Medical Notes this week…


COVID-19 burst on to the scene in China in late December, 2019… but a new study finds the virus was likely circulating undetected for nearly two months before that. The analysis in the journal Science finds the coronavirus was probably present in China in a handful of people as early as late October or early November. However, none of those early cases were connected to the wet market in wuhan where the virus was originally thought to have originated. They have yet to identify a source. 

Doctors know that weight-loss surgery often cures diabetes in people with obesity. But now a new study shows that bariatric surgery has a lot of other benefits, too… For example, cutting the risk of some cancers by as much as half in certain people. The study in the journal Gastroenterology is the first to show that weight loss surgery significantly cuts the risk of cancer in people with severe obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Now they’re looking to see how much the surgery benefits patients’ heart health. 

And finally… back when the pandemic was only a few months old, you may have joked about the “quarantine 15,” the weight gain a lot of us experienced when we were stuck inside. Now a small study finds that early in the lockdown, a weight gain of two pounds a month was pretty typical. Researchers say the data’s been hard to find, but this is based on bluetooth-connected scales, so it should be reliable. Over the course of a year, it would translate to a nearly 25 pound gain. 

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