Health

How to Run a Race in a Time of Surging Coronavirus

At the Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon on Nov. 7, one of the few longer events scheduled to take place this fall in-person, participants will receive a neck gaiter as part of their race packets, says Randy Accetta, the race director. They must wear it or another facial covering at the start, and whenever they pass other runners en route.(A recent, unpublished study of masks and gaiters concluded that three-ply cloth masks and gaiters block close to 60 percent of expelled aerosols during coughing, if the gaiter is folded into a double layer.)Racers should plan, too, to carry a handkerchief and keep their mucus and spittle contained, says Bert Blocken, a professor of civil engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and KU Leuven in Belgium, who studies airflow, ...

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Health

A Lullaby by Any Other Name Would Sound as Sweet

Babies love lullabies, and a new study suggests they don’t much care what culture the songs come from, what language they are sung in, or even who sings them.The study, led by Constance M. Bainbridge, a doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Mila Bertolo, a researcher at Harvard, enrolled 144 infants aged 2 months to 14 months. The scientists fitted the babies with heart rate and skin monitors, and tracked their eye movements while they listened to lullabies and non-lullabies they had never heard before. The songs were in unfamiliar languages from 16 foreign cultures, half sung by men, half by women, all a cappella. You can hear the songs the babies heard at themusiclab.org/lullabies.Whether the infants heard an Iroquois lullaby sung by a woman in Cherokee, o...

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Health

Living in Noisy Neighborhoods May Raise Your Dementia Risk

Long-term exposure to noise may be linked to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.Researchers did periodic interviews with 5,227 people 65 and older participating in a study on aging. They assessed them with standard tests of orientation, memory and language, and tracked average daytime noise levels in their neighborhoods for the five years preceding the cognitive assessments. About 11 percent had Alzheimer’s disease, and 30 percent had mild cognitive impairment, which often progresses to full-blown dementia.Residential noise levels varied widely, from 51 to 78 decibels, or from the level of a relatively quiet suburban neighborhood to that of an urban setting near a busy highway. The study is in Alzheimer’s & Dementia. After controlling for education...

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Health

S.T.D. Rates Are Falling, Data Show. That May Not Be Good News.

Even if sex has declined, researchers question how long it can remain suppressed. Dr. Lehmiller noted that online dating apps report record business. Whether that translates into sexual activity rather than virtual meet-ups is unclear, he said. If people are returning to normal levels of encounters, they may not want to admit it.“There is shaming about traveling, social events and gatherings during the pandemic, so sex and dating is seen as part of that,” he said.For now, triage at clinics is pervasive. Pre-pandemic, the San Francisco City Clinic would typically send more than a hundred specimens to be processed daily at the health department laboratory. Because those supplies have dwindled, the clinic is resorting to a smaller, more expensive backup system, that can only process severa...

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Health

She Had a Headache for Months. Then She Could Barely See.

The 61-year-old woman put on her reading glasses to try to decipher the tiny black squiggles on the back of the package of instant pudding. Was it two cups of milk? Or three? The glasses didn’t seem to help. The fuzzy, faded marks refused to become letters. The right side of her head throbbed — as it had for weeks. The constant aggravation of the headache made everything harder, and it certainly wasn’t helping her read this label. She rubbed her forehead, then brought her hand down to cover her right eye. The box disappeared into darkness. She could see only the upper-left corner of the instructions. Everything else was black. She quickly moved her hand to cover her left eye. The tiny letters sprang into focus.She moved back to the right: blackness. Over to the left: light and letters. ...

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Health

Dr. Joyce Wallace, Pioneering AIDS Physician, Dies at 79

Dr. Joyce Wallace, a Manhattan internist who treated prostitutes for AIDS, occasionally brought streetwalkers home with her when they had nowhere else to go.Once, when her son, Ari Kahn, was about 12, Dr. Wallace, who had to get to the hospital to see her patients, left him at home with a prostitute who was H.I.V. positive and going through heroin withdrawal. It wasn’t clear who was to take care of whom. Ari ended up making pizza for them both. When Dr. Wallace returned, she took the prostitute to a drug-treatment center; the woman eventually overcame her addiction and got a job at a research foundation that Dr. Wallace had started.“On one hand, it was grossly irresponsible,” Mr. Kahn said of the incident in an interview. On the other hand, he said, it was typical of his mother’s extrao...

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Health

Pfizer C.E.O. All but Rules Out Vaccine Before Election Day

After weeks of dangling the possibility of coronavirus vaccine results by October, Pfizer’s chief executive said on Tuesday that would now be nearly impossible.The announcement, by Dr. Albert Bourla, came on the same day that Pfizer announced third-quarter earnings, and all but ruled out the possibility of early results before the presidential election next Tuesday. President Trump had long sought to tie the possibility of positive vaccine news to his own prospects for re-election.In a call with investors on Tuesday, Wall Street analysts pushed Dr. Bourla to be more specific about when the company would have early results that could show the effectiveness of its vaccine, and how much detail the company would provide. Pfizer is one of four companies with large, late-stage clinical trials...

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Health

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Studies Showing Waning Coronavirus Antibodies

The portion of people in Britain with detectable antibodies to the coronavirus fell by roughly 27 percent over a period of three months this summer, researchers reported Monday, prompting fears that immunity to the virus is short-lived.But several experts said these worries were overblown. It is normal for levels of antibodies to drop after the body clears an infection, but immune cells carry a memory of the virus and can churn out fresh antibodies when needed.“Some of these headlines are silly,” said Scott Hensley, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania.Declining antibody levels after the acute infection has resolved “is the sign of a normal healthy immune response,” Dr. Hensley said. “It doesn’t mean that those people no longer have antibodies. It doesn’t mean that they don...

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Health

Respecting Children’s Pain

The second goal was to make pain understood. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Eccleston said, research has elucidated the pain system, including the peripheral and central neurological pathways involved, and also the psychological mechanisms. But taking account of a child’s individual needs means coming to terms with the complexity of pain pathways and the ways that they are affected by the child’s history, psychology and social situation.The third goal was to make pain visible. “All pain can and should be assessed, every child has the right to have their pain measured,” Dr. Eccleston said. Even when a baby is too young to talk, or an older child is nonverbal, he said, there are ways to assess pain, from facial expression to physiological responses to measures of brain signals.And the fourth...

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Health

Are ‘Kidfluencers’ Making Our Kids Fat?

“It looks like a normal child playing with their normal games, but as a researcher who studies childhood obesity, the branded products really stood out to me,” Dr. Bragg said. “When you watch these videos and the kids are pretending to bake things in the kitchen or unwrapping presents, it looks relatable. But really it’s just an incredibly diverse landscape of promotion for these unhealthy products.”In a statement, Sunlight Entertainment, the production company for Ryan’s World, said the channel “cares deeply about the well-being of our viewers and their health and safety is a top priority for us. As such, we strictly follow all platforms terms of service, as well as any guidelines set forth by the FTC and laws and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels.”The statement said ...

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