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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.

Are repeat COVID infections dangerous? What the science says

April 26, 2023
When the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was a strange and terrifying adversary that plunged the world into chaos. More than three years later, the infection’s symptoms are all too familiar and COVID-19 is here to stay — part of a long list of common diseases that infect humans. Experts estimate that the majority of the world’s population has been infected at least once; in the United States, some estimates suggest that as many as 65% of people have had multiple infections1. And it’s likely that in the decades to come, we’re all destined to get COVID-19 many more times.

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Led by students, a nascent climate movement is taking hold in medical education

April 26, 2023
When Cecilia Sorensen was an emergency medicine resident practicing at Denver Health in Colorado a few years ago, summer was known as “trauma season.” Gunshot and motor vehicle accident victims, people with heart attacks and COPD would stream into the ER. Later, on a fellowship, she witnessed the health impacts of drought in Syria. The common driver, she realized, was climate change and its impact, both locally and globally. “How did I hear nothing, nothing, about this during my entire medical training?” Sorensen found herself wondering. “Literally nothing.”

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COVID XBB.1.16 Strain ‘One to Watch,’ says WHO

Medpage Today
April 4, 2023
The World Health Organization (WHO) is monitoring XBB.1.16, an Omicron subvariant that has been detected in over 20 countries and contributing to a recent surge of COVID cases in India. Known as “Arcturus,” XBB.1.16 has been listed as a WHO variant under monitoringopens in a new tab or window since March 22, with 800 sequences of the Omicron subvariant currently analyzed across 22 countries.

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Building a better brain through music, dance and poetry

April 3, 2023
To make sense of difficult science, Michael Kofi Esson often turns to art. When he’s struggling to understand the immune system or a rare disease, music and poetry serve as an anchor. “It helps calm me down and actively choose what to focus on,” says Esson, a second-year student at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Esson, who was born in Ghana, also thinks his brain is better at absorbing all that science because of the years he spent playing the trumpet and studying Afrobeat musicians like Fela Kuti. “There has to be some kind of greater connectivity that [art] imparts on the brain,” Esson says.

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Low bone density, poor bone health linked to higher dementia risk

Medical News Today
March 23, 2023
Over 55 million people globally have dementia. By 2050, this figure is expected to increase to 139 million people. Studies have suggested a link between bone mineral density and dementia. While it remains unknown whether the two are causally linked, bone mineral density is an important predictor of fracture, which can lead to loss of independence among those with dementia. Knowing more about the extent to which bone loss exists before dementia onset could aid the development of preventive strategies that optimize the health and care of dementia patients.

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Deaths, blindness inked to recalled eye drops contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria

People: Health News
March 22, 2023
An antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in multiple recalled eye drops have caused the death of three individuals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided an update on their investigation on Tuesday after multiple eye drops distributed by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma and manufactured under Global Pharma Healthcare were recalled in February due to their contamination of the rare Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.

According to their findings, 68 individuals in 16 states who used the contaminated eye drops were infected with bacteria. Along with the death of three individuals, eight individuals have gone blind, and four additional individuals have needed the surgical removal of an eyeball.

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