A summary of important health news from the previous week.
Parents May Pass Down More Than Just Genes, Study Suggests
Epigenetics is a growing area, and recent research has suggested that behavioral and environmental factors can have an impact beyond what we had previously imagined. A recent Danish study is looking at differences in sperm epigenetic information following gastric bypass surgery. In a small sample, researchers found epigenetic differences in the offspring of obese fathers compared to lean fathers, but this is far from conclusive. We are only beginning to understand how these changes occur, and have a long way to go until we can apply this knowledge to offspring or ensure that behaviors are truly having the effects researchers suspect. Many of the epigenetic differences were seen in genes related to appetite control, but the heredity of these changes remains unknown.
Chipotle says it is tightening food safety standards following E. coli cases
As of Nov. 19, the CDC the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 45 people had been infected with the strain of E. coli in six states, and that 43 of them reported eating at Chipotle. There were reports of these outbreaks in Oregon, Washington, California, Minnesota New York, and Ohio. Chipotle has recently responded by saying that is tightening its food safety standards. The new procedures will include testing of all produce before it is shipped to restaurants and increased employee training for food safety and handling. The company has also stated that ingredients that are likely to have been connected to the outbreak no longer remain in restaurants or supply system.
New Diabetes Cases, at Long Last, Begin to Fall in the United States
The rate of diabetes is now, finally, on the decline. According to researchers at the CDC the rate fell by 1/5 between 2008 and 2014. Although there has been a gradual decline throughout the years, the drop has yet to be statistically significant, until new numbers were recorded that showed a the 1.7 million rate in 2008 had dropped to 1.4 in 2014. The reason for the decline is still being questioned. It could be due to the increase in prevention efforts, or it could just mean there was a peak in the prevalence amongst the U.S. population. However, there have been studies that the health and diet of American's is improving, and knowing someone who suffers from the disease may affect an individual's life choices.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, current director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published an essay in The New England Journal of Medicine stating that the US still has a long way to go in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Although medication and treatment has improved in recent years, we still have 45,000 news cases per year. Some activist applauded his efforts at calling for new reforms and others claimed this essay did not go far enough.
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