Rats exposed to cell phone radiation lived longer than control group

Using a cell phone won't harm you, according to a draft report issued on Friday by the US Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program.

From the LA Times:

"The reports don't go much further than what we had reported earlier, and I have not changed the way I use a cellphone," NTP senior scientist John Bucher said in a briefing.

Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society, said that the new evidence should not alarm wireless phone users.

"The evidence for an association between cellphones and cancer is weak, and so far, we have not seen a higher cancer risk in people," Brawley said in a statement.

Interestingly, rats exposed to the radiation lived longer than control group rats.

LA Times:

The researchers also reported that rats and mice exposed to radiofrequency radiation developed more tumors in the brain, prostate, liver, pancreas, pituitary gland and adrenal gland. But they said they weren't sure whether the radiation was responsible.

Among non-cancer risks, rat pups had lower birth weights when their mothers were exposed to high levels of radiation during pregnancy and while they were nursing. However, the rats ultimately grew to normal size.

Strikingly, the rats exposed to radiation lived longer than rats in an unexposed group that served as controls.

The researchers were at a loss to explain this. Perhaps the radiation reduces inflammation, as is seen in a therapy called microwave diathermy, they said. Or it could just be chance.

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Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase announce new health insurer 'free from profit-making incentives and constraints'

Investor Warren Buffet, world's-richest-guy Jeff Bezos and cartoon villain Jamie Dimon have announced that their firms will collaborate to create an unnamed health insurer that is "free from profit-making incentives and constraints" (though that does not necessarily mean it will be a nonprofit, of course).

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High carb diet linked to Alzheimer's

The journal Diabetologia published a study that "found that people with high blood sugar had a faster rate of cognitive decline than those with normal blood sugar—whether or not their blood-sugar level technically made them diabetic. In other words, the higher the blood sugar, the faster the cognitive decline.

From The Atlantic:

In a 2012 study, Roberts broke nearly 1,000 people down into four groups based on how much of their diet came from carbohydrates. The group that ate the most carbs had an 80 percent higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment—a pit stop on the way to dementia—than those who ate the smallest amount of carbs. People with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, can dress and feed themselves, but they have trouble with more complex tasks. Intervening in MCI can help prevent dementia.

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NHS okays hospitals and doctors storing patient data on public cloud servers

NHS Digital has issued guidance to the independent authorities and businesses that make up the UK's National Health Service, setting out the case for storing extremely sensitive patient data on public cloud servers. Read the rest

Becoming a mother in a Rohingya refugee camp

Rojinessa labored through the night and gave birth to a baby boy around dawn. Her mother delivered the baby. No doctors were present. No midwives. No beeping machines. Rojinessa became a mother in a tent with a bare concrete floor, a plastic sheet roof, and no running water. She is a Rohingya refugee, living in Ukhia, Bangladesh, with more than 650,000 other refugees who have fled the grotesque and incomprehensible genocide ravaging her people in Burma.

VR chat participant appears to have a photosensitive seizure

Participants in a VRChat room watched as the avatar of one of the participants appeared to go into a grand mal seizure, accompanied by distressed sounds audible through the voice-chat. Read the rest

America's large hospital chains will start manufacturing generic drugs in order to beat shkrelic price-gouging

Hospital chain Intermountain Healthcare is leading a industry consortium representing 450 hospitals in total in an initiative to manufacture their own generic drugs, either directly or through subcontractors. Read the rest

Inmate, denied health care in an Arizona private prison, chews his own fingers off

An unnamed, paralyzed prisoner in one of Corizon Correctional Healthcare's for-profit prisons in Arizona chewed part of his left hand off because Corizon refused to give him the correct medication for his pain. Read the rest

Regular ibuprofen usage "alters human testicular physiology"

A small cohort of 31 healthy young men who took 600mg of ibuprofen twice a day for six weeks developed "compensated hypogonadism" (little balls), because the ibuprofen interfered with their testosterone production and their gonads had to work overtime to compensate. Read the rest

Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums

Maryam Omidi crowdfunded a photographic tour of Soviet-era sanatoriums, and the resulting book, Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums is like a weird 1970s sci-fi catalog. Read the rest

Watch this interesting description of what it's like to be bipolar

In the film The Mess, Ellice Stevens presents a compelling look at what it's like to live with a bipolar diagnosis: the dizzying highs and the staggering lows. Read the rest

An orifice-by-orifice census of the objects US emergency room doctors removed from their patients in 2017

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission maintains a database of ER visits, which Barry Petchesky has mined to produce a list of the most interesting things we stuck in our bodies, sorted by orifice. Read the rest

Price of 40-year-old cancer drug raised from $50 to $768 a pill

The cost of lomustine, a veteran cancer drug, have skyrocketed after a startup bought the rights to it and hiked prices 1,400 percent.

According to the Wall Street Journal, lomustine was sold by Bristol-Myers Squib for years under the brand name CeeNU at a price of about $50 a capsule for the highest dose. The drugmaker sold lomustine in 2013 to a little-known Miami startup called NextSource, which proceeded to hike lomustine's price nine times since. It now charges about $768 per pill for the medication.

According to an analysis done for the Journal by Truveen Health Analytics and Elsevier, NextSource this year raised prices for the drug, which it rebranded as Gleostine, by 12 percent in November following a 20 percent increase in August.

Nextsource CEO Robert Dicrisci, pictured, says they base pricing on "product-development costs, regulatory-agency fees, and the benefit the treatment delivers to patients." As it didn't develop the drug and regulatory fees are not up 1,400%, that leaves the last part of his formulation. It is, in all fairness, a good way of suggesting that your life is surely worth every penny you have. Read the rest

"Gaming disorder" to be recognized

The New Scientist reports that the World Health Organization is to include "gaming disorder" in its International Classification of Diseases (Amazon). The wording is yet to be finalized, but will encompass gaming “to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests” and meets various criteria of adverse effects such as anxiety, antisocial conduct and withdrawal symptoms. The Independent:

Last year, researchers from the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute undertook a study to investigate the percentage of gamers who are addicted to video games.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found that only 2 to 3 per cent of the 19,000 men and women surveyed from the UK, the US, Canada and Germany admitted that they experienced five or more of the symptoms from the American Psychiatric Association checklist of health symptoms.

In the past, game addiction has generally been pooh-poohed. But public perception is changing, not least due to the widespread introduction of gambling mechanisms into mainstream games and hardcore Gamers' growing reputation for bug-eyed tweaky behavior in general. Read the rest

How a maker with Type I diabetes led an open source project to create a free-as-in-code artificial pancreas

Dana Lewis kickstarted the Open Artificial Pancreas System (previously) by trying to solve her own problems with monitoring her glucose levels, calculating insulin doses, and administering them around the clock -- an onerous task that her life depended on, which disrupted her sleep and challenged her to make reliable calculations regarding dangerous substances while her blood-sugar levels were troughing or spiking. Read the rest

ACA isn't enough: single-payer is a feminist issue

Any health-care system that depends on employers or wages is going to privilege the people with the highest-paid jobs (men) and take away power from people who do the bulk of unwaged work (women). Read the rest

For more than half a century, the sugar industry has used Big Tobacco tactics to suppress sugar/cancer link and to confuse the science

UCSF researchers have published an important paper in PLOS Biology that draws on internal documents from the US sugar industry lobby that shows that the industry deliberately suppressed research on the link between sucrose and bladder cancer and heart disease, and then deliberately sowed misinformation about the health effects of sugar, using tactics straight out of the tobacco industry's cancer-denial playbook. Read the rest

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