News Articles of Interest

Obesity threatening the health of Saudi children

As childhood obesity becomes a global health threat, physicians and parents are increasingly turning to bariatric surgery for the very young. Today’s Wall Street Journal focuses on the problem in Saudi Arabia. A perfect storm of prosperity, inactivity, and genetic vulnerability have combined to raise BMIs and obesity-related health problems among Saudis of all ages. Even the youngest Saudis are suffering the effects of obesity, including sleep apnea, advanced fatty liver disease and Type 2 diabetes. As the Journal outlines, Saudi physicians are responding by offering gastric surgery for under 14 year-olds including a three year-old boy featured in today’s article:

The “gay gene” redux and good science journalism in The Guardian

Reporting at this year’s American Association of Science annual meeting, psychologist Michael Bailey shared his group’s recent finding concerning a link between genes in the Xq28 region and male homosexuality. Unlike when similar findings found their way into the news in the 1990’s, the Guardian’s reporting skips easy sensationalism for nuanced reporting.  The paper’s science correspondent, Ian Sample, emphasizes the limited role genes play in determining sexual orientation and points to twin studies debunking a strong gene-behavior link.

Living with HIV, dying by exclusion from transplant candidacy

Writing in the The Atlantic online, Jason Silverstein shares the case of a young man with well-controlled HIV disease who died after transplant centers near his New York City home refused him as a lung transplant candidate. Silverstein argues that organ allocation policies in many areas have not caught with up science. HAART therapies have increased longevity and mitigated immunological problems so that HIV status need not be a bar to successful transplantation. It seems likely that the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation’s guidelines will be revised to recommend people living with well-controlled HIV be evaluated for lung transplant nationwide.

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