- Inexplicably, world leaders in rogue countries continue to militate against climate control and suppress accurate observations about what we are doing to ruin our planet. This week’s issue of Science reports the latest news from Iran, where eight conservationists were not only jailed for “using wildlife camera traps to spy on military installations” in 2018; six of them were sentenced to 6 – 20 years in prison last month.
- Noise turns out to be a noxious pollutant for humans but also for animals: Scientists reported last week that noise confuses animals trying to track their prey. Even our ability to forecast weather is threatened by noise: the standard set for electronic noise from a radio band which was set as 5G is too much for accurate prediction of weather.
- Kelly Servick reported in Science this week that mosquitoes armed with a bacterium that works to kill potentially lethal viruses that cause diseases like Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya are proving effective! An amazing turnabout for the troublesome pest that plagues so many of us on summer days. The World Mosquito Program reports that there has been as much as a 76% reduction in the rate of dengue, (which is called “Break-bone Fever” because it is so painful) in some areas of release of the weaponized mosquito!
- Beware of telling yourself you are exempt from the effects of vaping because so far, even after years of use, you have not become a typical victim: a young man whose vaping utilizes some marijuana and perhaps Vitamin E as standard ingredients. And don’t deceive yourself that commercially prepared units are safe compared with products manufactured by inexperienced individuals for personal use. In this week’s issue of Science, Jennifer Couzin-Frankel warns that chronic vaping may produce chronic lung and heart damage. The NIH is concerned enough to have appropriated money to study both acute and chronic effects of the e-cigarettes, which are being heavily marketed by manufacturers, particularly to young people and to those trying to renounce regular tobacco use. Marketing is proving particularly effective among the young: over the past 7 years, high school users have escalated to almost 21% of students and middle school children have increased from 0.6% to 4.9% of users.
- Chinese scientists are getting unwelcome scrutiny from two directions: many in our own universities are being singled out for suspicion of supplying our scientific, US funded data to China and/or being dually funded by undisclosed Chinese money as well as US generated grants. Dennis Normile reports in SCIENCE this week that the Chinese Academy of Engineering has launched a series of investigations into the work of immunologist Cao Xuetao, the president of Nankai University in Tianjin. An American microbiologist, Elisabeth Bik, reported to PubPeer that some of the images authored by Xuetao might be duplicates of those published in his other papers. It might be the extent of scientific empires prominent Chinese investigators control, which makes quality control difficult, if not impossible.
- Genomic scientists, who have concentrated almost exclusively on European individuals, are now expanding their collection of data across Asia in what is called the Genome Asia 100K Project. This week’s issue of Nature reports that to date, 1739 individuals from 219 population groups and 64 countries have been catalogued, These expanded data bases will help explain the different susceptibilities of some populations to disease and their response to drug therapies.
Marianne J. Legato, MD, Ph. D. (hon. c.), FACP is an internationally renowned academic, physician, author, lecturer, and pioneer in the field of gender-specific medicine. She is a Professor Emerita of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Dr. Legato is also the Director of the Foundation for Gender-Specific Medicine, which she founded in 2006 as a continuation of her work with The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University. She received an honorary PhD from the University of Panama in 2015 for her work on the differences between men and women.
At its core, gender-specific medicine is the science of how normal human biology differs between men and women and how the diagnosis and treatment of disease differs as a function of gender. Dr. Legato’s discoveries and those of her colleagues have led to a personalization of medicine that assists doctors worldwide in understanding the difference in normal function of men and women and in their sex-specific experiences of the same diseases.
She began her work in gender-specific medicine by authoring the first book on women and heart disease, The Female Heart: The Truth About Women and Coronary Artery Disease, which won the Blakeslee Award of the American Heart Association in 1992. Because of this research, the cardiovascular community began to include women in clinical trials affirming the fact that the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of the same disease can be significantly different between the sexes. Convinced that the sex-specific differences in coronary artery disease were not unique, Dr. Legato began a wide-ranging survey of all medical specialties and in 2004, published the first textbook on gender-specific medicine, The Principles of Gender-Specific Medicine. The second edition appeared in 2010 and the third edition, dedicated to explaining how gender impacts biomedical investigation in the genomic era, won the PROSE Award in Clinical Medicine from the Association of American Publishers in 2018. A fourth edition is forthcoming.
She also founded the first scientific journals publishing new studies in the field, The Journal of Gender-Specific Medicine, and a newer version, Gender Medicine, both listed in the Index Medicus of the National Library of Medicine. She has founded a third peer-reviewed, open access journal, Gender and the Genome, which focuses on the impact of biological sex on technology and its effects on human life.
Dr. Legato is the author of multiple works, including: What Women Need to Know (Simon & Schuster, 1997), Eve’s Rib (Harmony Books, 2002), Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget (Rodale, 2005), Why Men Die First (Palgrave, 2008), The International Society for Gender Medicine: History and Highlights (Academic Press, 2017), and most recently, The Plasticity of Sex (Academic Press, 2020). Her books have been translated into 28 languages to date.
As an internationally respected authority on gender medicine, Dr. Legato has chaired symposia and made keynote addresses to world congresses in gender-specific medicine in Berlin, Israel, Italy, Japan, Panama, South Korea, Stockholm, and Vienna. In collaboration with the Menarini Foundation, she is co-chairing a symposium on epigenetics, Sex, Gender and Epigenetics: From Molecule to Bedside, to be held in Spring 2021 in Italy. She maintains one of the only gender-specific private practice in New York City, and she has earned recognition as one of the “Top Doctors in New York.”