Medical Notes this week…


Having COVID-19 may not provide protection against getting it again, at least not for very long. Scientists at the University of Hong Kong say a patient who was infected with COVID-19 back in the spring with only mild symptoms showed up again with the disease four and a half months later. Doctors sequenced the virus the man carried both times and found there were differences… and that means it was a new infection. Researchers already know that coronaviruses causing the common cold can reinfect people in little more than a year.

Very few treatments exist for Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS, and there is no cure. But an experimental drug combination is showing some promise against it. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that over a six-month trial, the motor function of patients taking the combination declined less than those on placebo. The medical website STAT reports the drug combination was originally thought of by two undergraduates at Brown University. The drugs still need to go through phase three clinical trials.

About 10 percent of Americans have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, and many of them are undiagnosed. Finding those at risk at an early age could direct interventions to those who most need it. Now a study in the journal Pediatrics demonstrates a simple blood test can accurately screen teenagers and pre-teens who are at risk for diabetes, without having to fast overnight for the test.

If you’re working at home because of the pandemic, experts say there are really only two ways to handle it. A study in the Journal Of Management finds that people are either “segmenters” or “integrators.” Segmenters like to keep work at work and home at home, so they’re likely to need firm boundaries to stay happy—for example, experts suggest simulating a commute by taking a walk between home time and work time, and separating your home tech from work tech. Integrators are good with bouncing back and forth between home and work tasks, but scientists say they still need to back down after work hours to decompress.

And finally… the increase in states where recreational marijuana is legal is raising the alarm among physicians who say pot can cause interactions with other drugs. A Penn State study has found 57 other major drugs that are affected. They say among the worst may be an extremely common class of drugs—blood thinners such as Coumadin. Researchers say pot users should let their doctors know so they can head off any potential interactions.

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