Cat Lovers Aren't Necessarily Psychotic
Despite what you may have seen on The Simpsons, a new study indicates that cat ownership is not linked to mental disorders, CNN reports. The article describes how researchers looked for a link between owning a cat and symptoms of psychosis caused by a parasite known to be carried by felines, and found none. The issue is important to those who are pregnant or with young children. Researchers still advise expectant mothers to avoid changing the litter box, according to the study abstract, published by the journal Psychological Medicine.
Reconsidering Alzheimer’s Roots
The failure of yet another new Alzheimer’s drug earlier this month has some experts wondering if the basic hypothesis that has long guided their research is just plain wrong, Sarah Zhang reports in The Atlantic. Ever since Alzheimer’s patients were found to have “an unusual buildup of the protein amyloid in their brains,” Zhang writes, scientists thought preventing or removing amyloid should slow the onset of dementia. But so far, every drug targeting amyloids has proven ineffective. While the theory continues to underpin much of the research, experts are beginning to look for other possibilities. And, as we noted here last week, all Alzheimer’s research is a race against time. The U.S. faces an explosion in the number of cases, with an estimated 13.5 million Americans expected to be afflicted with the disease by 2015.
The Votes Are In: A Lot of Us Are Really Stressed
You’ve heard of PTSD. But did you know about PESD? It stands for Post Election Stress Disorder, which Psychology Today recognizes as an unofficial but real ailment that has reared its head among Americans since November. Psychologists throughout the nation are grappling with a higher-than-normal influx of patients, Kaiser Health News reports, and they often deal with anxiety and depression related to — or exacerbated by —news related to the new presidential administration. According to an American Psychological Association survey conducted after the inauguration, 57 percent of Americans report that the current political climate is causing them stress, and 40 percent say the same about the outcome of the election. In the months leading up to and after the election, the general average stress level increased significantly for the first time since the Stress in America survey began a decade ago.
Illinois Hospitals to Increase Organ Transplants
This week, during a conference focused on organ donations, a number of Illinois hospital representatives spoke about plans to increase donations in the state and turn Chicago into a hub for organ transplants, the Chicago Tribune reports. In 2016, Illinois hospitals performed 1,2087 organ transplants, according to Health & Human Services figures and the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network, which coordinates donations in Illinois and northwest Indiana, wants to increase that to 2,000 per year by 2020, the report notes. Given the fact that more than 5,000 people in Illinois are currently waiting for organs, that increase could have a big impact. Among the hospitals that pledged to help are Rush University Medical Center, University of Chicago Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center and Northwestern Medicine. “Imagine a world where patients in need of organs can have a customized organ built just in time,” said Michael Abecassis, M.D., director of Northwestern’s Comprehensive Transplant Center to the Tribune. “We do it with cars. We should be able to do it with organs.”
Did Too Many Babies Needlessly Suffer?
Stat’s Sheila Kaplan asks some troubling questions about why the Food and Drug Administration took so long to push a Los Angeles company to reformulate homeopathic treatments that appear to have harmed hundreds of babies. “Over a 10-year period, the FDA collected reports of ‘adverse events’ in more than 370 children who had used Hyland’s homeopathic teething tablets or gel,” Kaplan reports. Stat used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain FDA records that showed babies whose parents used the products to ease their kids' teething pain turned blue and died, while others had repeated seizures and still others were airlifted to emergency departments with their arms and legs twitching. After the FDA issued a warning in September, the company stopped manufacturing the products, but they remain available on the Internet, according to the report.