MEDICINE MADE from poop, called crapsules (or poop~pills), may soon be available for patients. They are pills made from the freeze-dried poop of healthy people that could help those with advanced liver disease.

Individuals with cirrhosis — a condition involving severe scarring and damage of the liver — have higher levels of “bad” gut bacteria that make them more susceptible to infections. Researchers are hoping that pills containing feces with “good” bacteria of healthy individuals will improve the gut health of patients with cirrhosis and reduce the need for antibiotics. The crapsules have none of the taste or smell as the name suggests.

In another study, researchers found that even ‘safe’ pollution levels can cause changes in child brain development. Exposure to levels of some pollutants considered safe from a regulatory perspective could contribute to changes in a child’s brain function over time.

Higher concentrations of ozone were related to increased connections in the brain’s cortex — which is responsible for processes such as thought, memory, consciousness and emotion — but to fewer connections between the cortex and other regions of the brain such as the amygdala, which is associated with emotional processing, and the hippocampus, which plays a role in long-term memory.

In an unrelated research, daily use of low-dose aspirin may increase anemia risk in healthy older adults. A team of researchers found that healthy adults age 65 and older who take a low dose of aspirin on a daily basis appear to be at increased risk of anemia — a condition that develops when the body produces too few healthy red blood cells, which can result in fatigue, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeat.

The study looked at a group of 19,114 healthy older adults who were randomly assigned either 100mg of aspirin or a placebo. Researchers concluded that those in the aspirin group appeared to have increased instances of anemia and reduced levels of ferritin (an iron-storage protein) and hemoglobin.

Many older people take aspirin for preventative reasons, including thinning the blood to counter cardiovascular disease and prevent strokes. The  researchers suggested that older patients regularly taking low-dose aspirin be monitored by their doctors for anemia.

All adults under 65 should be screened for anxiety, a health panel says. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that all adults younger than 65 be screened for anxiety even if they don’t have symptoms.

Screenings for anxiety are usually done through questionnaires during a doctor’s office visit, and doctors want to know how often within the past two weeks a patient has been easily annoyed or irritable, bothered by uncontrollable worries or feeling so restless that it’s difficult to sit still.

But experts stress that while screening tools can help open up a conversation about anxiety and anxiety symptoms, the screening tool on its own is not enough to diagnose a patient with the condition. By Dr. Manny Palomar, PhD (EV Mail May 20-26, 2024 issue)