Women Respond Very Differently Than Men To HIV And Treatment, But Most Research Subjects Are Men

Women Respond Very Differently Than Men To HIV And Treatment, But Most Research Subjects Are Men
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“If we’re going to find a cure, it’s important that we find a cure that actually works for everybody,” said Rowena Johnston, a research director. Public health news focuses on reporting disparity, longevity, climate change, sleep apnea, mighty microbes, brain wearables, a rare women's disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, mental health awareness on Instagram, mortality rates for pro athletes, spina bifida, ER visits, healthier beer and palliative care.

Inspired by reports of a second patient apparently freed of infection with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, scientists are pursuing dozens of ways to cure the disease. But now, researchers must reckon with a longstanding obstacle: the lack of women in clinical trials of potential H.I.V. treatments, cures and vaccines. Women make up just over half of the 35 million people living with H.I.V. worldwide, and the virus is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. In Africa, parts of South America and even in the southern United States, new infections in young women are helping to sustain the epidemic. (Mandavilli, 5/28)

Hospital staff were significantly more likely to report harmful patient safety events for white patients than for black and other minority patients, a new study found. Rates of safety events that hospital workers voluntarily reported varied significantly by the patients' race in a 10-hospital system located in the District of Columbia and Maryland from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2017, according to the study in the Journal of Patient Safety. (Meyer, 5/24)

Having a purpose in life may decrease your risk of dying early, according to a study published Friday. Researchers analyzed data from nearly 7,000 American adults between the ages of 51 and 61 who filled out psychological questionnaires on the relationship between mortality and life purpose. What they found shocked them, according to Celeste Leigh Pearce, one of the authors of the study published in JAMA Current Open. (Gordon, 5/25)

When it comes to discussing climate change, older people may have one advantage: They have watched it happen. In the nine Northeastern states, for instance, where average winter temperatures climbed 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit between 1970 and 2000, they have seen fewer snow-covered days, and more shrubs flowering ever earlier. (Span, 5/24)

Although the woman in her 50s had been effectively treated for depression, she remained plagued by symptoms that often accompany it: fatigue, sleepiness and lethargy, even though she thought she was getting enough sleep. With depression no longer causing her persistent symptoms, her psychiatrist advised her to consult a sleep specialist. (Brody, 5/27)

The engineer’s mantra, said Frances Arnold, a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, is: “Keep it simple, stupid.” But Dr. Arnold, who last year became just the fifth woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, is the opposite of stupid, and her stories sometimes turn rococo. Take the happy images on her office Wall of Triumph. Here’s a picture of a beaming President Obama, congratulating Dr. Arnold in 2013 for winning the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. (Angier, 5/28)

Enhance your memory. Boost your mood. Lose weight more easily. Learn golf, CrossFit, or the clarinet faster. Or even: Regain more independence, despite a neurodegenerative disease. Or start recognizing family members, despite dementia. ...The claims come from companies in the booming business of direct-to-consumer brain wearables. Some of the devices deliver zaps of electricity to the brain, while others monitor brain activity and relay that information in real time in an app. They often look like high-tech headphones or sleek, stick-on devices. The wearables are touted as ways to curb stress, sleep better, boost creativity or athleticism, or even address serious medical conditions. But a growing number of experts are urging device makers to be more careful about those claims. (Thielking, 5/28)

I was a month shy of turning 16 when a red-faced man in a white coat told me I had been born without a uterus. With a huge dark desk between us, he told me I would never menstruate, and would need plastic surgery to correct the anomaly of my vaginal opening that was a mere dimple, so that one day I would to be able to have sexual intercourse. I have M.R.K.H. These four letters stand for Mayer, Rokitansky, Küster and Hauser, the names of the four doctors who discovered the syndrome over a hundred years ago. (Rudnick, 5/28)

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a common disorder that’s commonly misunderstood. A constellation of symptoms, including excess gas, bloating, abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements — sometimes diarrhea, sometimes constipation and sometimes fluctuating between the two — leads to diagnosis. (Adams, 5/27)

When it comes to mental health, it can be hard to be real. Stigma surrounds mood disorders, therapy and drugs. Talking to someone else about a challenge can be exhausting and scary. And all too often, people keep their struggles with depression, bipolar disorder, suicidal feelings and other issues to themselves. That has devastating results: The majority of adults with mental illness in the United States do not receive treatment, and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States. (Blakemore, 5/25)

Pro football players may be more likely to die from degenerative brain diseases and heart problems than baseball players but the reasons are unclear, a new study suggests. The differences may seem obvious. Repeated head blows have been linked with a wasting brain disease in football players. Also, girth can contribute to heart problems, and football players are generally bigger and heavier than baseball players. (5/24)

A new study of more than 6,000 former professional athletes found that National Football League players died at a rate that was almost 1.3 times higher than Major League Baseball players. It’s the first to compare mortality rates between two groups of professional athletes; previous studies that compared professional athletes to the general population showed a lower risk of death for football players. The findings, published Friday in JAMA Network Open, come amid growing concern about head trauma among current and former NFL players and their risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. (Chakradhar, 5/24)

The fetal surgery for spina bifida is complex. Because it requires cutting through the mother’s abdomen and uterus, like a C-section, it involves a long recovery, something that would have been difficult for Gilda, who has two other young children. The “open surgery” carries some risk of premature birth and complications during birth. It also means having a cesarean, for this and any future births because of the risk of uterine rupture. (McFarling, 5/28)

As he climbed into an Uber bound for a Washington emergency room, Michael Zelin remembers thinking he’d be home in a few hours, after a doctor checked out his sore arm and prescribed a painkiller. The 39-year-old real estate executive wasn’t sure the midnight ER trip was necessary. “I remember thinking, ‘I have work tomorrow, I have three little kids,’ ” he said. (Boodman, 5/25)

For Sam Calagione, a founder of the craft brewery Dogfish Head, his company’s efforts to get healthier had a selfish origin. “I started to notice that I was getting an everything bagel on my midriff,” said Mr. Calagione, attributing the weight gain to the multiple beers he drinks daily for work. “So I was like, well, I’m not going to slow down drinking, so I better start innovating some lower-calorie but super flavorful beers.” (Sedacca, 5/26)

Anne Brescia sat beside her only child, Anthony, as he lay unconscious in a hospital bed at age 16. Just a few months before, he was competing in a swim meet; now cancer was destroying his brain. Brescia couldn’t save her son. But she was determined to bring him home. Anthony Gabriel Brescia-Connell was not conscious for his voyage from Boston Children’s Hospital to his home in Medford, Mass., where he died on March 3, 2011, surrounded by his family and beloved stuffed animals. He may not have heard the parting blessings before a doctor turned off his portable ventilator and let him die naturally. (Bailey, 5/28)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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