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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.

Omicron subvariants reflect a ‘viral evolution on steroids’

Yahoo News
October 19, 2022
An omicron subvariant is once again demonstrating immune-dodging abilities, posing a threat to both vaccinated and previously infected individuals.

A report published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the subvariant, called BA.4.6, could drive reinfections.

As of Friday, BA.4.6 accounted for just over 12% of new COVID cases in the U.S. BA.5, meanwhile, has been detected in nearly 68% of new cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Busting 5 common myths about water and hydration

October 13, 2022
Drink eight glasses of water a day. Coffee will make you dehydrated. Drinking extra water can help you lose weight. You’ve probably heard these claims about water and hydration before. But are they true? To set the record straight, Life Kit talks to Tamara Hew-Butler, associate professor of exercise and sports science at Wayne State University; Mindy Millard-Stafford, director of the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at Georgia Tech; and Yuki Oka, a professor of biology at Caltech who specializes in thirst. They explain the science of hydration and bust 5 common myths about water.

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From BQ.1.1 to XBB and beyond: How the splintering of Omicron variants could shape Covid’s next phase

October 6, 2022
The United States is in a (relative) Covid-19 lull, with cases and hospitalizations falling as the wave driven by the BA.5 lineage of the Omicron variant recedes. But as if we needed a portent of an anticipated fall and winter wave, Covid is on the rise in some European countries.

What’s different, at least for now, is that there’s not one variant pushing the wave. Rather, scientists are tracking a bevy of new forms of Omicron, which are jockeying with each other as they compete to become the next dominant strain. Scientists are monitoring more than 300 sublineages of Omicron, World Health Organization officials said this week.

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What happens when we sleep?

The Economist
Sleep is central to maintaining your physical and mental health, but many people don’t sleep enough. We all do it, but what happens to us when we sleep?

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4 exercises that can prevent (and relieve!) pain from computer slouching and more

September 1, 2022
What if there was a way to stop chronic pain in your body before it strikes?

That’s the concept behind Vinh Pham’s new book, Sit Up Straight: Futureproof Your Body Against Chronic Pain with 12 Simple Movements. Pham, a physical therapist with over a decade of experience, shares a set of exercises aimed at helping to prevent bodily pain that lasts for over three months due to injury, exercise, bad posture or other factors — and relieve it, too. Practicing these movements consistently, he says, can extend your range of motion and increase your flexibility.

There’s research to support the decrease in the incidence of chronic pain with the addition of exercise,” says Christipher Bise, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences who researches lower back pain and is not affiliated with Pham’s book. “Exercises that are going to balance the body front to back [such as mobility training] are really going to be the ones that help over time.”

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Coronavirus FAQ: Does a faint line on a self-test mean I’m barely contagious?

August 26, 2022
Ah, the start of a new school year. Maybe you’re one of millions of Americans who have started mingling with peers in the dorms and suddenly find yourself sniffling and wondering if you have COVID-19.

Or you’re just getting back from your summer vacation and the back of your throat has a worrisome itch.

You consider taking an at-home rapid test, but you have lots of questions. With new FDA recommendations on testing, how many times should you test for a definitive result? And, how infectious are you if the positive line is faint? And what if the test turns positive — but only after an hour?

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