Health Flash

Health Flash: 11.6.19

harmful effects 
Nearly all premature infants receive antibiotics to prevent deadly bacterial infections, but researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have found that the drugs can have a long-lasting negative impact on the developing microbial communities in the intestinal tracts of infants. Published in Nature Microbiology, the study looked at 58 babies, 41 of whom were born prematurely. The microbiomes of those who had been treated heavily with antibiotics contained more bacteria associated with disease, more that are resistant to antibiotics and fewer species linked to good health. 

ptsd and diabetes
Jeffrey Scherrer, Ph.D., a professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University, has found a link between treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and decreased incidence of type 2 diabetes. In a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, it was found that veterans who experienced a greater reduction in PTSD symptoms had a 49% lower risk of developing diabetes over a three- to six-year follow-up period. Scherrer says more study is needed and could determine if improved PTSD conditions are associated with better insulin resistance and reduced inflammation.

breathe deep 
Congratulations are in order for Dr. Michael Holtzman, director of the Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. He has received awards totaling $7.5 million to support research into new therapies for severe respiratory diseases and related conditions. Holtzman’s lab is working on drugs to better help patients suffering from conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and related cancers. The new approach targets a distinct type of stem cell in the lining of the airway that becomes reprogrammed to inappropriately drive airway inflammation and mucus production.

a tough talk 
New research at Saint Louis University’s Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing will study how to best communicate with parents of children with terminal cancer. Many health professionals wait until treatment has failed to bring up palliative or hospice care, causing more emotional distress. The five-year study will see if end-of-life supportive care discussions at the time of diagnosis will improve quality of life for both parents and their children. The research is funded by a National Institutes of Health RO1 grant and will include 166 families from six states.

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