Categories
Health

Four types of Long COVID

Bookmarked People’s CDC COVID-19 Weather Report (peoplescdc.org)

34% have heart, kidney, & circulation-based symptoms; risk of heart failure post-COVID is almost doubled
33% have respiratory & sleep problems, anxiety, headache & chest pains
23% have musculoskeletal & nervous system symptoms
10% have combined digestive & respiratory symptoms

From Weill Cornell Medicine’s press release:

Only in the first symptom pattern was the sex ratio roughly 1 to 1; in the other three, female patients made up a significant majority (more than 60 percent).

Categories
Health

The pandemic isn’t over — or shouldn’t be, anyway

Bookmarked The Year the Pandemic ‘Ended’ (part 3) by Artie Vierkant and Beatrice Adler-Bolton (thenewinquiry.com)

On June 6th, 2022, Politico published: “How many Covid deaths are acceptable? Some Biden officials tried to guess.”

From the piece:

Biden officials in recent months privately discussed how many daily Covid-19 deaths it would take to declare the virus tamed, three people familiar with the conversations told POLITICO.

The discussions, which took place across the administration, and have not been previously disclosed, involved a scenario in which 200 or fewer Americans die per day…

Our opinion is that this reflects a broader issue: that, by this point, the Biden administration have clearly absorbed a central lesson, which is that as long as they attempt to make a good show of things––pretending everything is ok––the levels of illness, death, debility, and disability from covid that the US public will apparently just absorb without rioting is shockingly high.

Importantly though, one of the individuals cited says that the number of deaths floated, 200 a day, would be “aspirational.” And that individual was right: even with our now-restrained data reporting infrastructure, we’ve never gotten down to that level. In fact, the lowest we’ve gotten to for any significant stretch of time is still an average of 300 deaths a day, or over 110,000 deaths a year.

And in the UK:

COVID isn’t just infecting you—it could be reactivating viruses that have been dormant in your body for years by Erin Prater (Fortune Well) – Dec 26, 2022

A mild or even an asymptomatic case of COVID can cause reservoirs of some viruses you’ve previously battled to reactivate, potentially leading to symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome—a condition that resembles long COVID, according to a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology. 

COVID may suppress our immune systems:

What If COVID Reinfections Wear Down Our Immunity? by Andrew Nikiforuk (The Tyee) – Nov. 6, 2022

T cells are a body’s key line of defence against infection. COVID infections can cause them to prematurely age, harm organs and become exhausted, warns Dr. Anthony Leonardi.

The epidemiology of long COVID in US adults by Robertson et al. (Clinical Infectious Diseases) – Dec 21, 2022

An estimated 7.3% (95% CI: 6.1-8.5%) of all respondents reported long COVID, corresponding to approximately 18,828,696 adults…We observed a high burden of long COVID, substantial variability in prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 and risk factors unique from SARS-CoV-2 risk…

Covid-19 and drug overdoses drive US life expectancy to lowest level in 25 years, CDC reports by Deidre McPhillips (CNN) – Dec. 22, 2022

Covid-19 was a major contributor to the decline in life expectancy, which is now nearly two and a half years shorter than it was at the start of the pandemic. After a drop of 1.8 years in 2020, another cut of 0.6 years last year brought US life expectancy down to 76.4 years in 2021.

[L]ife expectancy typically only changes by 0.1 or 0.2 years.

Categories
Health

Read Come As You Are

Read Come as You Are

Researchers have spent the last decade trying to develop a “pink pill” for women to function like Viagra does for men. So where is it? Well, for reasons this book makes crystal clear, that pill will never exist—but as a result of the research that’s gone into it, scientists in the last few years have learned more about how women’s sexuality works than we ever thought possible, and Come as You Are explains it all.

The first lesson in this essential, transformative book by Dr. Emily Nagoski is that every woman has her own unique sexuality, like a fingerprint, and that women vary more than men in our anatomy, our sexual response mechanisms, and the way our bodies respond to the sexual world. So we never need to judge ourselves based on others’ experiences. Because women vary, and that’s normal.

Second lesson: sex happens in a context. And all the complications of everyday life influence the context surrounding a woman’s arousal, desire, and orgasm.

Cutting-edge research across multiple disciplines tells us that the most important factor for women in creating and sustaining a fulfilling sex life, is not what you do in bed or how you do it, but how you feel about it. Which means that stress, mood, trust, and body image are not peripheral factors in a woman’s sexual wellbeing; they are central to it. Once you understand these factors, and how to influence them, you can create for yourself better sex and more profound pleasure than you ever thought possible.

Learned lots of interesting things, especially in the first section. I didn’t love the examples of real people. The last chapter has a clear connection to her next book Burnout, here emphasizing completing the cycle of emotions rather than stress.

Categories
Health Political Commentary

Do men think about whether they want kids every day?

Liked Don’t Show Up for Men Who Won’t Show Up for You by Jill Filipovic (Jill Filipovic)

Democratic voters were fired up about abortion — the number of Dem voters who listed abortion as their #1 issue far outpaced Dem voters who listed anything else.

In the midterms, an astounding 72% of women under 30 voted for Democrats. Among men the same age, it was 54%. These gaps persist with age: Among women 30-44, 57% voted for Dems, while just 43% of men did.

I highlight these age ranges because these are the people getting pregnant.

I am a woman who does not want and has never wanted children. This is an unpopular choice in our culture. But I must renew this decision on a daily basis when I take my birth control pill* to prevent pregnancy. Every day of my adult life, I have started my morning by making the choice not to be a mother again. 

Even for those not on the pill, reproduction is embedded in the typical adult woman’s physical lived experience, with thirty-odd years of monthly reminders of our fertility.

Maybe men also think about having kids every day. Without the daily reminder, I probably wouldn’t that often. I’m guessing most don’t? I hope not, because if they do and half of American men still care more about tax rates and gun rights than women’s right to choose whether to have (more**) kids or not, that’s even more depressing.

It is a very, very complicated thing to hold that a man can love you personally — as your father, your brother, your partner — but also devalue women as a class. Even more difficult is to truly understand that when he devalues women as a class, that includes you.

I see how women are being treated in Iran *today* and know how lucky I am to live in a Blue state. And I fear the American evangelicals who are just like the religious extremists in power in Iran, who want America to be a Christian nation so they can control women’s bodies and minds. They are chipping away at us, little by little. The courts recently ruled businesses don’t have to cover pRep in their insurance plans because they’re allowed “not to support the gay lifestyle.” It isn’t much of a stretch to extend that to birth control: they will paint women who use birth control as promiscuous and they will come for it.

*I could switch to another birth control method that doesn’t require daily use, but even with the annoyance of remembering to take it every day, the pill still seems like my best option. The side effects are minimal, and I suspect it might help prevent hormonal migraines which seem to run in the family. I know many women with an IUD and every one has told a story of agonizing pain to have it inserted, so I’d rather take the daily chore and need to get my prescription renewed annually.

I just want men to recognize just how much thought and effort women put into reproductive choice, constantly. Abortion is a last defense when our other tools fail. See also: who our culture considers responsible for contraception

** The majority of people who get abortions already have children.

Categories
Environment Health Science

Correlation does not equal causation: tree planting episode

Replied to The association between tree planting and mortality: A natural experiment and cost-benefit analysis (doi.org)

Tree planting in Portland, Oregon is associated with decreases in non-accidental and cardiovascular mortality, and the magnitude of this association increased as trees aged and grew.

Look, I’m a huge proponent of planting trees but you gotta be careful about correlation and causation. The article itself admits that “It is an observational study, so it cannot establish a causal relationship between trees and mortality.” Yet you’d believe the study established causation based on the monetary claims about the value of tree planting if you only read the abstract, which claims, “Using US EPA estimates of a value of a statistical life, we estimated that planting a tree in each of Portland’s 140 Census tracts would generate $14.2 million in annual benefits (95 % CI: $8.0 million to $20.4 million).” You cannot make this estimate if you do not know it to be a causal relationship.

I get really pissed when environmentalists mislead the public towards their preferred outcome using faulty or over-interpreted data*. I wrote a report about single-use items a few years ago, and the deeper I dug into statements about straws and such that were listed on environmental advocacy sites, the more of a sham they turned out to be. I wound up doing a literature review to find valid, empirical evidence in support of our paper, and uncovered that compostable packaging actually has greater impacts when it is not composted — which is often!

Tell people to plant trees because they clean the air, provide shade, and reduce flooding, but don’t lie and tell them planting a tree will make them live longer.

*There are many reasons for this in the scientific literature, but at the core comes down to two challenges: science is insufficiently funded and researchers are rewarded for significant findings. See also: Imagining a better way — for everything

Categories
Health Lifestyle Society

Society and environment sets the baseline for your health

Liked https://mobile.twitter.com/thefatdoctoruk/status/1591062358532972545 (mobile.twitter.com)

Rest of the thread:

We like to blame others for making choices that cause their woes but it’s easy to fall into some logical fallacies — turns out the whole every individual for themselves thing doesn’t really reflect reality, or help improve outcomes.

See also: Stress response — finding / achieving health as a community

Categories
Health Science

More research shows that COVID is much more than the flu

The number of young and middle aged people dying from heart issues has increased since the start of the pandemic.

The excess death, defined as the difference between the observed and the predicted mortality rates, was most pronounced for the youngest (25–44 years) aged decedents, ranging from 23% to 34% for the youngest compared to 13%–18% for the oldest age groups.

Yeo, YH, Wang, M, He, X, et al. Excess risk for acute myocardial infarction mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Med Virol. 2022; 111. doi:10.1002/jmv.28187

 

COVID-19 activates similar response to Parkinson’s disease, study suggests

Lead researcher Trent Woodruff, from the university’s neuro-inflammation laboratory, said the findings illustrated a potential future risk for neurodegenerative conditions in people who had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Categories
Health Political Commentary Society

Whose responsibility is contraception?

Liked Vasectomy: The US men embracing permanent birth control (bbc.com)

Google Trends tracked a huge uptick in US searches for ‘vasectomy’, along with the related search terms “Roe” and “abortion”; search volume was even higher in places with trigger laws. A report from telehealth research company Innerbody Research showed searches for “where can I get a vasectomy” increased by 850% in the days after the news, with the biggest jumps in conservative states Texas and Florida. One practice in Florida told CBS News that the number of child-free men getting vasectomies under the age of 30 had doubled since the ruling.

Responsibility for birth control, even for long-term couples, has long fallen disproportionately to women; female sterilisation, oral contraceptives, IUDs and other options for women remain the most common forms of birth control in the US.

Honestly I was surprised at the breakdown of birth control. Nineteen percent rely on getting their tubes tied versus nine percent counting on their partner getting a vasectomy. Thirteen percent are on the pill, and another thirteen use the shot, ring and IUDs. (As of 2017.)

Littlejohn says real societal change will require a different line of thinking. “As long as we see this as something that men are doing to ‘lend a hand to their partners’ and being noble, in service of their partners’ not being able to prevent pregnancy,” she says, it perpetuates a narrative that men aren’t the default responsible party for contraception.

I like that conservatives are all “lol we’re going to make you have all the babies 😂 enjoy poverty suckers” and dudes are like “😳 wait I didn’t sign up for this.” Evangelicals are so out of touch with society they think everyone’s a misogynist like them who wants to treat their women like broodmares and have a dozen kids. Thankfully for women, that is not the case.

I am scared they’re coming for our birth control next, but I doubt they’ll restrict vasectomies because misogyny — they aren’t liable to give up control over their own bodies, they just want to control ours.

Lol ten years ago I wrote a shitty NaNo novel that was like a Hunger Games mashup with forced sterilization and forced birth and it was not nearly brutal enough. I’m someone who’s well off and lives in a blue state and likely will always have access to the contraception of my choice — and it still fucking sucks to live in a USA where I have to question if that will change. So I can see the appeal in a permanent option that would protect my decision not to have kids.

Categories
Health Society

Why others get upset when you mask

Bookmarked Why Do They *Think* That? by JTO, Ph.D. (essaysyoudidntwanttoread.home.blog)

I’ll just give you a non-comprehensive run-down of various biases (which are basically rules of cognition that become errors when they’re incorrectly applied) and heuristics (which are basically thinking shortcuts or strategies that can lead to thinking errors), focusing on those that can cause people to be more alarmed by risk reduction than by the risk posed by actual threats.

Why people don’t seem to care about the health risks”

  • People don’t like to think about death or disability
  • Death and disability are abstract without personal experience
  • Selection and survivorship biases when they only see healthy people out and about
  • People estimate their own risk based on personal experiences
  • “base-rate fallacy: people are much more swayed by single dramatic events than by large numbers or probability statistics”
  • Optimism Bias = expect they’ll have a good outcome
  • Perceived invulnerability = don’t think bad stuff will happen to them
  • Diffusion of Responsibility –> they can’t directly see or be held responsible for the consequences of their actions (e.g. passing along sickness so people you don’t know die)
  • Just World Thinking = “people get what they deserve” because otherwise would have to admit the world is unfair and random, and can attribute their success to their own choices by blaming what others have done differently than them (e.g. get vaxxed)
  • Fundamental Attribution Error, which leads us to focus on personal vs. situational causes for other people’s behavior and outcomes – though not for our own”

Why do people seem to care so much that YOU care about Covid health risks?

  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Confirmation Bias
  • Psychological Reactance –> people get mad when they think their freedoms are under attack or they’ll lose control –> trying to reassert control
  • “people personalize the actions of others, inferring that those people mean to have a negative effect on them – for example, thinking that masked people are deliberately trying to make them irate or imply they’re stupid” = hostile attribution bias
  • group norms, conformity, and group consensus
  • group think happens when going along with your group trumps making an informed decision –> group polarization = group beliefs gradually become more radical

“People wish to be seen (by themselves and others) as reasonable. Because of this, when folks try to decide on a “rational” response to an environmental threat, they often look at the array of available risk mitigation options and try to pick a percentage of these that is neither an ‘under-response’ or an ‘over-response.’” “Unfortunately, that’s not the way risk actually works; a threat is what it is, and it isn’t going to negotiate with you regarding how much you have to do or what is a “fair” amount of effort.”

 

Categories
Health Science

The Geek’s Guide to Long COVID

Bookmarked The Geek’s Guide to Long COVID (guidetolongcovid.com)

The Geek’s Guide To Long Covid is offers information on how to use technology like apps and wearables to collect data, monitor your health and self-advocate with medical staff. Plus general info and news on Long Covid.

Signs of autoimmune disease, difficulty exercising noted 1 year after COVID (CIDRAP)

Two studies published today in the European Respiratory Journal describe long-COVID findings, one revealing signs of autoimmune disease in 41% of blood samples taken 1 year after recovery, and the other showing that 23% of patients still had exercise intolerance a year after hospital release.

Small sample size? (106 studied + 56 baseline)

Two-Year Health Outcomes in Hospitalized COVID-19 Survivors in China (JAMA Network)

In this longitudinal cohort study that included 1864 patients, the most common symptoms at 2 years after SARS-CoV-2 infection were fatigue, chest tightness, anxiety, dyspnea, and myalgia, and most symptoms resolved from 1-year to 2-year follow-up, although the incidence of dyspnea showed no significant change.

People still short of breath two years later 😔