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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.

8 mistakes to avoid if you’re going out in the heat

July 12, 2023
It’s hot — which shouldn’t come as a surprise in July. But this summer’s heat is breaking records around the world, and in the U.S. this week, a heat dome is afflicting the Southwest with ultrahigh temperatures. The East Coast is expected to be steamy, and parts of Southern California could hit 106 degrees by Saturday in what the National Weather Service has dubbed a summer of “excessive” weather.

Of course, it’s summer and you have things to do outdoors, from festivals to barbecues to mowing the lawn. We get it. But the heat can take a toll on your body, and you need to plan ahead when the temperature rises to extreme heat. “Don’t overdo it,” warns John Schumann, a primary care physician in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Heat can envelop and pummel you.”

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How a human smell receptor works is finally revealed

May 1, 2023
For the first time, researchers have determined how a human olfactory receptor captures an airborne scent molecule, the pivotal chemical event that triggers our sense of smell.

Whether it evokes roses or vanilla, cigarettes or gasoline, every scent starts with free-floating odor molecules that latch onto receptors in the nose. Multitudes of such unions produce the perception of the smells we love, loathe or tolerate. Researchers therefore want to know in granular detail how smell sensors detect and respond to odor molecules. Yet human smell receptors have resisted attempts to visualize how they work in detail — until now.

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When to come out of Covid isolation, according to experts

NBC News
June 10, 2023
When the Covid public health emergency expired in May, health officials in Oregon decided it was also time to pull back on the recommendation that its residents, including schoolchildren, isolate for five days after testing positive for the virus.

Instead, the Oregon Health Authority suggested that people with Covid stay home only until they’ve gone without spiking a fever for 24 hours and are generally feeling better.

The move was a break from guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which continues to recommend that people stay home for a five-day period and stay away from household members.

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Picking the ‘right’ sunscreen isn’t as important as avoiding these 6 mistakes

June 4, 2023
If you find a bottle of sunscreen packed in last year’s pool bag, here’s a suggestion: Toss it out. Since the active compounds can degrade and lose their effectiveness, slathering on old lotion or spray is one mistake people make when trying to protect their skin.

Each year about 84,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with melanoma and more than 8,000 die from this type of skin cancer. In addition, millions of cases of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are diagnosed each year, and about 90% of these skin cancers are linked to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

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How long does it take for a blood clot to travel around the body?

Medical News Today
June 9, 2023
The risk of a blood clot breaking off and traveling around the body is highest within the first 4 weeks after it initially forms. However, healthcare professionals are unsure of exactly how long it takes for a blood clot to travel around the body. The above timeframe comes from an older 2014 article from the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation.

A blood clot happens when various substances form a solid mass inside the blood vessels. These clots can form in one part of the body before breaking off from an artery or vein. The circulatory system can then carry this blood clot to blood vessels in different parts of the body.

In some cases, this can cause serious health problems. For instance, blood clots that originate in veins can travel to the lungs, leading to pulmonary embolism (PE). Blood clots that originate in the arteries can travel to the brain, causing a stroke.

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Children need quiet environments to help early brain development

Children need quiet environments to help early brain development
May 24, 2023

A group of small children sits cross-legged with their teacher, Steve Mejía-Menendez, on a round carpet. He’s a pre-K teacher at Lee Montessori Public Charter School’s campus in Southeast Washington, D.C., and although I’m here to meet him, I almost don’t spot him because he’s eye level with his students.

Mr. Steve, as he’s known here, is talking a few students through a geometry lesson when another student approaches to ask an unrelated question. This kind of distraction happens all the time in classrooms around the United States. Mr. Steve doesn’t lose focus. He uses American Sign Language to say “wait” — palms facing up, fingers wiggling — and the child waits quietly. When the lesson arrives at a natural stopping point, the student is invited to ask his question, and Mr. Steve silently responds by nodding his head along with his fist, which is sign language for “yes.”

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