Like humans, the rhesus macaques that live on Puerto Rico’s “Monkey Island” possess advanced problem-solving skills and opposable thumbs and have been known to use tools, and they have complex emotional and social lives. As scientists wonder what something like Hurricane Maria actually do to a community, beyond the initial, obvious physical effects, some are turning to the monkeys to help better understand. In other public health news: the HIV epidemic, cancer, doctors and TV shows, scientific labs, heart health, and exercise.
The New York Times: Primal Fear: Can Monkeys Help Unlock The Secrets Of Trauma?
On Valentine’s Day, 2018, five months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Daniel Phillips stood at the edge of a denuded forest on the eastern half of a 38-acre island known as Cayo Santiago, a clipboard in his hand, his eyes on the monkeys. The island sits about a half-mile off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico, near a village called Punta Santiago. Phillips and his co-workers left the mainland shortly after dawn, and the monkeys had already begun to gather by the time they arrived, their screams and oddly birdlike chirps louder than the low rumble of the motorboat that ferried the humans. (Dittrich, 5/14)
PBS NewsHour: What Trump’s PrEP Deal Means For The Spread Of HIV
Top HIV/AIDS researchers and public health advocates say the Trump administration’s new deal to provide uninsured Americans with free drugs to prevent HIV infection is a promising step in America’s fight against AIDS. But actually reaching the very people most in need of the medication — like men who have sex with men and people who use injection drugs — and convincing them to take it, will be a bigger challenge. (Kane, 5/14)
The New York Times: Scans Suggested The Boy Had Cancer. But No Doctor Could Prove It. Why?
The mother was in a grocery store on the North Side of Chicago when she got the news. “I talked to a doctor who might be able to help figure out what’s wrong with your son,” her friend said. The words were a relief; she had been searching for months. The woman, her husband and their 16-year-old son were in Florida for spring break several months earlier when the boy first mentioned the pain in his right knee. That school year, he had thrown himself into sports with enthusiasm — first softball, then basketball, playing almost every day — so his mother wasn’t surprised that he was having pain, only that he complained about it. (Sanders, 5/15)
The New York Times: Doctor, We Need You In The Writer’s Room, Stat
The surgeon is scrubbed and ready. He calls for a “ten-blade” and the nurse slaps the scalpel into his hand. He nods, unwavering, and runs the sharp edge against plastic skin. And then —A different kind of cut. The surgeon relaxes and now he is an actor waiting for a touch-up of his powder. The director makes a suggestion and he nods. He’s game. The patient sips from her water bottle. And in this world of seemingly unlimited takes, we are ready to go again. (Lamas, 5/15)
Stat: Scientific Labs Look For New Ways To Become Sustainable
Scientific labs produce a ton of waste: plastic pipette tips and the plastic racks that hold them, plastic foam coolers that house chemicals and cells, surplus solvents that expire in storage. They also rack up big energy bills: special freezers keep experiments cold, high-tech vents keep air clean, and dedicated machines keep equipment sterile. But a growing number of universities and other scientific institutions are making a point to be more mindful about their waste and water and energy use. And experts who help labs become more sustainable say the idea is increasingly gaining traction among researchers looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint. (Thielking, 5/15)
The New York Times: Glucosamine Tied To Heart Benefits
Glucosamine, the dietary supplement widely used for arthritic pain, may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, researchers report. Scientists looked at 466,039 British men and women, ages 40 to 69, who were free of cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. Participants completed detailed health questionnaires that included information on the use of dietary supplements. Nearly 90,000 of them, or 19 percent, reported regular use of glucosamine. The study, in BMJ, tracked the participants’ health for an average of seven years. (Bakalar, 5/14)
The New York Times: To Move Is To Thrive. It’s In Our Genes.
A need and desire to be in motion may have been bred into our DNA before we even became humans and could have helped to guide the evolution of our species, according to a fascinating new study of the genetics of physical activity. The study uses big data and sophisticated genetic analyses to determine that some of the gene variants associated with how much and whether people move seem to have joined our ancestors’ genome hundreds of thousands of years ago, making them integral to human existence and well-being and raising interesting questions about what that means today, when most humans are sedentary. (Reynolds, 5/15)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Source : Kaiser Health