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Jilly_in_VA

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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 6,733

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

Art and music therapy seem to help with brain disorders. Scientists want to know why

When Michael Schneider's anxiety and PTSD flare up, he reaches for the ukulele he keeps next to his computer.

"I can't actually play a song," says Schneider, who suffered two serious brain injuries during nearly 22 years in the Marines. "But I can play chords to take my stress level down."

It's a technique Schneider learned through Creative Forces, an arts therapy initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

It's also an example of how arts therapies are increasingly being used to treat brain conditions including PTSD, depression, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

But most of these treatments, ranging from music to poetry to visual arts, still have not undergone rigorous scientific testing. So artists and brain scientists have launched an initiative called the NeuroArts Blueprint to change that.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/02/19/1081263873/mental-health-art-therapy

Just a Few Months in Space May Permanently Rewire Your Brain

As humans look toward the vast unknowns of space to better understand our galactic neighborhood and stake out potential habitats, there’s one big question scientists are asking: How will the human body hold up outside Earth?

For the most part, research from NASA’s trailblazing Twins Study and other investigations show that free-floating thousands of miles above solid ground can cause big changes on immune system function, gene expression, metabolism, and even gut bacteria. Most of these physiological changes, however, reverse themselves once an astronaut is back on Earth. Others can be offset through diet, exercise, and other actions.

But when it comes to the brain, changes may be more permanent for space travelers, as found by one new peer-reviewed study published Friday in Frontiers of Neural Circuits.

In a collaborative effort between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian space agency Roscosmos, a team of researchers found that long-duration spaceflight leads to very small but widespread changes in regions of the brain involved in sensorimotor integration—the parts of our brain that help us pick up sensory information and use it to interact with our external environment. These changes were particularly notable in a type of brain tissue called white matter, which acts as a sort of network cable connecting the brain’s computing centers (gray matter) together.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/just-a-few-months-in-space-permanently-altered-cosmonaut-brains?ref=home

Black women missing from breast tumor data. Here's why...

New research showing genetic differences in breast cells suggests standard treatments for breast cancer are less effective for Black women, who disproportionately suffer and die from the disease.

The new study from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute also highlights the need to include more Black people in trials, experts say. More inclusive data is essential to help fill knowledge gaps and improve treatment plans.

“We really need to take that on board and say, ‘Are we doing the best job we can in implementing precision medicine for everyone? Or have we been using a one-size-fits-all approach for a little too long?’” said lead author and cancer researcher Svasti Haricharan.

Black women have the highest breast cancer death rates of any racial group, with a rate 40% higher than white women and more than double Asian and Pacific Islander women, who have the lowest death rates, according to the American Cancer Society. Often diagnosed at younger ages than white women, Black women under 50 die at double the rate of white women. More than a fifth of breast cancers in Black women are triple negative, the most aggressive form.

For the study, researchers looked at cells of women with the most common breast cancer subtype, estrogen receptor positive (ER+), which is a less aggressive, more treatable cancer.

The researchers found genes that repair DNA damage signal differently in Black women's breast cells compared with white women's cells. Eight specific genes behind DNA repair were expressed differently in Black women, as well as other markers that influence how fast cells grow.

These differences were associated with lower survival rates, and could make ER+ cancer in Black women less responsive to the standard treatment plans that work well in white women – on whom the treatments were mostly tested, according to the authors of the study published last week in Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology. The findings suggest Black women with this type of breast cancer could benefit from earlier treatment with CDK inhibitors, a type of drug that helps stop cancer cells from multiplying.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2022/02/19/breast-cancer-kills-more-black-women-new-study-may-help-show-why/6694057001/

Black women missing from breast tumor data. Here's why...

New research showing genetic differences in breast cells suggests standard treatments for breast cancer are less effective for Black women, who disproportionately suffer and die from the disease.

The new study from the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute also highlights the need to include more Black people in trials, experts say. More inclusive data is essential to help fill knowledge gaps and improve treatment plans.

“We really need to take that on board and say, ‘Are we doing the best job we can in implementing precision medicine for everyone? Or have we been using a one-size-fits-all approach for a little too long?’” said lead author and cancer researcher Svasti Haricharan.

Black women have the highest breast cancer death rates of any racial group, with a rate 40% higher than white women and more than double Asian and Pacific Islander women, who have the lowest death rates, according to the American Cancer Society. Often diagnosed at younger ages than white women, Black women under 50 die at double the rate of white women. More than a fifth of breast cancers in Black women are triple negative, the most aggressive form.

For the study, researchers looked at cells of women with the most common breast cancer subtype, estrogen receptor positive (ER+), which is a less aggressive, more treatable cancer.

The researchers found genes that repair DNA damage signal differently in Black women's breast cells compared with white women's cells. Eight specific genes behind DNA repair were expressed differently in Black women, as well as other markers that influence how fast cells grow.

These differences were associated with lower survival rates, and could make ER+ cancer in Black women less responsive to the standard treatment plans that work well in white women – on whom the treatments were mostly tested, according to the authors of the study published last week in Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology. The findings suggest Black women with this type of breast cancer could benefit from earlier treatment with CDK inhibitors, a type of drug that helps stop cancer cells from multiplying.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2022/02/19/breast-cancer-kills-more-black-women-new-study-may-help-show-why/6694057001/

Black Cop Who Watched George Floyd Die Thought He'd Be Fired If He Intervened

When former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng took the stand in the federal trial against him and two other officers who watched George Floyd’s murder, he spoke about the department’s culture of rooting out those who didn’t follow orders unconditionally.

“Was there concern about being fired?” Kueng’s attorney asked Wednesday.

“Every day, sir,” Kueng said. “It was clear the chain of command was not to be breached, or else.”

Kueng is one of three former cops facing life in prison for allegedly depriving Floyd of his civil rights when they failed to provide medical attention or intervene in the 46-year-old Black man’s deadly arrest by former officer Derek Chauvin, who’s now serving 22 and a half years in prison for murder.

So far, the officers’ defense has focused on the shortcomings of their training and the strict hierarchy of policing: Even if they thought Chauvin shouldn’t have knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, they couldn’t have spoken up, especially to a superior officer. Kueng even said that Chauvin, who had 19 years of experience on the force, technically had the ability to terminate him if he saw fit, according to the Star Tribune.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/y3vq4b/alexander-kueng-feared-being-fired-for-intervening
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Saying the quiet part out loud

The Supreme Court is not being honest with you

Justice Amy Coney Barrett delivered a speech this week that echoed decades of conservative talking points about the proper, limited role of judges in a democracy. But that restrained vision is completely divorced from Barrett’s own conduct as a conservative justice — not to mention that of the Republican majority she consistently votes with.

Her remarks, which were offered at an academic symposium hosted by Notre Dame Law School, were grounded in the rhetoric of judicial restraint that Republican politicians have used to talk about the proper role of the courts at least as far back as Richard Nixon.

The Court’s youngest justice drew a distinction between “pragmatists,” judges who “tend to favor broader judicial discretion,” and “formalists,” who “tend to seek constraints on judicial discretion” and “favor methods of constitutional interpretation that demand close adherence to the constitutional text, and to history and tradition.” She placed herself in the latter camp.

As a justice, however, Barrett has behaved as an unapologetic pragmatist. Along with the Court’s other Republican appointees, Barrett supports flexible legal doctrines that give her Court maximal discretion to veto federal regulations that a majority of the justices disagree with — especially regulations promoting public health or protecting the environment. And she’s joined her fellow Republican justices in imposing novel limits on the Voting Rights Act that appear nowhere in the law’s text.

The rhetoric of judicial restraint is potent, so it is understandable why Barrett wants to tap into that potency. Formalist rhetoric enables the justices to claim that they didn’t roll back voting rights or strike down a key prong of President Joe Biden’s efforts to promote vaccination because they prefer weaker voting laws and a flaccid public health system — they simply did what the law requires.

https://www.vox.com/2022/2/19/22934915/supreme-court-justices-not-honest-amy-coney-barrett-notre-dame-abortion-voting-rights

Two students and ACLU sue Missouri school district over removing 8 books from libraries

Two students have sued a Missouri school district over its decision to remove eight books from school libraries, arguing the novels were banned because they discuss issues surrounding race, gender and sexual identity.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri (ACLU) against the Wentzville School District on behalf of the students who are minors and not named in the complaint.

"The banned books engage their readers with a diversity of ideas and minority viewpoints, including with respect to race, gender, and sexual identity," the ACLU argues in the class action lawsuit.

"The District banned the books from school libraries because of the ideological disagreement members of the District's school board and certain vocal community members have with the ideas and viewpoints that the books express."

Brynne Cramer, spokesperson for the school district, told CNN officials are aware of the lawsuit and said the district will not comment on the case.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/18/us/missouri-aclu-banned-books-lawsuit/index.html

The chaos from Omicron might be fading, but the turbulence ahead could be worse

Opinion by Kent Sepkowitz

Here we go again: Covid-19 cases are falling in nearly every state, spring is in the air and everyone is getting restless. Some have even gone so far as to let us know they are done with the pandemic or at least ready to move away from the problem.

Though the chaos created by the now-fading Omicron variant was quite frightening, I suspect the turbulence ahead will be worse. During the height of Omicron's surge, many returned to working from home, were careful to don masks when in public and cut down on unnecessary public outings.

Now with something like normalcy within grasp again, the pace and specifics of how best to resume workaday life are under the microscope. Though this should be a time of thankfulness -- society did not collapse despite the record-breaking charge of the rampaging virus -- it rather has created a serious predicament for the public health leaders tasked with moving the country forward.

The problem is simple: Though the public has learned many things about viruses, epidemiology and the human immune system over the past two years, many still seem unwilling to accept that what works for today's facts may not work for tomorrow's. Any shift in guidance or perspective is considered weak and waffling, playing politics or flat-out betrayal.

Experts know that right now, in many areas, peeling back the precautions is safe, if done cautiously, which is why we are seeing mask mandates easing in many states, including New York. These actions can help the public gain confidence and provide useful information should another variant of concern emerge.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/14/opinions/covid-restrictions-variants-sepkowitz/index.html

Baby formula supply issues send parents scrambling

A new baby formula warning threatens to strain already stretched supplies even more, leaving desperate parents scrambling.

The FDA announced Thursday that it is working with Abbott Nutrition to initiative a voluntary recall of certain lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formula after complaints that four infants fell ill and were hospitalized in three states, One death may possibly be linked to tainted formula.

Abbott's internal records "indicate environmental contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii and the firm’s destruction of product due to the presence of Cronobacter," the FDA said in a release.

The warning and likely recall only increases availability concerns for parents who for months have found store shelves increasingly bare of formula, as unexpected demand and labor shortages disrupt supplies.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/baby-formula-supply-issues-send-parents-scrambling-rcna16509

Families are suing a West Virginia school district for holding a Christian assembly

A group of parents and students are suing a West Virginia school district for allowing an evangelical preacher to hold a religious revival assembly during the school day earlier this month that some students were required to attend.

The suit, filed in a U.S. District Court in West Virginia on Thursday on behalf of families by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says the Cabell County school system in the southwestern part of the state has a systematic history of disregarding the religious freedom of its students and instituting Christian religious practices.

"For years, school system employees have violated the constitutional rights of students by promoting and advancing the Christian religion, as well as by coercing students into participating in Christian religious activity," the suit reads. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a nonprofit that promotes the separation of church and state.

The suit follows a walkout at Huntington High School last week where more than 100 students left their classrooms chanting, "Separate the church and state," and, "My faith, my choice."

https://www.npr.org/2022/02/18/1081678752/west-virginia-school-christian-assembly-lawsuit
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