Long COVID burdens tens of millions of Americans and the nation's healthcare system, but our response to it has been fragmented and chaotic. We need to address it without delay, with more research and better access to treatment.
Using the criteria contained within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the diagnostic standard, almost 1 in 5 individuals smoking weed for medical therapeutic reasons develop cannabis use disorder within three months of initiating therapy. Yet there is no cry to greatly restrict medical marijuana in the same way we over-control opioids. Whether marijuana or opioids are that addictive depends on your definition of a substance use disorder. Is our current definition the best?
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) cited a new toxicology study that linked PM2.5 air pollution with the growth of lung cells having “pre-existing oncogenic variants” that could promote lung cancer in mice. Because “the light is better underneath the lamppost,” there is an epidemiologic predilection for ascribing blame to the pollutants for which we have the most data, like PM2.5
Spring brings new growth and new hopes. COVID infections continue, as do vaccine-driven hopes for relief. The White House announced that COVID-19 national and public health emergencies (PHE) will expire on May 11, but a Lancet editorial pronounced that the pandemic is “far from over.” We have been tracking its progress for three years - It’s time to take stock and go out on the shaky limb of prediction.
Sepsis, an overwhelming infection, remains among hospitals’ most difficult conditions to identify and treat. Algorithms within electronic medical records have been developed to help clinicians. So how is this real-world A.I. of medicine working out? Just a bit better than a coin toss.
​​​​​​​“Today we are asked to declare war on a domestic enemy which threatens the strength of our nation and the welfare of our people. This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.” – Lyndon Johnson, 36th U.S. President, Inaugural Address
COVID is still killing more than 1,000 Americans a week; long COVID causes prolonged misery; and a new, more transmissible subvariant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is spreading.
Former President Trump said, “we have learned to live with it [COVID-19], just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” before he recanted that statement with Bob Woodward, saying he knew it was "more deadly than even your strenuous flu." The morbidity and mortality of COVID have indeed changed over time; a recent study helps define whether COVID is becoming a new seasonal influenza.
Traditionalism, a synonym for conservatism, is defined as “the tendency to embrace what are perceived to be the longstanding norms and values of one’s group, while rejecting changes to them.” During COVID, much of the writing on human behavior revolved around the actions of the conservatives vs. liberals. An anthropologic study looks at the role of traditionalism during COVID more globally.
“Our findings suggest that the αSyn-SAA technique is highly accurate at detecting the biomarker for Parkinson’s disease regardless of the clinical features," says Luis Concha, Ph.D., "making it possible to accurately diagnose the disease in patients at early stages.” For those in the Parkinson's Disease community, this is a big-deal, “game-changing” report.
A recent trip to Israel included a stop at the Dead Sea. Many people from around the world travel to the Dead Sea for treatment for psoriasis and other diseases. As I have often questioned flawed studies and research without a scientific basis, I wondered whether there are facts behind the claimed beneficial effects of the Dead Sea. 
The year saw breakthrough articles on highly successful treatments for sickle cell disease, β-thalassemia, rectal cancer, COVID-19, and malaria, and a terrific bionic pancreas for Type 1 diabetics.