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Why Women Are Genetically Stronger

Women may have been known through the centuries as the weaker sex, but researchers have learned that they are anything but weak. Their 2 X chromosomes are both active and cooperate with each other, especially in immune response. An expert discusses new findings on their genetic superiority.

Covid And Choirs

Scientists have discovered that singing is an exceptionally effective way to spread viruses through the aerosolized particles it expels, which may travel much farther than the six foot safety zone many people follow. This means choruses and choirs may not get back to “normal” after the COVI-19 pandemic until much later than most activities, and only with rapid, effective testing or a vaccine. Experts explain.

Medical Notes: Week of May 31, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of May 31, 2020 including: A newly developed smartphone app is remarkably effective at predicting if a person is infected with COVID-19. Then biomarkers for A-L-S or Lou Gehrig’s disease can be found in a person’s teeth in the first decade of life. Then, a study shows that changing the way physical therapy is done can improve strength by an additional 30 percent. And finally, The labels on drinks for kids don’t help adults figure out which ones are real fruit juice and which are sugary, artificially flavored imitations.

Androgens And COVID-19

For people under about age 70, COVID-19 is much harder on men than on women, especially those with strong male characteristics like scalp balding and plentiful body hair. A group of researchers has a theory as to why—that male hormones provide the virus with an entry into the cell. One of the researchers discusses what that could mean in terms of treatment.

The Shrinking Human Jaw

Over the last 8,000 years, the human jaw has been getting smaller due to an increasingly soft diet and a lack of jaw exercise. The result is an epidemic of crooked teeth and serious health consequences, as two experts explain.

Medical Notes: Week of May 24, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of May 24, 2020 including: Scientists have come up with a blood test that screens for a panel of biomarkers for pancreatic cancer that’s nearly 92 percent accurate. Then, a new study shows that heart valve blockages in men and women may be caused by completely different factors. Plus, a report is out indicating Americans are feeling depressed right now. And finally, doctors and nurses can’t go back and forth like they used to, and that can create communication problems. One solution at some hospitals? baby monitors.

The Loss Of Rituals

Spring is the season of rituals—prom, graduation, commencement and weddings. Social distancing has taken most of these rituals away. An expert discusses the importance of rituals in our mental health and why it’s OK to grieve their loss. She also discusses how changing rituals can be successful save for the tragic loss of funerals.

Women, Alcohol, And Isolation

The COVID-19 lockdown has triggered increased alcohol use in many people, and an alcohol use disorder in some. Help can be difficult to access, as face-to-face counseling and group sessions have been halted. For women, it can be even more difficult, as they are much more comfortable in more rare single-sex sharing situations. Two experts discuss today’s dangerous alcohol triggers and how to seek help.

Medical Notes: Week of May 17, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of May 17, 2020 including: People with heart attacks and other health emergencies are avoiding the emergency room for fear of contracting COVID-19. Then, a study showing that artificial intelligence can predict with about 80 percent accuracy which moderately-infected COVID-19 patients will get worse and which ones won’t. Next, a study saying that having your first child by C-section may lead to impaired fertility. And finally, men, if your wife says she needs just a little more sleep, believe her.

The Economy After The Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a quicker economic crash than we’ve ever seen. Opening the nation too fast will likely trigger a “W” shaped recovery with wide swings of growth then decline. Either way, the effects will last for years. Experts discuss likely scenarios.

Telemedicine Finally Gets Its Chance

Doctor’s appointments via smartphone have been available for some time but were little used except in remote areas due to insurance reluctance. Now telemedicine has been forced on us and on insurers by COVID-19 restrictions, and many providers swear by them. Three experts discuss.

Medical Notes: Week of May 10, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of May 10, 2020 including: A number of new treatments for COVID-19 are showing promise and could be fast-tracked if clinical trials continue to show good results. Then, another trial of 53 severely ill patients reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 68 percent showed clinical improvement with Remdesivir. Then, viruses like COVID-19 that jump from animals to people are going to become more common. Then, If you’re having trouble sleeping these days, you’re far from alone. And finally many people are concerned about getting COVID-19 from food they buy, but scientists say the risk of that is very, very low.

Maintaining Mental Health During the Lockdown

Mental health is difficult to maintain when people are required to stay inside at home. In fact, we’re asked to engage in activities that normally would indicate mental distress. A noted psychologist with the NIH discusses ways to stay mentally healthy during the pandemic lockdown.

Nursing Homes Try to Fend Off COVID-19

Nursing homes have been a hotbed of fatal COVID-19 infections. The virus was loose in many of them before they could even know it. An industry expert discusses what nursing homes are doing now to keep the virus out and their patients safe.

Medical Notes: Week of May 3, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of May 3, 2020 including: By now, most of us are familiar with the main symptoms of a COVID-19 infection—fever, cough, and respiratory distress. But doctors are learning that the virus may also attack the heart and brain. And finally, last year we told you about a “smart toilet seat” that could diagnose congestive heart failure. Now scientists at Stanford University have put diagnostic tools in the toilet itself.

Medical Notes: Week of April 26, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of April 26, 2020 including: A blood test for many types of cancer has been a long-sought goal of researchers, and now they’re much closer. Then, a team of faculty and students at Rice University has developed an automated bag valve mask ventilator using $300 worth of parts off the shelf. And finally, a study from the University of Michigan finds that if you talk to yourself in the third person by name, you’ll be less likely to cave in to tempting foods.

Rules For Who Lives, Who Dies in the Pandemic

A lack of ventilators potentially puts doctors in the position of deciding which of their COVID-19 patients get a ventilator and live, and which ones don’t get one and die. New rules for making such decisions have been released which are designed to be fair and independent. The designer of the rules explains.

Opening America Again: When Is It Safe?

Many Americans are impatient with social distancing as a result of COVID-19 despite the success of the tactic. However, reopening the country too quickly could allow the virus to come roaring back, resulting in thousands more deaths and even more economic damage. Two experts explain how the rollout should happen to get us back to work safely.

Staying Fit While Staying Home

The national effort to shelter in place has closed gyms and led many people to complain of weight gain. Two exercise experts discuss how people can maintain fitness at home with no equipment.

Will COVID-19 Bankrupt The Healthcare System?

Hospitals are scrambling to get extra equipment and outfit more beds and ICU units for COVID-19 patients. Their treatment is time-consuming and expensive. At the same time, hospitals’ lucrative elective procedure business has largely been eliminated. Will the combination bankrupt hospitals? Two experts who have studied the crisis discuss.

Medical Notes: Week of April 19, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of April 19, 2020 including: If you’ve been taking the drug Ranitidine for reflux or ulcer prevention, the FDA says stop. Then, a new study shows that parents are yelling at their children more since most of us have been ordered to stay home. And finally, with COVID-19 testing in such short supply… why not let a dog do it?

Foreign Accent Syndrome

People who suddenly speak with what sounds like a foreign accent often have a brain injury due to a stroke or other trauma. Experts discuss the syndrome and chances of recovery.

Domestic Abuse And The Pandemic

With hundreds of millions of Americans sheltering at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the odds and fear of domestic abuse are rising. The leader of a noted shelter and counseling program discusses the increase, the difficulty of counteracting it during a national lockdown, and what people can do to cope.

Medical Notes: Week of April 12, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of April 12, 2020 including: A study that says taking large amounts of Ibuprofen may be worse for your liver than we thought. Then, a new study finds that there’s no harm in letting your baby “Cry it out.” Then, hearing aids that help improve the thinking ability of those with hearing loss. Then, scientists have come up with a new way to deliver vaccines without getting a shot. And finally… A study showing Americans are washing their hands more often these days… and taking evasive action by using paper towels to open door handles.

Easing Coronavirus Stress

Virtually no one in the US has been unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic, and stress is at high levels. A public health and brain expert discusses why “sheltering in place” is so important in spite of the stress it generates, and a few simple steps to ease the stress.

Misinterpreting Perinatal Depression

Perinatal depression (previously known as postpartum depression) is seldom brought up by a new mother, so healthcare providers must screen for it carefully. However, sometimes they err on the side of caution in efforts to prevent the mother from harming herself or her baby. Experts discuss the balancing act.

Medical Notes: Week of April 5, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of April 5, 2020 including:
Experts say most people infected with COVID-19 under age 60 will have symptoms much like a cold or the flu, and it’s no reason to panic. Then, we’ve heard the advice a thousand times to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and stop touching your face… That last point may be the hardest. Then, a study shows that being “a real man” builds “toxic masculinity” as men age… affecting their health and overall happiness. And finally, if you’ve ever worried about whether you should spend on an exotic vacation or buy more expensive “things,” a new study says… go on that trip.

Kidney Disease And High Blood Pressure

Most people who have kidney disease are not aware of it. In fact, nearly half of people with severe kidney disease don’t know it. Kidney disease is often silent, and one of its main risk factors, high blood pressure, is silent as well. The head of the NIH’s kidney research organization discusses this major public health issue and what people should look for to receive early intervention.

Easing The Stress Of Working At Home

Millions of Americans are suddenly having to work from home for the first time as a result of coronavirus. Many do not have a good home office setup, tech skills, family makeup or the temperament to do it. A remote working expert discusses the do’s and don’t’s of working from home without going crazy.

Medical Notes: Week of March 29, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 29, 2020, including: A treatment combining radiation and chemotherapy could be much more effective for colorectal cancer. Then, scientists have discovered that a World War One helmet is actually better when it comes to protecting its wearers from shock waves. And finally, doctors can tell whether you’re rich or poor through urinalysis.

The U.S. Takes On Coronavirus

In the past 10 days, the US has finally begun to institute aggressive tactics against coronavirus that may limit its spread and the death toll. But many Americans remain confused about what they should do and why. One of the nation’s most authoritative infectious disease experts discusses.

The Effect of Public Policies on the Coronavirus Fight

The effectiveness of efforts to contain coronavirus often depend on governmental policies determined years or even decades ago that, at the time, had nothing to do with public health. A health policy expert discusses some of these policies and what they mean for coronavirus testing and treatment.

Medical Notes: Week of March 22, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 22, 2020, including: It’s getting much more dangerous to walk where you’re going with pedestrian fatalities up by more than 50 percent in the last decade. Then, a report that an experimental urine test has the potential of accurately finding prostate cancer while eliminating false positives. And finally, is your smartphone giving you a headache?

Intermittent Fasting

Studies show that by this time of year, most of us have failed new year’s resolutions to lose weight. A noted expert discusses how most people get in trouble with obesity and a more reasonable way to try to lose weight than most people follow.

Medical Errors, 20 Years After “To Err Is Human”

The Institute of Medicine report “To Err Is Human” in 1999 shook health care with the finding that as many as 120,000 Americans die each year due to medical mistakes. A noted researcher re-examines how far we’ve come since then and the difficult cooperation it will take to make patient safety more certain.

Medical Notes: Week of March 15, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 15, 2020, including: There is a higher risk of heart disease for women who’ve experienced domestic abuse. Then, a study that shows that the pulse can vary wildly between people. Then, can being tall protect men from dementia? And finally, if you make a lot of typos when you text… your thumbs may be too long.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects about 10% of American women, but has such a wide variety of troubling symptoms that it’s often misdiagnosed. Experts discuss the disorder and what women should know.

Medical Notes: Week of March 8, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 8, 2020, including: The chemical known as BPS can pass through the placenta of pregnant rats and hindered brain development in their offspring. Then, for those under age 50 who develop Parkinson’s, the seeds may have been planted in the womb. Then, Men who use marijuana may have a higher risk of fathering children with brain abnormalities. And finally, if you fill out paperwork when you arrive at the doctor’s office, you’re using something with 46,000 times more germs than the average toilet seat—a shared pen.

Food Deserts, Eating Habits, And Health

Public policy is built on the food desert theory: the lack of neighborhood supermarkets drives people to eat less fresh food and more junk food. New research is challenging that theory, but finding values of grocery stores in other, unexpected places. Experts discuss how nearby supermarkets change people and the neighborhoods where they live.

Medical Notes: Week of March 1, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of March 1, 2020, including: A study showing that a molecular switch governing chronic inflammation can be turned off. Then, a study that shows that few of us are taking advantage of the great outdoors. And finally, Doctors are reporting a strange, rare side effect of the active ingredient in Viagra—intensely blue-tinted vision.

Big Data In Medicine

Big data is changing the world, but it’s been slow in coming to healthcare. An expert in healthcare IT explains how that’s changing and what it could mean to treatment.

Genes And High Cholesterol

More than 100 million Americans have high cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease. Most people think of their diets as the main cause, but genetics also play a role in both good and bad ways. A noted expert discusses how scientists are harnessing cholesterol genes to lower the risk of heart attacks.

Medical Notes: Week of February 23, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of February 23, 2020, including: A study that finds water chlorination may also be unsafe. Then, children have a much higher risk of becoming obese if a home is cross-generational and grandparents are raising the kids. And finally, another reason to eat your Brussels sprouts.

Coronavirus: What Does It Mean To Us?

Coronavirus has sickened tens of thousands in China and killed hundreds, but few cases have reached the US. Experts explain exactly what this Coronavirus is and the relative danger it poses compared to more familiar diseases such as influenza.

Medical Child Abuse

Parents who have a mental illness known as factitious disorder may fake or induce illness in their children to get attention, sometimes taking kids to hundreds of medical visits and deceiving doctors into performing numerous procedures and surgeries. Experts and a parent who got his child out of an abusive situation discuss how the legal & medical system may fail kids, danger signs and the road to recovery.

Medical Notes: Week of February 16, 2020

A look at the top medical headlines for the week of February 16, 2020, including: Studies showing physical activity helps prevent obesity virtually from birth. Then, low doses of lithium may show promise in treating dementia. Then, about half of people who are recovering from a concussion have sleep problems. And finally, a study showing that maybe the two genders are becoming more equal.

Needle Phobia

Untold millions of people are afraid of needles. Most manage by looking the other way when they’re facing an injection, but many may avoid the doctor as a result of their fear. The problem is increasingly dangerous for the rising number of people with diabetes, who must inject themselves with insulin to survive. A needle-phobic woman and doctor who’s squeamish himself discuss.

A Moral Question: Dementia, Spouses, and “Close Friends”

Spouses of Alzheimer’s disease patients often struggle with depression while caregiving and are desperate for support. Some have started new relationships while their loved one is still alive but no longer recognizes them. Acceptance of such infidelity is highly individual. Experts and a woman involved in such a relationship discuss how it can benefit even the incapacitated spouse, as long as families find it acceptable.

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