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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.

A guide to help you keep up with the Omicron subvariants

May 6, 2022
Two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Americans can be forgiven if they’ve lost track of the latest variants circulating nationally and around the world. We’ve heard of the alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and omicron variants, but a new Greek-letter variant hasn’t come onto the scene in almost half a year.

Instead, a seemingly endless stream of “subvariants” of omicron, the most recent Greek-letter variant, has emerged in the past few months.

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Covid hasn’t given up all its secrets. Here are 6 mysteries experts hope to unravel

April 19, 2022
For a formidable adversary with plenty of secrets up its sleeve, the coronavirus presented one bright bull’s-eye for the world’s response. Scientists, in record time, developed vaccines based on the virus’s spike protein that in turn have saved millions of lives.

Yet more than two years after SARS-CoV-2 appeared, as documented deaths in the U.S. near 1 million and estimated global deaths reach as high as 18 million, there are still many mysteries about the virus and the pandemic it caused. They range from the technical — what role do autoantibodies play in long Covid? Can a pan-coronavirus vaccine actually be developed? — to the philosophical, such as how can we rebuild trust in our institutions and each other? Debate still festers, too, over the virus’s origins, despite recent studies adding evidence that it spilled over from wildlife.

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2 servings of avocado per week may cut heart disease risk by 16%

HealthNews Today
April 11, 2022
Researchers examined the relationship between avocado consumption and cardiovascular events. They found that eating 2 or more servings of avocado per week is linked to 16% fewer cardiovascular events over a 30-year period. One serving is half an avocado, or 80 grams (g).

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Sleeping with even a little bit of light isn’t good for your health

April 1, 2022
Turning off the lights and closing the curtains isn’t exactly a catchy, new sleep hygiene hack, but this common sense advice is gaining even more scientific credibility.

Many Americans sleep in a room that’s punctuated with some form of artificial light — whether it’s coming from a TV, a jumble of electronics or an intrusive streetlight.

New research suggests that one night of sleep with just a moderate amount of light may have adverse effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health.

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Do I really need another booster? The answer depends on age, risk and timing

March 30, 2022
The Biden administration has given the go-ahead for another COVID vaccine booster for people aged 50 and older and certain people who are immunocompromised. They can now get another Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech booster at least four months after their last dose.

But just because you can get an additional booster, does that mean you need to?

Health officials argue that the protection provided by the COVID vaccine booster shots wanes over time. And they are concerned about people considered to be at highest risk of getting severe COVID.

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If no one else is wearing a mask, should you?

National Geographic
March 24, 2022
Once Hawaii drops its mask mandate later this week, no state in the United States will require everyone to wear a mask indoors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Yet in many supermarkets, office buildings, movie theaters, and other indoor locations, some people are still masking up. But if only half, or a few, or nobody else is doing so, does the mask offer the wearer sufficient protection?

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