Medical Notes this week…
Researchers have been looking for an already existing drug to quickly take on COVID-19, and apparently, now they’ve found one. It’s an inexpensive steroid called Dexamethasone, which is already approved for arthritis and asthma. A preliminary study at Oxford University in the UK shows that the drug cuts the death rate of covid patients on ventilators by 35 percent.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has closed the door on using the malaria treatment Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. The agency has withdrawn its emergency approval for that use after studies showed it didn’t work as a COVID-19 treatment and has serious side effects. Hydroxychloroquine was the treatment controversially promoted by the White House at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social isolation has been a lifesaver the last few months… but if it goes on too long, isolation can lead to shorter lifespans. A report in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences finds that social isolation is a significant predictor of death risk… and short of that, affects our reason and memory, hormones, and disease resistance. Researchers say people who belong to more groups reduce their risk of depression by almost 25 percent [full study].
And finally…when employees start going back to the workplace in large numbers, you can expect disastrous traffic on the roads. An analysis by scientists at Vanderbilt University finds that many people who used to take mass transit or carpool will drive themselves to work alone due to pandemic fears…and in most big cities, the increased number of cars will lead to massively clogged traffic.