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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.

How quality sleep can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke

Medical News Today
April 23, 2024
A study published in the journal JAMA Network Open reports that midlife and older adults with healthy sleep habits have a better chance of avoiding cardiovascular disease.

Researchers used data collected between 2008 and 2018 from the Dongfeng-Tongji cohortTrusted Source, an ongoing, prospective study in Shiyan, China.

The research team looked at 15,306 individuals with an average age of 66 years with 58% being female and 42% being male. The researchers reported that 5,474 (36%) people had persistent unfavorable sleep patterns and 3,946 (26%) had persistent favorable sleep patterns.

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Global loneliness epidemic hitting middle-aged Americans hardest of all

Science Alert
April 9, 2024
Middle-aged Americans are lonelier than their European counterparts. That’s the key finding of my team’s recent study, published in American Psychologist. Our study identified a trend that has been evolving for multiple generations, and affects both baby boomers and Gen Xers. Middle-aged adults in England and Mediterranean Europe are not that far behind the US. In contrast, middle-aged adults in continental and Nordic Europe reported the lowest levels of loneliness and stability over time.

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Measles elimination in the U.S. is under ‘renewed threat’

NBC News
April 11, 2024
Measles has spread at a rapid clip this year. From January to March, the U.S. recorded around 30% of the total cases seen since the beginning of 2020. From 2020 through 2023, the U.S. recorded an average of five measles cases in the first quarter of each year. Those low numbers were due, in part, to the Covid pandemic, when fewer people were interacting in person. By contrast, this year’s first-quarter tally was 97, according to a report the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday (4/11).

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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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