Unhealthful Eating – Pandemic Style

Mindless eating and snacking;

Increased food consumption;

Generalized decrease in appetite or dietary intake;

Eating to cope;

Pandemic-related reductions in dietary intake;

And, a re-emergence or marked increase in eating disorder symptoms.

Approximately 8% of those studied reported extreme unhealthy weight control behaviors, 53% had less extreme unhealthy weight control behaviors and 14% reported binge eating. The study revealed that these outcomes were significantly associated with poorer stress management, greater depressive symptoms and moderate or extreme financial difficulties.

University of Minnesota Medical School. “COVID-19 pandemic has been linked with six unhealthy eating behaviors: Study shows a slight increase in eating disorders, one of the deadliest psychiatric health concerns.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210412114740.htm (accessed May 1, 2021).

Pandemic or no pandemic at times I am guilty of number one on the list. I found the absolute best pita crackers, crispy and salty, and…

Covid and…Neti Pot?

They knew that the more virus that was present in your body, the worse the impact, Baxter says. “One of our thoughts was: If we can rinse out some of the virus within 24 hours of them testing positive, then maybe we can lower the severity of that whole trajectory,” she says, including reducing the likelihood the virus could get into the lungs, where it was doing permanent, often lethal damage to many.

Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. “Twice-daily nasal irrigation reduces COVID-related illness, death, study finds.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/09/220913110403.htm (accessed September 13, 2022).

Small study n=79 but still…

Asymptomatic Tiny Human Disease Vectors

Just 14% of adults who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were asymptomatic, versus 37% of children aged 0-4 years, in the paper. This raises concern that parents, childcare providers, and preschools may be underestimating infection in seemingly healthy young kids who have been exposed to COVID, wrote lead author Ruth A. Karron, MD, and colleagues in JAMA Network Open.,,

“Given the higher rate of transmissibility and infectivity of the Omicron variant, it is difficult to make direct associations between findings reported during this study period and those present in the current era during which the Omicron variant is circulating,” they wrote in an accompanying editorial. “However, the higher rates of asymptomatic infection observed among children in this study are likely to be consistent with those observed for current and future viral variants.”

Many Young Kids With COVID May Show No Symptoms — https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/980195?src=rss

A little more science on those Tiny Human Disease Vectors. See my last post Tiny (and not so tiny) Human Disease Vectors – the Princeton-led Study

May you live in interesting times.

Omicron booster shots are coming—with lots of questions – Updated 9/2/22

The new shots target both the original strain of the coronavirus and the omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants that most people are catching now. This double-barreled vaccine is called a bivalent vaccine. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/08/31/1120241293/fda-authorizes-first-revamp-of-covid-vaccines-to-target-omicron

For the BA.4/BA.5 boosters, the companies have submitted animal data. They have not released those data publicly, although at the June FDA meeting, Pfizer presented preliminary findings in eight mice given BA.4/BA.5 vaccines as their third dose. Compared with the mice that received the original vaccine as a booster, the animals showed an increased response to all Omicron variants tested: BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5.

Omicron booster shots are coming—with lots of questions — https://www.science.org/content/article/omicron-booster-shots-are-coming-lots-questions

Update 9/2/22

Some answers to commonly asked questions can be found in the Stat article.

On Thursday evening, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the recommendation made earlier in the day by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, that the newly formulated vaccines be used.

Your questions on the new Covid vaccine boosters answered — https://www.statnews.com/2022/09/01/your-questions-on-the-new-covid-vaccine-boosters-answered/

Micro-clots and long COVID (it’s a hypothesis people)

But many hematologists and COVID-19 researchers worry that enthusiasm for the clot hypothesis has outpaced the data. They want to see larger studies and stronger causal evidence. And they are concerned about people seeking out unproven, potentially risky treatments.

Nature 608, 662-664 (2022)
doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-02286-7

This is a good article on the micro-clot hypothesis behind long Covid.

Don’t bother with the herpes article but if you have to, here you go:

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-02296-5

What do we know about Covid-19 vaccines in under 5s?

How researchers and public health officials perceive the risk-benefit ratio of rolling out vaccines to under 5s varies around the world and depends on the impact covid-19 has had on that country. Sweden has had just a handful of fatalities in those aged under 18,6 and vaccines are still not available to children aged 5-11 years. But in Brazil the virus has killed an average of two children under the age of 5 each day7—a rate which equates to around one in every five deaths among under 5s worldwide. Understandably, doctors are keen to boost protection levels, fearful of the impact that future variants might have.

BMJ 2022;378:o1892 — https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1892 (Published 23 August 2022)

Monoclonal Antibody RX and Covid Variants

Most monoclonal antibody therapies that neutralized early variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus are less effective or not effective against the BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 Omicron subvariants that currently make up almost 99% of infections in the United States, according to a report in Nature.

Evolving Omicron Subvariants Are More Resistant to Antibody Therapy — https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2795047


Covid’s Persistent Pattern

The government is planning on rolling out updated Omicron-targeting booster shots this fall, specifically with a component of the BA.5 subvariant, which now accounts for 85% of U.S. infections. Even if some other Omicron sublineage becomes dominant by then, the shots could be a better match against what’s circulating than the original formulation — and could help bolster protection against infection, and in turn act as a drag on transmission. The updated shot will combine the BA.5 component with the original vaccines that targeted the virus’s spike protein from early 2020. Training the immune system on two variants can lead to a broader response generally, said Meagan Deming, a virologist and infectious diseases physician at the University of Maryland. 

Covid has settled into a persistent pattern — and remains damaging. — https://www.statnews.com/2022/08/04/covid-has-settled-into-a-persistent-pattern-and-remains-damaging-it-may-not-change-anytime-soon/

Covid-19: is omicron less lethal than delta?

This study provides the most conclusive evidence to date that infection with the omicron subvariant BA.1 was inherently less deadly than delta when controlling for a number of key covariates. Combining death certification records with molecular surveillance is the main advantage of this study, which avoids previous biases in covid-19 death designations. Accounting for a broad array of standardised covariates, including sociodemographic variables, pre-existing health conditions, and previous immunity, is another strength.

BMJ 2022; 378 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1806 (Published 02 August 2022)

Quote from the BMJ editorial. Here’s the link to the study:

Risk of covid-19 related deaths for SARS-CoV-2 omicron (B.1.1.529) compared with delta (B.1.617.2): retrospective cohort study — BMJ 2022; 378 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2022-070695

Don’t Let Your Cat Sneeze on You

Researchers say the results are convincing. They are surprised that it has taken this long to establish that transmission can occur, given the scale of the pandemic, the virus’s ability to jump between animal species, and the close contact between cats and people. “We’ve known this was a possibility for two years,” says Angela Bosco-Lauth, an infectious-disease researcher at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

First reported case of a person getting COVID from a cat — https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01792-y
Photo by Kirsten Bu00fchne on Pexels.com

Deer too. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01112-4

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Don’t forget about hamsters. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00322-0

Photo by Faris Subriun on Pexels.com

Or mink mutations…

Fonager says researchers in Denmark have sequenced viral samples from 40 mink farms and identified some 170 coronavirus variants. He adds that in viral samples from people — representing about one-fifth of the country’s total COVID confirmed cases — they’ve found some 300 people with variants that contain mutations thought to have first emerged in mink. “That is something we really want to keep a close eye on.”

COVID mink analysis shows mutations are not dangerous — yet — https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03218-z