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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.

New study aims to define long COVID through phenotypes of patients

University of Minnesota
June 26, 202
A new study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases uses data from 1,988 SARS-CoV-2–positive US Military Health System beneficiaries to define the characteristics and clinical patterns observed in patients with long COVID, or post-COVID condition (PCC), grouping patients into three phenotypes based on clusters of symptoms.

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How does heat kill? It confuses your brain. It shuts down your organs. It overworks your heart.

AP News
June 21, 2024
As temperatures and humidity soar outside, what’s happening inside the human body can become a life-or-death battle decided by just a few degrees. The critical danger point outdoors for illness and death from relentless heat is several degrees lower than experts once thought, say researchers who put people in hot boxes to see what happens to them. With much of the United States, Mexico, India and the Middle East suffering through blistering heat waves, worsened by human-caused climate change, several doctors, physiologists and other experts explained to The Associated Press what happens to the human body in such heat.

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How a healthy lifestyle after age 80 can help you live to be 100

June 20, 2024
A study published today in the journal JAMA Network Open reports that living a healthy lifestyle, even after the age of 80, can help people live to be 100. Researchers in China evaluated 1,454 centenarians and 3,768 people who died before reaching 100 years old. They reported that the participants with the highest healthy lifestyle scores – based on smoking history, exercise routines, and dietary diversity – had a significantly higher likelihood of living to 100 compared to those with the least healthy lifestyle behaviors.

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Screen apnea: What happens to our breath when we type, tap, scroll

NPR via Body Electric Podcast
June 11, 2024
In 2007, former Microsoft executive Linda Stone noticed something strange happening every time she’d sit down to answer emails. She was holding her breath. “I would inhale in anticipation, but I wouldn’t exhale because so many emails would be streaming in,” Stone told Manoush Zomorodi in an interview for NPR’s Body Electric. “And this would go on for hours.” Stone wondered how common this was and set out to investigate using “kitchen table science,” as she called it. She recruited dozens of friends and colleagues to sit at her computer answering emails while she monitored their pulse and heart rate variability. Of those participants, 80% had what Stone coined “email or screen apnea” — shallow or suspended breathing while working on a screen.

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Shifting the focus from loneliness to social health

June 3, 2024
It’s been one year since the U.S. surgeon general issued a national warning about an epidemic of loneliness. Other countries recognized the problem earlier: the United Kingdom appointed a minister for loneliness in 2018; Japan did the same in 2021. These initiatives have brought attention to — and spurred action around — an important problem with serious health consequences, which include increased risks of heart disease, dementia, and premature death.

But with Gallup recently reporting that nearly one-quarter of the global population is lonely, there’s no resolution in sight. What is needed to advance the conversation and effect real change?

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