Medical Notes: Week of December 1, 2019 (19-48)

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of December 1, 2019, including: A study that finds that artery blockages discovered during stress tests can be managed with medication. Then, a study indicating cigarette smoking has hit an all-time low. Also, having more meatless burgers now could cut your dementia risk later. And finally, if people are more anxious these days, maybe it’s because they’re not getting enough sleep.

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19-39 Segment 1: Genetic Testing and Family Secrets

The availability of consumer DNA tests and databases has allowed long-hidden family secrets to be revealed, including mistaken paternity and unknown siblings. It has also taken the anonymity away from some cases of sperm donation. Two experts discuss the ethics of overturning this promised secrecy and the impact that the revelation of secrets can have on entire families.

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19-38 Segment 1: Heat and Violence

Violence increases as temperatures rise in the summer, but are higher temperatures a cause of aggression? New research shows that the answer is yes, especially in family conflict, and that poor neighborhoods bear the brunt of the relationship. Researchers discuss the synergy between poverty, heat, and aggression, and speculate that a warmer world in the future could be a more violent one.

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19-35 Segment 1: Sudden Unexplained Death of a Child

Each year, some 400 US children over age 1, most of them toddlers, die overnight for no known reason. Families, longing for answers, often find that their families, friends, and even pediatricians are unfamiliar with this classification of death, or that they even occur. Family members who have lost a child, a medical examiner, and a research expert who has lost a child discuss SUDC.

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18-52 Segment 1: Smart Roads

In the near future, cars will be able to provide data as well as receive it, and a variety of methods are being researched to tap into this. Experts explain how cars can communicate with roads, traffic signals and central computers, and how roads themselves may collect data on the cars they carry. In the future, autonomous cars may use these links to greatly speed travel and make it much safer.    

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