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Losing Spouse to COVID-19 May Harm Mental Health More Than Other Causes of Death

July 27, 2022

(UPI) – A new study suggests that losing a spouse to COVID-19 may be worse for mental health than death from other causes. This research highlights that the millions of COVID-19 widows and widowers face “extreme mental health risks,” the researchers said in a news release, “eclipsing those experienced by surviving spouses pre-pandemic” and heightening concerns about the pandemic’s lasting impact on health. (Read More)

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US Signs Off on 800,000 More Doses of Monkeypox Vaccine

July 27, 2022

(Associated Press) – After weeks of delays, nearly 800,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine will soon be available for distribution, U.S. health regulators said Wednesday. The announcement comes amid growing criticism that authorities have been too slow in deploying the vaccine, potentially missing the window to contain what could soon become an entrenched infectious disease. (Read More)

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Global AIDS Fight at Crossroads After Setbacks During COVID

July 27, 2022

(Associated Press) – Hard-won progress against HIV has stalled, putting millions of lives at risk, according to an alarming report Wednesday on how the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises are jeopardizing efforts to end AIDS. Worldwide, the years-long decline in new HIV infections is leveling off. Worse, cases began climbing in parts of Asia and the Pacific where they previously had been falling, according to the United Nations agency leading the global AIDS fight. (Read More)

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Wuhan Market Pinpointed as Pandemic’s Ground Zero

July 27, 2022

(Axios) – A market in Wuhan, China, was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the virus emerged from activities connected with the live animal trade, according to research published in Science on Tuesday. Why it matters: The case-mapping and genetic studies offer some of the strongest evidence yet that the coronavirus jumped from an animal host to humans — a type of zoonotic spillover seen in other outbreaks like SARS, from 2002 to 2004. (Read More)

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Mysterious Hepatitis Cases in Children May Have Complex Cause

July 26, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – The studies compared blood and tissue samples from children with unexplained hepatitis to samples taken from a variety of control groups, including healthy children, children with known adenovirus infection but no liver inflammation and children with liver inflammation of known cause. The studies found high levels of adeno-associated virus 2, or AAV2, in almost every case of unexplained hepatitis. Adeno-associated viruses replicate only in the presence of a so-called helper virus, normally an adenovirus. They have never before been associated with any human disease. (Read More)

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How Polio Crept Back into the U.S.

July 26, 2022

(ProPublica) – Polio’s first appearance in almost a decade in the U.S., confirmed late last week by health officials in New York, would play out quite differently. In the U.S., public health agencies generally don’t test sewage for polio. Instead, they wait for people to show up sick in doctor’s offices or hospitals — a reactive strategy that can give this stealthy virus more time to circulate silently through the community before it is detected. (Read More)

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Pandemic Drives Largest Drop in Childhood Vaccinations in 30 Years

July 26, 2022

(Nature) – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, global childhood vaccinations have experienced the largest sustained decline in about 30 years, according to a report published this month. Data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations children’s charity UNICEF show that the percentage of children who received three doses of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTP3) decreased by 5 percentage points between 2019 and 2021, to 81% worldwide (see ‘Childhood immunizations decline’). DTP3 is considered to be a marker of vaccine coverage; if children miss these jabs, they’re probably also missing out on crucial vaccinations for many other diseases. (Read More)

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These Vaccines Will Take Aim at Covid–And Its Entire SARS Lineage

July 26, 2022

(Wired) – Scientists have tried several routes to attack the problem. The narrowest starts with the existing Covid mRNA vaccines and seeks to create updated boosters that target the virus’s most recent variants, an effort that drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer are attempting with Omicron’s progeny. The broadest, most ambitious route is to invent a vaccine that would target the entire coronavirus family, including the merbecoviruses that cause MERS, the embecoviruses responsible for ordinary colds, and the sarbecovirus subgenus that gave rise to both Covid and the original SARS virus that broke out in 2002. But there’s a middle path: a vaccine that would attack just the sarbecoviruses, meaning the Covid virus and all of its future offspring, as well as any new SARS-CoV siblings that might appear in the future. (Read More)

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Highly Potent Weed Creating Marijuana Addicts Worldwide, Study Says

July 26, 2022

(CNN) – Higher concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC — the part of the marijuana plant that makes you high — are causing more people to become addicted in many parts of the world, a new review of studies found. Compared with people who use lower-potency products (typically 5 to 10 milligrams per gram of THC), those who use higher-potency cannabis are more likely to experience addiction and mental health outcomes, according to the study published Monday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry. (Read More)

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Detransitioners Lament Inadequate Clinical Support

July 26, 2022

(Medscape) – Transgender people who medically detransition — those who stop or switch gender-affirming hormone therapy or who undergo a reversal of a surgical reconstruction — report feeling stigmatized by clinicians and receiving inadequate professional support, researchers have found. As a result, such patients often avoid healthcare at the time they stop undergoing medical interventions, and many consider their overall care to be “suboptimal.” (Read More)

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Post-Roe Drug Delays Weigh on Patients, Providers

July 26, 2022

(Axios) – The post-Roe battlefield is spreading to pharmacies, where drugs that can cause fetal abnormalities or that have multiple uses that include ending pregnancies are being put through more scrutiny. The big picture: Some patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and stomach ulcers are facing delays getting critical treatments while providers verify the drugs’ intended use to pharmacists and insurers. (Read More)

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The Abortion Pill Could Also Be Birth Control–And Activists Are Trying to Prove It

July 25, 2022

(The Verge) – Mifepristone’s contraceptive properties aren’t actually news. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, researchers like Kristina Gemzell Danielsson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Karolinska Institutet, examined the compound’s efficacy as both emergency contraception and a birth control pill. Though there was some debate over whether mifepristone worked best as a weekly or monthly contraceptive, the general consensus was that it showed great promise as a non-hormonal birth control pill. The same mechanism that it uses to halt fetal development — blocking the release of progesterone — can also be used to prevent ovulation and thin the uterine lining, making pregnancy impossible. (Read More)

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‘True Cost of Aging’ Index Shows Many Seniors Can’t Afford Basic Necessities

July 25, 2022

(Kaiser Health News) – More than half of older women living alone — 54% — are in a similarly precarious financial situation: either poor according to federal poverty standards or with incomes too low to pay for essential expenses. For single men, the share is lower but still surprising — 45%. That’s according to a valuable but little-known measure of the cost of living for older adults: the Elder Index, developed by researchers at the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. (Read More)

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New Studies Offer Theory on Cause of Unusual Hepatitis Cases in Kids

July 25, 2022

(STAT News) – There is a new theory about what may be causing puzzling cases of pediatric hepatitis of unknown origin — and it is complex. Two new and as-yet-unpublished studies from scientists in the United Kingdom theorize that children who have developed the hepatitis cases may have been co-infected with two different viruses and had a genetic predisposition to have an over-exuberant immune response when that happened. (Read More)

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Two Deadly Days in St. Louis: An Overdose Cluster Kills 8 Black People–And Shows the New Shape of the Addiction Crisis

July 25, 2022

(STAT News) – In a stroke, this single cluster added eight names to the grim ledger of American overdose deaths, an epidemic that is taking more than 100,000 lives a year, or roughly 12 every hour. All eight victims were Black — six men and two women, ranging from age 36 to 66, according to the medical examiner’s office. At least some of the victims thought they had purchased crack cocaine, but the drugs also contained fentanyl, court records indicate. The cluster, while unusually big for one city block, captures how the decades-long overdose crisis has morphed and metastasized once again. Fentanyl and other wildly potent synthetic opioids, often passed off as heroin, are increasingly tainting other categories of drugs like stimulants. (Read More)

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White House to Launch Effort to Develop Next Generation of Covid Vaccines

July 25, 2022

(STAT News) – The Biden administration is preparing a sweeping initiative to develop a next generation of Covid-19 immunizations that would thwart future coronavirus variants and dramatically reduce rates of coronavirus infection or transmission, building on current shots whose impact has been mainly to prevent serious illness and death, the White House told STAT. To kick off the effort, the White House is gathering key federal officials, top scientists, and pharmaceutical executives including representatives of Pfizer and Moderna for a Tuesday “summit” to discuss the new technologies and lay out a road map for developing them. (Read More)

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Blots on a Field?

July 25, 2022

(Science) – But Schrag’s sleuthing drew him into a different episode of possible misconduct, leading to findings that threaten one of the most cited Alzheimer’s studies of this century and numerous related experiments. The first author of that influential study, published in Nature in 2006, was an ascending neuroscientist: Sylvain Lesné of the University of Minnesota (UMN), Twin Cities. His work underpins a key element of the dominant yet controversial amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer’s, which holds that A? clumps, known as plaques, in brain tissue are a primary cause of the devastating illness, which afflicts tens of millions globally. In what looked like a smoking gun for the theory and a lead to possible therapies, Lesné and his colleagues discovered an A? subtype and seemed to prove it caused dementia in rats. If Schrag’s doubts are correct, Lesné’s findings were an elaborate mirage. (Read More)

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Think You’ve Never Had Covid-19? Think Again

July 25, 2022

(Wall Street Journal) – Dr. Ding is a member of a shrinking club of people who are pretty sure they have never been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Geneticists and immunologists are studying factors that might protect people from infection, and learning why some are predisposed to more severe Covid-19 disease. For many, the explanation is likely that they have in fact been infected with the virus at some point without realizing it, said Susan Kline, professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. About 40% of confirmed Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic, according to a meta-analysis published in December in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Read More)

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UN Health Agency Chief Declares Monkeypox a Global Emergency

July 25, 2022

(Associated Press) – The expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that qualifies as a global emergency, the World Health Organization chief said Saturday, a declaration that could spur further investment in treating the once-rare disease and worsen the scramble for scarce vaccines. (Read More)

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How an AP Reporter Broke the Tuskegee Syphilis Story

July 25, 2022

(Associated Press) – Jean Heller was toiling away on the floor of the Miami Beach Convention Center when an Associated Press colleague from the opposite end of the country walked into her workspace behind the event stage and handed her a thin manila envelope.  “I’m not an investigative reporter,” Edith Lederer told the 29-year-old Heller as competitors typed away beyond the thick grey hangings separating news outlets covering the 1972 Democratic National Convention. “But I think there might be something here.” Inside were documents telling a tale that, even today, staggers the imagination: For four decades, the U.S. government had denied hundreds of poor, Black men treatment for syphilis so researchers could study its ravages on the human body. (Read More)

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