Discovered: war on super bugs, the love hormone and broken heart syndrome, a smoking gene and respect for the lowly fly.

  • Europe declares war on superbugs. Take that "multi-drug resistant bacteria"--which is what superbugs actually are. Reuters informs today that the European Union is concerned that big pharma companies haven't stepped up to the plate to take on bacteria that has evolved to be resistant to antibiotics because it "has become an unprofitable area of research." Ah. So, the European Union health commission has a plan to give "rapid approval to new antibiotics and would work with governments to make sure they enjoyed 'adequate market and pricing conditions.'" Said the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control director to the news outlet:  "We need to declare a war -- a war against these bacteria."  [Reuters]
  • Lowly fly doesn't get much respect. That one fly that's been living in your shoe-sized apartment for the past couple weeks that mostly just leaves you alone and chills just out of reach of a fly swatter gets some appreciation today.  Germany's Max Planck Institute researchers studied the insect's "formation of flight muscles" and noted, yes, flies beat their wings fast: "In contrast, a hundred meters sprinter who moves his legs only a few times per second moves like a snail," said one of the Institute's researchers, Frank Schnorrer, in a release. [Max Planck]
  • It may not be a good excuse to keep up the habit but ... There is new evidence from a study that reaffirms the notion of a genetic predisposition to smoking cigarettes, The Los Angeles Times writes. The researcher behind the study, which followed identical and fraternal twins, clarified his findings by seeming to rule out  just-social smokers:  "These days people don't smoke for social reasons ... They, in fact, face criticism for the habit but tend to smoke because of their dependence on nicotine." [The Los Angeles Times]
  • Headline-ready findings: the 'love hormone' and 'broken heart syndrome'.  But niether of which seem like they can be explained very simply. The "love hormone," as Time's Healthland reports, is the name for sensitive people who, in a new study, were found to have a gene variation "associated with trust and caring" in common. And "broken heart syndrome," as the AP relays from the first, large nationwide study examining the phenomenon, found that women are likelier  to suffer "heart failure or heart attack-like symptoms" spurred by a traumatic event. One theory floated to the news wire about why this is that "men have more adrenaline receptors on cells in their hearts than women do." [Time Healthland, Associated Press]
  • The argument for making sure every patient is very clearly informed.   The New York Times anecdotally finds that in the U.S. doctors may skirt the issue of explaining imminent death to a patient by saying "It’s time to take a holiday from chemo," instead of a variation of it's "not working." The paper then points to a Swedish study conducted on patients with terminal cancer that compared those "who’d received 'information about imminent death'" with those who hadn't. "In the last week of life, the informed group didn’t suffer more pain, anxiety, confusion, nausea or respiratory problems; such symptoms were well controlled in both groups," the study found.  [The New York Times]