Tag Archives: Health

Trends In Healthy Living: Copenhagen, Denmark Is The “Global Exemplar Of Bicycle Culture”

From a New York Times online article:

Copenhagen Cyclists Betina Garcia for The New York TimesCopenhagen’s legendary bicycle setup has been propelled by all of these aspirations, but the critical element is the simplest: People here eagerly use their bicycles — in any weather, carrying the young, the infirm, the elderly and the dead — because it is typically the easiest way to get around.

Copenhagen’s status as a global exemplar of bicycle culture owes to the accommodating flatness of the terrain and the lack of a Danish auto industry, which might have hijacked the policy levers. Trouble also played a role.

Nearly half of all journeys to school and work in Copenhagen take place on bicycles. And people like it that way.

The global oil shock of the 1970s lifted the price of gasoline, making driving exorbitantly costly. A dismal economy in the 1980s brought the city to the brink of bankruptcy, depriving it of finance to build roads, and making bicycle lanes an appealingly thrifty alternative.

To read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/09/world/europe/biking-copenhagen.html

Cancer Studies: Vitamin D Limits Melanoma Growth By Boosting Effects Of Immunotherapy

From a Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News release:

Vitamin D Tames Melanoma“But what’s really intriguing is that we can now see how vitamin D might help the immune system fight cancer. We know when the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway is active in melanoma, it can dampen down the immune response causing fewer immune cells to reach the inside of the tumor, where they could potentially fight the cancer better.

“Although vitamin D on its own won’t treat cancer, we could take insights from the way it works to boost the effects of immunotherapy, which uses the immune system to find and attack cancer cells.”

Genetic Engineerin & Biotechnology News

In melanoma patients, elevated serum levels of vitamin D appear to be helpful. Tumors are thinner. Outcomes are improved. But how, exactly, are these benefits realized? To answer this question, researchers at the University of Leeds scrutinized the interaction between vitamin D and the vitamin D receptor (VDR) on melanoma cells. The researchers, fully aware that vitamin D on its own won’t treat cancer, hoped to identify cell signaling pathways that could lead to new therapeutic strategies.

To read more: https://www.genengnews.com/news/vitamin-ds-melanoma-taming-ways-uncovered/

Health Studies: People With Depression (Genetic) Reduce Depressive Episodes With Exercise

From a MD Magazine online release:

Benefits of ExerciseThe investigators discovered that patients with a higher genetic risk for depression were more likely to be diagnosed with depression over the next 2 years. However, more physically active patients at baseline were less likely to depression, even after they accounted for genetic risks.

Increasing physical activity could pay dividends for people with a high risk of developing depression.

A team from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) recently discovered that several hours of weekly exercise result in a decreased chance to be diagnosed with a new episode of depression, even in patients with a higher genetic risk of developing Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

The team examined the genomic and electronic health record (EHR) data of approximately 8000 patients in the Partners Healthcare Biobank, which represents the first study to show how physical activity influences depression despite genetic risk.

To read more: https://www.mdmag.com/medical-news/physical-activity-epressive-episode?eKey=bWljaGFlbDkyNjUxQHlhaG9vLmNvbQ==&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MDMagSS%20Daily%20Clinical%20eNews%20Sponsored%20Article%2011-5-19%20copy&utm_content=MDMagSS%20Daily%20Clinical%20eNews%20Sponsored%20Article%2011-5-19%20copy+CID_7326ad4f0f2426afa568130acb5dabae&utm_source=CM%20MDMag&utm_term=Physical%20Activity%20Reduces%20Odds%20of%20Depressive%20Episode

Medical Research: Single Gene Therapy Treatment For Multiple Age-Related Diseases Seen (Harvard)

From a Harvard news online release:

Harvard Medical School“The results we saw were stunning and suggest that holistically addressing aging via gene therapy could be more effective than the piecemeal approach that currently exists,” said first author Noah Davidsohn, a former research scientist at the Wyss Institute and HMS who is now chief technology officer of Rejuvenate Bio. “Everyone wants to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible, and this study is a first step toward reducing the suffering caused by debilitating diseases.”

New research from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School (HMS) suggests that it may be possible someday to tend to multiple ailments with one treatment.

The study was conducted in the lab of Wyss core faculty member George Church as part of Davidsohn’s postdoctoral research into the genetics of aging. Davidsohn, Church, and their co-authors homed in on three genes that had been shown to confer increased health and lifespan benefits in mice that were genetically engineered to overexpress them: FGF21, sTGFβR2, and αKlotho. They hypothesized that providing extra copies of those genes to nonengineered mice via gene therapy would similarly combat age-related diseases and bring health benefits.

To read more: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/11/researchers-able-to-improve-reverse-age-related-diseases-in-mice/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Gazette%2020191105%20(1)

New Mental Health Books: “The Great Pretender” By Susannah Cahalan Looks At “Madness” In Society

Psychiatry, as a distinct branch of medicine, has come far in its short life span. (The term psychiatrist is less than 150 years old.) The field has rejected the famously horrific practices of the recent past—the lobotomies, forced sterilizations, human warehousing. Today’s psychiatric practitioners boast a varied arsenal of effective drugs and have largely dropped the unscientific trappings of psychoanalytic psychobabble, the “schizophrenogenic mothers” of yesteryear who had been thought to have somehow triggered insanity in their unwitting offspring. Two decades into the 21st century, psychiatry now views severe mental illnesses as legitimate brain diseases. Despite all these advancements, however, the field still relies solely on self-reported symptoms and observable signs for diagnosis. Though the American Psychiatry Association reassures us that psychiatrists are uniquely qualified to “assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems,” they are, like all of medicine, limited by the tools at hand. There are not, as of this writing, any consistent objective measures that can render a definitive psychiatric diagnosis.

Health Care Costs: $250+ Per Visit “Facility Fees” Increasingly Charged By Medical Practices

From a New York Times online article:

Facility FeeFor new patients, whose visits entail more work than those of established patients, facility fees typically range from $131 to $322 per visit; for established patients, they are slightly lower. In surgical centers and free-standing emergency rooms, the facility fee can be thousands of dollars.

A facility fee is an additional charge that some medical practices can add to the cost of each doctor visit. The additional charge usually comes as a surprise because, unlike an exam or a test or treatment, the facility fee is not tied directly to hands-on care.

The purpose of the facility fee is to compensate hospitals for the expense of maintaining the physical premises. Hospital-owned, off-campus medical practices are also allowed to charge the facility fee to cover specific regulatory requirements, such as building codes, disaster preparedness, equipment redundancy and other items that are largely invisible to patients.

To read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/01/well/live/why-was-my-doctor-visit-suddenly-so-expensive.html