Trending News Today: Legislation Seeks to Reduce Tobacco Use

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio backed a series of legislative proposals to cut down on tobacco use, according to The Wall Street Journal. One proposal seeks to raise the cost of cigarettes in the city to $13, and to sharply reduce the number of stores that sell tobacco products over time. The current price of a pack is $10.50, and city officials said increasing the price will make New York the most expensive place in the United States to buy cigarettes. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there are 900,000 smokers in the city, which includes 15,000 youths.

The use of antidepressants during early pregnancy may not be as harmful as previously believed, a new study suggests. Contrary to earlier reports, the results of the study found that antidepressant use early in pregnancy did not increase the risk of having children who develop autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to The Washington Post, the study only found a slight increase in the risk of premature birth for infants of mothers who use antidepressants during the first trimester. Additionally, investigators observed no increase in the risk of autism, ADHD, or reduced fetal growth among children exposed to antidepressants.

In a study published in Nature, investigators found that the protein TIMP2, found in human umbilical cord blood, improved learning and memory in aging mice. For the study, investigators collected plasma from individuals of various ages, as well as plasma from human umbilical cords. The human plasma was injected into mice that were 12 and 14 months old several times over a couple of weeks, NPR reported. After dissecting the mouse brains, the investigators found that certain genes linked to creating new memories had been turned on in some of the mice. Next, they injected more aging mice with human plasma and tested their ability to remember things. Prior to the injection, it took the mice a long time to learn and remember the location of the escape hole in the maze, with some not managing at all. “But after the cord plasma treatment, both the time [it took to] find it, the rate at which they’d find it and the fact that they do find it was improved and changing,” author Joe Castellano told NPR. Similarly, mice treated with human umbilical cord blood performed better on the secondary memory test.