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Weekly Health Digest: Self-healing Lungs, The Anti-Diet, Doctors On TikTok, And More

Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash

A summary of important health news from the past week

Lungs ‘magically’ heal damage from smoking

By James Gallagher

A study recently published in Nature has found that the few cells that are unaffected by smoking have the potential to repair the lungs. However, this is only true if the person stops smoking. While tobacco smoke corrupts the cells in the lungs by mutating the DNA and making thus turning them cancerous, there is a small proportion of cells that are undamaged. The reason why this only works in the lungs of individuals who stop smoking is because it gives the unscathed cells time to grow and replace the damaged cells. The study found that in “people who quit, up to 40% of their cells” in their lungs resembled those of people who have never smoked. While it remains unclear as to how a small proportion of cells avoid damage from the smoke, the findings should motivate smokers to stop smoking as the known benefits are greater than before.


Intuitive eating: The anti-diet, or how pleasure from food is the answer, say its creators

By Sandee LaMotte

Intuitive eating is taking a stance against diet culture. Registered dietitians, Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, created the concept 25 years ago but it has now resurged. 95% of people who go on diets fail at them and the only alternative is to begin trusting the body and “feeling the freedom and enjoyment of food that comes with that”. The scientific mechanism behind intuitive eating is called “introspective awareness”. This is the ability to perceive physical sensations that arise within the body. Resch describes it as the instinct, hunger, fullness. Studies have shown that people who are more perceptive of their body’s needs have better well-being and quality of life.


Doctors on TikTok Try to Go Viral

By Emma Goldberg

A group of doctors have recently taken to TikTok to share information about more nuanced topics such as sex ed and vaping. Dr. Danielle Jones, a gynecologist in College Station, Texas, is one of the many medical professionals who make TikTok videos on their days off. However, the most popular TikTok videos are usually short and silly, which presents a challenge for medical professionals looking so share credible, scientific information.  As the app continues to grow its user base, it’ll be necessary for stricter guidelines to limit the spread of medical misinformation while promoting who present evidence-based medicine.


FDA approves first drug to treat peanut allergies in children

By Leah Asmelash

The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first drug to treat peanut allergies in children. The drug, Palforzia, is meant to be used for children between the ages of 4 and 17 years old. The new treatment works by exposing children to controlled dosages of peanut protein. The drug requires more than 6 months of continuous treatment, though the clinical trial showed that not all of the patients could finish their treatment. Anaphylaxis can also occur with Palforzia, therefore providers will have to counsel patients to have an injectable epinephrine drug with them at all times.


A deadly virus is spreading from state to state and has infected 19 million Americans so far. It’s influenza

By: Scottie Andrew

While the media is gripped by fear of the new coronavirus spreading across China, there is another, more insidious disease that has already killed over 10,000 Americans in the last few months. Many Americans tend to underestimate the flu, but this is a disease that can quickly become deadly. This flu season is shaping out to be a particularly bad one, although it is unclear if it will reach the proportions of the 2017-2018 season, which saw 45 million cases and up to 61,000 deaths. This season, there have been over 173 million vaccinations, although many people choose not to get vaccinated. Evidence shows that being vaccinated can reduce the risk of flu in up to 60% of the population.