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Cyberbullying leads to youth depression

  • Published in Health

nihlogoA new study from the National Institutes of Health shows that cyberbullying, dissatisfaction in family relationships, and unmet medical needs contribute to higher rates of depressive symptoms among LGBT youth across the United States.

“The study shows that adolescence is a critical window for interventions to address depressive symptoms experienced by sexual minority youth,” said Jeremy Luk, Ph.D., first author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Without appropriate screening and intervention, these disparities may likely persist into young adulthood.”

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Marching for Science to deny the deniers

  • Published in News

IMG 3359Protesters descend on Washington, D.C. in support of science PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZWASHINGTON, D.C. — Virginia resident Michael Griffith has always loved rocks. 

“I’ve been a rock hound ever since I was a little kid,” said Griffith. 

Although Griffith, age 56, never completed his geology degree, he continues to value the science. He said that enduring interest brought him to the March for Science on Saturday. 

“It is an uphill climb to convince the powers that be that this is important,” Griffith said.

He attended the March in 2017, during which he said it was pouring rain.

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Alcohol-related visits to ERs are on the rise

  • Published in Health

emergency roomAmericans are making more visits to hospital emergency rooms with alcohol-related causes, a new study released by the National Institutes of Health found.

“In just nine years, the number of people transported to the [emergency room] annually for medical emergencies caused or exacerbated by alcohol increased from about 3 million to 5 million,” said George F. Koob, Ph.D., Director of NIH’s National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “These findings are indicative of the detrimental effects that acute and chronic alcohol misuse have on public health, and the significant burden they place on our healthcare system.”

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NIH study shows air pollution increases pregnancy risks

  • Published in Health

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A new study released by the National Institutes of Health reveals that effects from air pollution could increase the risk of early pregnancy loss.

"We've studied air pollution and reproductive health for several years, it's an area of research for myself and my team," said Pauline Mendola, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a researcher at NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Mendola explained that after she and her colleagues published a paper earlier this year that revealed that exposure to ground-level ozone was associated with stillbirth, they were curious to see whether the same pollutants could be correlated with miscarriage as well. The study concluded that couples exposed to air pollution were more likely to experience a loss in early-stage pregnancies.

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NIH launches project to crowdsource pregnancy health information

  • Published in Health

The National Institutes of Health has launched a project to improve the understanding of pregnancy through crowdsourcing information gathered through surveys.

Known as PregSource, the project presents data collected through surveys as an informational resource for doctors, researchers, and women experiencing pregnancy.

“PregSource benefits everyone – the participants, their healthcare providers, and the research community," said Dr. Diana W. Bianchi, director of NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which leads the project. “The project also will generate much-needed data to help researchers address long-held questions about maternal and fetal health.”

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NIH discovers drainage system in brain

  • Published in Health

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have confirmed the existence of a drainage system in the human brain.

“We literally watched people’s brains drain fluid into these vessels,” said Dr. Daniel S. Reich a researcher at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the senior author of the study. “We hope that our results provide new insights to a variety of neurological disorders.”

Reich explained that his research team discovered the brain had vessels that are part of the body’s lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is designed to drain waste and fight infections by distributing white blood cells to various parts of the body.

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Drinking diet soda no safer than regular soda during pregnancy

  • Published in News

Tumbler of cola with iceConsuming diet soda during pregnancy can increase a child's risk of obesity, according to a study from the National Institutes of Health.

"Our findings suggest that artificially-sweetened beverages during pregnancy are not likely to be any better at reducing the risk for later childhood obesity than sugar-sweetened beverages," said Chilin Zhang, an epidemiologist at NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

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Study shows binge drinking is up among Americans

  • Published in News

Binge DrinkingBinge drinking rates have increased across the country, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health.

"This important study reveals that a large number of people in the United States drink at very high levels and underscores the dangers associated with such ‘extreme' binge drinking," said George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of NIH's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

"The motivation was to better understand just how much people in the U.S. actually drink," said Aaron White, Ph.D., a researcher at NIH who co-authored the study. "A percentage of that [drinking] population goes to great extremes at least once a year," he added.

Using previously compiled data, the study found that binge drinking increased overall since 2001.

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Trump's budget would force state, county to 'pick up pieces'

  • Published in State

President Trump proposed a detailed budget May 23 that kept the themes of his March budget blueprint: steep cuts to science-based agencies, many headquartered in Montgomery County, and to programs to aid lower-income people, offset by sizable increases for defense and Homeland Security.

Compared with the 80-page budget released in March, the new spending plan for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018) is a vast, eight-volume document with details on Trump’s proposals for every agency. Other subjects newly addressed include how the deficit would be affected, the major changes from previous budgets, revenue forecasts, and economic growth assumptions.

Given the size of the new document, reactions to it this week are only preliminary, with the meanings of many provisions yet to be unearthed by congressional review over the coming months.

If the proposed major cuts are enacted to Medicaid, food stamps (called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP”), elderly and school nutrition, “It would be up to the County or state government or both to pick up the pieces,” said Joy Nurmi, special assistant to County Executive Ike Leggett. For instance, she predicted, if SNAP cutbacks are adopted, many people would go to food pantries such as Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg. Manna is partially funded by the County and the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg.

“A budget is a moral document,” reflecting a community’s values, Nurmi asserted. She called the Trump budget “completely morally corrupt.”

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The eyes have it at NIH but eyes remain unseen so far

  • Published in News

The National Institutes of Health have launched a competition to award a federal prize of $1 million for a bidder that can successfully replicate production of fully functioning eye tissue.

“What we really want from this competition is a better way to understand human retina disease and also learn about drugs that could potentially be worked for those diseases,” said Jessica Mazerik, who holds a doctorate of philosophy in cell biology and is the competition coordinator at NIH’s National Eye Institute (NEI).

Contestants are aiming to grow a fully functioning eye retina in a specimen dish. Researchers, biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies could then use the end product to research eye diseases and test potential treatments.

“We think we’re right on the cusp of being able to replicate the human light sensitivity of a human retina,” said Steve Becker, a colleague of Mazerik’s at NEI, who also has a doctorate of philosophy (PhD) in cell biology.

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