as tobacco cigarettes. An expert discusses.
DNA mutations happen all the time in the body, but the immune system usually detects and deals with them. When the system fails, cancer results. Yet some animals, such as elephants, almost never get cancer, and scientists have learned that the elephant DNA repair system is 20 times more powerful than the human system.