Medical notes this week…
Infants with “bubble boy disease” have non-functional immune systems and without treatment may die of infections as simple as the common cold. But now 10 newborns with the disease have been cured through gene therapy, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists say the infants’ stem cells were infused with a virus, which carried a corrected version of the gene that causes the disease. The new cure apparently avoids extremely serious side effects that came with earlier cure efforts.
When baby boomers hit their late 30’s and early 40’s a couple of decades ago, psychologists noted a big increase in markers of despair in their lives. Now a new study shows it’s happening for the youngest members of generation x, and likely for millennials to come. The study in the American Journal of Public Health shows that depression, suicide, drug use, and alcohol abuse are rising among those in their late 30’s, and experts say mortality, as a result, is also likely to go up.
And finally…dozens of songs say that if you just smile, you’ll feel better. But psychologists have disagreed about it for more than 100 years. Now a study in the Psychological Bulletin finds that it’s true—smiling really does make you happier. Also, scowling makes you more angry, and frowning makes you feel more sad. Researchers say the effect isn’t huge, but there’s a definitely a positive effect by putting on a happy face.