What We’re Reading: Fenton Named Monkeypox Coordinator; Abortion Rights Bill Introduced; Processed Foods, Cognitive Health

The White House named Robert J. Fenton Jr as the nation’s monkeypox response coordinator; 4 bipartisan senators introduced a bill codifying access to abortion and contraception into federal law; eating highly processed foods may be linked to faster cognitive decline.

FEMA’s Fenton Named Monkeypox Coordinator

The White House has named Robert J. Fenton Jr, regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) who helped oversee efforts to set up COVID-19 vaccination sites, as the United States’ monkeypox response coordinator, The Washington Post reported. The White House also named Demetre Daskalakis, MD, senior CDC official who assisted in leading the CDC’s work surrounding HIV/AIDS and has been active in the federal response to monkeypox, as a top deputy for Fenton. This news comes as 3 states—New York, California, and Illinois—have declared monkeypox a health emergency.

Bill Codifying Abortion Rights Introduced by Bipartisan Senators

A group of 4 bipartisan senators introduced a bill Monday that would codify the right to an abortion and access to contraception into federal law, The Hill reported. The bill was introduced by Senators Tim Kaine, D-Virginia; Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; and Susan Collins, R-Maine, as an attempted compromise between political parties, as efforts involving only Democrats have failed twice in Senate since the overturn of Roe v Wade. The bill’s goal is to prevent states from implementing laws that put an “undue burden” on access to previability abortions, while allowing some “reasonable” limits on postviability abortions, with an emphasis on the health of the mother. However, the bill does not give a clear definition of viability or what is considered to be a threat to the mother’s health.

Highly Processed Foods Linked to Quicker Cognitive Decline

According to new research, consuming highly processed foods and drinks may be associated with faster cognitive decline, NBC News reported. The study—which has not yet been peer reviewed—was presented Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego and included more than 10,000 middle-aged and older adults in Brazil. Regardless of the total amount of calories, participants who got at least 20% of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods such as white bread, fried food, candy, soda, and processed meats experienced a quicker decline in cognitive performance between 6 and 10 years compared with those consuming less processed food.