Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Appeals court again rules Title X changes can go into effect

Title X is back in the news again: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday refused to block the changes proposed by the Trump administration. The same court last month ruled to allow these changes, which would withhold Title X funding from abortion providers or those who refer patients to abortion clinics. Still, several groups were hoping for an emergency stay to keep the rules from going into effect, but yesterday’s ruling solidifies the changes. Some 4 million low-income families get health care from organizations that rely on Title X funding. Planned Parenthood, for instance, stands to lose some $60 million in funding as a result of the new rules, but the organization has set up an emergency fund to help offset costs in the meantime, the agency’s president, Dr. Leana Wen, told me

House committee looks into addressing childhood trauma

The House Oversight and Reform Committee yesterday held a hearing on identifying, preventing, and treating childhood trauma, calling it a “public health issue” that warranted more federal attention. Those who have experienced childhood trauma — including domestic and sexual abuse — testified before the committee and detailed the depression and anxiety that followed. “Trauma at its core is an individual experience, but we are all impacted in some way ourselves or those we care deeply about,” said William Kellibrew, whose experience with domestic violence and work to help others affected by trauma led to the founding of the William Killibrew Foundation, where he serves as president. Adolescent and mental health experts also shared how multiple adverse events in childhood have been linked to higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse, and offered strategies, including better screening, to address the problem. 

Lab Chat: A microbiome-based fix for malnutrition

Nearly half of all deaths worldwide in children under the age of 5 is from malnutrition, but current methods for addressing the nutrition gap can be expensive and hard to implement. In a new study, scientists describe how a diet based on chickpeas, soy flour, bananas, and peanuts promoted certain microbial species in the gut of malnourished children in Bangladesh more than standard therapy. I spoke with Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, a microbiome researcher at the Washington University in St. Louis and senior author of the new study, to learn more. 

How did you find the foods included in the diet you tested? 

We turned to the foods that are normally consumed by children in this area. People in the lab then screened these complementary food ingredients … and found combinations that boosted the growth of the [microbial] community. 

And what’s the takeaway here? 

[It shows] how important healthy development of the gut community might be for healthy growth. The capacity to be good stewards of the healthy development of an infant's or child's microbial community could have very long-term effects on their biology, their health status, and even disease risk. 

Read more here

Inside STAT: As Trump claims credit for decline in opioid deaths, others see danger ahead


Despite President Trump’s claim last month that his administration played a huge role in delivering the first drop in opioid overdose deaths in 30 years, the crisis is far from over. And that progress may be in jeopardy because of the current administration’s efforts, public health experts say. More than two years into his presidency, Trump has yet to appoint someone to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration. And the DEA and HHS are feuding over how to classify some drugs that may be too dangerous for the public. “I get concerned that we’re going to take our eye off the ball on the broader issue of addiction,” Regina LaBelle, the former chief of staff for the Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Obama administration, told STAT’s Lev Facher. Read more here

Majority of Americans favor lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes

The majority of Americans support lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes, according to new CDC data. Researchers surveyed more than 4,000 adults and found that more than 80% of people wanted cigarette makers to reduce the amount of nicotine, a finding that was consistent among smokers and non-smokers. Women and those over the age of 65 were the most in favor of such changes. 

At the same time, another report from the CDC found some 20% of people who are non-smokers say that they are exposed to secondhand smoke at work, with half of them reporting it happens at least twice a week. The trend was especially prevalent among people in states without comprehensive smoke-free laws, and among people who tend to work outdoors rather than indoors. 

Salt intake in China is among the highest globally

People in China are consuming more than twice the daily recommended amount of salt, according to a new review of studies. The WHO recommends consumption be limited to less than 5 grams a day, which is about a teaspoon's worth, but looking at data from 70 studies, researchers found that adults older than 16 years of age are consuming about 11 grams of salt a day. Children between the ages of 3 and 6 are consuming the daily maximum, while those ages 6-16 are consuming nearly 9 grams of salt daily. China’s sodium intake is also high when compared to elsewhere in the world: The U.S. and Australia average about 9 grams daily among adults, for example. Although the intake levels in China represent a dip since the 2000s, an increase in eating processed foods could offset these gains, the authors write. 

What to read around the web today

  • Hospital fires 23 workers in case of excessive doses, deaths. Associated Press
  • Jeffrey Epstein called himself a “science philanthropist” and donated millions to these researchers. BuzzFeed News
  • UCLA knew of doctor sex abuse allegation in 2014 but didn’t fire him for four years. Los Angeles Times
  • Reckitt Benckiser agrees to pay $1.4 billion in opioid settlement. NPR
  • Opinion: Congress needs to reauthorize the life-saving newborn screening program. STAT

Have a nice weekend! See you next week!


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Friday, July 12, 2019


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