Quietly Simmering Feud Over Fetal Tissue Research Is Reaching Its Boiling Point
The Trump administration back in September launched an audit over all government-funded fetal tissue research, citing "serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations." The decision recently affected a lab that has played a key role in testing antiviral drugs to treat HIV infection, highlighting the far-reaching ramifications of the debate.
The New York Times:
Fetal Tissue Research Is Curtailed By Trump Administration
Should the government pay for medical research that uses tissue from aborted fetuses? This debate, ever smoldering, has erupted again, pitting anti-abortion forces in the Trump administration against scientists who say the tissue is essential for studies that benefit millions of patients. In a letter last week that read like a shot across the bow, the National Institutes of Health warned the University California, San Francisco, that its $2 million contract for research involving the tissue, previously renewed for a year at a time, would be extended for only 90 days and might then be canceled. (Grady, 12/12)
In other national health care news —
Fentanyl Is The Deadliest Drug In America, CDC Confirms
Fentanyl is now the most commonly used drug involved in drug overdoses, according to a new government report. The latest numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics say that the rate of drug overdoses involving the synthetic opioid skyrocketed by about 113% each year from 2013 through 2016. The number of total drug overdoses jumped 54% each year between 2011 and 2016. In 2016, there were 63,632 drug overdose deaths. (Kounang, 12/12)
The New York Times:
U.S. Diplomats With Mysterious Illness In Cuba Had Inner-Ear Damage, Doctors Say
The American government employees in Cuba who suffered mystifying symptoms — dizziness, insomnia, difficulty concentrating — after hearing a strange high-pitched sound all had one thing in common: damage to the part of the inner ear responsible for balance, according to the first doctors to examine them after the episodes. Two years after Americans posted at the United States Embassy in Havana began experiencing the peculiar phenomenon, doctors at the University of Miami on Wednesday published a scientific paper that confirms what these patients have said all along: Their condition is real, not the result of mass hysteria, a response to intense news media coverage or a stress reaction to being evacuated, as doctors in Cuba had suggested. (Robles, 12/12)
The Washington Post:
How Many Years Do We Lose To The Air We Breathe?
The average person on Earth would live 2.6 years longer if their air contained none of the deadliest type of pollution, according to researchers at the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute. Your number depends on where you live. (12/12)
People With Eczema At Higher Risk Of Suicidal Thoughts And Attempts, Study Says
Eczema is a common skin condition that can pack a profound psychological punch: People with eczema are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts than others without the condition, according to new research published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Dermatology. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin disease that's chronic and inflammatory -- meaning it involves an immune system reaction. It affects 18 million adults (more than 7%) and 9.6 million children (13%) in the United States, according to the researchers from University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. (Scutti, 12/12)