What We're Reading: Smokeless Cigarettes; Big Data and Dieting; Healthcare in 2018 Elections

FDA panel rejects claim that smokeless cigarettes result in less harm and disease; big data might be able to shed light on the health effects of weight gain; healthcare is not a key issue among voters in battleground states.

Risk and Harm of Smokeless Cigarettes

A panel convened by the FDA has decided that Philip Morris International was not able to conclusively prove that smokeless cigarettes result in less harm and disease. According to The Washington Post, while the advisory panel agreed that the smokeless cigarette reduced exposure to harmful chemicals, it wasn’t clear that it reduces the harm of smoking. The company claimed that the cigarette’s technology, which heats up sticks of tobacco, eliminated 90% to 95% of toxic compounds.

Big Data Can Shed Light on Weight Gain

New research may provide a better understanding of the health risks of yo-yo dieting and why gaining weight causes chronic conditions in some people. Scientists determined that more than 300 genes worked differently after most participants in the study gained a little weight, reported The New York Times. The study analyzed the genomes and microbiomes of 23 overweight men and women. The participants were first asked to overeat for a month—gaining an average of 6 pounds—then asked to lose the new weight, and finally told to keep their weight stable and return for testing after 3 months.

Healthcare Not a Key Issue in Battleground States

While healthcare is the top issue that all registered voters say they want congressional candidates to talk about during 2018 campaigns, it is farther down the list in battleground states. A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that in areas with competitive races, the economy and jobs were the top issue and healthcare ranked fourth overall. Voters in battleground states also placed the situation with North Korea and immigration ahead of healthcare. Battle ground states were identified as 13 states where the upcoming election results are judged as a toss-up by a nonpartisan organization.