From the 1920s to the 1980s, the United States was the most smoking country in the developed world. In the 1960s, consumption peaked over 10 a day, per capita. But now it's near the bottom of the chart—only Britain smokes less, among rich western countries.
Don't fret for the health of the Tobacco business, though: China's taking up the slack. Read the rest
A group of Belgian academic security researchers from KU Leuwen have published a paper detailing their investigation into improving the security of neurostimulators: electrical brain implants used to treat chronic pain, Parkinson's, and other conditions. Read the rest
Wolf Richter's dental insurer sent his family a free "smart" toothbrush that records how often and how well you brush, using a set of proprietary consumables to clean your teeth. Read the rest
In Goldman Sachs's April 10 report, "The Genome Revolution," its analysts ponder the rise of biotech companies who believe they will develop "one-shot" cures for chronic illnesses; in a moment of rare public frankness, the report's authors ask, "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" Read the rest
A large-scale, long-term double-blind study found that low testosterone levels were far, far lower than previously suspected, and showed that taking testosterone supplements didn't confer most of its reputed benefits -- no memory improvement and no physical vitality. Read the rest
American health care is so screwed up, so horribly distorted by the insurance companies' abusive practices, that millions of Americans (even those with insurance) fly to Mexico every year to get state-of-the-art medical care -- and a resort vacation in the bargain -- rather than face the US system, and save money by doing so. Read the rest
Theranos, touting fast and easy blood tests, was a billion-dollar Silicon Valley beast.
Trump is an excellent businessman and the Republicans are really good with money: if you doubt it, just take a gander at the Urban Institute's report on the costs and effects of Trumpcare: the US government will spend $33 billion more as a result of GOP policies, and cover 8.9 million fewer Americans, and those Americans will pay higher premiums (18%, on average!) to get worse care. Read the rest
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.
Read the rest
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.
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).
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.
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
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