Medical Notes this week…


Pregnant women face many medical risks, but a study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics suggests a case of symptomatic COVID-19 can make birth even riskier. Increased likelihood of severe complications like premature birth and infection worry doctors, who say the risks are greater than they previously thought. A positive test doesn’t mean certain danger, though. Asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 produce about the same risk as expectant moms without the virus.

Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or ALS, newly impacts about 15 Americans each day. But Massachusetts General Hospital researchers say a new drug combination looks promising to treat it. For the first time, ALS drugs may offer functional and survival benefits to people living with the disease, allowing them to speak, swallow and talk longer. Drug developer Massachusetts General Hospital aims to enter a phase three clinical trial this year… and the FDA wants to help speed the drug to market.

What’s in your first aid kit? Doctors say you may want to reconsider using an over-the-counter antibiotic next time you scrape a knee. Results from a small trial in the journal Cell Host & Microbe challenge conventional wisdom in treating minor skin injuries, like cuts and scrapes. Researchers say topical antibiotic ointment actually slows the healing process for minor wounds. Doctors admit we don’t know a lot about natural skin regeneration, but they say normal levels of bacteria may improve healing. Continued studies are needed to confirm the surprising finding.

And finally… your chicken dinners aren’t saving any cows. A new data analysis in the journal Nature Sustainability suggests replacing beef with poultry or fish may not be as kind to the environment as you think. It’s true that people are eating more fish and chicken, but they’re not eating any less beef. Researchers say addressing subsidies for meat consumption may help reach desired reductions.

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