Why PTSD May Plague Many Hospitalized Covid-19 Survivors — Smithsonian Magazine

Scientists warn about the likelihood of post-traumatic stress disorder for patients discharged from the intensive care unit.

Covid-19 isn’t the first epidemic to cause a domino effect of persisting psychiatric health problems across a population. The current pandemic has been compared to the severe adult respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2014 in Saudi Arabia—both diseases caused by coronaviruses. In an analysis of international studies from the SARS and MERS outbreaks, researchers found that among recovered patients, the prevalence of PTSD was 32.2 percent, depression was 14.9 percent and anxiety disorders was 14.8 percent.

Why PTSD May Plague Many Hospitalized Covid-19 Survivors — Science | Smithsonian Magazine

The entire article is worth reading. And from The BMJ probable PTSD in hospital workers too.

Nearly half of intensive care unit (ICU) and anaesthetic staff surveyed for a study reported symptoms consistent with a probable diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe depression, anxiety, or problem drinking.1

The preprint, produced by researchers at King’s College London, aimed to get a picture of the rates of probable mental health disorders in ICU and anaesthetic staff in six English hospitals during June and July 2020.

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n108 (Published 13 January 2021) BMJ 2021;372:n108

Every Day is an Emergency – Psychiatric Bed Shortages Nationwide

The pandemic and the parallel economic crisis have fueled new concern about access to mental health care. An estimated 40% of American adults are have a condition involving mental illness or substance abuse. In June, federal health officials reported nearly 11% percent of adults surveyed seriously considered suicide during the past 30 days.

‘Every day is an emergency’: The pandemic is worsening psychiatric bed shortages nationwide — https://www.statnews.com/2020/12/23/mental-health-covid19-psychiatric-beds/?utm_campaign=rss

We are just ten months into the Great Pandemic and I fear conditions will get worse before they get better.

Diet modifications (including more wine and cheese) May Help Reduce Cognitive Decline

Participants also answered questions about their food and alcohol consumption at baseline and through two follow-up assessments. The Food Frequency Questionnaire asked participants about their intake of fresh fruit, dried fruit, raw vegetables and salad, cooked vegetables, oily fish, lean fish, processed meat, poultry, beef, lamb, pork, cheese, bread, cereal, tea and coffee, beer and cider, red wine, white wine and Champaign and liquor.

Here are four of the most significant findings from the study:

Cheese, by far, was shown to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive problems, even late into life;

The daily consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, was related to improvements in cognitive function;

Weekly consumption of lamb, but not other red meats, was shown to improve long-term cognitive prowess; and

Excessive consumption of salt is bad, but only individuals already at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease may need to watch their intake to avoid cognitive problems over time.

Iowa State University. “Diet modifications — including more wine and cheese — may help reduce cognitive decline, study suggests.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201210145850.htm (accessed December 13, 2020).

Journal Reference

  1. Brandon S. Klinedinst, Scott T. Le, Brittany Larsen, Colleen Pappas, Nathan J. Hoth, Amy Pollpeter, Qian Wang, Yueying Wang, Shan Yu, Li Wang, Karin Allenspach, Jonathan P. Mochel, David A. Bennett, Auriel A. Willette. Genetic Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease Modulate How Diet is Associated with Long-Term Cognitive Trajectories: A UK Biobank Study. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2020; 78 (3): 1245 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-201058

Finally some good news.

I Thought I Told You To Put That Phone Down!

Compared with participants who used less than 120 minutes per day of social media, for example, young adults who used more than 300 minutes per day were 2.8 times as likely to become depressed within six months.The study, which will be published online Dec. 10 and is scheduled for the February 2021 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is the first large, national study to show a link between social media use and depression over time.

University of Arkansas. “Increased social media use linked to developing depression.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201210074722.htm (accessed December 13, 2020).

Journal Reference

  1. Brian A. Primack, Ariel Shensa, Jaime E. Sidani, César G. Escobar-Viera, Michael J. Fine. Temporal Associations Between Social Media Use and Depression. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.09.014

A few more posts for your reading pleasure.

Consistently Inconsistent With the Virus (as with life)

I’d thought long and hard about what I wanted to do when Will — and, soon after, his brother, Theo — returned home. The by-the-book Dr. Anthony Fauci approach would have been to have the boys keep on their masks, send them upstairs for a couple of weeks, and open all the windows in the house in the meantime.

But as the pandemic has taught us, there are things we value more than perfect protection from the virus. When it comes to them, we’re willing to puncture our bubbles, because without them, living feels like something less than being fully alive…

I admit that, at least to an outsider, my behavior seems inconsistent. But to me, it makes perfect sense. The risks I’m choosing to take are the ones where the payoff is biggest relative to the risk I perceive. (Yes, even the haircut! I love a good high-and-tight, and my barber is applying the clippers in his open-air home workshop.)

Before you argue with me, I get it. These aren’t the choices you would make. And that’s my point.We all have things we value. And risks we are willing to take for them. Neither of these two categories will be exactly the same for any one of us.

When it comes to the virus, we are all consistently inconsistent
Adam Cohen Published: Sun, December 13, 2020 1:07 AM Updated: Sun, December 13, 2020 1:36 AM — https://oklahoman.com/article/5678132/cohen-when-it-comes-to-the-virus-we-are-all-consistently-inconsistent

Exposed to grandchildren? Why take the chance?

reader comment

A reader’s comment above stopped me in my tracks. The past nine months have been spent mostly in the house with minimal forays out of the house for essentials like food and beer. I didn’t get a real haircut for months. The insides of a restaurant are now foreign to me. I cancelled my gym membership. So the comment made me think, why did I take the chance to spend time with Tiny Human Petri Dishes? When I stumbled upon the Cohen article I realized I was not alone. Nine months have disappeared and we all struggle with our own individual risk/reward scenarios.

The Grandchildren Bubble is unique. Risk was reduced to zero for six months. After six months all of the adults decided the Covid risk was minimal for several reasons. Two of the four adults (the most cautious and conservative ones) caught the virus. Thankfully both were fairly mild cases on the spectrum of asymptomatic to death and both have fully recovered. So two people have antibodies. The third adult is a front line HCW who deals with Covid each and every time he goes to work. The doctor has gotten tested multiple times all with negative results. One Tiny Human attends preschool and if a child has anything near a small sniffle they have to stay home and cannot rejoin the class until they have a negative Covid test. She recently received a negative test. Tiny Human Too just started crawling and doesn’t get out the house much. Not much to worry about here.

And for readers who have been counting that leaves yours truly. I lived with one of the infected before we knew she was infected. I tested negative the day before she got her test results. One of our neighbors asked if I left the house to live in a hotel. No I didn’t. Living apart while under the same roof was an interesting experience that I hope never to repeat. And despite having Covid in the house I didn’t catch it.

So I spent some time in my only trusted bubble mask less and I end up catching one or two non-Covid-19 coronaviruses. Next time I’m wearing a mask.

Personality Traits Linked to Toilet Paper Stockpiling

The most robust predictor of toilet paper stockpiling was the perceived threat posed by the pandemic; people who felt more threatened tended to stockpile more toilet paper. Around 20 percent of this effect was also based on the personality factor of emotionality — people who generally tend to worry a lot and feel anxious are most likely to feel threatened and stockpile toilet paper. The personality domain of conscientiousness — which includes traits of organization, diligence, perfectionism and prudence — was also a predictor of stockpiling.

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. “Personality traits linked to toilet paper stockpiling: High levels of emotionality and conscientiousness are indicators for stockpiling behavior.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200612172227.htm (accessed November 25, 2020).

In case you haven’t noticed it’s happening again. Where’s the toilet paper?

Diets Don’t Work so Why Are More Teens Dieting?

Well, my first thought was Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) — https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder-bdd. But this is merely an educated guess from an insurance guy who has lost 200 pounds and not a trained licensed practicing clinical psychiatrist.

In 2015, 42% of 14-year-old girls and boys said they currently were trying to lose weight, compared to 30% in 2005.

Lead author Dr Francesca Solmi (UCL Psychiatry) said: “Our findings show how the way we talk about weight, health and appearance can have profound impacts on young people’s mental health, and efforts to tackle rising obesity rates may have unintended consequences.

“An increase in dieting among young people is concerning because experimental studies have found that dieting is generally ineffective in the long term at reducing body weight in adolescents, but can instead have greater impacts on mental health. We know, for instance, that dieting is a strong risk factor in the development of eating disorders.”

University College London. “Dieting and weight worries on rise in teens.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201116112855.htm (accessed November 21, 2020). — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201116112855.htm

And in case you made it this far on this blog post my estimated BMI at age 20 was 53.1. My current BMI is 25.1.

How our Brains can be Manipulated to Tribalism

An earlier article by Prof. Javanbakht.

Tribalism has been an inherent part of human history, and is closely linked with fear. There has always been competition between groups of humans in different ways and with different faces, from brutal wartime nationalism to a strong loyalty to a football team. Evidence from cultural neuroscience shows that our brains even respond differently at an unconscious level simply to the view of faces from other races or cultures.

At a tribal level, people are more emotional and consequently less logical: Fans of both teams pray for their team to win, hoping God will take sides in a game. On the other hand, we regress to tribalism when afraid. This is an evolutionary advantage that would lead to the group cohesion and help us fight the other tribes to survive.

Tribalism is the biological loophole that many politicians have banked on for a long time: tapping into our fears and tribal instincts. Abuse of fear has killed in many faces: extreme nationalism, Nazism, the Ku Klux Klan and religious tribalism have all led to heartless killing of millions.

How our brains can be manipulated to tribalismhttps://theconversation.com/trump-the-politics-of-fear-and-racism-how-our-brains-can-be-manipulated-to-tribalism-139811

Living in The Matrix – More Isolation, Fear, and Tribalism

Executive Summary

  • Our politics and culture are mired in fear and tribalism.
  • The algorithms tracking you on social media are triggered by your negative emotions and amplify the negativity.
  • Your digital tribe keeps consuming and feeding each other with the same ideology.
  • We regress further into tribalism and mistrust of those not in your tribe.
  • Higher social media use is linked with increased anxiety, stress and depression.
  • Short attention spans deactivate critical thinking skills (skills which are no longer being taught by the intellectual elites in our colleges and universities).

Those of us old enough to know what life was like before social media may remember how exciting Facebook was at its inception. Imagine, the ability to connect with old friends we had not seen for decades! Then, Facebook was a virtual dynamic conversation. This brilliant idea, to connect to others with shared experiences and interests, was strengthened with the advent of Twitter, Instagram and apps.

Things did not remain that simple. These platforms have morphed into Frankenstein’s monsters, filled with so-called friends we’ve never met, slanted news stories, celebrity gossip, self-aggrandizement and ads.

The Matrix is already here: Social media promised to connect us, but left us isolated, scared and tribal — https://theconversation.com/the-matrix-is-already-here-social-media-promised-to-connect-us-but-left-us-isolated-scared-and-tribal-148799

I’ve written about the dangers of social media many times:

More Social Media Use Linked to More Depression and Anxiety in Teens

Quit Social Media – Dr. Cal Newport

The Pleasures of Life without Social Media

The Potential Harm of Social Media

I’ve bulleted the highlights of the Matrix article but the entire article is well worth reading. What truth?