Those aren’t butterflies in your stomach
You may have a funny feeling in your gut after hearing that scientists recently discovered a new human organ within the digestive system. The organ, named the mesentery, previously was thought to exist as “fragmented and disparate structures,” Time magazine reports. The discovery was published in the journal The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology. While the function of the mesentery is unknown it does connect the intestine to the abdomen, and may be useful in the study of abdominal diseases, according to the Time’s report.
Avoiding death by giving heroin users a safe place to shoot up
As the nation’s opioid epidemic worsens, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cities are exploring new approaches to end the scourge of addiction and death. Just last month, the CDC announced that more than 33,000 individuals died from opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers in 2015, a 15 percent uptick from the previous year. Heroin deaths, for one, swelled by more than 23 percent, up to 10,574, according to the White House. Advocates in San Francisco and elsewhere say that providing heroin users with clean needles and a supervised site to shoot up may help to curb such fatalities, Reuters reports. An analysis is from the Journal of Drug Issues estimates that a 13-booth injection facility in the Golden City could save $3.5 million a year, mostly in reduced medical costs, and not just in avoided overdoses cases, but also hepatitis C and HIV. Of course, some are skeptical about the benefits of giving drug users a place to shoot up freely. But others have found success with this approach overseas, and study auther Alex Kral thinks it’s past time to seek alternative answers here in the U.S. “We’ve tried a lot of things in the last 50 years, and none of them have succeeded,” he tells Reuters. “So why not try an innovative, evidence-based solution that’s working in upwards of a dozen countries?”
Genomic startup Tempus partners with Mayo Clinic for cancer treatment
Chicago-based genomics startup company Tempus —which enables doctors to use data to treat cancer patients — has partnered with the Mayo Clinic, the Chicago Tribune reports. Under this new partnership, Tempus will conduct a process called molecular sequencing for Mayo cancer patients, which can help provide insight into their best treatment options. Tempus CEO Eric Lefkofksy — who helped found Groupon — says his new company seeks to amass a library of patient data (in regard to patients’ DNA, health, treatments and more) to help doctors identify patterns.
This is the sixth health organization Tempus has partnered with; others include the Rush University Medical Center and Northwestern University’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Zika still a problem, CDC director maintains
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released several travel advisories in 2016 warning pregnant women to avoid areas of Florida as well as several Latin American countries because of the Zika, and the organization’s director, Tom Frieden maintains the virus is still a very real threat, according to STAT. “I think there’s a misconception that Zika is either over or was never a serious problem. It’s a devastating problem for families and individuals,” said Frieden in the same report. He also told STAT, that pregnant women should continue to avoid areas where Zika is still spreading until there is an effective vaccine.