No one told Babe Ruth he had cancer, but his death changed the way we fight it

George Herman Ruth was sick. It had all started with a deep, searing pain behind his left eye. Now, he could hardly swallow. And the pain seemed to be seeping down his body, like an invisible weight tugging at his hips and legs. Soon, he’d have to use his bat as a cane.

But he was no ordinary patient. He was the Babe, the greatest baseball player who had ever lived. And his medical team at what is now Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, just a short train ride south from Yankee Stadium, intended to treat him as such.

While it seems possible that no one ever told Ruth himself, the baseball legend had terminal cancer. A tumor had grown from behind his nose to the base of his skull and was working its way into his neck. Treatment would be harrowing, but his doctors were determined the Sultan of Swat would get better. Though their effort to save him was ultimately unsuccessful, the record-setting Ruth became a cancer pioneer in the process.

At the time of Ruth’s birth on February 6, 1895, cancer, once a rarity, was suddenly everywhere. “He lived at a time when cancer rates were increasing markedly,” says Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer for the American Cancer Society. These days, Brawley says, we know what to attribute that to: smoking and air pollution. At the time, however, no one actually knew what caused cancer, let alone how to cure it.

Via No one told Babe Ruth he had cancer, but his death changed the way we fight it



Obesity is killing off people’s taste buds, and now scientists can explain why

Through the years scientists have gleaned that obesity can impact a person’s ability to taste, but until recently it’s been unclear why.

Researchers at Cornell University report the discovery that, in mice, a tiny amount of inflammation driven by obesity actually reduced the number of taste buds on their tongues. Their work was published on March 20 in the journal PLOS Biology, and it may wind up aiding the development of new therapies to alleviate what’s called “taste dysfunction” among people who suffer from obesity.

As part of their work, the researchers split lab mice into two groups and fed each group a different diet for eight weeks. The first group ate a standard rodent chow, comprised of 14% fat, 54% carbohydrate, and 32% protein. The second group got a high-fat diet consisting of 58.4% fat, 26.6% carbohydrate, and 15% protein, which led to obesity in the group.

via Obesity is killing off people’s taste buds—now scientists can explain why — Quartz

Globally, people took 65% more antibiotics in 2015 compared to 2000 — Quartz

Globally, antibiotic use has been on the rise—which doesn’t bode well for the looming threat of superbugs.

From 2000 to 2015, approximately 65% more antibiotics have been sold globally both in total and by individual dose, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins, Princeton University, and the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, based in Washington DC. The researchers tapped surveys from 76 countries of over 100 types of antibiotics conducted by IQVIA, a health research company based in Durham, North Carolina.

via Globally, people took 65% more antibiotics in 2015 compared to 2000 — Quartz

Nairobi is at risk from another cholera outbreak. Why this isn’t necessary

Flooding has affected households across Nairobi – even in the city’s high-end diplomatic enclaves. Its effects range. In addition to the deaths and serious injuries, vexing traffic jams have been intensified due to swamped roadways and stalled cars and schools have also been forced to close.

But nobody is more affected than people living in the city’s massive informal settlements, or slums. It’s estimated that slums are home to about two out of every three of Nairobi’s four million inhabitants.

Urban flooding has intensified because the city’s growth has outpaced improvements in infrastructure. Clogged drains, illegal construction that obstructs waterways and poor management of solid waste are just the tip of the iceberg.

In the slums, open sewers overflow quickly, bringing flash floods with them. Harmful waste gets washed into the rivers that snake through the city – rivers from which some people draw water to wash clothes, prepare food, irrigate their crops and livestock.

Because of these conditions the city is under constant threat of another major cholera outbreak. In 2017 more than 4,000 cases were reported across the country, 70% of them in Nairobi. Nairobi also had a cholera outbreak in a high-end hotel.

Cholera – transmitted when people ingest food or water contaminated with fecal matter containing cholera germs – can be deadly if not treated immediately.

via Nairobi is at risk from another cholera outbreak. Why this isn’t necessary