Can frequent, moderate drinking ward off diabetes?

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It’s not every day that medical studies say alcohol could be good for you. People who drink moderately often have a lower risk of developing diabetes than those who never drink, according to a new study published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Men and women who hoist a few glasses three to four days a week have the lowest risks of developing diabetes, Danish researchers found. Compared to people drinking less than one day each week, men who drink frequently had a 27% lower risk while women had a 32% lower risk, the researchers said.
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose — sugar — levels are high. When we eat, most of our food is turned into glucose to be burned as energy, with a hormone called insulin helping our cells absorb glucose. People who have diabetes either don’t make enough insulin or don’t use it effectively. As a result, sugar builds up in their blood, leading to health problems.
Past studies consistently showed that light to moderate drinking carried a lower risk of diabetes compared to sobriety, while heavy drinking had an equal or greater risk. Though the World Health Organization reports “harmful use of alcohol” contributes to more than 200 diseases and injuries, it also acknowledges that light to moderate drinking may be beneficial with respect to diabetes.
Since an important relationship exists between drinking and diabetes, Professor Janne Tolstrup and her colleagues from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark studied the specifics.

How the study worked

They began by gathering data from Danish citizens 18 years old or older who completed the Danish Health Examination Survey. The data set included 28,704 men and 41,847 women — more than 70,000 participants total — who self-reported their drinking habits and other lifestyle details beginning in 2007-2008 and continuing through 2012.
During the study period, 859 men and 887 women developed diabetes.
Overall, those with the lowest risk of developing diabetes were people who drank moderately on a weekly basis, Tolstrup’s analysis showed.
In terms of volume, 14 alcoholic beverages each week for men and nine beverages each week for women yielded the best results: a 43% and 58% lower risk, respectively, compared to non-drinkers, the researchers found.
“In principle we can only say something about the five-year risk from this study,” said Tolstrup in an email. “However, there is no reason to think that results would be different had we had more years of follow-up.” A very long follow-up, for instance, 10 years, would result in drinking and other habits changing and this could “cause more ‘noise’ in results,” said Tolstrup.
In terms of frequency, the lowest risk of diabetes was found among those who drank three to four days each week.
The team also looked at diabetes risk in relation to what people drank.
When it came to beer, men who drank between one and six each week reduced their risk of diabetes by 21% compared to men hoisting less than one beer each week.
For women, the association between beer and diabetes risk was not clear and the same was true for men and spirits. Women, though, appear to have a problematic relationship with spirits. Seven or more drinks of liquor each week was associated with an 83% increased risk of diabetes for women, when compared to women drinking less than one drink of spirits.
There shouldn’t be much emphasis placed on the results for spirits, Tolstrup said, “because few people were drinking a lot of spirits, most were drinking wine and beer.” With 70% of all alcohol drunk by women being wine, the beer results for women are also “unsure.”

The ‘French paradox’

Crunching the numbers for wine drinkers, the team found that moderate to high wine drinking was associated with a lower risk of diabetes.
Men and women who drank seven or more glasses of wine each week had a 25% to 30% lower risk of diabetes compared with those who drank less than one glass.
Dr. Etto Eringa and Dr. EH Serné of VU University Medical Center Amsterdam said “moderate consumption of red wine has been shown to be related to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes (and cardiovascular disease)” in other population studies, as well.
Eringa and Serné, who have researched how red wine relates to insulin resistance, were not involved in the current study.
“The potential benefit of red wine on diabetes and heart attacks has been proposed as a solution to the so-called ‘French paradox,’ the lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes in France despite high consumption of saturated fats (e.g. French cheese),” Eringa and Serné wrote in an email. Studies examining the effects of red wine components on risk factors for type 2 diabetes (such as glucose absorption by muscle tissue) have “largely produced negative results. Therefore the relationship between red wine and health can be explained by a healthier life style of people who drink in a disciplined manner, by unhealthy effects of non-alcoholic beverages such as soda or juices, or both.”
Eringa and Serné believe it is the healthier lifestyle of drinkers, rather than lower consumption of juice and soda, that accounts for the “French paradox.”
“People in the Danish study that drank alcohol more frequently had a healthier diet and had a lower BMI,” they observed.
Since few participants reported binging, the researchers say their finding of no clear link between binge drinking and diabetes risk may be due to low statistical power.

A medical ‘dictum’

Dr. William T. Cefalu, chief scientific, medical and mission officer of the American Diabetes Association, said the new study’s strengths include the large number of people surveyed, but its weaknesses include an inability to control for other risk factors such as diet. Among people with diabetes, excessive drinking increases the risk of high blood sugar and weight gain, he said.
“The Association does not recommend that people with or at risk for diabetes consume alcohol if they don’t already, but if they do, moderate consumption is recognized as generally safe and potentially of some benefit,” said Cefalu.
Dr. Len Horovitz, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, found the report “unsurprising.”
“It’s been kind of a dictum for quite a number of years that people who don’t drink at all don’t live as long as people who drink mildly or moderately,” said Horovitz, who added that “the theory behind that was that mild drinking, at least, was good for lower blood pressure, dilated blood vessels,” and both of these outcomes translate to better overall circulation.
“We have to remember that diabetes is not just a problem with blood sugar, it is a problem of microvascular,” said Horovitz. Microvascular, which relates to the smallest blood vessels, is positively impacted by alcohol.
In terms of research flaws, there’s always the issue of honesty and truth when people self-report their habits, said Horovitz. The authors are also not clear about the “stream of input” — how much body mass index and diet, for example, were taken into account.
“And what about recreational substances?” Horovitz said. “Drinking, recreational drug use, recreational marijuana use, medicinal marijuana use, these are all things that need to be looked at a little more closely, especially as marijuana becomes something that’s more and more legal and more and more medical in its uses.”
In the end, though, the study “generally supports the old notion, again sort of a dictum within medicine, that teetotalers don’t live as long as people who do drink.”
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 23.1 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, though an additional 7.2 million people are suspected of having the disease. The total, then, is 30.3 million Americans or 9.4% of the population living with diabetes, with type 2 diabetes — the type that can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle — accounting for up to 95% of these cases.
Globally, diabetes among adults over 18 years old has risen from 4.7% or 108 million people in 1980 to 8.5% or 422 million people in 2014, according to the World Health Organization. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
Since alcohol is related to other diseases and conditions, “any recommendations about how to drink and how much to drink should not be inferred from this study,” said Tolstrup. She added that the most important finding of her study is that when it comes to the risk of diabetes, drinking a little bit often — instead of drinking a lot rarely — is best.

Scientists Edit Human Embryo: This Is Why Designer Babies Are a Ways Off

The announcement by researchers in Portland, Oregon that they’ve successfully modified the genetic material of a human embryo took some people by surprise.

With headlines referring to “groundbreaking” research and “designer babies,” you might wonder what the scientists actually accomplished. This was a big step forward, but hardly unexpected. As this kind of work proceeds, it continues to raise questions about ethical issues and how we should we react.

For a number of years now we have had the ability to alter genetic material in a cell, using a technique called CRISPR.

The DNA that makes up our genome comprises long sequences of base pairs, each base indicated by one of four letters. These letters form a genetic alphabet, and the “words” or “sentences” created from a particular order of letters are the genes that determine our characteristics.

Sometimes words can be “misspelled” or sentences slightly garbled, resulting in a disease or disorder. Genetic engineering is designed to correct those mistakes. CRISPR is a tool that enables scientists to target a specific area of a gene, working like the search-and-replace function in Microsoft Word, to remove a section and insert the “correct” sequence.

In the last decade, CRISPR has been the primary tool for those seeking to modify genes – human and otherwise. Among other things, it has been used in experiments to make mosquitoes resistant to malaria, genetically modify plants to be resistant to disease, explore the possibility of engineered pets and livestock, and potentially treat some human diseases (including HIV, hemophilia and leukemia).

Up until recently, the focus in humans has been on changing the cells of a single individual, and not changing eggs, sperm and early embryos – what are called the “germline” cells that pass traits along to offspring. The theory is that focusing on non-germline cells would limit any unexpected long-term impact of genetic changes on descendants. At the same time, this limitation means that we would have to use the technique in every generation, which affects its potential therapeutic benefit.

Earlier this year, an international committee convened by the National Academy of Sciences issued a report that, while highlighting the concerns with human germline genetic engineering, laid out a series of safeguards and recommended oversight. The report was widely regarded as opening the door to embryo-editing research.

That is exactly what happened in Oregon. Although this is the first study reported in the United States, similar research has been conducted in China. This new study, however, apparently avoided previous errors we’ve seen with CRISPR – such as changes in other, untargeted parts of the genome, or the desired change not occurring in all cells. Both of these problems had made scientists wary of using CRISPR to make changes in embryos that might eventually be used in a human pregnancy. Evidence of more successful (and thus safer) CRISPR use may lead to additional studies involving human embryos.

First, this study did not entail the creation of “designer babies,” despite some news headlines. The research involved only early stage embryos, outside the womb, none of which was allowed to develop beyond a few days.

In fact, there are a number of existing limits – both policy-based and scientific – that will create barriers to implanting an edited embryo to achieve the birth of a child. There is a federal ban on funding gene editing research in embryos; in some states, there are also total bans on embryo research, regardless of how funded. In addition, the implantation of an edited human embryos would be regulated under the federal human research regulations, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and potentially the federal rules regarding clinical laboratory testing.

Beyond the regulatory barriers, we are a long way from having the scientific knowledge necessary to design our children. While the Oregon experiment focused on a single gene correction to inherited diseases, there are few human traits that are controlled by one gene. Anything that involves multiple genes or a gene/environment interaction will be less amenable to this type of engineering. Most characteristics we might be interested in designing – such as intelligence, personality, athletic or artistic or musical ability – are much more complex.

Second, while this is a significant step forward in the science regarding the use of the CRISPR technique, it is only one step. There is a long way to go between this and a cure for various disease and disorders. This is not to say that there aren’t concerns. But we have some time to consider the issues before the use of the technique becomes a mainstream medical practice.

Taking into account the cautions above, we do need to decide when and how we should use this technique.

Should there be limits on the types of things you can edit in an embryo? If so, what should they entail? These questions also involve deciding who gets to set the limits and control access to the technology.

We may also be concerned about who gets to control the subsequent research using this technology. Should there be state or federal oversight? Keep in mind that we cannot control what happens in other countries. Even in this country it can be difficult to craft guidelines that restrict only the research someone finds objectionable, while allowing other important research to continue. Additionally, the use of assisted reproductive technologies (IVF, for example) is largely unregulated in the U.S., and the decision to put in place restrictions will certainly raise objections from both potential parents and IVF providers.

Moreover, there are important questions about cost and access. Right now most assisted reproductive technologies are available only to higher-income individuals. A handful of states mandate infertility treatment coverage, but it is very limited. How should we regulate access to embryo editing for serious diseases? We are in the midst of a widespread debateabout health care, access and cost. If it becomes established and safe, should this technique be part of a basic package of health care services when used to help create a child who does not suffer from a specific genetic problem? What about editing for nonhealth issues or less serious problems – are there fairness concerns if only people with sufficient wealth can access?

So far the promise of genetic engineering for disease eradication has not lived up to its hype. Nor have many other milestones, like the 1996 cloning of Dolly the sheep, resulted in the feared apocalypse. The announcement of the Oregon study is only the next step in a long line of research. Nonetheless, it is sure to bring many of the issues about embryos, stem cell research, genetic engineering and reproductive technologies back into the spotlight. Now is the time to figure out how we want to see this gene-editing path unfold.

FDA Looking to Move Smokers Toward E-Cigarettes

Image: Woman smoking electronic cigarette

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration aims to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes while exploring measures to move smokers toward e-cigarettes, in a major regulatory shift announced on Friday that sent traditional cigarette company stocks plunging.

The move means FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has thrown his regulatory weight on the side of those advocating for e-cigarettes in the debate over whether they potentially hold some public health benefits.

Shares of major tobacco companies in the United States and UK slumped in heavy trading volume, with the world’s biggest producers poised to lose about $60 billion of market value.

The FDA’s move extends the timeline for applications for new e-cigarette clearance by the FDA to Aug. 8, 2022, giving e-cigarette companies more time to keep their products on the market before the agency goes into the process of final review. It also gives the FDA more time to set the proper framework for regulating e-cigarettes.

“It’s hard to overstate what this could mean for the companies affected: non-addictive levels of nicotine would likely mean a lot fewer smokers and of those people who do still light up, smoking a lot less,” said Neil Wilson, a senior market analyst with ETX Capital in London.

“This is just the U.S. regulator acting but we can easily see others, particularly in Europe, where regulatory pressures are already extremely high, following suit,” Wilson said.

British American Tobacco shares, trading close to all-time highs, fell as much as 11 percent and were on track for their biggest one-day loss in nearly 18 years.

Altria, which makes the Marlboro brand of cigarettes, fell as much as 16 percent, slipping into the red for the year


Female Pet Owners May Be Less Likely to Die of Stroke

U.S. women over age 50 and generally healthy were less likely to die of cardiovascular events like stroke if they had a cat or dog, the researchers found.

After accounting for the increase in physical activity required of dog owners, owning a cat instead of a dog was still tied to a lower risk of death from stroke.

Female Pet Owners May Be Less Likely to Die of Stroke

The researchers studied almost 4,000 adults age 50 and older without major illnesses who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 1988 to 1994 and who reported their pet ownership.

Participants also answered questions about physical activity, weight and height, cigarette smoking and other health risk factors. More than half were overweight or obese.

About 35 percent of people owned a pet, most often a dog. Pet owners tended to be younger, more often were married, and more often were white.

According to the National Death Index, as of 2006, 11 of every 1,000 non-pet owners had died of cardiovascular disease, compared to about 7 of every 1,000 pet owners.

Specifically for stroke, male pet owners were just as likely to have died, but female pet owners were about 40 percent less likely to have died of stroke.

Most of this association was driven by cat ownership, according to results in High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Prevention.

“Anecdotally, we believe that walking a dog is good for heart, reducing life pressure andblood pressure as well,” said senior author Jian Zhang of the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University in the U.S.

“I strongly believe that putative benefits of keeping a dog have not yet fully translated into reality, and we found that pet owners did not walk pets, certainly, dogs, more often than others,” Zhang said. “This explains why owning a dog did not reduce CVD mortality among dog owners.”

Cat owners may have a personality that protects their hearts, rather than cats actually having a concrete effect on heart health, he said.

“We are short of overall assessment of the associations of companion animals with human health, and our study should not be interpreted to encourage more people to own pets, either dog or cat,” Zhang said. “Pets are good, but have to be kept responsibly.”

“In my study, there was a tendency for pet owners to have a higher risk of dying,” said Dr. Richard F. Gillum of Howard University College of Medicine in Washington D.C., who was not part of the new study but did study the same NHANES surveys.

Most findings show no association between pets and survival, he said.

“Data from NHANES are really inadequate to settle the question, since one can only determine there was a pet in the household, but not the number of pets or whether the study participant was the owner, cared for it or interacted with it,” Gillum said. “So we need to wait for better studies before making any firm conclusions about pets and survival among their owners.”

“Even if there were a reduction of death from stroke among women with cats, of what importance is that in public health terms if they are just as likely to die as other women, just from another cause,” he said.

Soon, a botanical drug to cure dengue!

New Delhi: In what could be termed as a major advance in dengue treatment, scientists from India claimed to have come up with a novel botanical drug which will cure the world’s fastest growing mosquito-borne disease.

Sun Pharma, India’s largest pharmaceutical company, has signed an agreement with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) on Wednesday to develop a novel plant-based drug to combat the dengue that afflicts at least 100,000 and kills at least 200 in India anually.

The drug, Cipa, is being developed from a plant called Cissampelos pariera, also known as abuta or laghupatha. Recently, they reported the potency of this plant in treating the disease.

Sun Pharma will develop Cipa, scientifically called Cissampelos Pareira, by following a drug registration process similar to that for a new chemical entity, consisting of all required in vitro, in vivo, pre-clinical and clinical studies meeting regulatory standards in India and worldwide, a joint statement issued by Sun Pharma and ICGEB said.

According to Navin Khanna, senior scientist at ICGEB, New Delhi and the group leader of the project, atleast 10 scientist have been working on this for at least 10 years now, studying at least 10 species of plants. He also added that each of the plants showed the characteristics to fight the symptoms of dengue.

It is said that the drug has completed pre-clinical work, through all phases of clinical studies.

Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti.

Dengue currently threatens about half the world’s population or almost 4 billion people, which leads to an estimated 60-100 million symptomatic dengue cases every year.

With no specific dengue therapeutics and prevention being currently available, the development is being seen as a major advance in dengue treatment.

Iron From Supernova Found on Earth's Moon

Confirming a supernova explosion in the neighbourhood of our solar system, physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany and colleagues have found supernova iron found on the moon’s surface.

They succeeded in demonstrating an unusually high concentration of radioactive 60Fe isotope – created almost exclusively in supernova explosions – in lunar ground samples.

The samples were gathered between 1969 and 1972 during Apollo lunar missions 12, 15 and 16 which brought the lunar material back to earth.

Since the moon generally provides a better cosmic record than the earth, the scientists were also able to specify for the first time an upper limit for the flow of 60Fe that must have reached the moon.

Iron From Supernova Found on Earth's Moon: Study

Among other things, the discovery also makes it possible for the researchers to infer the distance to the supernova event:

“The measured 60Fe-flow corresponds to a supernova at a distance of about 300 light years,” said Dr Gunther Korschinek, physicist at TUM, in a university statement.

With a half-life of 2.62 million years, relatively short compared to the age of our solar system, any radioactive 60Fe originating from the time of the solar system’s birth should have long ago decayed into stable elements and thus should no longer be found on the earth.

This supernova hypothesis was first put forth in 1999 by researchers at the TUM who had found initial evidence in a deep-sea crust.

It’s also conceivable that 60Fe can occur on the moon as the result of bombardment with cosmic particles since these particles do not break up when colliding with air molecules, as is the case with the earth’s atmosphere.

Instead they directly impact the lunar surface and can thus result in transmutation of elements.

“We therefore assume that the 60Fe found in both terrestrial and lunar samples has the same source: These deposits are newly created stellar matter, produced in one or more supernovae”, explained Dr Korschinek.

The lunar samples were investigated using the high-sensitivity accelerator mass spectrometer of the Maier-Leibnitz Laboratory near Munich.

Rainbow children: how the dip-dye trend has gone from shocking to mainstream

Ten years is a long time for any trend to stay relevant, not least a hairstyle. But this year it will be a full decade since the “dip-dye” caught on with a certain type of fashion-conscious woman – think models such as Charlotte Free or the singer M.I.A. However, now that Kim Kardashian has adopted the two-tone look, it seems set to become one of the defining hairstyles of the age.

A dip-dye involves leaving the roots undyed, or dark, and the ends bleached or coloured. “That whole two-tone look has evolved quite a bit,” explains Alex Brownsell, founder of the London salon Bleach, who arguably invented the dip-dye as we know it. “The first five years we did it, it was shocking. Now it’s fashion-conscious, but it’s not a trend any more.” Her comments may be damning on one level, but are perhaps more indicative of the way the undyed-roots/dyed-ends look has moved firmly into the mainstream. Zoella, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have all dabbled in the trend.

For the past few years dyeing has trumped cuts as the cheaper, less permanent way to change your look, says Brownsell – pink hair (very 2008), grey hair (2010, and now resurgent among men) and multi-coloured hair (thanks last year to model Georgia May Jagger) have all had their moments.

Rebel Wilson sporting the dip-dyed look.

But perhaps in reaction to that proliferation of dyed hair, Brownsell thinks that “the cut is coming back among young women. Dip-dyes have become mainstream in the sense that they’re national. It used to be a London thing; now it’s everywhere,” she says. “That said, I don’t think we’ve had anything that has come close to trumping it, and I can’t see it happening for a while.”

Samantha Cusick, a colourist at Taylor Taylor in Shoreditch, east London, says she has seen a shift in the past five years from dip-dyes to balayage, a subtler, more natural take on two-tone colour that derives from the French word to sweep or paint. Its popularity has grown, she thinks, because it lends itself to more bespoke styles. Bleach’s Instagram, which acts as a sort of stylebook of colour trends, has more than 250,000 followers. Cusick’s own has almost 25,000. “It is mainstream, but that isn’t a bad thing,” she says.

With its undyed roots and washed-out ends, the dip-dye look suggests fashion has reverted to that done/undone look that mirrors that other hipster-turned-mainstream favourite, the beard.

But why has the dip-dye, undeniable fashion shorthand for the female hipster, not met with the same level of derision as the beard? Aesthetically speaking, they are poles apart, but both looks suggest a lax approach to vanity, even though both are high-maintenance. Two years ago, researchers declared that “peak beard” had been reached. “It appears that beards gain an advantage when rare, but when they are in fashion and common they are declared ‘trendy’ and that attractiveness is over,” researcher Robert Brooks says. Yet the dip-dye has become mainstream while remaining an acceptable fashion statement.

Perhaps it is because of the tendency to fixate on men when talking about the much-derided notion of hipster fashion. “When you write hipster, everyone immediately knows what – or who – you’re talking about. And it’s always, always a man,” says culture journalist Leonie Cooper. “Men still have such a limited pool to draw from when it comes to fashion. Women have always had permission to be more extravagant and outlandish.” Cooper thinks it’s down to the range of trends available to women: “There’s so much women can draw from in terms of style, hair included.

“But if a man suddenly decides to start wearing a 1940s three-piece suit or a James Dean white T-shirt and trousers, he’s suddenly doing ‘a look’ and opening himself up to ridicule. I don’t think men are as open to chatting about their style as women are presumed to be.”

But if the fate of the beard is anything to go by, the dip-dye hairstyle may soon move into the realms of parody, with Kardashian’s belated adoption ringing its death knell.

Denim hair: what does it mean?

Denim hair is the latest online hair trend, and became more than simply a hashtag when Kylie Jenner did it last week. Like rainbow hair, it is less about what you look like IRL and more about what looks good on Instagram.

This internetification of our physical appearance means we are bound by the logic of the web: the bigger the wow factor, the bigger the impact.

The rise of the selfie also means the focus is now on your shoulders and your head – “portraiting”. In this context, individual features (your lips, your eyes) become more important – and your hair becomes the ultimate accessory.

Kylie Jenner

It also helps that it looks really good: the way the shades fall within the locks of hair is positively Rubenesque. Plus, it looks even better under the Instagram filters Ludwig and Mayfair. “The colour now commonly recognised as Denim Blue – a dusty grey/blue, has been popular in our salon for a while now,” explains Alex Brownsell of Bleach. “The colour denim is being seen as high fashion for the first time, featuring a lot on the catwalk by super modern brands such as Vetements.”

But what does it mean? Well if the wearing of denim has connotations of being an outlaw when the colour is transported to your hair, that meaning is underlined. In this context, celebrities like Jenner and Joe Jonas dying their hair shades of grey and pink (shades that suggest a subversion of the norms), can be seen as the hair equivalent of raising a middle finger to the world. Online, your hair becomes a coded symbol of rebellion and freedom.

Zayn Malik, who has jumped around the hair colour spectrum since leaving One Direction, has vocalised this. “I … wanted to dye my hair when I was in the band, but I wasn’t allowed to,” he told Complex. No prizes for guessing which shade he will go for next …

White-nose bat disease jumps the Rockies to Washington state

A sick bat caught by hikers not far from Seattle has now been confirmed to have the first case west of the Rockies of the deadly bat disease white-nose syndrome.

bats in NY with white nose syndrome

First noticed in North America in the winter of 2006-2007, the disease exterminated some whole colonies of hibernating bats on the East Coast, though some species have proved less susceptible.  White-nose syndrome has now swept from coast to coast, the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed March 31.

So far the USGS’s National Wildlife Health Center has only confirmed the one case, in a little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) that hikers found near North Bend, Wash., on March 11 and took to an animal welfare center for care. Genetic testing identified it as a little brown bat most likely from the West instead of an accidental hitchhiker that crossed the Rockies in a truck or cargo container, Jeremy Coleman of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said at a press conference.

Just how the disease reached Washington isn’t clear yet. Twenty-seven other states and five Canadian provinces have reported it, but what was previously the most western location, in Nebraska,was more than 1,000miles away. The fungus causing the disease can spread bat-to-bat or can ride along on travelers’ outdoor gear. Watch for updated decontamination procedures in early April, Coleman said.

Early Sleep Problems Can Lead to Pain Later in Life

Sleep problems in young adults, especially women, are significantly linked to chronic pain and even worsening pain severity over time, researchers report. Overall, 38 percent of young adults with severe sleep problems at initial evaluation had chronic pain at follow-up, compared with 14 percent of those without initial sleep problems.

Early identification and treatment of sleep problems may help reduce later problems with musculoskeletal, headache and abdominal pain in young adults.

Early Sleep Problems Can Lead to Pain Later in Life

“In contrast, the presence of pain generally doesn’t predict worsening sleep problems during the transition between adolescence and young adulthood,” said Dr Irma J Bonvanie from University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

The team analysed relationship between sleep problems and pain in nearly 1,750 young adults in the age group 19-22. The study, published in the journal PAIN, focused on overall chronic pain as well as specific types of pain: musculoskeletal, headache and abdominal pain.

The long-term associations between sleep problems and the pain types were compared between the sexes and the mediating effects of anxiety and depression, fatigue and physical activity were explored. The results suggested that the relationship between sleep problems and pain was stronger in women than men — a difference that may start around older adolescence/emerging adulthood.

Three years later, those with sleep problems were more likely to have new or persistent chronic pain. People with sleep problems were more likely to have chronic pain and had more severe musculoskeletal, headache and abdominal pain.