THE BEST INVENTIONS OF 2023: Accessibility

From TIME: Click through for the full post…


Cold Case Solved: Raynaud’s Mystery Solved With New Genetic Findings

By QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Click through for the full post…

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London’s Precision Healthcare University Research Institute (PHURI) and the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have identified the genetic causes of Raynaud’s phenomenon (also called Raynaud’s syndrome and Raynaud’s disease). Their findings, published today (October 12) in Nature Communications, could lead to the first effective treatments for people with Raynaud’s.

Understanding Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) is a heritable condition that affects blood circulation. It’s a vasospastic condition, which means that small blood vessels near the surface of the skin have spasms that can limit blood flow. People with Raynaud’s often experience pain in their fingers and toes, often alongside changes of color in their skin, due a lack of blood flow during attacks when they’re cold or emotionally stressed. In more serious cases, it can cause severe pain or ulcers.

Around 2-5% of the population is affected by Raynaud’s. Despite it being a common condition, it’s under-investigated and little is understood about the genetic cause of the condition.

Down syndrome families’ fight for access to Alzheimer’s trials, treatments

By Julie Steenhuysen: Click through for the full post…

When Lianor da Cunha Hillerstrom of Lexington, Massachusetts, learned her now 9-year-old son Oskar had Down syndrome, she was concerned but not panicked.

As a child, Lianor lived for a time in Santo Amaro de Oeiras, Portugal, near her aunt Teresa who had Down syndrome, which causes intellectual disability. Had Lianor, who is 47, stayed in Portugal, she would have witnessed her aunt decline and then die at age 60 of Alzheimer’s – the most common cause of death for people with Down syndrome.

Now, Lianor’s husband and Oskar’s father, former biotech executive Hampus Hillerstrom, 46, is leading an effort to gain parity with neurotypical adults for his son and others with Down syndrome.

That means being able to get them promising new drugs like Eisai (4523.T) and Biogen’s (BIIB.O) recently approved Leqembi and Eli Lilly’s (LLY.N) experimental donanemab, as well as inclusion of people with Down syndrome in clinical trials of treatments for Alzheimer’s.

Mouthguard technology detecting brain injuries to be adopted in rugby

From AP: Click through for the full post…

Rugby will use mouthguard technology as part of its efforts to detect brain injuries suffered by players on the field.

The smart technology, which measures the force of head impacts in real time, will send alerts to an independent matchday doctor to signal “a high level of acceleration which could lead to an injury,” global governing body World Rugby said Monday.

Players who might not have shown symptoms can then be taken off the field and checked out as part of the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) process.

World Rugby said it is investing 2 million euros ($2.1 million) in the technology to support unions, competitions and clubs. It will be used for the first time in the inaugural edition of the WXV — the global women’s competition — this month and integrated into the HIA from January.

New Research Reveals That People Who Play This Sport Have a 240% Increased Risk of Skin Cancer

By UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Click through for the full post…

Golf is a game open to all, bridging the gap between different generations, abilities, and backgrounds. It offers an ideal mix of physical activity, social interaction, and outdoor enjoyment.

However, reconsider before you prepare to swing. Recent research from the University of South Australia reveals that golfers are at a heightened risk of skin cancer compared to the overall population.

Conducted with global partners, the study shows that one in four golfers had received a skin cancer diagnosis, indicating a 2.4 times greater risk of the disease.

The study is the first to explore the prevalence of skin cancers among an Australian golfing population.

Lead researcher, Dr. Brad Stenner says the findings highlight the importance of being sun-smart on the green.

“Playing golf regularly has a range of excellent health benefits – from helping you stay fit and active, to keeping you in touch with friends,” Dr. Stenner says.

“For example, if you walk an average golf course, you’re walking at least five to seven kilometers every game, often more Add a bag of golf clubs and maybe two to three rounds a week, and you can see just how good golf is for your endurance, muscle tone and wellbeing.

“While there are clear health benefits of engaging in golf, this study explored the risks of playing golf as golfers tend to play for four or more hours in the sun, using various sun protection strategies.

“We found that 27% of golfers – or one in four – had been diagnosed with skin cancer, as compared with 7% of the general population.

Michigan makes history, requires filtered water in all schools, daycares

By Jonathan Oosting: Complete Post through this link…

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs filtered water laws for schools, childcare centers
  • Laws will require a filter bottle filling station or faucet for every 100 kids
  • Move comes seven years after Flint water contamination crisis

LANSING — Michigan will be the first state in the nation to require filtered drinking water at all schools and daycare centers under new laws signed Thursday by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

Facilities will have until the end of the 2025-26 school year to install at least one bottle-filling station or faucet filter for every 100 children under the laws, which aim to prevent lead exposure that, at high levels, can cause brain damage and developmental delays.

30 Sensory Icks: A Complete Checklist For Neurodiverse People

By Shamiha Said: Complete Post through this link…

The Tags, the Seams, the Itch and everything in between.

Have you ever had a tag itch on the back of your neck? Me too. A tag can often feel like a cactus or sandpaper rubbing against the back of your skin for many neurodivergent people, and other items can also trigger a similar sensation. Tags are the ultimate ‘ick’ factor for many of us. I can’t believe that most people aren’t irritated by tags!
It is estimated that up to 90% of autistic people have sensory processing disorder, so it isn’t surprising that so many different (and often trivial) things can make us feel uncomfortable, annoyed or even overwhelmed.

Just like the infamous tags, there are many sensory ‘icks’ that neurodiverse people experience regularly, and here is a complete checklist categorised by the different senses.

1. Bright white lights
These striking lights often appear in office buildings, hospitals and schools. For many autistic and neurodivergent people, these lights can trigger sensory overwhelm and headache episodes. Whenever I go to the office, I leave with a headache, mainly because the bright lights can trigger a painful response.

2. Direct sunlight
Even in the winter, I will always leave the house with sunglasses. Walking outside in direct sunlight can become overwhelming without protecting my eyes.

And many more…

Brain Changes from ECT Linked to Worse Outcomes

By Richard Sears: Complete Post through this link…

A recent article in Psychological Medicine reports that the grey matter changes seen in patients who undergo electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) do not account for the depression relief some patients reportedly experience post-ECT.

To the contrary, this study found that a post-ECT rise in grey matter volume corresponded with worsening depressive symptoms in the short run. This initial increase in grey matter volume was then succeeded by significant decreases over the subsequent two years. These reductions were correlated with deteriorating long-term outcomes. The authors state:

“Volume increases induced by ECT appear to be a transient phenomenon as volume strongly decreased 2 years after ECT. Short-term volume increases are associated with less symptom improvement, suggesting that the antidepressant effect of ECT is not due to volume changes. Larger volume decreases are associated with poorer long-term outcome, highlighting the interplay between disease progression and structural changes. “

The study was led by a multidisciplinary team, including Tiana Borgers, Verena Enneking, Melissa Klug, and many others. They are primarily affiliated with the Institute for Translational Psychiatry at the University of Münster in Germany. Additional contributors hail from institutions such as the University of Halle, the German Center of Mental Health in Halle, the University Hospital Frankfurt, and the University Hospital Jena. The collaboration also extended internationally with input from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne and The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Australia.

People with intellectual disability are often diagnosed with cancer when it is already well advanced

By Martin McMahon: Complete Post through this link…

Many people with intellectual disability are diagnosed with cancer when it has already spread (metastasized) and the odds of survival are lower.

Intellectual disability is a lifelong condition that occurs before adulthood where people have a reduced ability to understand new or complex information, learn new skills and cope independently. In the UK it is called “learning disability”.

Cancer has been reported as the cause of death about 1.5 times more often among people with intellectual disability than people without it. In a recent study, my colleagues and I found that cancer is the second leading cause of death in Ireland for people with intellectual disability who live in residential care homes.

Cancers tend to be found late in this cohort for a number of reasons. One of these is the attitudes of healthcare staff, who may be influenced by stigma, previous negative experiences and communication barriers.

Other problems include underestimating the severity of a person’s symptoms or assuming that the symptoms are to do with their intellectual disability rather than having a biological cause. For example, if a person sees a doctor because they are self-harming, the doctor might assume that it’s related to the patient’s intellectual disability rather than a sign of distress caused by other symptoms they can’t verbalise.

Many people in this population have a higher chance of developing cancer and having worse outcomes because they have more long-term health issues with high rates of obesityphysical inactivity, and mental health issues. They are more likely to be poorunemployed and lonely and their housing situation also tends to be precarious. Some studies have found that they are less likely to take part in cancer screening programmes.

New Study Questions Effectiveness of Xanax

By OREGON HEALTH & SCIENCE UNIVERSITY: Complete Post through this link…

Study finds publication bias inflated the efficacy of commonly prescribed drug benzodiazepine by more than 40%.

New research reveals that the nation’s most widely prescribed type of sedative may be less effective than clinicians and scientists have been led to believe, based on publications in medical journals.

The study, which was published on October 19 in the journal Psychological Medicine, examined both published and unpublished data from five randomized controlled clinical trials reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for alprazolam, known by the trade name Xanax XR. It is one of a class of sedatives known as benzodiazepines, widely prescribed since the 1970s to treat medical conditions such as anxiety and insomnia.

Associated Risks and Clinical Implications

In recent years, benzodiazepines have been associated with serious clinical risks, including dependence, withdrawal, falls, and cognitive impairment.

“Clinicians are well aware of these safety issues, but there’s been essentially no questioning of their effectiveness,” said senior author Erick Turner, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine and former FDA reviewer. “Our study throws some cold water on the efficacy of this drug. It shows it may be less effective than people have assumed.”