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The pandemic's effects on opioid users in the US and Europe

Substance abusers are at greater risk of contracting Covid-19, according to recent studies, a worrying fact as use of synthetic opioids gradually increases in Europe.Users of opioids or tobacco face a greater risk of catching the coronavirus and are more likely to suffer a more serious case of Covid-19 and to die, says a recent study by the National Institutes of Health in the US.The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, a trade journal, assessed more than 73 million patients and found that people with opioid use disorder are at a particularly high risk.Nora Volkow, who heads the National ...

By banishing cartoons and adding warnings, Mexico takes on obesity

Their days are numbered: the beaming parrot on infant cereal, the pastry chef bear, the cartoon chocolate drops.These cartoons, which have accompanied generations of Mexican consumers and promoted sales, will have to disappear from packaging, accused of being accomplices in the country's obesity epidemic.New regulations oblige the Mexican food industry, including the big international brands, to put warning labels on packaged food and sugary drinks, and to change the presentation of unhealthy products.Mexico, the world's largest consumer of soft drinks, is the country with the largest share of...

5 Things to Know About a COVID Vaccine: It Won’t Be a ‘Magic Wand’

President Donald Trump makes no secret he would like a COVID-19 vaccine to be available before the election. But it’s doubtful that will happen and, even after a vaccine wins FDA approval, there would be a long wait before it’s time to declare victory over the virus.Dozens of vaccine candidates are in various testing stages around the world, with 11 in the last stage of preapproval clinical trials — including four in the U.S. One or more may prove safe and effective and enter the market in the coming months. What then?Here are five things to consider in making vaccine dreams come true.1. A vac...

Trump's coronavirus infection puts him in company with other leaders

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has shown little respect for authority as it has spread around the world this year, infecting people from all walks of life.US President Donald Trump's early Friday announcement that he has also been infected adds to the list of world leaders who have had to suffer through a disease that is still spreading and whose long-term effects remain largely unclear.Here is a list of some of the world leaders who have so far come down with the novel coronavirus, which can lead to the deadly disease Covid-19.PRINCE ALBERT II of Monaco, 62, tested positive for the virus in March and q...

Trump’s COVID program for uninsured people: It exists, but falls short

In a wide-ranging executive order, President Donald Trump this month outlined some of the efforts he has made to affect health care since taking office.One involved uninsured people and the current pandemic. The administration, Trump said, set up a program to provide them “access to necessary COVID-19-related testing and treatment.”Did it?We asked the White House for more specifics about the program Trump mentioned but did not get a reply.Nonetheless, experts said he is likely referring to reimbursement assistance to help pay the COVID testing and treatment costs of uninsured patients availabl...

Signs of an ‘October Vaccine Surprise’ Alarm Career Scientists

President Donald Trump, who seems intent on announcing a COVID-19 vaccine before Election Day, could legally authorize a vaccine over the objections of experts, officials at the Food and Drug Administration and even vaccine manufacturers, who have pledged not to release any vaccine unless it’s proved safe and effective.In podcasts, public forums, social media and medical journals, a growing number of prominent health leaders say they fear that Trump — who has repeatedly signaled his desire for the swift approval of a vaccine and his displeasure with perceived delays at the FDA — will take matt...

A room with a view: Why windows are so important to older people

Windows are something that many of us take for granted – they’re just part of the houses we live in or the buildings we work in. And yet for older people, windows can be vital as a way to access the world, especially for those who spend a lot of time indoors.

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How US demographics changed in 2018: 5 essential reads

The end of the year is a classic time for reflection. But, in today’s turbulent news cycle, it can be hard to keep track of what happened last week, let alone what was going on way back on Jan. 1.

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Why countering misinformation about the flu vaccine is harder than it seems

Many Americans hold beliefs about the flu vaccine that are at odds with the best available scientific evidence. For example, a recent study found that more than two-fifths, or 43 percent, of Americans believe that the seasonal flu vaccine can give us the flu. Scientific research strongly suggests that this is not true. Because modern flu vaccines do not contain a live virus, the shot itself simply cannot get us sick.

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Why doesn’t Trump have a dog - and should he get one? Experts weigh in

In his homily for the state funeral of George H.W. Bush on December 5, Rev. Russell Levenson Jr. joked that Sully, Bush’s loyal service dog, had probably received more press attention in recent days than the former president himself. That sentiment echoed Fala, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Scottish terrier, who was so popular with the American public that he received more fan mail than the president himself.

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Why did the flu kill 80,000 Americans last year?

The 2017-2018 flu season was historically severe. Public health officials estimate that 900,000 Americans were hospitalized and 80,000 died from the flu and its complications. For comparison, the previous worst season from the past decade, 2010-2011, saw 56,000 deaths. In a typical season, 30,000 Americans die.

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