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Health News: Latest Research, Top Stories, Trending Topics
Staying on top of the news is a smart move to keep your levels of general awareness high, and be able to navigate different situations and challenges.
More so to keep yourself updated on the latest health news, be it research, top stories for the day/week/month, or even trending topics that have everyone’s attention.
In keeping with this goal to inform, educate, and keep you up to speed with all the current happenings in the world of health and wellness.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has recently proposed new limits on PFAS chemicals i.e., perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances in countrywide municipalities from the previous 70 ppt (parts per trillion) to a mere 4 ppt.
This is a move in the right direction considering that even at low levels these PFAS can cause anything from problems in fetal organs, raise the risk of testicular cancer, and high blood pressure, cause a malfunction in liver enzymes, affect vaccine response in young children, and raise cholesterol levels.
These "forever chemicals" as PFAS is often referred to remain in the environment for ages and contribute to its gradual degradation.
The “Everything Shower” Trend
This trend is blowing up on Tik Tok and refers to a complete 1-2 hours (or more) pampering routine that extends from your pre-shower rituals to the process of showering to post-shower self-care.
It is meant to be meditative, relaxing, and rejuvenating. Tik Tokers could begin with anything from removing make-up and brushing your hair, to applying a face mask.
Showers are meant to be lengthy and luxurious attending to every aspect of grooming – you could luxuriate in essential oils, hot water, and steam, shampoo and condition your hair, cleanse your face and body, shave, and exfoliate.
Post-shower care could include using a soft towel to dry off, hydrating your skin with moisturizers, using crystal rollers or gua sha for lymphatic drainage, reducing inflammation, and sculpting your cheeks.
While this extensive routine is meant to improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and contribute to mental well-being, it can also bring in its wake a very high water and electricity bill quite apart from the expenditure on the melange of beauty products.
Blood Test for Anxiety Disorder
A research team at the University of Indiana has curated a radical new blood test that could help to detect and monitor anxiety disorders in patients. Unlike physiological diseases and disorders, tissue biopsies to test for RNA and DNA alterations do not work for psychiatric disorders.
Hence the team looked for gene expressions correlated to activity primarily between the brain and the immune system. Genome sequencing was conducted on the RNA from blood samples of the study’s participants to isolate which genes were expressed more in people with anxiety disorders.
After comparison with larger cohorts, the genetic signatures (the biomarkers in this case) that occurred with maximum frequency were considered the most accurate predictors of anxiety, and they could also point to the severity of the disorder in patients.
Latest COVID Wave Characteristics
The new wave of COVID-19 cases in India seems to be characterized by the presentation of a completely new symptom – urinary tract infections (UTIs), the presentation of which is often more severe compared to the COVID infection itself.
Heightened co-morbidities and prolonger “long-COVID” in the form of general malaise, irritability, memory problems, and alterations in blood pressure have been observed.
In addition, the XBB.1.16 variant of COVID-19 is accounting for a larger number of cases, particularly in the state of Karnataka where its share of the total COVID infections rose from a mere 1.66 in the year 2022, to 92.3% from the beginning of the year till March 2023.
United States Organ Transplant System Reforms
The United States of America (USA) has decided to overhaul its existing organ transplant system which is managed predominantly by the United Network of Organ Sharing i.e., UNOS.
Multiple issues have cropped up since 1986 when the U.S. Federal government handed over the reins to UNOS. These problems include long wait times with approximately 17 individuals dying per day waiting for a transplant.
There are also concurrent issues of equity, wherein not all groups receive the same priority for referrals or equivalent standards of care. Meanwhile, organs continue to get damaged and disposed of, while those with more resources corner the market and access to organs.
The revamp intends to divert some responsibilities away from UNOS toward other organizations, due to the former's outdated methods of working and alleged mismanagement.
Candida Auris Infections on the Rise
The United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has raised the alarm about rising cases of fungal infections caused by the Candida auris fungus in the United States and beyond. In the U.S., the number of such cases tripled between 2020 and 2021, and are drug-resistant.
This makes them deadly for people who are already vulnerable, such as sick patients in nursing homes or hospitals, especially those with central lines, those on ventilators, or with feeding tubes that can be contaminated.
The general public, however, largely doesn't face a serious threat and will mostly be asymptomatic as well. The infections aren’t responding to conventional treatments such as echinocandins.
These fungal infections seem to be spreading by touch and skin-to-skin contact, which means hand-washing and surface sanitation are of the utmost importance.
Targeting Cancer Treatment Based on Time?
New research from a private university in Switzerland - ETH Zurich- has shown that our body’s circadian rhythm i.e., the natural 24-hour sleep-wake cycle determines the best times for people to receive cancer therapy.
Depending on the way your body clock works, there may be optimal times during the day when administering chemotherapy could yield better outcomes, as a consequence of when cancer cells tend to metastasize.
This way, the treatment can be more effective and the intervention will be more cost-effective as well.
We hope these updates keep you conversant in your endeavor to stay informed, hale, and hearty!
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