Keeping up with all the latest in health news can be a crapshoot. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here are the most headline-grabbing stories this week from Yahoo News partners.
‘“Crapsules” … may offer new hope for patients’
A clinical trial funded by the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Research is testing whether pills made from the freeze-dried poop of healthy people could help those with advanced liver disease, Sky News reported.
Individuals with cirrhosis — a condition involving severe scarring and damage to the liver — have higher levels of “bad” gut bacteria that make them more susceptible to infections. Researchers are hoping that pills containing feces with “good” bacteria of healthy individuals will improve the gut health of patients with cirrhosis and reduce the need for antibiotics.
“The ‘crapsules,’ which have none of the taste or smell as the name suggests, may offer new hope for patients with cirrhosis who are out of treatment options,” Debbie Shawcross, a King’s College London professor and chief investigator of the trial, said.
About 300 patients are expected to take part in the trial, with participants randomly assigned either a freeze-dried stool capsule or a placebo tablet every three months for two years.
Even ‘safe’ pollution levels can cause changes in child brain development
A study published this week found that exposure to levels of some pollutants considered safe from a regulatory perspective could contribute to changes in a child’s brain function over time, The Hill reported.
Higher concentrations of ozone were related to increased connections in the brain’s cortex — which is responsible for processes such as thought, memory, consciousness and emotion — but to fewer connections between the cortex and other regions of the brain such as the amygdala, which is associated with emotional processing, and the hippocampus, which plays a role in long-term memory.
Researchers said they hope regulators will consider these findings when setting air quality standards in the future.
“On average, air pollution levels are fairly low in the US, but we’re still seeing significant effects on the brain,” study author Devyn Cotter, a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, said in a statement . “That’s something policy makers should take into account when they’re thinking about whether to tighten the current standards.”
Study says daily use of low-dose aspirin may increase anemia risk in healthy older adults
A team of researchers from Australia, New Zealand and the United States found that healthy adults aged 65 and older who took a low dose of aspirin on a daily basis appeared to be at increased risk of anemia — a condition that develops when the body produces too few healthy red blood cells, which can result in fatigue, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeat.
The study published on Tuesday looked at a group of 19,114 healthy older adults who were randomly assigned either 100mg of aspirin or a placebo. Researchers concluded that those in the aspirin group appeared to have increased instances of anemia and reduced levels of ferritin (an iron-storage protein) and hemoglobin, Fox News reported.
Nearly half of older people in the US take aspirin for preventative reasons, “including thinning the blood to counter cardiovascular disease and prevent strokes,” Fox News reported. The study’s researchers suggested that older patients regularly taking low-dose aspirin be monitored by their doctors for anemia.
All adults under 65 should be screened for anxiety, the health panel says
The US Preventive Services Task Force recommended for the first time on Tuesday that all adults younger than 65 be screened for anxiety even if they don’t have symptoms.
The task force is an independent panel of volunteer health experts whose guidance may influence insurance company reimbursement, but doctors aren’t required to follow the group’s recommendations. This most recent recommendation specifically identified pregnant and postpartum adults as people who should be screened, but noted that there was not enough evidence to back-screen for adults age 65 and older.
Screenings for anxiety are usually done through questionnaires during a doctor’s office visit, and “doctors want to know how often within the past two weeks a patient has been easily irritated or irritable, bothered by uncontrollable worries or feeling so restless that it’s difficult to sit still ,” NBC News reported.
But experts stress that while screening tools can help open up a conversation about anxiety and anxiety symptoms, the screening tool on its own is not enough to diagnose a patient with the condition.