Sunday, November 28News That Matters

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Texas Abortion Law Complicates Care for Risky Pregnancies

Texas Abortion Law Complicates Care for Risky Pregnancies

Technology
The only way to stop the heavy bleeding is to end the pregnancy and contract the uterus, Dr. Moayedi said. Time is of the essence. “Every OB-GYN has cared for someone who has died from a hemorrhage,” she said. “If someone is hemorrhaging while miscarrying, how long do I have to wait?”Even if the mother’s life is saved, Dr. Moayedi added, she could require an emergency hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, which would leave her infertile.Other complications that occur when a woman is carrying twins or multiples can be resolved by a “selective reduction,” or abortion, of one of the fetuses so that the other has a better chance to live. Not doing so can, in some circumstances, kill all of the fetuses. Selective reductions are forbidden under the new state law.In other cases, a pregnant woma...

Immunocompromised Families Greet Child’s Vaccine With Relief

Technology
The organization recently ran a vaccine clinic in the heavily Polish and Latino communities, where some have hesitated to get their children vaccinated. MariCarmen Zavala brought her 8-year-old son, Louis Perez.“It’s really important for me to get the vaccine for him so that my son is able to do the activities that he likes to do,” she said. “My two sisters-in-law don’t want to vaccinate their children based on the misinformation they hear. So he will help protect the ones who are not.”In Ely, Minn., two of Michelle Greener’s children, Sophie, 10 and Liv, 11, share a rare disease — Ehlers-Danlos syndrome — with her husband, and she has a 16-year-old she adopted when the girl’s mother, the family babysitter, died in 2019. That child, Emma, is severely disabled and at very high risk for comp...
Boosters Are Complicating Efforts to Persuade the Unvaccinated to Get Shots

Boosters Are Complicating Efforts to Persuade the Unvaccinated to Get Shots

Technology
Dan Mehan, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a pro-business group in a state where vaccination rates lag nationally, is providing companies a “vaccination encouragement” tip sheet and awarding them bronze, silver or gold-level certificates, based on percentage of vaccinated employees. Employers can then flaunt their status to encourage customer traffic. “We think vaccination is essential for the recovery from the pandemic,” Mr. Mehan said.Grief-stricken relatives of children and unvaccinated adults who succumbed to the Delta variant have even been taking it upon themselves to sponsor vaccine drives. This summer, some held vaccine events at funerals.But with mass vaccine sites largely shuttered, the burden of persuasion has fallen increasingly to primary care provi...
First, Impressive Vaccines for Covid. Next Up: The Flu.

First, Impressive Vaccines for Covid. Next Up: The Flu.

Technology
As the world grapples with Covid-19, influenza isn’t getting much attention these days. But the flu’s global impact is staggering: three million to five million cases of severe illness every year, and up to 650,000 deaths. Every few decades, a new flu strain spills over from animals and leads to a pandemic.The deadly toll of influenza is all the more striking when you consider that we have had vaccines to fight it for eight decades. But they remain mediocre. A flu shot is good for only one flu season, and its effectiveness typically reaches somewhere between 40 and 60 percent. In some years it’s as low as 10 percent.But a new generation of highly effective flu vaccines may emerge in the next few years, based on the same mRNA technology that has protected hundreds of millions of people agai...
How Accurate Are At-Home Covid Tests?

How Accurate Are At-Home Covid Tests?

Technology
In the early months of the pandemic, getting a coronavirus test typically required visiting a health care center, a laboratory or a dedicated testing site, a process that sometimes involved long lines and waiting a week or more to get the results.Americans can now take rapid virus tests from the comfort of their own homes. Many of these tests are available without a prescription and return results in just 15 minutes.Demand for the tests has surged in recent months, as the highly infectious Delta variant has spread and schools and offices have reopened. “All the manufacturers are ramping up production, but right now they can be hard to find,” said Gigi Gronvall, a testing expert at Johns Hopkins University.Although rapid tests have their limitations, they are an important public health tool...
They Shunned Covid Vaccines but Embraced Antibody Treatment

They Shunned Covid Vaccines but Embraced Antibody Treatment

Technology
Lanson Jones did not think that the coronavirus would come for him. An avid tennis player in Houston who had not caught so much as a cold during the pandemic, he had refused a vaccine because he worried that it would spoil his streak of good health.But contracting Covid shattered his faith in his body’s defenses — so much so that Mr. Jones, nose clogged and appetite vanished, began hunting for anything to spare himself a nightmarish illness.The answer turned out to be monoclonal antibodies, a year-old, laboratory-created drug no less experimental than the vaccine. In a glass-walled enclosure at Houston Methodist Hospital this month, Mr. Jones, 65, became one of more than a million patients, including Donald J. Trump and Joe Rogan, to receive an antibody infusion as the virus has battered t...
Phony Diagnoses Hide High Rates of Drugging at Nursing Homes

Phony Diagnoses Hide High Rates of Drugging at Nursing Homes

Business
The handwritten doctor’s order was just eight words long, but it solved a problem for Dundee Manor, a nursing home in rural South Carolina struggling to handle a new resident with severe dementia.David Blakeney, 63, was restless and agitated. The home’s doctor wanted him on an antipsychotic medication called Haldol, a powerful sedative.“Add Dx of schizophrenia for use of Haldol,” read the doctor’s order, using the medical shorthand for “diagnosis.”But there was no evidence that Mr. Blakeney actually had schizophrenia.Antipsychotic drugs — which for decades have faced criticism as “chemical straitjackets” — are dangerous for older people with dementia, nearly doubling their chance of death from heart problems, infections, falls and other ailments. But understaffed nursing homes have often u...
The Best Birthday Present in 2021? A Covid Vaccine.

The Best Birthday Present in 2021? A Covid Vaccine.

Technology
Zoe Tu, a seventh grader in Brooklyn, likes to celebrate her birthday with dulce de leche Haagen-Dazs ice cream cake. This year, her 12th, was no exception, but the day was also marked by a treat of another kind: her Covid vaccine.Zoe got the shot the first day she became eligible, on Aug. 2, and it was accompanied by a $100 gift certificate given as a vaccine incentive at the Barclays Center. (Her mother allowed her to spend it on anything she wanted.)“The nurse was really excited about wishing me a happy birthday,” Zoe recalled.Zoe’s mother, Nicole Tu, said she had told her daughter she could wait if she wanted. But, Zoe said: “I knew that was the quickest I could get it. I was excited because I could feel safer.”Many birthdays are rites of passage, especially for young people. Getting t...
Nursing Homes Confront New Covid Outbreaks Amid Calls for Staff Vaccination Mandates

Nursing Homes Confront New Covid Outbreaks Amid Calls for Staff Vaccination Mandates

Business
Staff immunization has been an issue in many states, especially as the highly contagious Delta variant races through regions with low vaccination rates. On Monday, one of the nation’s largest nursing-home operators, Genesis HealthCare, said it will mandate vaccines for staff by Aug. 23, noting “while we would have greatly preferred a strictly voluntary process, our commitment to health and safety outweighs concerns about imposing a requirement.”Some states and cities, not waiting for the nursing home industry, are imposing their own mandates for vaccinations on long-term care employees or operators may face penalties or additional testing requirements for unvaccinated staff. Massachusetts on Wednesday said all nursing-home staff must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, while California last wee...
C.D.C. Warns of Superbug Fungus Outbreaks in 2 Cities

C.D.C. Warns of Superbug Fungus Outbreaks in 2 Cities

Business
While C. auris has long been notoriously hard to treat, researchers for the first time identified five patients in Texas and Washington, D.C., whose infections did not respond to any of the three major classes of antifungal medication. So-called panresistance had been previously reported in three patients in New York who were being treated for C. auris, but health officials said the newly reported panresistant infections occurred in patients who had never received antifungal drugs, said Dr. Meghan Lyman, a medical officer at the C.D.C. who specializes in fungal diseases.“The concerning thing is that the patients at risk are no longer the small population of people who have infections and are already being treated with these medications,” she said.Infectious disease specialists say the coro...