Black Maternal Mortality in U.S.

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the battleground for abortion access now shifts to the states, even as the U.S. faces the worst rates of maternal mortality among all rich nations, with Black maternal mortality three to four times higher than the national average. Now a new documentary examines the crisis of Black maternal mortality through the families of two young Black women who died after giving birth. “Aftershock” is co-directed by Tonya Lewis Lee and Paula Eiselt, who join us to discuss how Black women navigate a healthcare system built against them and efforts underway to reduce racial disparities. “We know that Black women’s health and infants’ health is the marker of the health of a nation,” notes Lee. “In a system that puts profit over people, doesn’t listen and center birthing people already, Black women are even more affected by this due to the systemic racism that’s ingrained into our system,” adds Eiselt.

Amber Rose Isaac, as you mentioned, died in April 2020. She had what is called HELLP syndrome, which is a very treatable condition that many pregnant women get, but, unfortunately, when she showed up to her doctor with symptoms of HELLP syndrome, she was dismissed. They did not listen to her. And unfortunately, by the time she had a C-section, it was too late to save her.

And it is clear that these women were loved women. They were loving women. And their partners, Omari Maynard, the partner to Shamony, and Bruce McIntyre, the partner to Amber, loved them so much. And through their grief — and what I’ve learned from these families is that grief really is an expression of love — through their grief, they’ve become activated to improve outcomes for all of us. And they’re doing amazing work. Omari is a painter. He paints portraits of other women who have passed away. He reaches out to the other fathers when they lose a partner from childbirth complications, to offer support. And that’s how we met Bruce McIntyre, because Omari reached out to Bruce when Amber passed

— source democracynow.org | Jul 25, 2022

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This is not a viral crisis; this is a crisis of late capitalism

There have now been more than 17,000 cases of monkeypox infections in at least 75 countries, including the United States. Monkeypox isn’t fatal, but it can cause fever, rashes and extremely painful lesions. It’s most often spread through close, intimate physical contact. On Saturday, for the second time in two years, the World Health Organization declared a global emergency to address the spread. The last time, it was for COVID-19; this time, for monkeypox.

Here in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 2,800 cases of monkeypox so far across 44 states, with the largest outbreaks in New York, California, Illinois, Florida, D.C. and Georgia. The White House has not declared a public health emergency, that could bolster the U.S. response to the monkeypox outbreak. White House COVID response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said, quote, “It’s an ongoing, but a very active conversation at HHS.” That’s the Department of Health and Human Services.

I’ll actually start with the second part. Monkeypox is not a new virus. And this is sort of why our community has been so frustrated by the lack of urgency to get us the tools we need to care for ourselves and each other and to prevent this virus. It was discovered in 1958 in animals and was shown in 1970 to exist in humans. It’s a virus that’s related to smallpox. You mentioned earlier that it’s not deadly. It’s not very often deadly, but in this outbreak so far this year, there have been five deaths, all

— source democracynow.org | Jul 25, 2022

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Eating more ultra-processed foods associated with increased risk of dementia

People who eat the highest amounts of ultra-processed foods like soft drinks, chips and cookies may have a higher risk of developing dementia than those who eat the lowest amounts, according to a new study published in the July 27, 2022, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Researchers also found that replacing ultra-processed foods in a person’s diet with unprocessed or minimally processed foods was associated with a lower risk. The study does not prove that ultra-processed foods cause dementia. It only shows an association.

Ultra-processed foods are high in added sugar, fat and salt, and low in protein and fiber. They include soft drinks, salty and sugary snacks, ice cream, sausage, deep-fried chicken, yogurt, canned baked beans and tomatoes, ketchup, mayonnaise, packaged guacamole and hummus, packaged breads and flavored cereals.

Ultra-processed foods are meant to be convenient and tasty, but they diminish the quality of a person’s diet. These foods may also contain food additives or molecules from

— source American Academy of Neurology | Jul 27, 2022

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Exposure to ‘forever chemicals’ costs US billions in health costs

Daily exposure to a class of chemicals used in the production of many household items may lead to cancer, thyroid disease, and childhood obesity, a new study shows. The resulting economic burden is estimated to cost Americans a minimum of $5.5 billion and as much as $63 billion over the lifetime of the current population.

The new work revolves around per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of over 4,700 humanmade chemicals that experts have detected for decades in the blood of millions of people. The chemicals are used, for example, in the production of water- and oil-resistant clothing, electronics, and nonstick cookware, and people are thought to ingest them as food comes into contact with packaging. The substances are believed to disrupt the function of hormones, signaling compounds that influence many bodily processes.

Led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the new study in roughly 5,000 Americans identified 13 medical conditions that may result from PFAS exposure, such as infertility, diabetes, and endometriosis, a painful disorder of the uterus. Together, the diseases generate medical bills and reduce worker productivity across a lifetime to create the costs measured by the study, say the study authors.

— source NYU Langone Health / NYU Grossman School of Medicine | Jul 26, 2022

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Insulin resistance, advanced cell aging have links to childhood poverty

Black adolescents who lived in poverty and were less optimistic about the future showed accelerated aging in their immune cells and were more likely to have elevated insulin resistance at ages 25-29, researchers found.

Allen W. Barton, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is the first author of the study, which tracked the health of 342 African Americans for 20 years, from adolescence to their mid- to late twenties. The researchers’ goal was to explore links between the individuals’ childhood social environment and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes where cells don’t respond well to insulin or use blood glucose for energy.

The participants lived in rural Georgia, a region with one of the highest poverty rates and shortest life expectancies in the U.S.

— source University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau | Jul 25, 2022

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Link between air pollution and child brain development strengthened

Air pollution is not just a problem for lungs. Increasingly, research suggests air pollution can influence childhood behavioral problems and even IQ. A new study led by the University of Washington has added evidence showing that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to air pollution can harm kids.

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found that children whose mothers experienced higher nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exposure during pregnancy, particularly in the first and second trimester, were more likely to have behavioral problems.

Researchers also reported that higher exposures to small-particle air pollution (PM2.5) when children were 2 to 4 years old was associated with poorer child behavioral functioning and cognitive performance.

— source University of Washington | Jul 14, 2022

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Reproductive Justice Is in the Constitution

Black women’s sexual subordination and forced pregnancies were foundational to slavery. If cotton was euphemistically king, Black women’s wealth-maximizing forced reproduction was queen.

Ending the forced sexual and reproductive servitude of Black girls and women was a critical part of the passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments. The overturning of Roe v. Wade reveals the Supreme Court’s neglectful reading of the amendments that abolished slavery and guaranteed all people equal protection under the law. It means the erasure of Black women from the Constitution.

Mandated, forced or compulsory pregnancy contravenes enumerated rights in the Constitution, namely the 13th Amendment’s prohibition against involuntary servitude and protection of bodily autonomy, as well as the 14th Amendment’s defense of privacy and freedom.

This Supreme Court demonstrates a selective and opportunistic interpretation of the Constitution and legal history, which ignores the intent of the 13th and 14th Amendments, especially as related to Black women’s bodily autonomy, liberty and privacy which extended beyond freeing them from labor in cotton fields to shielding them from rape and forced

— source | Michele Goodwin | Jun 26, 2022

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Most British COVID-19 mourners suffer PTSD symptoms

More than eight out of 10 British people who are seeking support for having lost a loved one to COVID-19 reported alarming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, new Curtin University-led research has found.

The study, based on data from people seeking help and guidance from the United Kingdom’s National Bereavement Partnership in collaboration with researchers from the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition and Christopher Newport University in the United States of America, also found almost two-thirds of British COVID-19 mourners experienced moderate or severe symptoms of anxiety and depression.

According to the UK’s dedicated PTSD charity, PTSD UK, about 20 per cent of all PTSD cases worldwide are linked to the unexpected death of a loved one.

To date, there have been more than 175,000 COVID-19-related deaths in the United Kingdom.

— source Curtin University | Jul 5, 2022

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Immune response triggered by COVID-19 may damage the brain

A study from the National Institutes of Health describes the immune response triggered by COVID-19 infection that damages the brain’s blood vessels and may lead to short- and long-term neurological symptoms. In a study published in Brain, researchers from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) examined brain changes in nine people who died suddenly after contracting the virus.

The scientists found evidence that antibodies — proteins produced by the immune system in response to viruses and other invaders — are involved in an attack on the cells lining the brain’s blood vessels, leading to inflammation and damage. Consistent with an earlier study from the group, SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in the patients’ brains, suggesting the virus was not infecting the brain directly.

Understanding how SARS-CoV-2 can trigger brain damage may help inform development of therapies for COVID-19 patients who have lingering neurological symptoms.

— source NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke | Jul 5, 2022

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COVID-19 damages the heart’s pacemaker cells

The SARS-CoV-2 virus can infect specialized pacemaker cells that maintain the heart’s rhythmic beat, setting off a self-destruction process within the cells, according to a preclinical study co-led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian and NYU Grossman School of Medicine. the researchers used an### animal model as well as human stem cell-derived pacemaker cells to show that SARS-CoV-2 can readily infect pacemaker cells and trigger a process called ferroptosis, in which the cells self-destruct but also produce reactive oxygen molecules that can impact nearby cells. the pacemaker cells, in response to the stress of infection, showed clear signs of a cellular self-destruct process called ferroptosis, which involves accumulation of iron and the runaway production of cell-destroying reactive oxygen molecules. This finding suggests that some of the cardiac arrhythmias detected in COVID-19 patients could be caused by ferroptosis damage to the sinoatrial node.

— source Weill Cornell Medicine | Apr 1, 2022

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