Preterm birth and kidney disease: the risk

“Preterm birth (<37 gestational weeks) interrupts the development and maturation of the kidneys during a critical growth period. The third trimester of pregnancy is the most active period of fetal nephrogenesis [development of the kidney], during which more than 60% of nephrons [the functional units of the kidney] are formed.” Interruption of this process results in a lower nephron number that is lifelong. “Lower nephron…

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Life expectancy vs. life span for humans: has it really changed?

Are we living longer than our ancestors or even people that lived thousands of years ago? It seems that way; life expectancy, until recent years, has risen steadily for decades in many countries (but not in many others or even not within the same country; the benefits of medical advances have not been shared or experienced equally). But, life expectancy–a statistic, an average–is different than…

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Face shields and their effectiveness in preventing transmission of COVID-19

The transmission of COVID-19 “is believed to be predominantly through respiratory droplets from infected persons in close proximity to uninfected persons, although airborne transmission may also play a role. Face shields have been proposed to prevent transmission in the community.” This study describes “transmission in a community setting [in India] before and after the use of face shields.” Featured article: Bhaskar ME, Arun S. (2020)….

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Current explorations of nutrition and the gut microbiome: a comprehensive evaluation of the review literature

The human gut microbiota — it might be more accurate to think of it like an immune system: a collection of cells that work in unison with the host and that can promote health but sometimes initiate disease. Featured article: Frame, L. A., Costa, E., & Jackson, S. A. (2020). Current explorations of nutrition and the gut microbiome: A comprehensive evaluation of the review literature….

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Essential workers: economic and health vulnerability

We live in a very unequal society in the United States. Many have pointed this out for years and the COVID-19 pandemic has starkly illustrated this inequality. The poor, the sick, the old, the young, those who are “different”, those with little political power, and on and on … these people have borne the brunt for decades. These people have seen little benefit from economic…

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Lack of sleep linked to cardiovascular problems

We know that sleep is vital for humans. Lack of sleep, sleep disruption, changes in sleep habits, and more can lead to real problems–physical and mental. For example, we know that not getting enough sleep leads to millions of lost work days and a huge annual economic loss … a problem especially severe in the United States. And, we know that sleep disruption and lack…

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