Almost every day dawns with a new medical research study. New medical findings lead to drug discoveries and the development of innovative medical procedures to fight disease, along with new medical codes. Clinical and biomedical research is of great interest to companies that provide medical billing and coding services. Let’s take a look at ten new weird medical discoveries described in a recent Modern Medicine Network report.

  • Antibiotic-resistant bacteria gaining power: A new European study estimated the incidence, complications, and attributable mortality of five types of infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria expressed, for the first time, in disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs). The study estimates that about 33,000 people die each year as a direct consequence of an infection due to bacteria resistant to antibiotics. The researchers found that the DALYs per 100,000 persons for antibiotic-resistant bacteria infections were roughly equal to those of influenza, tuberculosis, and HIV combined. All age groups were affected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria infections.
  •  

  • Air filtration systems that could be cardioprotective: Air pollution exposure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease morbidity. Researchers have come up with portable air filters that could provide cardioprotection. They tested the air filtration system in a typical US urban location. The study found that temporary use of these systems reduced personal exposure to fine particulate matter and systolic blood pressure in elderly adults living in a low-income senior facility.
  •  

  • New explanation about obesity-cancer link: Obesity is linked to cancer, but all the reasons for this are not known. Working with NK cells from humans, and also mice as model organisms, the researchers found that obesity causes cancer because excess fat in obese individuals clogs the molecular machinery of NK cells. This clogging up prevents the NK cells from killing tumor cells. In other words, the presence of excess fat causes the body’s immune surveillance systems—led by cancer-fighting NK cells-to break down and fail. The researchers found that metabolic re-programming these cells could restore their cancer-fighting abilities.
  •  

  • Healthful eating means eating double the portions: A new study in conducted in France has found that doubling portions of healthy snacks can promote healthy eating. The researchers conducted experiments among high-school students to compare the portion-size effect across snack foods varying in healthiness (potato chips and apple chips) and in a healthy snack (carrots). The first study showed that doubling the portions increased consumption of both healthy and unhealthy snacks. The second experiment, which was conducted in a movie theatre, showed that high-school students ate more of a healthy snack (baby-carrots) when given a larger portion.
  •  

  • Using e-cigarettes may lead to more frequent cigarette use: E-cigarettes are used by adolescents to reduce cigarette use, but a study has found that among baseline never smokers, e-cigarette users had a greater likelihood of subsequent experimental, infrequent, or frequent cigarette use. The researchers concluded that tobacco control policy should focus on cutting both e-cigarette and cigarette use among adolescents to prevent progression to recurrent tobacco use.
  •  

  • Exposure to blue light can reduce blood pressure: By releasing nitric oxide from the skin, ultraviolet light has been found to decrease blood pressure. However, ultraviolet light comes with a cancerogenic risk. A new study has found that whole body exposure to visible blue light can also decrease blood pressure and improve endothelial function and arterial stiffness.
  •  

  • Parasite genomes can lead to new treatments: Researchers conducted genomic studies of 81 worm species, including 45 that had never been sequenced before, and documented nearly a million new genes. The research identified gene families associated with critical functions for the worms. The study suggests that new treatments that impair those gene families could fight the diseases they cause.
  •  

  • Appendix removal reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease (PD): Who would imagine an association between an appendix and a neurological disease? But there is one, according to a new study. Researchers noted that removing an appendix reduced the risk of developing PD.
     
    A degenerative disorder believed to be caused by both genetic and environmental factors, PD comes with symptoms such as shaking, slow movement, and difficulty walking. This chronic disorder of the central nervous system results from the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in various parts of the brain. There is no known cure for PD.
     
    The appendix can act as a reservoir of misfolded alpha synuclein proteins that are closely linked to the onset of PD. The researchers analyzed the medical records of 1.7 million people in Sweden and found reduced risk for Parkinson’s by 19 to 25 percent when the appendix and the alpha-synuclein contained within it were removed early in life, much before the onset of Parkinson’s. This suggested that the appendix may be involved in disease initiation. However, once PD starts, the removal of the appendix has no effect on disease progression.
  •  

  • New technique could reduce hepatitis treatment time in half: A new study suggests that a personalized medicine technique could cut the time and costs for treating hepatitis C virus infection. According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the US have a chronic form of hepatitis C. The blood-borne virus is commonly spread through the sharing of needles for drug injection, leading to acute liver infection that, without proper treatment, can become chronic and progress into cirrhosis and liver cancer.
     
    Researchers from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Loyola Medicine, both in Chicago, Illinois, tracked hepatitis C virus infection in 22 patients receiving treatment for a few weeks and measured their decrease in viral levels. They used a personalized medicine technique called modeling-based response-guided therapy (RGT). Mathematical modeling was then used to find how long it would take to fully clear the infection. The technique predicted the shortening of treatment time to 10 weeks in 1 patient, to 8 weeks in 8 patients, and to 6 weeks in 2 patients.
  •  

  • Man’s Best Friend can help with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A new study has found that the placement of a PTSD service dog may have a significant positive influence on both physiological and psychosocial indicators of wellbeing in military veterans with PTSD.
     
    Regular exposure to traumatic and hazardous situations and events often causes military personnel develop PSTD. The study reports that having a service dog had a significant positive impact on salivary cortisol awakening response and arousal-related functioning. Veterans who had a service dog were found to have significantly lower anxiety, anger, and sleep disturbance, and less alcohol abuse than those who did not.

As a medical billing company with years of experience, we are aware that the quality of care that patients enjoy is the result of such efforts by scientists and medical professionals. Unraveling the causes of disease and potential treatments paves the way for changes in treatment approaches and procedures.