Medical Notes this week…

COVID-19 may go straight to the heart. A study in the journal JAMA Cardiology shows that patients who recover without ever being seriously ill may still end up with heart damage. Researchers found that among middle aged people who had recovered from covid two months earlier, 76 percent carried a heart injury biomarker usually found in people who’ve had a heart attack and 78 percent suffered from structural changes to the heart. Another study in the same journal found that among a group of older people who had died of COVID-19, 60 percent had high levels of coronavirus in their hearts.

Hospital infections with MRSA can be extremely serious and often resistant to treatment. In fact, experts estimate MRSA causes 20,000 deaths a year in the United States. But now a study in the journal ACS Infectious Diseases finds that a compound in the leaves of a common shrub, the American beautyberry, can cut MRSAs ability to fight off antibiotics. Beautyberry is a useful plant– its leaves also deter mosquitoes and ticks and inhibit the growth of a bacterium linked to acne. Researchers say the beautyberry was a mainstay of Native American medicine.

And finally… if you like pale ale or IPA beers, you’re likely to be an adventurous risk-taker. A Penn State study in the journal Food Quality and Preference finds that the bitter taste of a pale ale is usually a turn-off. But if you have a sensation-seeking personality, it’s a plus. People who like spicy foods are also often adventurous.

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