A major breakthrough in cancer care, how weight gain may be impacting liver health in children and are we treating premature babies with too many antibiotics?

Obesity impacts liver health in kids as young as 8 years old

(Science Daily, 4/4/18, Columbia University Medical Center)

A study published this week in the Journal of Pediatrics found overweight children can develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which occurs when too much fat accumulates in the liver. The inflammation that results from this leads to liver damage. The study found that the larger a child’s waist circumference is at the age of 3 the more likely they will have markers for NAFLD by age 8. This condition affects an estimated 80 million people in the U.S. and is the most common chronic liver condition in children and adolescents, according to a press release from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Major breakthrough in cancer care as gene map paves way for new treatments

(The Independent, 4/5/2018, Alex Matthews-King)

A groundbreaking international collaboration has shown how tumors in different parts of the body, which have previously been treated as separate diseases, have molecular similarities that could render them vulnerable to drugs already on the market. Scientists have heralded a “breakthrough” in cancer treatment after deciphering the genetic code of thousands of tumors, providing a road map for more effective treatment and new drug development. The research redefines cancer types beyond terms such as breast and bowel, which are descriptions only of where the cancer first arose. Instead, the newly uncovered molecular makeup of cancers could lead to drastic changes in how the best drugs for patients are chosen.

Too many antibiotics can give preemies a lifetime of ill health

(Science, 4/5/2018), Marla Broadfoot)

Early this week on our Eureka Blog, we talked about antibiotics and the antibiotic resistance catastrophe which has led to severe medical complications such as sepsis, pneumonia and death. A recent article in Science looks at the dangers of over-prescribing antibiotics to the most fragile of babies. While antibiotics can help fragile premature babies survive, the vast majority of the nearly half-million infants born prematurely in the United States are given antibiotics, even without evidence of infection. Some studies suggest that even while helping fight certain infections, those drugs may encourage others by wiping out an infant’s developing gut microbiome—those trillions of resident microbes with functions as diverse as synthesizing vitamins and bolstering immune systems.

 

—Compiled by Social Media Specialist Jillian Scola