Medical Notes this week…

Here’s more tangible evidence of the toll Covid has taken on the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in the first half of 2020, overall American life expectancy dropped by a full year… and for Black Americans, lifespan dropped by nearly three years. It’s the biggest sudden drop in life expectancy since World War II. The CDC says Covid isn’t the only reason—drug overdoses and heart attacks were also up. Overall today, women can expect to live to 80… and men 75.

With the pandemic dragging on, and a horrible winter in much of the country, a lot of people have hit the emotional wall. A new study in the journal PLOS One finds that one third of Americans are anxious and depressed today. Women, people under 35, residents of rural areas and lower income people are most likely to be affected. Experts say people shouldn’t be afraid to seek help…Although strong family support is one of the strongest factors keeping people out of psychological trouble.

And finally… one way to reduce all that anxiety—listen to 80’s music. A study by the Vera Clinic in Turkey finds that 80’s pop music like wham, Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran is most effective at cutting blood pressure… while heavy metal is also effective. It doesn’t matter how old a person is–research subjects ranged from age 18 to 65. Scientists also tested music to find out what makes you more anxious… and discovered that techno music makes you feel worse.

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