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Reading Room

The reading room includes articles and videos of potential interest to consumers and medical professionals. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the NC Medical Board, its members and staff. Note: Some links may require subscriptions.

The Blood of Exceptionally Long-Lived People Shows Key Differences

Science Alert
October 10, 2023
Centenarians, once considered rare, have become commonplace. Indeed, they are the fastest-growing demographic group of the world’s population, with numbers roughly doubling every ten years since the 1970s. How long humans can live, and what determines a long and healthy life, have been of interest for as long as we know. Plato and Aristotle discussed and wrote about the ageing process over 2,300 years ago. The pursuit of understanding the secrets behind exceptional longevity isn’t easy, however. It involves unravelling the complex interplay of genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors and how they interact throughout a person’s life.

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Dairy farmers are running out of chances to kill the terms ‘oat milk’ and ‘soy milk’

September 26, 2023
Almond milk — not almond beverage, almond drink, or even almond juice — appears here to stay. There’s few issues in the food world that generate as much vitriol as the debate over what to call nut, oat, and other plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk. Dairy farmers and their advocates for years have tried everything to convince regulators companies like Silk and Oatly shouldn’t be able to slap “the m word” on their products.

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A brand new Parkinson’s trigger has been found – and it begins far earlier than thought

Science Alert
September 25, 2023

The difficult work of trying to understand Parkinson’s disease continues, with a new study showing that the condition might be triggered earlier than had previously been thought.

Researchers from the US and Canada analyzed neurons from patients with Parkinson’s, discovering a previously unknown culprit for symptoms of the disease that may begin before any of the others.

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FDA: Common Over-the-Counter Decongestant Doesn’t Work

NBC News
September 8, 2023
Does a common ingredient used in many over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines actually work to get rid of nasal congestion?

That’s the question the Food and Drug Administration will pose to a panel of outside advisers during a two-day meeting next week to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the ingredient, phenylephrine, which is found in many decongestants.

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Chipping away at the ‘epidemic of loneliness,’ one new friendship at a time

September 11, 2023
On a typical morning, Jason Silverman lounges at home in his bed for hours, with the TV on and the volume turned up. Sometimes, this daily regimen can get lonely.

So he looks forward to the days his friend, Melissa Mills, picks him up and takes him to a gym in Framingham, Massachusetts, where they exercise together.

Silverman, 38, has Down syndrome. Talking is difficult for him, but he communicates by smiling, sighing and leading Mills by the arm. She’s become familiar with his routine: Usually they hit the treadmill first, then bike a bit before a lunch break and finally, a swim in the pool.

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A lullaby to take the sting away for the littlest ones

Reported in STATNews
August 30, 2023
A newborn getting a heel prick to draw blood is an iconic image of an infant’s first days of life. The soundtrack of pitiful squalls is also familiar, but a study in Pediatric Research suggests another way. A blinded clinical trial studying 100 infants suggests playing a Mozart lullaby might lessen the babies’ pain.

Researchers assessed their pain while wearing noise-canceling headphones that blocked the Mozart but couldn’t hide the grimaces, crying, breathing, limb movements, and alertness (no pacifiers or comforting allowed).

Just over half of the newborns heard Mozart for 20 minutes before and during the heel prick and for five minutes after. The other babies heard no music. All the babies felt some pain, as measured by the observers, but the Mozart babies appeared to feel less — and only during the heel prick itself. Three minutes later all the infants were fine.

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