Medicine is the key to sustaining life. In a lot of ways, there are medicinal strides in research every single day. If you don't work in the field, it can be tough to hear about the latest and greatest findings. Medicine and its study is possible thanks to countless incredible professionals. Without the work of these brilliant experts, easy to solve issues would be quite the hurdle. Considering the progress being made each year, medicine is a field that always grows and contributes to larger societal issues. From surgeons, nurses, doctors, and lab technicians, medicine is a cornerstone of our society. If you're curious about the current events in medicine happening now, here are six you need to know!
The Not-So-Sweet Truth about Sugar and Cancer Risk
It's long known that sugar is not the best thing to over-consume. For starters, the body can only process so much sugar before it sits and builds up. Like excess fats, the body begins to take extra amounts of sugar and store it, leading to a number of health concerns. Everything from diabetes to strokes is researched and found to be directly tied to sugar consumption. Now, it appears the troubles go even deeper. As obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease continue to grow in severity among adults, the need for these types of test are crucial. The problem is often a matter of getting the word out past companies pushing products that feature these unhealthy substances.
Overall, the threat of sugar is well known. As with any major health concern, people know the risks, but not necessarily how severe the threat is. The study central to these latest findings sends home the message loud and clear. The study focused primarily on two aspects of cancer: the disease itself, and the tumors that often house the disease. Tumors are not always necessarily present in cancerous patients, creating a need to separate the two slightly. Additionally, specific cancers grow differently, and the study found different results depending on the disease. As with any current events in medicine, it's crucial to cut things that seem to be a detriment, no matter how sweet the taste.
No Matter the Sugar, It's a Serious Problem
A major flaw in the thinking of people who consume sugar is that the way you consume it matters. Current events in medicine always seem to point to bad substances being bad no matter what. The big difference in sugars is natural versus processed sugars. An apple, for example, is full of sugars. Its contents are much different from, let's say, a candy bar. Nevertheless, the study finds that sugar in all drinks, no matter the type, can lead to increased risk of cancer. Juices, even when 100% juice, still lead to increased risk of cancer. By consuming 100 ml more of sugar each day, participants in the study were found to increase their cancer risk by 18%. Those who decreased their sugar increase lowered their risk by 22%.
The bottom line is the relationship between sugar and health risks. Looking at the risk as a spectrum is not accurate given the universal danger its overconsumption can bring. Consumers of sugar run the threat of cancer risk at a significant level. The most common cancers found in the study were breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Considering the wide range of people effected by these cancers, everyone stands to benefit from consuming less sugar. In fact, it may be a matter of life and death.
Recent Tests show HIV Disappearing in Animals
The struggle to find a cure for HIV and AIDS is still going. The topic regularly returns to current events in medicine. Since its growing awareness in the 1980s and 1990s, people all over the world still suffer from this infection. A lot of people still fail to understand what makes the virus so difficult to study and cure. As with any medical issue, countless hours of research can still lead to only minuscule understandings of what's happening to the human body. A number of experts seem to think a breakthrough is coming soon, but overall, the replication of HIV cells is tough to investigate.
The issue also includes a problem with individual cell reproduction. The rate at which HIV cells reproduce varies from person to person, and a number of studies fail to draw conclusions. At the very least, this latest study is helping to determine how to kill HIV cells before they rapidly spread. A team at the medical school of Temple University is announcing a great turn of events regarding replication-competent cells. The early feedback to the study seems to believe this study may be the passage to a cure for HIV. When looking at cells that are ready to spread, stopping them is the key. Thanks to this latest project, it seems like that may be a possibility in the near future.
Reducing Replication Provides Path Forward in HIV Research
Most of the HIV treatments around now are antiretroviral based medicines. These do not look to eliminate the HIV cells, but rather treat them for their subsequent symptoms and further damage to the immune system. The study, however, was able to reverse HIV cells prime for reproduction by eliminating them through gene editing. By taking the animals used in the study and administering gene editing through slow developing cell rewriting, the animals ceased to carry any HIV cells. Will this work for humans? That's the question moving forward.
The key to any study centered on HIV spreading and treatment is translation. Sure, the results for the animals ensures a possible path forward. Unfortunately, because the nature of this particular virus is so mysterious, it can be hard to know when a true breakthrough is developing. For future studies, the team plans to move from mice to non-human primates who carry the virus. This should be a closer look at the way humans might react to the treatment. If positive results come from work on primates, we may see experimental tests on humans in a future nearer than we think.
Current Studies Show Runners Underperform Due to Unfounded Heart Concerns
Running is not necessarily everyone's favorite thing to do. Exercise in general can be something that physically and mentally deters a lot of people from getting up and moving. As you get older, it becomes even harder. The strain put on muscles and bones is felt much more harshly for those nearing middle age and beyond. To add to that, many adults who work full time don't have the energy to work out after they clock out. For those who give it a go, a concern persists: what is too much for me and my heart? As it turns out, your heart can handle much more than you give it credit for.
The study at hand is a bit tricky, because it focuses on those who run ultramarathons. That's right: running events that last longer than the already insane 26.2 miles. An ultramarathon varies in range, but can last for 30-100 miles over a stretch of time in which runners take regular breaks for rest and sleep, then hit the road once more. So, as you can see, we're looking at already very fit individuals in this case. That being said, the results translate to those who are also worried about starting a workout based on their heart fitness. Current events in medicine always center around heart health, as the organ and its complications are the leading killer of adults.
The Heart is Built for Work
The study at hand looks at the heart strain put on ultramarathon runners at varying lengths and intensities. The focus of this study is long distance runners. The results centered around the level at which the heart put out cortisol, or the hormone tied to stress. Runners looking to push themselves to the limit would achieve greater levels of cortisol as the body feels the strain. The more experienced runners find themselves feeling less strain. Inversely, less experienced runners limit themselves to ensure their hearts can take the strain. The study finds, however, that runners often perform below their cardiac limits. When facing a huge distance in an ultramarathon, the brain might think it smart to save energy. More often than not, rather, this leads to worse results.
In terms of physical ability, any runner performing at an ultramarathon is going to be in top shape. The concept of cardiac energy and rest is something on the minds of many runners. It's nice to know that the more you push yourself once trained, the more you can do without worry of overexertion. Good news for runners, and a good excuse to get working towards better run times!
Healthiest Tribe in the World Points to Possible Lifestyle Goals
For most people, lifestyle choices seem hard to change once they become habit. In many current events in medicine, topics related to increasing life wellness catch a lot of eyes. If a change is in your future, why not take it from one of the healthiest tribes in the whole world? A lot of studies like to look at what humans do to achieve greater health. In this case, it's a prime example of why native traditions exist even today. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a CNN contributor specializing in health and wellness. His work is often tailored to better life choices and habits. In the Amazon, a tribe Gupta visited rates highly in every major wellness category.
Life in the Amazon is a bit tricky. A lot of current events in medicine use the Amazon as a survey area or population study. The area's climate is so diverse depending on the time of day, let alone the year. For that reason, living in the area seems nearly impossible. That's only true for those accustomed to Western, developed life. The lifestyle of native tribes is easy to understand but difficult to implement into our lives. The practices that seem second nature to tribes in the Amazon are vastly different from practices in the United States and similar countries. For that reason, Dr. Gupta is highlighting the findings from a visit to this tribe. The results of his inquiries may seem foreign, but they can lead to long lasting lives and wellness beyond our standards.
The Tsimane tribe is native to the Amazon, and functions in ways that might seem strange to Westerners. The structure of their family life is centered around extended family, rather than the nuclear style. Up to 60 family members can live together in camps at a time without it seeming out of the ordinary. The tribe functions without electricity or anything that might be seen as a modern invention. This can make food harvesting and preparation difficult. For that reason, Gupta assumed the tribe ate mostly plants. In fact, their diet is almost entirely carbs. Rice, corn, and other carb-heavy foods make up the most of their meals. This meal plan makes it easy to get fiber and nutrients, and their lifestyle avoids processed foods entirely.
Another huge part of their culture is movement. The Tsimane people nearly stand, walk, or move every moment of the day. The average step count per day of a Tsimane villager is 17,000. It's clear that movement, diet, and proximity to family contribute greatly to their health. Outside of environmental threats like snake bites, their healthy lifestyle leads to a very balanced, issue-free experience.
Stay Mentally Active, Stay Physically Healthy: Brains Need Exercise Too in Late Lift
We all know the importance of maintaining our memory in our lives. Our brains are going to deteriorate as we age, that is unavoidable. The concept of sustaining memory muscles and other aspects of retention is a popular focus in medicinal research. For that reason, a lot of people think they already know what it takes to stay on top of the brain's decay. The old adage “use it or lose it” remains true today, but some aspects of what it means to work your brain need a bit of updating. For example, those pesky video games that parents scold kids about might be of great use.
As with any technology, our understanding develops as we use it more. That's how we've come to know what builds and maintains memory well and what does not. We know socialization to be key, which is why so many clubs and groups exist for older people. As spouses or family members begin to die or move away, individuals without a close relationship to others suffers for it. There may not be a solution to gaining memory back or stopping its decay. What researchers do know, however, is that the process can be slowed and delayed with adequate stimulation.
Don't Forget to Use your Brain
Memory is crucial to remembering some of the things that keep elderly people healthy. Things like making it to check-ups, taking medicine, and maintaining relationships require a good memory. To understand what helps keep memory decay from increasing, researchers looked at ways to maintain memory and reduce its decay. The typical suspects are here in the results. As mentioned above, it's important for older individuals to stay social in their later years. A big part of the study, however, was the introduction of computers into daily life. Older individuals own computers much more often than 10 years ago, so it's worth knowing what impact that has. Current events in medicine always point to staying mentally active to stay physically active, so sitting at a computer might sound strange. It might make a big difference, however.
It turns out the impact is quite large. Use of a computer in middle to late age is seen to decrease mental wear and tear by 48%. That's significant, considering the ways in which older individuals can use a computer. Reading news, playing games, and talking with friends and families can assist in making mental consistency with memory more durable. The other typical impacts are present as well, including reading books or the newspaper, playing games, and other mentally active ways of participating in various situations. It's nice to know computers are playing a vital role in slowing memory decay, and as more older people get computer access, the benefits will grow.
Medicine is the forefront of all we have to contribute to the longevity of humankind. It's promising to keep up with current events in medicine and see so many great strides being made. With the impact of research playing such a vital role in our lives, one can only hope its funding and emphasis grows over the coming years. A pushback against science and medicine is the last thing we need, especially considering all the good it does for us.