Weekly Health Digest: Thanksgiving Food-Comas, Vision Whiteouts, And Cancer Treatment & the Gut Microbiome
New from the @EmoryCSHH News Team: Avoiding the Thanksgiving Food Coma, Vision Whiteouts, And The Gut Microbiome's Role in Cancer Treatment
By Dani Blum, The New York Times
America is in shock amid the national shortage of Adderall. Teva Pharmaceuticals, a major producer, had difficulties retaining employees, which caused an initial manufacturing delay. Now, they have employees, but with the recent extreme surge in demand, the product has been placed on backorder yet again. Rates of Adderall use in America have been continuously rising for 20 years. With so many Americans being on this medication for so long, it has left many unable to function without it. With that reliance, comes withdrawal. Many patients have described Adderall withdrawal as putting them into a ‘zombified’ state – leaving them so exhausted they cannot even do simple tasks such as eating a solid meal. Still, doctors have said that withdrawal is not the only concern. A patient’s ADHD may become even more severe than before if they stop the medication abruptly rather than titrating down doses. All of this has made patients ration their doses by sometimes taking as little as ? of a pill in order to make the medication last. This shortage has left Americans with ADHD distraught and many have begun to lose hope as they have relied on Adderall to do normal tasks. There is said to be a new production of the drug, but with the high demand, it could take months before it is easily accessible again.
— by Madison Woods
By Emily Anthes, The New York Times
A mysterious disease outbreak in the summer of 1994 resulted in the death of dozens of horses in the suburbs of Australia. Eventually, a few horse trainers got sick as well and ultimately claimed one’s life. It was finally discovered that this infection, known as Hendra virus, is carried by fruit bats, who shed it in their feces and saliva, which was then picked up by the horses and eventually transferred to humans. After over 25 years, a new study suggests that this outbreak stemmed from the rapid environmental changes that drastically changed the ecological landscape of fruit bats. Human activities that have led to deforestation and food shortages have caused fruit bats to enter human-dominated environments at an alarming rate. For example, bats flock to farms where food is readily available and accessible. There, not only are the bats in closer contact with horses, but they also shed higher levels of the virus, which could be due to the nutritional stress that they are experiencing. This phenomenon is not new, as forest fragmentation and increased species interaction are the origins of Ebola, malaria, Lyme disease, and more recently, COVID. What this indicates, as stated by Dr. Aaron Bernstein, is the importance of focusing on the prevention upstream to prevent further spillovers. A case study performed by Dr. Plowright, who is an infectious disease ecologist at Cornell, looked at the cause of the Hendra virus outbreak, which was the disappearance of species-specific habitat and food sources for fruit bats. As a solution, instead of bats going to farms to find food sources, Dr. Plowright’s team suggested replanting blooming species, which would draw bats away from humans. In all, this case study opens up the possibility of adding spillover mitigation to what is available to reduce the risks of pandemics.
— by Chris Ejike
By Stephanie Nolen, The New York Times
Over the years, the majority of safe sex campaigns have focussed on danger and disease and, as a result, have seen unimpressive success rates. “So why, given the millions of dollars spent globally every year to change how people have sex, is the point of sex mostly left off the agenda?” Because the individuals who work in sexual health tend to come from biomedical backgrounds, such that the focus is on death, danger, and disease. They are not encouraged to view themselves as sexual beings.
The WHO and the Pleasure Project are finally recognizing the role of pleasure and its major impact on condom use. Scattered programs around the world have demonstrated that eroticizing safer sex leads to reimagining the narrative of disease prevention by including pleasure in the conversation. For example, at an AIDS conference in Bangkok, Arushi Singh, the co-director of the Pleasure Project, introduced a sex toy to sex workers, who were delighted by the discovery she had to share. Described as a small, convenient, self-inserting ring, Singh demonstrated the female condom. During her presentation in Bangkok, Singh flipped the narrative and proved that disease prevention and having a good time do not have to be mutually exclusive.
It is crucial to address the elephant in the room: why most people have sex in the first place. A successful safe sex campaign cannot be led on the basis that it is only for reproduction. In discussing that you can partake in sex for pleasure in a safe way, a lot of the stigma dissipates. In reframing how we view safe sex, we can venture to believe that “using a condom frees up your mind to feel pleasure.”
— by Gabriella Salazar
Items contributed by: Madison Woods, Chris Ejike, and Gabriella Salazar