1) Do vaccines work against variants?
The answer to this question lies in the definition of the word “work.” When vaccine developers set out the conditions of their clinical trials, they work closely with regulatory authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to ensure they answer the most important questions.
For most experimental COVID-19 vaccines, the primary endpoints, or the main questions that a clinical trial asks, were the prevention of COVID-19. This meant that the developers would assess any case of COVID-19, including mild and moderate cases, when they were calculating how well their vaccine candidate performed.
In the case of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was the first to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA, eight people who had received the vaccine and 162 people who had received the placebo developed COVID-19. This equates to a vaccine efficacy of 95%.
There were no deaths in either group in the clinical trial that the researchers could attribute to COVID-19 by the time the data became publicly available in theNew England Journal of Medicineon December 31, 2020.
According to a recent study, real-world data from Israel suggest that this vaccine is highly effective in preventing COVID-19, including severe disease.
The authors of this paper could not provide a specific breakdown of how well the vaccine works at preventing COVID-19 in those who have the B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant. However, they suggest that the vaccine is effective against the variant based on their overall data.
2)People with dementia may be prescribed interacting drugs
Share on PinterestA recent study investigates polypharmacy in people with dementia. Elena Eliachevitch/Getty Images
● Experts say that older adults with dementia should limit the number of medications they take that act on the brain and central nervous system (CNS).
● Using three or more such medications together places an individual at higher risk of adverse outcomes.
● A study finds that nearly 1 in 7 older people with dementia who do not live in a nursing home take three or more of these medications.
● The study examines the prescriptions that doctors have written for 1.2 million people with dementia.
Experts are clear that people aged 65 years or older should not simultaneously take three or more medicines that target the brain or CNS.
Such drugs often interact, potentially accelerating cognitive decline and increasing the risk of injury and death.
This guidance is especially relevant to people with dementia, who often take multiple pharmaceuticals to address their symptoms.
A recent study involving people with dementia found that almost 1 in 7 of the participants are taking three or more brain and CNS medications, despite experts’ warnings.
While the United States government regulates the dispensing of such medication in nursing homes, there is no equivalent oversight for individuals living at home or in assisted-living residences. The recent study focused on individuals with dementia who are not living in nursing homes.
The lead author of the study, geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Donovan Maust of the University of Michigan (UM) in Ann Arbor, explains how an individual can end up taking too many medications:
“Dementia comes with lots of behavioral issues, from changes in sleep and depression to apathy and withdrawal, and providers, patients, and caregivers may naturally seek to address these through medications.”
Dr. Maust expresses concern that too frequently, doctors prescribe too many medications. “It appears that we have a lot of people on a lot of medications without a very good reason,” he says.
3)Quitting smoking may improve mental well-being
● According to the results of a recent systematic review, quitting smoking may produce positive health effects in a matter of weeks.
● The review found that people who quit smoking had a greater reduction in anxiety, depression, and symptoms of stress than people who did not.
● If accurate, these findings could help motivate millions of people looking for more reasons to quit smoking or avoid stopping for fears of negative mental health or social effects.
Each year, smoking cigarettes claims the lives of more than 480,000 people in the United States and more than 8 million people around the world. And, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness, impoverishment, and death worldwide.
Smoking rates have been falling substantially over the last 50 years, particularly in high income countries, with the rate of tobacco use now at 19.7% in the U.S in 2018. In contrast, this rate remains stubbornly high (36.7%) in people with mental health issues.
Some people believe smoking offers mental health benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety. In one study, it was not just smokers who thought this but also mental health practitioners. Around 40–45% of mental health professionals assumed that smoking cessation would not be helpful to their patients.
Some also believe that mental health symptoms would worsen if they quit smoking. Many smokers worry that they will lose social relationships, either from the irritability that can occur early on during smoking cessation or because they view smoking as a central part of their social life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 40 million people in the U.S. continue to smoke cigarettes.
This is why a group of researchers set out to explore how smoking impacts mental health precisely. Their review appears in the Cochrane Library.
Post time: Jan-11-2022