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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Trump says he's 'good' with masks, but spreads misinformation during town hall

President Trump garbled a recent study on mask use at a town hall event last night, arguing falsely that most Americans who wear masks have contracted Covid-19. Trump also indicated he did not agree with established science showing widespread mask use could substantially reduce U.S. deaths, citing his controversial Covid-19 adviser Scott Atlas, whom he called "Scott Atkins." When it was pointed out that Atlas is not an infectious disease specialist, Trump said he's "one of the great experts of the world." When a voter asked Trump why he didn't enact stricter Covid-19 prevention measures beyond his China travel ban, the president doubled down on the travel ban itself, insisting he didn't want to "panic" Americans. "No, there's not a middle ground," Trump said. 

In a parallel town hall, Democratic nominee Joe Biden said that while he'd like to make masks and a Covid-19 vaccine mandatory, doing so would be impractical. 

FDA requires warnings about possible pregnancy complications on common painkillers

The FDA is now requiring makers of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen — to include a warning label for those who may take the medications when they are 20 or more weeks pregnant. The drugs can cause rare but serious kidney problems in the unborn baby, the agency warns, which in turn can lead to low levels of amniotic fluid and pregnancy complications. The FDA already requires warnings about taking NSAIDs after 30 weeks of pregnancy, which can cause heart problems in the unborn baby. If pregnant individuals have to take NSAIDs between 20 and 30 weeks of pregnancy, the FDA says health providers should suggest the lowest possible dose.

Health experts' Thanksgiving advice in the time of Covid: plan, plan, plan

(MIKE REDDY FOR STAT)

Thanksgiving in the U.S. may still be six weeks away, but public health experts urge those who haven't already thought about the holiday to start planning. The stressful travel holiday will likely take on a new a layer of anxiety with the Covid-19 pandemic as people figure out how to get from one place to another safely and what their quarantine plans may be. Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, for one, is not having his three daughters — who live in different parts of the U.S. — travel home this year. And already prone to family drama, Thanksgiving this year may become particularly contentious if a relative dismisses safety precautions or the seriousness of the pandemic. Such a person "may not be the best person to bubble with," one expert tells STAT's Helen Branswell, who has more insight here on planning for the occasion. 

Inside STAT: As telehealth takes off, early critics embrace change — and harbor doubts


The Covid-19 pandemic has been an accelerating force for telemedicine, the latest chapter in a gradual shift among physicians toward delivering health care virtually. Nearly two decades ago, skepticism about telehealth was commonplace, and many of the naysayers helped shape the conversation about the practice in the interim years. “Prescribing a new medication for a patient I haven't examined, especially an antibiotic, isn't something I would do,” a San Antonio family physician told the Houston Chronicle in 2003. And while some of those early skeptics have since warmed to telemedicine, others are still critical, saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has only made clearer that telehealth is not appropriate for all situations. STAT's Rebecca Robbins has more here for STAT Plus subscribers. 

New report outlines the increasing burden of chronic disease around the world

The latest Global Burden of Disease study shows that rates of chronic disease are increasing around the world, which may have partially led to the high death rates from Covid-19 in some countries. Here's more:

  • U.S. trends: Cardiovascular disease deaths have increased nearly 17% since 2010, and are among the reasons that life expectancy in the U.S. is lower than in other high-income countries. The U.S. has also seen reversals in health improvements since 2010, partly due to increasing rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. 
  • Global trends: High blood pressure, tobacco use, and dietary choices such as high salt intake were the three causes responsible for the most deaths in 2019. All told, 20% of the loss of healthy years last year were due to metabolic changes, a 50% increase since 1990. 
  • Covid-19 risk: "COVID-19 is a syndemic of coronavirus infection combined with an epidemic of non-communicable diseases," an accompanying editorial states, adding that public health systems have to also account for the effects of poverty and inequality on health. 

Reddit testimonials suggest public is using CBD for a wide range of diagnosed health conditions

As the use and marketing of CBD products has risen in recent years, a new study finds that people are using the products for health conditions that have other, proven treatments. Experts analyzed nearly 400 Reddit posts labeled as testimonials claiming CBD (which is extracted from marijuana plants) treated the person's diagnosed conditions — even though there is only one FDA-approved treatment that uses the compound. Nearly two-thirds of posts claimed CBD helped with a mental health condition, including autism and depression, around 1 in 4 said a CBD product helped with orthopedic problems, and nearly 15% touted CBD for sleep-related issues. The findings suggest a need for interventions, such as better regulation of CBD marketing, that address the use of these products for unproven applications, the authors suggest.

What to read around the web today

  • The new burden on Covid-19 families. The Atlantic
  • New research maps out the nutrients that fuel a beating heart. STAT Plus
  • Inside the fall of the CDC. ProPublica
  • Physician-politicians tout medical credentials in key U.S. congressional races. Scientific American
  • Psychedelic treatment for depression is on sale for the first time. Quartz

Thanks for reading! I'll be back with more on Monday,

Shraddha

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Friday, October 16, 2020

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