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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.

US detects avian flu in milk, says dairy supplies are safe

March 25, 2024
Samples of milk collected from sick cattle in Kansas and Texas tested positive for avian flu, but the nation’s milk supply is safe, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday. The detections in milk and a dairy cow show the wide reach of the virus, known as bird flu, which has been found in poultry flocks and mammals around the world. The USDA, along with the FDA and CDC, are investigating dairy cows in Kansas, Texas and New Mexico with symptoms including decreased milk production and low appetite, the USDA said.

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Severe lung infection during COVID-19 can cause damage to the heart

National Institutes of Health
March 20, 2024
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can damage the heart even without directly infecting the heart tissue, a National Institutes of Health-supported study has found. The research, published in the journal Circulation, specifically looked at damage to the hearts of people with SARS-CoV2-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a serious lung condition that can be fatal. But researchers said the findings could have relevance to organs beyond the heart and also to viruses other than SARS-CoV-2.

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The growing threat of fungal infections

ABC News
March 14, 2024
“Killer fungus” may sound like science fiction, but fungal infections kill an estimated 1.7 million people worldwide per year—more than tuberculosis or malaria. Now, driven by climate change, population growth, and drug resistance, the danger is growing, reinforced by new warnings from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fungal infections can include a diverse range of illnesses, from athletes’ foot to more dangerous tissue infections. There’s blastomycosis and cryptococcus, which are in the air we breath. There’s Candida auris—a yeast—which stalks sick people in hospitals. Fungi that infect the lungs can take weeks to diagnose because they often mimic bacterial or viral respiratory illnesses.

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Study links microplastics in arteries to huge increase in heart disease and death

Yahoo News
March 7, 2024
Microplastics are everywhere – even in the fatty deposits called plaque that can build up in the arteries and cause heart disease and strokes. Now researchers in Italy have found that in people with microplastic in the plaque clogging their neck arteries, the risk of heart attack, stroke or death was four-and-a-half times higher than in those whose plaque didn’t contain plastic, said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and executive vice president of Scripps Research in La Jolla, California. “It’s extraordinary,” he said. “I’m a cardiologist for three decades plus and I never envisioned we’d have microplastic in our arteries and its presence would accelerate arteriosclerosis.”

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