Daily Rounds: Reversing Life Expectancy; Pioneer Uterus Transplanted; Bad Taste Buds In Obese Kids; I Just Can't Remember

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Reversing Trend, Life Expectancy Shrinks For Some Whites (The New York Times) — "For generations of Americans, it was a given that children would live longer than their parents. But there is now mounting evidence that this enduring trend has reversed itself for the country’s least-educated whites, an increasingly troubled group whose life expectancy has fallen by four years since 1990. Researchers have long documented that the most educated Americans were making the biggest gains in life expectancy, but now they say mortality data show that life spans for some of the least educated Americans are actually contracting. Four studies in recent years identified modest declines, but a new one that looks separately at Americans lacking a high school diploma found disturbingly sharp drops in life expectancy for whites in this group. Experts not involved in the new research said its findings were persuasive."

Swedes Perform Pioneering Uterine Transplant; Americans Not Far Behind (NPR) — "A Swedish medical team has transplanted uteruses from two women in their 50s to their daughters. Meanwhile, Shots has learned that an Indiana group is recruiting women willing to undergo womb transplants in this country. "We could go ahead tomorrow if we found the perfect candidate," Dr. Giuseppe Del Priore told Shots. Del Priore says he has already interviewed a number of women, and has the approval of the ethics committee at Indiana University in Indianapolis."

Study: Obese Kids Have Less Sensitive Taste Buds (Time Healthland) — "German researchers report that obese kids have less sensitive taste buds than their normal weight peers, and may therefore eat more food to get the same flavor sensation."

Why Can't I Remember What This Week's Question Is? (The New York Times) — "Anybody can leave his wallet in a restaurant and have to return sheepishly the next day to pick it up. It takes a special kind of somebody to realize that he left his wallet in the restaurant, but not remember which restaurant it was, other than that it was that Italian one – what is its name again? – with the nice breadsticks. Or, come to think of it, was it that Greek place? Oh, wait. Maybe it was the car wash. We call that somebody a baby boomer, and among the indignities that come with the territory is, for some people, the growing sense that that longtime ally, the brain, is beginning to fall down on the job. Generalizing about memory problems and other cognitive slowdowns is risky. Some people live into their 70s with barely a misplaced modifier, let alone misplaced car keys, while others begin to notice issues decades earlier. But by middle age, the brain has probably begun to change, and in some ways not for the better."

This program aired on September 21, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.