While it’s known that Cannabidiol is the part of the cannabis plant that won’t get you high, there are few trials to support claims that it aids a range of problems from anxiety to diabetes. Public health news also report on the longterm effects of childhood punishments; pitting germs against each other; mental health benefits of going to green spaces; a quit-smoking message in an obit; smoking’s impact on vision; Ireland’s rising HIV rates; a giant fighter against Ebola retires; minimizing risks of falling and how to be a better talker, as well.
The New York Times: CBD Is Everywhere, But Scientists Still Don’t Know Much About It
Cannabidiol, or CBD, a nonintoxicating component of the marijuana plant, is touted as a magic bullet that eases pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Salves, sprays, tinctures and oils containing CBD are marketed as aphrodisiacs that boost desire; as balms for eczema, pimples and hot flashes; and even as treatments for serious diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Unlike THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the “psychoactive” component of the cannabis plant, CBD won’t get you “high.” But scientists know little about what it can do: Most of the information about CBD’s effects in humans is anecdotal or extrapolated from animal studies, and few rigorous trials have been conducted. (Rabin, 2/25)
Reuters: Physical Punishment Of Kids Tied To Antisocial Behavior In Adulthood, Study Says
Children who are spanked, slapped, shoved or otherwise physically punished may be more prone to antisocial behavior as adults, a U.S. study suggests. Four in five children in the United States have been spanked at least once by the time they reach kindergarten, researchers said in JAMA Network Open. While spanking and other forms of harsh physical punishment have long been linked to mental health problems in children, less is known about how these childhood experiences influence adult behavior. (2/25)
The Associated Press: Using 1 Germ To Fight Another When Today’s Antibiotics Fail
Bacteria lodged deep in Ella Balasa’s lungs were impervious to most antibiotics. At 26, gasping for breath, she sought out a dramatic experiment — deliberately inhaling a virus culled from sewage to attack her superbug. “I’m really running out of options,” said Balasa, who traveled from her Richmond, Virginia, home to Yale University for the last-resort treatment. “I know it might not have an effect. But I am very hopeful.” (2/26)
NPR: Access To Parks In Childhood Associated With Better Adult Mental Health
The experience of natural spaces, brimming with greenish light, the smells of soil and the quiet fluttering of leaves in the breeze can calm our frenetic modern lives. It’s as though our very cells can exhale when surrounded by nature, relaxing our bodies and minds. Some people seek to maximize the purported therapeutic effects of contact with the unbuilt environment by embarking on sessions of forest bathing, slowing down and becoming mindfully immersed in nature. (Lambert, 2/25)
The Washington Post: A Smoker Wrote His Own Obituary To Stop Others: ‘Quit — Now — Your Life Depends On It’
Four days before he died, Geoffrey Turner turned to his daughter and asked for his laptop. Sarah Huiest knew that her father had made preparations for his death, including writing his obituary — a way, she said, for the 66-year-old to tell his own story in his own words. Huiest said she had not yet read it — but now, it was time. (Bever, 2/25)
The Washington Post: Smoking Can Damage Eyesight By Age 35, Study Suggests
Smoking cigarettes has long been known for its ability to damage eyesight, on top of the harm it causes to the lungs, heart and other organs. But a new study suggests that smoking can impair vision far earlier than is commonly thought. Heavy smokers with an average age of 35 were markedly worse than nonsmokers at distinguishing colors as well as the contrast between different shades of gray, the study authors said. (Avril, 2/26)
The New York Times: Ireland Diagnosed Record Number Of H.I.V. Infections In 2018, Health Data Suggests
Ireland diagnosed a record high number of new H.I.V. infections in 2018, new health data suggests, a trend that contrasts with a general decline in infections across Europe, and that some Irish activists attribute to poor sex health education and insufficient access to preventive drugs. Preliminary figures released last month by the Health Protection Surveillance Center, a state watchdog, suggested that 531 new cases of H.I.V. infection had been diagnosed in Ireland last year, an increase from 492 the previous year. (O’Loughlin, 2/25)
Stat: After Decades Fighting Ebola, A Beloved Expert Hangs Up His Boots
[Dr. Pierre Rollin] is renowned among the hardcore community of people who work on Ebola (and on Marburg fever, a related virus) as a jack-of-all-trades, someone who is able and willing to do nearly anything that needs to be done during an outbreak. Stay up late into the night entering data? Not a problem. Dig a grave? Someone has to. Explain infection control to the staff at a local hospital? Great idea. Trap animals to try to see where Ebola hides in nature? Why not? (Branswell, 2/26)
The New York Times: Falls Can Kill You. Here’s How To Minimize The Risk.
Every day, I scan the obituaries to see why or how people die. You might call it morbid fascination, but I attribute it to the combined influence of my age (77) and my profession (health reporting). Obituaries give me ideas for Personal Health columns like this one that might help others — and me — avoid a preventable ailment or accident and premature demise. One of the most frequent causes of death listed for people my age, as well as some younger and many older folks, is “complications from a fall,” the explanation given for the death last month at 93 of Russell Baker, the much-loved Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist and columnist for The New York Times. (Brody, 2/25)
The Wall Street Journal: No One Listening? Maybe You’re The Problem
A good friend called me recently to say hello. We chatted about his kids, a problem he was having at work, and his recent vacation. When he asked how I was doing, I mentioned a big work project. “The deadline is bearing down on me and I am stressed,” I said. He didn’t respond, so I asked: “Do you think you could brainstorm a few things with me sometime?” There was more silence. Then my friend—who had woken me up at 6 a.m. to talk—blurted out: “Oh darn, I missed one! I’m taking this online training course for work and just messed up the last answer.” (Bernstein, 2/25)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.