Weekly Medical Briefs: 09-15-22

Weekly Medical Briefs

September 15, 2022

NY State of Emergency on Polio Outbreak
New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday over the growing polio outbreak, in an effort to better equip health care providers with tools to curb the spread of the sometimes disabling virus before it takes further hold in the state.

New York Times – 9/9/22 Sept. 9

Skin Test to Detect Alzheimer’s
A report given at the Alzheimer’s Association Inter-national Conference suggests that a minimally invasive skin test can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease with accuracy. The test measures factors related to nerve connections in the brain. The chief medical advisor for SYNAPS the company that developed the test stated that when added to other diagnostic methods “tremendously enhance the certainty of making a diagnosis,” of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Women and Abortions
“Two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion, the medical consequences extend far beyond abortion clinics and women seeking to end unwanted pregnancies. Doctors who never thought of themselves as ‘abortionists,’ to use the language of the court’s decision, say the criminalization of abortion is changing how they treat women who arrive in emergency rooms and on labor and delivery floors with wanted but complicated pregnancies.”

New York Times – 9/10/22

Flu Vaccine Lowers Stroke Risk
A study at the University of Alcalá in Madrid, Spain stated that influenza vaccine is linked to a lower risk of ischemic stroke. The report suggests that the vaccine itself is beneficial and not just avoidance of the flu. The study shows a relationship but not necessarily that the vaccine causes the finding.

Neurology – 9/7/22

Pregnancy Complications for Women with COVID
Women who are pregnant or were recently pregnant, are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 compared to women who are not. COVID-19 during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of complications that can affect the pregnancy and developing baby. The most important thing to do is to protect oneself from getting sick. This includes getting the COVID-19 vaccine even pregnant, planning to become pregnant or currently breastfeeding and maintaining other precautions such as masking and avoiding crowded areas.

CDC COVID Vaccine Stats
Almost half the people who were hospitalized with COVID-19 last spring had been fully vaccinated and received a third dose or booster shot. Unvaccinated adults were 3.4 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than those who were vaccinated. Hospitalization numbers from March 20 to May 31, when the omicron subvariant BA.2 was the dominant strain researchers found were 39.1% of patients had received a primary vaccination series and at least one booster or additional dose; 5% were fully vaccinated with two boosters.

Stroke Awareness
A television news anchor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, developed stroke-like symptoms while reporting on the NASA Artemis I launch. Julie Chin is recovering after experiencing stroke-like symptoms live on air earlier this month. She suddenly had trouble talking or reading words off the teleprompter. She was rushed to a nearby hospital.

“First I lost partial vision in one eye. A little bit later my hand and arm went numb. Then, I knew I was in big trouble when my mouth would not speak the words that were right in front of me on the teleprompter,” she wrote on Facebook.” My doctors believe I had the beginnings of a stroke on the air.”

The video of Chin struggling for words is bringing a lot of attention to this medical emergency. It shows how unexpectedly, and rapidly, symptoms can start. It’s also a good reminder to anyone who thinks they or someone else might be having a stroke, that they need to act fast.” This is a good opportunity for us at the American Heart Association (AHA) to remind people what the signs of a stroke are,” Mitchell Elkind, M.D., says.

Larry Goldstein, M.D., chair of neurology at the University of Kentucky HealthCare in Lexington, agreed, “This event was a good example of someone experiencing speech changes,she had a real word-finding problem.That’s why it’s important for friends, co-workers, or even people on the street to recognize the signs of a stroke.”

If you suspect a stroke, remember B.E.F.A.S.T. It stands for Balance; Eyes (loss of vision); Face (drooping); Arms (one arm drifts downward); Speech (slurred or confused); and Time and Terrible headache.

A total of 795,000 Americans experience a stroke every year, the CDC reports. More than 600,000 of these are first strokes. More than 150,000 Americans died from stroke in 2019, according to the AHA 2022 Fact Sheet. About 80 to 90% of strokes are preventable, so people should consider making lifestyle and other changes to reduce their risk. For people hesitant to seek medical attention right away, Elkind points out that specialists have effective treatments for stroke, but they must be administered shortly after signs begin.

“I hope this story helps somebody else,” Chin said.

Medscape – 9/12/2022

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