Roundup: Vaping’s ‘Chemical Burns’; ADHD Guidelines Updated; and Cooked vs. Raw Foods

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October 4, 2019


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Some Vaping-Linked Lung Injuries Resemble Chemical Burns, Researchers Say

The damage to the lungs of some people who have become ill from vaping resembles chemical burns, according to a report from the Mayo Clinic which examined samples of lung tissues from 17 patients.

As of Oct. 1, there have been 1,080 confirmed cases of lung illnesses across the nation linked to vaping, with 18 deaths in 15 states, including Florida, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the illnesses have been linked to vaping cannabis products, though some cases have been tied to the more widely available nicotine e-cigarettes.

As part of the Mayo Clinic’s study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers took lung tissue samples from 4 women and 13 men, ranging in age from 19 to 67. Of those, 70 percent had a history of vaping either marijuana or cannabis oils. Eleven were in Arizona, five in Minnesota and one in Florida.

“All 17 of our cases show a pattern of injury in the lung that looks like a toxic chemical exposure, a toxic chemical fume exposure or a chemical burn injury,” Brandon T. Larsen, M.D., a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, told the New York Times.

Dr. Larsen adds: “To be honest, they look like the kind of change you would expect to see in an unfortunate worker in an industrial accident where a big barrel of toxic chemicals spills, and that person is exposed to toxic fumes and there is a chemical burn in the airways.”

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Pediatricians Update Guidelines for Treating Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

For the first time since 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its guidelines for diagnosing and treating children with Attention Deficit /Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The AAP said it is changing some criteria for diagnosis, updating current medications and emphasizing the need to rule out other causes of symptoms.

The updated guidelines are “based on the most recent research on ADHD, a common disorder that can profoundly affect a child’s academic achievement, well-being and social interactions,” states the AAP, an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists.

The guidelines involve children from age 4 to 18, with special attention provided for care of preschool-aged children (ages 4-6) and teens, the AAP says.

“We know that a child diagnosed with ADHD will benefit most when there is a partnership between families, their doctors, and their teachers, who may need to create special instructional plans and support,” said Joseph F. Hagan, Jr., M.D., co-author of the guidelines and vice chairperson for the
AAP Subcommittee on Children and Adolescents with ADHD.

An estimated 9.4 percent of U.S. children, ages 2-17, have been diagnosed at one time with ADHD. Boys are more than twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed with ADHD. Both boys and girls with the disorder typically show symptoms of an additional mental disorder and may also have learning and language problems, the AAP says.

The new guidelines provide an outline to rule out other causes of ADHD-like symptoms and identify “co-occurring conditions, such as depression, anxiety, substance use, autism and trauma,” the organization states.

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Study Looks at Impact of Cooked vs. Raw Food on Gut Bacteria

Scientists continue to discover that many factors that influence our health – ranging from chronic inflammation to weight gain – are strongly influenced by the makeup of the microbes that live in the body, referred to as “gut microbiome” or “gut bacteria.”

A new study, published in Nature Microbiology, looks at how the microbiome responds in sharply different ways to the same foods, depending on whether they are consumed cooked or raw. Scientists at UC (University of California) San Francisco and Harvard University have shown for the first time that cooking food fundamentally alters the microbiomes of both mice and humans.

The research raises a several questions, such as which foods should be avoided in their raw forms, and which offer certain nutritional benefits when cooked.

To the surprise of researchers, both raw and cooked meat had no discernible effect on the animals’ gut microbes. In contrast, raw and cooked sweet potatoes significantly altered the composition of the animals’ microbiomes, “as well as microbes’ patterns of gene activity and the biologically crucial metabolic products they produced,” says a statement by researchers.

Cooked sweet potato expectedly offered the animals greater carbohydrate metabolism, primarily because starch becomes more digestible when heated. However, an unexpected result was the way uncooked sweet potato seemed to damage certain gut microbes. Certain unhealthy compounds, generally destroyed by the act of cooking, reached the stomach intact when eaten raw, researchers noted.

“It was exciting to see that the impact of cooking we see in rodents is also relevant to humans, although interestingly, the specifics of how the microbiome was affected differed between the two species,” said the study’s senior author, Peter Turnbaugh, Ph.D., an associate professor of microbiology and immunology, and a member of the executive leadership of the UCSF Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine.

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