Medical Notes this week…
Doctors are still learning about Coronavirus… and some of what they’re finding is confusing. For example, it’s long appeared that children don’t get COVID-19 as easily as adults… and don’t transmit it as well. But now a study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics shows that infected children under age five may have up to 100 times more virus in their upper respiratory tract as infected adults do (full study). Doctors are still trying to figure out exactly what that means for transmission of the virus. In diseases such as the flu, children harbor more virus than adults and spread it around much more easily.
Many first responders to the 9-11 attacks in New York have brains that have aged 10 years more than normal. Two new studies show that many responders at the World Trade Center have reduced gray matter thickness in the brain, and markers in the blood consistent with Alzheimer’s disease. Neurotoxins in the air at ground zero are a possible cause. The studies were done at Stony Brook University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.
And finally… if you’re tall, wear that mask. A preliminary study in the journal medRxiv shows that people over six feet tall are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19. Researchers say that if height is, indeed, a risk factor, it suggests that aerosols carried in the air and not just droplets are responsible for the spread of coronavirus (full study).