Wednesday, February 5, 2020

FDA approves first drug to treat peanut allergies in children

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug to treat peanut allergies in children. The drug, “Palforzia“, can be used for children between 4 and 17 years old. It’s designed to minimize the incidence and severity of a child’s allergic reaction to peanuts, as even a small amount of exposure can be harmful to children with the allergy. Children are left attempting to avoid exposure to peanuts to avoid reactions. Though that will continue to be necessary with Palforzia, the risk of a reaction will be lessened, according to the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. More than 2.5% of all American children are allergic to peanuts, according to The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. It’s one of the most common food allergies in the country. For those allergic, exposure to peanuts can result in symptoms like cramping, indigestion, hives, swelling and even fainting or dizziness. The new treatment essentially works by exposing children to controlled dosages of peanut protein until they’ve reached a maintenance level. In a trial, two-thirds of children were able to eat the equivalent of two peanuts with no allergic symptoms after the months-long treatment. Patients may be required to take the therapy for six months or longer, and about 9% of the children dosed with the drug had to stop treatment because their allergic reactions were so severe. Palforzia comes in a powder form that is made from actual peanuts, and should be mixed with semi-solid food like yogurt or applesauce. Because taking the drug still has a risk of anaphylaxis, patients will only be able to take the drug in a health care setting or pharmacy, so providers can monitor how the child reacts. Providers will also have to counsel patients or their caregivers to have an injectable epinephrine drug with them that can be ready to be used at all times. (Food and Drug Administration)


Reward is offered to anyone brave (or stupid) enough to remove motorbike tire stuck around 13ft crocodile’s neck

The creature has been struggling around with the tire since at least 2016 when it was first spotted in the Palu River in Central Sulawesi. The endangered Siamese crocodile has survived an earthquake and a tsunami that struck the region in 2018, but the tire hasn’t budged. Central Sulawesi’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency this week launched a contest to free it. The agency’s chief did not specify how much the reward would be but it would come out of his own pocket as the agency is strapped for cash. He stressed that he didn’t want to encourage amateurs to risk themselves and only wanted people with a background in wildlife rescue. “We’re asking the general public not to get close to the crocodile or disturb its habitat”, he said. There have been previous unsuccessful attempts to free the crocodile. Wildlife officials are especially concerned that the tire will strangle the crocodile if it is not removed urgently. (Daily Mail)


Working 24/7 will cost you

Many jobs now have an “always something to do” mentality, and staying online is blurring the line between work and leisure. Australians, for example, work an average of nearly 5 unpaid hours weekly, totaling $81.5 billion of unpaid overtime across the workforce. Smartphones make us feel obligated or responsible to respond to emails 24/7. With organizations introducing email “etiquette policies,” critics question the sustainability of round-the-clock work, urging individuals to rethink their time online. (The Sydney Morning Herald)


Silence is golden on salaries

A recent report appears to support new laws that ban questions about past pay. Employers asked 13% more questions, considered more candidates and were more likely to hire someone when they didn’t know pay history, researchers found in a paper published online by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The applicants also ended up accepting wages 9% higher than their initial ask. Roughly 20 states and as many cities in the U.S. have enacted laws that prevent employers from asking at least some questions about pay during the hiring process. ( MarketWatch)


How to really beat procrastination

Procrastination is often classified as a time management problem where you tidy up your desk or inbox rather than start the project you will barely have time to complete, for example. But according to research, psychologists increasingly find that procrastination is actually an emotional management problem. Some Researchers agree that the task we’re putting off could be what is making us feel bad. The shift in thinking is important to beating procrastination. If you find yourself putting off a task, think of a simple thing you can do to get started. (BBC Worklife)


A woman pulled over to help man in distress and her car rolled over and killed him

An Arizona woman who pulled over to help a man believed to be having a medical emergency forgot to put her car in park. The vehicle ran over the man, killing him, police said. The woman, who has not been identified, was trying to assist 34-year-old man recently when the incident occurred in Phoenix. He was standing on a sidewalk when he appeared to have an undisclosed medical event, police said in a press release. As the 55-year-old woman stopped her vehicle he fell over into the street. Police said that “in her haste to assist, the woman exited her car, failing to put the vehicle in park.” It rolled forward striking the man. He was taken to the hospital, where he died. The woman was not injured. A medical examiner will determine the man’s cause of death, police said. The woman remained on the scene, and impairment does not appear to be a factor, the Phoenix Police Department said in its release. (Fox 10 Pheonix)


Teaching robots to sweat

Researchers from Cornell University and the Istituto Italiano di Technologia have developed robot hands that have pores that can “sweat” when they overheat. The rubbery robot fingers, which are made of plastic material similar to the kind used to make contact lenses, can automatically release water when they reach a specific temperature threshold. With the help of a nearby fan, these robots can cool themselves without having to pause for human-assisted maintenance. (The Verge)


Inching closer to coronavirus vaccine

As researchers across the globe work to develop a vaccine to the Wuhan coronavirus, a handful of teams have recently achieved modest, but critical, breakthroughs. Researchers from the Peter Doherty Institute in Melbourne were able to grow the virus in a lab. This could help researchers develop faster, more efficient methods to test patients for the virus. Meanwhile, a team from the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. has developed a modified version of specific proteins from the virus that may help patients develop antibodies to fight the disease. (PopSci)


The gender pay gap narrowed

The hourly earnings gap between men and women narrowed from $8 in 1980 to $4 in 2018 thanks — in part — to demand for social skills, suggests a new Pew Research Center analysis. While jobs focusing on science and programming expanded during that time, the report found that employment grew faster for jobs requiring social and fundamental skills, such as negotiation and critical thinking. That boom has been good news for women, who have been entering the workforce at higher numbers and focusing on jobs requiring people skills. (Pew Research Center)


America’s latest housing crisis

America has a housing shortage on its hands, and it’s only poised to grow more dire. To keep up with housing needs, the U.S. would need to build 1.5 million new homes every year. We only hit that threshold in 2019, the first time since 2006. Meanwhile, limited housing supply has driven up housing prices, especially for starter homes. Entry-level home prices in cities like Denver, Seattle and San Francisco have jumped by 75% since 2012, placing them out of reach for many first-time buyers. (Axios)


Buttigieg and Sanders leading Iowa Democratic caucuses after massive delay

Pete Buttigieg is narrowly leading the Democratic presidential field in the Iowa caucuses, according to initial returns that the party at last began reporting late Tuesday (2/4) afternoon following a massive delay linked to technical breakdowns. But Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is close behind the former South Bend, Ind., mayor, with 62 percent of precincts reporting in the first batch released by the embattled state party. It was still not clear when the party would release the complete vote totals. Several top campaigns and their supporters blasted the process and the state party, with the overheated recriminations essentially depriving the eventual victor of the sort of clean, prime-time win that would ideally accompany the first-in-the-nation contest result. (Fox News)



Wednesday Soothes Us With:

  • Adlai Stevenson Day
  • Global School Play Day (First Wednesday)
  • Move Hollywood & Broadway to Lebanon, PA Day
  • National Girls & Women in Sports Day (First Wednesday)
  • National Signing Day (First Wednesday)
  • Shower With A Friend Day
  • Weatherman’s [Weatherperson’s] Day
  • Western Monarch Day
  • World Nutella Day
  • World Animal Reiki Day

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