Medical Notes this week…


Parkinson’s Disease currently has no diagnostic test… so the disorder is often misdiagnosed. But now scientists say they’ve come up with a simple skin test that can accurately diagnose Parkinson’s. According to their study in the journal Movement Disorders, the skin test for clumped proteins was accurate in detecting Parkinson’s in 24 out of 25 patients who had it… with only one false positive in 25 patients who did not have the disease.

Getting a Covid-19 test is uncomfortable, to say the least… with a long swab stuck up into the back of your nose. But a new test could be coming that requires you to simply gargle with a sterile saltwater solution…spit the solution into a specimen cup… and send it off for analysis. A preliminary study in the journal medRxiv shows that the test is not only easier than nasal swab tests… it’s also more sensitive without false positives. 

Between one and five percent of children are diagnosed with “lazy eye” or amblyopia every year. It’s a vision disorder where the brain doesn’t process inputs from one eye, favoring the other… and can result in decreased vision in the affected eye. Now a study in the journal Current Biology shows that a single dose of sub-anesthetic ketamine can treat lazy eye, at least in adults, and help people recover. Sub-anesthetic ketamine is used to treat depression and pain.

And finally… a study that shows how smog generates plastic trash. The study in the journal Nature Human Behavior was done in China before the coronavirus pandemic… and it finds that on smoggy days, office workers are much more likely to order lunch for delivery than they are on pollution-free days… and food delivery is a major source of plastic packaging waste. So it could be that by encouraging food delivery, Covid-19 is doing the same thing.

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