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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. Note: Some links may require subscriptions.

Long Covid ‘brain fog’ may be due to leaky blood-brain barrier, study finds

The Guardian
February 22, 2024
From forgetfulness to difficulties concentrating, many people who have long Covid experience “brain fog”. Now researchers say the symptom could be down to the blood-brain barrier becoming leaky. The barrier controls which substances or materials enter and exit the brain. “It’s all about regulating a balance of material in blood compared to brain,” said Prof Matthew Campbell, co-author of the research at Trinity College Dublin. “If that is off balance then it can drive changes in neural function and if this happens in brain regions that allow for memory consolidation/storage then it can wreak havoc.”

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Meet the fetal surgeon forging CRISPR’s next frontier: curing diseases in the womb

February 21, 2024
Outside, the August sun wasn’t yet visible through the thick folds of fog blanketing the San Francisco skyline. Its warmth did not reach the operating room tucked into the sprawling Parnassus Heights hospital complex. In there, the light was all cold and blue fluorescence washing over the sea of scrub caps huddled around an anesthetized young woman on a gurney. From one corner of the crowded room, a medical student named Tippi MacKenzie watched, eyes widening, as the woman’s uterus was gently lifted out of her open abdomen and an incision was made to expose the legs and backside of the fetus inside.

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Possibility of animal-to-human jump heightens concern about Chronic Wasting Disease

MedPage Today
February 11, 2024

Each fall, millions of hunters across North America make their way into forests and grasslands to kill deer. Over the winter, people chow down on the venison steaks, sausage, and burgers made from the animals. These hunters, however, are not just on the front lines of an American tradition. Infectious disease researchers say they are also on the front lines of what could be a serious threat to public health: chronic wasting disease (CWD). The neurological disease, which is contagious, rapidly spreading, and always fatal, is caused by misfolded proteins called prions. It currently is known to infect only members of the cervid family—elk, deer, reindeer, caribou, and moose.

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New Evidence Suggests Long COVID Could Be a Brain Injury

February 08, 2024
Brain fog is one of the most common, persistent complaints in patients with long COVID. It affects as many as 46% of patients who also deal with other cognitive concerns like memory loss and difficulty concentrating. Now, researchers believe they know why. A new study has found that these symptoms may be the result of a viral-borne brain injury that may cause cognitive and mental health issues that persist for years. Researchers found that 351 patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 had evidence of a long-term brain injury a year after contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The findings were based on a series of cognitive tests, self-reported symptoms, brain scans, and biomarkers.

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FDA advisory panel generally pleased with pulse oximetry clinical trial proposal

Medpage Today
February 3, 2024

An FDA advisory committee gave generally high marks to the agency’s latest effort to improve the accuracy of pulse oximeters when used in darker-skinned patients, but raised questions about some of the FDA’s proposed premarket clinical trial guidance for pulse oximeter manufacturers.

“I really applaud the efforts of the FDA to reduce disparate bias in pulse oximetry,” said Julian Goldman, MD, an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Goldman, a member of the FDA Medical Device Advisory Committee Anesthesiology and Respiratory Therapy Devices Panel, was speaking at Friday’s panel meeting. “This has clearly been a very heavy lift for a long time, and we need to address it.”

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Lupus and other autoimmune diseases strike far more women than men. Now there’s a clue why

Associated Press
February 1, 2024

Women are far more likely than men to get autoimmune diseases, when an out-of-whack immune system attacks their own bodies — and new research may finally explain why.

It’s all about how the body handles females’ extra X chromosome, Stanford University researchers reported Thursday — a finding that could lead to better ways to detect a long list of diseases that are hard to diagnose and treat.

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