Medical Notes this week…

One of the oldest drugs in the world, aspirin, may help prevent COVID-19 infections and make illnesses that do take place much less serious. An Israeli study in the FEBS Journal shows that people who are already taking low-dose aspirin for heart protection are 29 percent less likely to test positive for Covid. Those who do contract the virus are likely to be sick for an average of two days less than people who aren’t taking aspirin.. and are less likely to suffer serious aftereffects. Researchers believe aspirin’s anti-inflammatory effects are the reason.

People with Crohn’s disease often have flareups, when their digestive tracts are dotted with inflamed, open sores that can persist for weeks. Now a study in the journal Science finds one reason those sores don’t heal—fungus in foods. Normally, a barrier in the digestive wall protects against fungi, but that barrier is defective in people with Crohn’s. So foods such as cheese, processed meats, and beer can infect those sores and prevent them from healing. Scientists are trying to create oral forms of anti-fungal medications that could help.

And finally… bosses who demand that employees keep their noses to the grindstone may be hurting productivity. A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that occasional “microbreaks” throughout the day help workers recharge and engage with work better. Researchers say microbreaks can’t be scheduled—employees should simply take five minutes when they need it, to have a snack, chat with a colleague or work on a crossword puzzle.

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