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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.

How to protect vulnerable family members this Thanksgiving

NPR
November 20, 2021
Here’s one thing to be thankful for this year: It’s not Thanksgiving 2020. A year ago vaccines had not yet been approved, daily deaths were rising sharply – surging to more than 2,000 a day by December — and many Americans hunkered down and skipped holiday celebrations to reduce their risks.

This year, 80% of people 12 and up are now vaccinated with at least one shot, and about half of Americans are planning to gather in groups of 10 or more for the holidays, a recent survey shows.

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Can a Wearable Predict Your Next Flu Infection?

Medpage Today
September 29, 2021
A non-invasive biometric sensor screening device accurately identified flu and the common cold prior to symptom onset, researchers found in two small human challenge studies.

In the first, which involved 31 participants inoculated with influenza, Empatica’s E4 wristband detected the difference between infection and non-infection with up to 92% accuracy. The second involved 18 participants inoculated with human rhinovirus, and here the E4 wristband detected the difference between infection and non-infection with 88% accuracy, reported Jessilyn Dunn, PhD, of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues.

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The tedious process of training computers to think, explained

STATNews
September 29, 2021
Artificial intelligence may seem like some amorphous, all-knowing entity that could outperform humans at even the most complex of tasks. But behind-the-scenes, humans must spend countless hours cleaning data and teaching these algorithms to “think.”

 

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I got a ‘mild’ breakthrough case (of Covid). Here’s what I wish I’d known

NPR
September 12, 2021
The test results that hot day in early August shouldn’t have surprised me — all the symptoms were there. A few days earlier, fatigue had enveloped me like a weighted blanket. I chalked it up to my weekend of travel. Next, a headache clamped down on the back of my skull. Then my eyeballs started to ache. And soon enough, everything tasted like nothing.

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Why many scientists say it’s unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a “lab leak”

Science
September 2, 2021
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “lab leak” theory gained little traction. Sure, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested SARS-CoV-2 originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China—and called it “the China virus”—but he never presented evidence, and few in the scientific community took him seriously. In fact, early in the pandemic, a group of prominent researchers dismissed lab-origin notions as “conspiracy theories” in a letter in The Lancet. A report from a World Health Organization (WHO) “joint mission,” which sent a scientific team to China in January to explore possible origins with Chinese colleagues, described a lab accident as “extremely unlikely.”

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Antibody tests should not be your go-to for checking COVID immunity

NPR
August 28, 2021
Booster shots against the coronavirus have already started rolling out in the U.S. for some people and millions more could be due for them soon. But as breakthrough infections become more common, many people are wondering in the meantime: Does my immune system have enough firepower to protect me right now?

A natural way to look for an answer would seem to be checking for certain antibodies in your blood that target the coronavirus. These are specific proteins made by your immune cells in response to the vaccine or the virus — proteins that serve as a key part of the body’s arsenal in preventing COVID-19.

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