September 9: UF in the News, 9/7/21 - 9/9/21

What is the Nipah virus and why is it more deadly than COVID? A virus expert explains. — USA Today, 9/7/21
Officials in India are racing to contain a virus outbreak that has claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy and is deadlier than COVID-19 — the Nipah virus.

John Lednicky, a research professor at the University of Florida's College of Public Health and Health Professions, said it’s a virus to pay attention to. Though there is no good treatment for it, Lednicky said people in the U.S. don't need to worry much about Nipah virus because it has been isolated to Asia regions where fruit bats live. 

8 superfoods for your immune system — AARP, 9/7/21
An article listing superfoods that can give the immune system a boost cited a study by UF that found aged garlic extract supplements could significantly reduce cold and flu symptoms. 

Does my child have Duchenne muscular dystrophy? — Everyday Health, 9/7/21
Duchenne muscular dystrophy — sometimes referred to simply as Duchenne — is a genetic disorder that causes progressive muscle loss and weakness. It affects about 6 out of every 100,000 people in the United States, making it the most common form of muscular dystrophy nationally, according to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Dr. Barry J. Byrne, professor and associate chair of pediatric research at UF Health, explains why one gender is more affected than the other. 

Why William and Kate might not be sharing new school photos of their kids — The List, 9/7/21
While photos of children shared on social media are often posted in good faith, a simple act of celebrating a child's achievements or showing off how cute they are, some believe posting too much can be an invasion of privacy.

Stacey Steinberg, a law professor at UF’s Levin College of Law, weighs in that children should have a voice about what information is shared about them if possible.

Delta variant may be 4 times more infectious than original COVID virus — Newsweek, 9/7/21
People infected with the Delta variant of COVID go on to infect between five and eight other people on average without any measures in place.

Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, a clinical geneticist at UF Health’s Department of Pediatrics and Epidemiology, said the Delta variant’s increased transmissibility is part of the reason the COVID mutant is causing so much concern around the world.

Elizabeth Holmes’s last pitch — New York Magazine, 9/7/21
The trial of Elizabeth Holmes — the founder and former CEO of the now-defunct company Theranos that unraveled in spectacular fashion following a Wall Street Journal investigation revealing it had lied to the world about its progress on a blood-testing technology — began this week. 

Lars Noah, a law professor at UF’s Levin College of Law who specializes in the regulation of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, discusses why federal regulators did not catch onto Theranos’s problems earlier, given the brazenness of the alleged scheme, the heavily regulated nature of the medical industry, and the considerable stakes of erroneous blood testing. 

From election to COVID, 9/11 conspiracies cast a long shadow — The Associated Press, 9/9/21
The skepticism and suspicion first revealed by 9/11 conspiracy theories have metastasized after 20 years, spread by the internet and nurtured by pundits and politicians.

Yet, it’s not surprising that such views persist, or that they have ebbed over time. Shocking, sudden events often spawn conspiracy theories as people collectively grapple with understanding them, says Mark Fenster, a UF Levin College of Law school professor who has studied the history of conspiracy theories in America.

“A plane that runs into the World Trade Center? That runs into the Pentagon? It sounds like the stuff of films,” Fenster said. “It just didn’t seem like a real event, and it’s when you have a major anomalous event like this that conspiracy theories sometimes come around.”