Bariatric Surgery Linked To Lower Cancer Death Rate, Study Finds
Patients who had the surgery were 48% less likely to die of cancer than their counterparts who did not have surgery, The Washington Post reported. Also in public health news: “Forever chemicals” and their ties to high blood pressure; 3D-printed organs; Ramsay Hunt syndrome; and more.
The Washington Post:
Weight-Loss Surgery Linked To Lower Cancer Death Rate In Large Study
Body weight is considered a risk factor for cancer — but can losing it reverse that risk? A study suggests the answer is an emphatic yes, at least for those who lose significant weight through bariatric surgery. Patients who had the surgery were 32 percent less likely to develop cancer and 48 percent less likely to die of cancer than their counterparts who did not have surgery, according to research published in JAMA. (Blakemore, 6/12)
In other health research —
‘Forever Chemicals’ Linked To High Blood Pressure In Middle-Aged Women: Study
Middle-aged women who have greater blood concentrations of toxic “forever chemicals” may be at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, a new study has found. These women were more likely to become hypertensive than those who had lower levels of the compounds, also called per- and polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to a study published on Monday in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. (Udasin, 6/13)
How Psilocybin, The Psychedelic In Mushrooms, May Rewire The Brain To Ease Depression, Anxiety And More
Shrooms, Alice, tweezes, mushies, hongos, pizza toppings, magic mushrooms — everyday lingo for psychedelic mushrooms seems to grow with each generation. Yet leading mycologist Paul Stamets believes it’s time for fans of psilocybin mushrooms to leave such childish slang behind. “Let’s be adults about this. These are no longer ‘shrooms.’ These are no longer party drugs for young people,” Stamets told CNN. “Psilocybin mushrooms are nonaddictive, life-changing substances.” Small clinical trials that have shown that one or two doses of psilocybin, given in a therapeutic setting, can make dramatic and long-lasting changes in people suffering from treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, which typically does not respond to traditional antidepressants. (LaMotte, 6/11)
When We’ll Be Able To 3D-Print Organs And Who Will Be Able To Afford Them
What if doctors could just print a kidney, using cells from the patient, instead of having to find a donor match and hope the patient’s body doesn’t reject the transplanted kidney? The soonest that could happen is in a decade, thanks to 3D organ bioprinting, said Jennifer Lewis, a professor at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Organ bioprinting is the use of 3D-printing technologies to assemble multiple cell types, growth factors and biomaterials in a layer-by-layer fashion to produce bioartificial organs that ideally imitate their natural counterparts, according to a 2019 study. (Rogers, 6/10)
Race Is Often Used As Medical Shorthand For How Bodies Work. Some Doctors Want To Change That.
Several months ago, a lab technologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital mixed the blood components of two people: Alphonso Harried, who needed a kidney, and Pat Holterman-Hommes, who hoped to give him one. The goal was to see whether Harried’s body would instantly see Holterman-Hommes’ organ as a major threat and attack it before surgeons could finish a transplant. To do that, the technologist mixed in fluorescent tags that would glow if Harried’s immune defense forces would latch onto the donor’s cells in preparation for an attack. If, after a few hours, the machine found lots of glowing, it meant the kidney transplant would be doomed. It stayed dark: They were a match. (Bichell and Anthony, 6/13)
In celebrity news —
The Washington Post:
Justin Bieber Is One Of Many Celebrities Sharing Personal Health Struggles
Last week, Justin Bieber posted a video to Instagram not only sharing his diagnosis of Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which has left half of his face paralyzed, but also showing it. “As you can see, this eye is not blinking. I can’t smile on this side of my face. This nostril will not move,” the worn-out-looking Canadian singer, dressed in a beanie and flannel, said in the video. (Ables, 6/12)
The New York Times:
What Is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome? Justin Bieber’s Diagnosis, Explained
Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a neurological condition caused by varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults. The virus can linger in your body for your entire life, even long after you have recovered from chickenpox, and reawaken to irritate and inflame the nerves in your face. (Blum, 6/10)
Country Star Toby Keith Discloses Stomach Cancer Diagnosis
Country music star Toby Keith announced Sunday that he has been undergoing treatment for stomach cancer since last fall. The multi-platinum-selling singer said on Twitter that he underwent surgery and received chemotherapy and radiation in the past six months. (6/12)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.