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Featured Posts

Asthma Exacerbations, ED Admissions Decreased During Lockdown

THURSDAY, April 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns on asthma is explored in three studies published online March 29 in Thorax.

Syed A. Shah, D. Phil., from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues derived asthma exacerbation rates for every week and compared rates for January to August 2020 to a pre-COVID-19 period and January to August 2016 to 2019. Data were included for 100,165 patients with asthma who experienced at least one exacerbation during 2016 to 2020. The researchers found a significant reduction in the level of exacerbation rates across all patients when comparing the prelockdown to postlockdown periods (−0.196 episodes per person-year).

Gwyneth A. Davies, M.B., B.Ch., M.D., from the Swansea University Medical School in the United Kingdom, and colleagues compared weekly counts of emergency admissions and deaths due to asthma during the first 18 weeks in 2020 versus the national averages during 2015 to 2019 for Scotland and Wales, and they modeled the impact of instigating lockdown on these outcomes. The researchers found that lockdown correlated with a 36 percent pooled reduction in emergency admissions for asthma (incidence rate ratio, 0.64) across both countries. In a third study, Kyungmin Huh, from the Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues found that during the implementation of nonpharmaceutical interventions against COVID-19, the cumulative incidence of admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma was 58 and 48 percent, respectively, of the mean incidence during the four preceding years.

"Since the early days of the COVID-19 epidemic, South Korea has thoroughly carried out social distancing, personal hygiene, and universal use of face masks," Huh and colleagues write. "In this study, the significant decrease in hospital admissions for influenza, pneumonia, COPD, and asthma suggests the unintended benefits of these measures."

Abstract/Full Text - Shah

Abstract/Full Text - Davies

Abstract/Full Text - Huh

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ED Visits Down Dec. 2020 to Jan. 2021 Versus Prepandemic

THURSDAY, April 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency department visits were lower during December 2020 to January 2021 compared with prepandemic levels one year earlier, according to research published in the April 16 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Jennifer Adjemian, Ph.D., from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues examined trends in emergency department visits since Dec. 30, 2018, and compared the numbers and types of emergency department visits for Dec. 20, 2020, to Jan. 16, 2021, to those for Dec. 15, 2019, to Jan. 11, 2020.

The researchers found that after an initial decrease during March to April 2020, there was an increase in emergency department visits through July 2020, but at levels below those during 2019; during December 2020 to January 2021, there was a decrease of 25 percent in visits compared with prepandemic levels. During this time, emergency department visits were lower by 66, 63, 38, and 17 percent among patients aged 0 to 4, 5 to 11, 12 to 17, and 18 years and older, respectively, compared with the corresponding levels during the same period before the pandemic. During December 2020 to January 2021, there were more visits for infectious diseases or mental and behavioral health-related concerns, while fewer visits were seen for gastrointestinal and upper respiratory-related illnesses compared with December 2019 to January 2020.

"As the nation continues to manage the impact of the ongoing pandemic, public understanding of the importance of seeking guidance and emergency care for acute and mental or behavioral health conditions is necessary," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

U.S. Overdose Deaths Have Soared During COVID-19 Pandemic

THURSDAY, April 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- There were more than 87,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States from October 2019 to September 2020, the highest of any one-year period since the nation's opioid crisis began in the 1990s, preliminary government data show.

The death toll was 29 percent higher than in the previous 12-month period and the increase was largely driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, with stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine also playing a role, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Whites in rural and suburban areas accounted for many of the deaths in the early years of the U.S. opioid epidemic, but the latest data show Blacks being affected disproportionately.

"The highest increase in mortality from opioids, predominantly driven by fentanyl, is now among Black Americans," Nora Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said at an addiction conference last week, The New York Times reported. "And when you look at mortality from methamphetamine, it's chilling to realize that the risk of dying from methamphetamine overdose is 12-fold higher among American Indians and Alaskan Natives than other groups." Volkow added that more deaths than ever involved drug combinations, typically of fentanyl or heroin with stimulants.

Overdose deaths fell slightly in 2018 for the first time in decades, but started to climb again the months before the COVID-19 pandemic and had the highest spike in April and May 2020. In the early months of the pandemic, many addiction treatment centers shut down, at least temporarily, and services were reduced at many drop-in centers that offer support, clean syringes, and the overdose-reversal medication naloxone. In many cases, those services have not been fully restored. Also, the drug overdose crisis has received less attention and resources as the country struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, The Times said.

The New York Times Article

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Tinnitus post covid- vaccine

My 63 year old sister experienced a crackling noise/tinnitus sensation in her left ear immediately after she received the AZ vaccine. It has persisted to the present, 4 weeks later and has slightly diminished in intensity. Anyone else had a patient with this? Duration post vaccine? Her hearing has not been affected. Dr. C Kelley Canada

What's the future of Medical Conferences?

COVID-19 changed the way physicians are engaging with each other. Following a full year of virtual conferences, physicians in the G-Med community came together to discuss their impressions, likes and dislikes in comparison to physical medical events.

G-Med's interactive platform has become the place where physicians come to expand their network, to update themselves on the latest medical news, share the latest news from each of their specialties and to fill the educational gap left by physical conferences.

Over 1,000 physicians voted within 48 hours in the latest G-Med poll about which type of conference they prefer. From EU countries, North and South American, Asia and the Middle East, physicians from 56 countries shared their preferences and visions on the future of medical conferences.


Here are some of your thoughts on Vaccination

Should patients under immunosuppressive treatment be vaccinated against Covid-19? How about those who have recovered from Covid, when should they get vaccinated?

Over the past months, the G-Med community has been discussing vaccination decisions, its effects and advisability to patients suffering from different pre conditions. Immunodepression, diabetes, rheumatological issues, among several others, were some of the conditions debated in the G-Med community in light of the decision to vaccinate against Covid-19. Our physician-only community continues to debate this crucial topic, and to share their insights with their colleagues. 

Thank you for your thoughtful contribution. Here are some of the issues discussed:

Here are some of your thoughts on Post-Covid

How are physicians from the G-Med community preparing themselves for the Post-Covid Era? What are Covid’s real impacts on the health of patients after recovering from the initial illness?

Over the past months, the G-Med community has been discussing one of tomorrow’s most challenging medical issues: Post-Covid conditions. From endocrinological conditions, neurological concerns, rheumatological impacts, among others, physicians from over 128 countries are sharing cases and receiving great insights from the community. 

Thank you for your thoughtful insights. Here are some of the issues discussed: