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Reading Room

The reading room includes articles and videos of potential interest to consumers and medical professionals. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the NC Medical Board, its members and staff.

Bacterium that causes rare but dangerous disease likely endemic along Gulf Coast, CDC says

STATNews
July 27, 2022
Disease detectives investigating a pair of medical mysteries in Mississippi have come to an unwelcome conclusion. The bacterium that causes a rare but dangerous disease called melioidosis is likely endemic in parts of the southern United States, along the Gulf Coast.

The bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, was previously not thought to be found in the U.S., meaning people who had symptoms similar to those of melioidosis but who had no history of international travel were considered unlikely to be infected with it. That assumption is no longer sound — or safe, said experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which on Wednesday issued a health alert to physicians.

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Study estimates 27 million people with sustained loss of taste or smell after Covid infection

BMJ Publishing
July 27, 2022
In one of Covid’s more baffling symptoms, almost half of infected people lose their sense of taste or smell — or experience unpleasant changes — and some don’t regain it for months or at all. A new BMJ study estimates 12 million people will still have taste loss and 15 million will have smell loss. Based on a review of 18 studies of nearly 4,000 people in Europe, North America, and Asia, the researchers projected their totals from the 5.6% of patients for whom smell loss persisted and the 4.4% who didn’t recover their sense of taste.

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Lactose tolerance is an evolutionary puzzle

The Atlantic
July 27, 2022
People like to say that you are what you eat, but the truth is more like this: In the broad course of human history, we become what we eat. The contents of our ancestors’ dinner tables have slowly but surely left their signatures in the human genome. Learning to cook and soften our food was likely the major driver of our teeth shrinking during the Neolithic age. The lightening of Europeans’ skin is in part a product of dietary changes associated with farming. The genes that let some adults drink milk with no attendant tummy troubles—a trait commonly called lactose tolerance—are a different story…

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Here are 5 tips to help you stay safe and cool in extreme heat

NPR
July 21, 2022

Heat waves are scorching countries around the world — including parts of the U.S. and Europe — and bringing temperatures that are dangerous to human health.

Of course, it’s always hotter in summer. But the heat waves today are not the same as those 60 years ago. The warming climate is making heat waves more intense and they are lasting longer too.

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If you haven’t gotten the coronavirus, are you a sitting duck?

The Atlantic
July 22, 2022
I am on a mission to preserve the most valuable item in my home: my fiancé, who has never had COVID. Through sheer luck and a healthy dose of terror, he made it through the first pandemic year without getting sick. Shielded by the J&J vaccine and a Moderna booster, he dodged infection when I fell ill last November and coughed up the coronavirus all over our cramped New York City apartment. Somehow, he ducked the Omicron wave over the winter, when it seemed as though everyone was getting sick. And in the past few months, he has emerged unscathed from crowded weddings, indoor dinners, and flights across the country.

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