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Monday, September 12, 2016

Morning Rounds by Megan Thielking

Welcome to Monday, everyone, and welcome to Morning Rounds. 

Hillary Clinton has pneumonia 

Hillary Clinton's early departure from a 9/11 memorial event yesterday came as the candidate is suffering from pneumonia, a diagnosis that further raises the stakes of the candidates' health this election season. It's an infection of the lungs that's spread just like the cold or the flu. Pneumonia can be mild or more severe, and can be caused by a variety of pathogens. It's not clear what caused Clinton's pneumonia or what tests were done to confirm the diagnosis, but Clinton's doctor did note she was started on antibiotics on Friday. More here

FDA considers crackdown on rogue stem cell clinics

Scientists are gathering today to urge the FDA to crack down on unregulated stem cell clinics that have cropped up across the country. There’s growing public concern over the 500-plus stem cell clinics in the US, which claim to treat everything from autism to erectile dysfunction using stem cells, often created from a patient’s own fat. Some patients have gone blind after undergoing the treatment, while others have developed tumors. The FDA’s meeting today will go over the agency’s proposal to regulate the cells like a drug to curb those safety risks — meaning the clinics would have to go through a lengthy, expensive approval process to get the green light to treat patients. More on the clinics here.

Youth soccer injuries on the rise

Youth soccer leagues are growing increasingly popular each year in the US — and with that, soccer injuries are on the rise. A new study in Pediatrics finds that the yearly rate of soccer-related injuries among kids ages 7 to 17 spiked 111 percent between 1990 and 2014. Sprains and strains were the most common injuries, followed by fractures and soft-tissue injuries. And because nearly 40 percent of those injuries occurred when a player was hit by the ball or by another player, the study’s authors say it’s particularly important to make sure kids are sticking to the rules and playing with appropriate protective gear. The authors suggest higher intensity of play and more opportunities to play the sport year-round could be driving the increase in injuries.

Sponsor content by PhRMA

Patients and families have more hope than ever before with more than 300 medicines in development for autoimmune diseases

Today, there are more than 300 medicines in development for autoimmune diseases like arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, type 1 diabetes and MS. This is exciting news for the nearly 23.5 million patients with autoimmune diseases, as the need for innovation in medicines has never been greater. Learn more here about how America’s biopharmaceutical researchers are fighting autoimmune diseases.

Inside STAT: Maureen Dowd on Zika

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd had a talk scheduled in Puerto Rico recently when a friend questioned whether she was worried about Zika. She wasn't — until she began to consider what getting sick might mean for an upcoming book tour. She scoured the web for information and called on her dermatologist for advice on everything from what to wear to what insect repellent to use. Her colleague began calling her the "Mosquito Lady." But after seeing how the residents of Puerto Rico were pushing through the crisis, Dowd has come to one conclusion — Congress needs to act on Zika, now. Read her First Opinion here

Prepping communities to provide mental health first aid

A House committee is meeting today to talk over legislation backing an interesting idea: mental health first aid. The Mental Health First Aid Act would authorize the government to give out grants to states and communities to equip residents with skills to help others in mental health crisis. The training would provide people with information on how to recognize the signs of a mental health crisis in individuals with conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, or depression. It would also train people on how to de-escalate the situation and direct the person in crisis to the right resources.

How radiation can damage DNA to cause cancer

a mouse model of breast cancer. (NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE/UNIV. OF CHICAGO COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER)

Scientists zooming in on the nooks and crannies of our DNA have identified two distinct patterns of damage caused by radiation, offering insight into how ionizing radiation like X-rays and gamma rays can cause cancer. Researchers looked at the tumors of 12 patients who’d been exposed to radiation, and compared them to information plucked from the tumors of 319 cancer patients who hadn’t been exposed to radiation. They compared DNA sequences between the two groups and turned up two mutations that were exclusive to the patients who were exposed to radiation. That finding could give cancer researchers a jumping-off point to examine how high-energy radiation wreaks havoc on DNA. The paper will be published in Nature Communications this morning. 

Stopping foodborne illness before it starts

The FDA is doling out nearly $22 million to help states put the agency’s food safety act into action. The rule sets out standards for how fruits and veggies should be safely grown, harvested, and packaged before we chow down on them. The new grant money goes to 42 states to make sure the food industry gets held to those standards. The five-year grant will help the states set up individual monitoring systems to track food production and safety in their region. The goal: Stop poorly-prepped produce from causing food poisoning outbreaks in the first place. Farmers have to adhere to the rule — which was passed in November 2015 — beginning in January 2018.

What to read around the web today

  • Before you spend $26,000 on weight-loss surgery, do this. New York Times
  • For one Zika patient, lingering questions and few answers. Reuters
  • What it feels like to die. The Atlantic

More reads from STAT

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow,

Megan

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