The Med & Mic™ 03.18.22
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MED NEWS blog post from Dr. Maria ON Speaking, LLC
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Moderna’s Second Covid Booster
Moderna is asking the FDA to authorize a second booster for people 18 and older. Other countries offer a fourth dose already. At this time, a fourth dose in the U.S. is authorized only for certain people with weakened immune systems. The FDA’s vaccine advisory panel will meet in April to discuss this, but a date has not been set. More from CNN.
Dr. Jha Goes to Washington
Dr. Ashish Jha will go from being dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health to the White House’s pandemic advisor. “Jha is both a medical and public health expert who has been a voice of reason and clarity during the pandemic,” says research epidemiologist Beth Linas in an article from STAT News. Dr. Jha has appeared on Sesame Street and is widely featured on network and cable news. The former COVID-19 coordinator had a business and government background, but no medical experience. Jha does not have extensive government experience. His role will involve coordinating between governmental agencies, such as the Postal Service and the Pentagon, and negotiating with vaccine makers.
Public Health Workers Threatened
Local public health officials responding to the day-to-day tasks of the pandemic have faced abuse and hostility. A study in the American Journal of Public Health details 1,500 cases of harassment during the first year of the pandemic. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University surveyed nearly 600 health departments, and 57% reported personal threats and vandalism from 2020 to 2021. Staff also had personal information shared online, a type of attack called doxing. During that time, 222 public health officials left their jobs. “There should be more legal consequences for impeding people from trying to do their jobs,” says study author Beth Resnick in a STAT News article.
Less Dementia with Lithium
A study looking back at people who have taken lithium shows that they have a 44% lower risk of dementia. The pattern held for both Alzheimer’s dementia and dementia due to strokes. Lithium is used to treat bipolar disorder, so the researchers had to take this into account when reviewing the statistics. They examined electronic health records of 30,000 patients at a mental health service in the U.K. About 550 had ever taken lithium. In this group, 9.7% were eventually diagnosed with dementia. In those who never took the medicine, 11.2% received the diagnosis. Next steps include large-scale dose and effect studies. More in MedPage Today.
Naps Could Be a Harbinger of Dementia
Long naps and frequent naps could be a sign of early dementia in adults. Researchers at Rush University followed more than 1,400 people ages 74 to 88 over 14 years. The people who napped once a day or more than an hour a day were 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep quality and quantity decrease with age, so older individuals nap more often than when they were younger. But the midday snoozes could also be a signal of changes in brain areas related to wakefulness. “Excessive daytime napping might be a signal of accelerated aging or cognitive aging process,” says study author Dr. Yue Leng in a CNN report.
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