Medical Notes this week…

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first at home test for the BRCA 1 and 2 genes that cause breast cancer but regulators warn that the test does not reveal a woman’s full risk.  The saliva test from 23andMe tests for only three of the more than one thousand variants of the breast cancer genes affecting only one tenth of one percent of most populations.  However those mutations account for more than ninety percent of genetic breast cancer in women with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry so for them the test may be a better idea.

Colicky babies are defined by crying more than three hours a day at least three days a week. It is a mystery why it occurs and the condition eventually goes away on its own.  But frazzled parents looking for relief will be glad to hear there may finally be a treatment: a probiotic called lactobacillus reuteri.  The study in the journal Pediatrics shows that the probiotic is twice as likely as a placebo to reduce crying in breast fed babies by fifty percent after three weeks.  Researchers haven’t studied the remedy yet on colicky babies who are formula fed.

And finally, about a third of kids under twelve have been allowed by their parents to occasionally taste a sip of alcohol. But a study in the journal Addictive Behaviors finds that those kids are more likely to drink frequently in later adolescence and drink more when they do. 

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

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