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Morning Rounds Shraddha Chakradhar

Welcome back from the long weekend. STAT reporter Andrew Joseph here filling in for the day. 

The latest on Covid-19 drugs and vaccines

The Friday evening before a holiday weekend is traditionally when groups release news they would rather no one pay attention to. But this past Friday, we finally got the full data from the NIH-run study showing that Gilead's remdesivir sped the recoveries of people with Covid-19. The data also revealed that the drug had a more limited benefit for patients who were severely ill, underscoring the need for additional treatments — as well as vaccines. More here

  • After a study on Friday found that hydroxychloroquine was associated with higher mortality in Covid-19 patients, the WHO said Monday it had paused enrollment in the hydroxychloroquine portion of its multiarm Solidarity Trial to review the safety and efficacy data generated so far.
  • In vaccine news, data from a candidate being developed by the Chinese drug maker CanSino showed that it induced an immune response in participants, but that some had a weak response because of their interaction with a component of the vaccine. Separately, a participant in the Moderna vaccine trial tells STAT about experiencing a severe reaction after being dosed with the vaccine. 
  • The Trump administration has tapped Janet Woodcock, a respected FDA veteran, to work full time on the White House's Covid-19 vaccine efforts. It may sound like a wonky personnel move, but it's a signal of the pressure to develop a vaccine.
  • The administration also sent its strategic testing plan to Congress this weekend, putting a bulk of the responsibility on states.  

The persistence of picky eating in children

Being demanding about eating or restricting the types of foods kids can have might only make picky eaters more choosy, according to a study out this morning in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers followed more than 300 parent/child pairs for five years and found that picky eating was a persistent trait, lasting from age 4 to age 9. That indicates that any successful interventions would likely need to occur early, but so far, researchers have not established strategies that work. The researchers did uncover an association, however, between picky eating and lower body mass indexes.

Inside STAT: In Navajo Nation, the younger generation fights to save their legacy from Covid-19

(Molly ferguson for STAT)

Navajo Nation has the highest Covid-19 infection rate in the U.S. One of the challenges is that, across the reservation that spans four states, multigenerational housing is common, which makes it difficult for people to distance and leaves vulnerable older people at risk for the coronavirus. Younger generations are now playing a critical role in the area’s pandemic response, in an effort to protect older Navajos, as well as their cultural knowledge, including language, practices, and stories. “With this virus, there’s a threat to that,” Allie Young, 30, told STAT contributor Mona Gable. “Because when our elders are dying, that knowledge goes with them.” More here.

The divergent ways brains recover from strokes

The relationship in a healthy brain between neural activity and blood flow is called neurovascular coupling, which gets thrown off by strokes. In a new study that sought to look at the impact of ministrokes, researchers studying mice found that the correlation between cerebral blood flow and neural activity disassociated immediately after the stroke, then worsened over a few days. And even as blood flow returned, issues with neural activity lingered. The study indicates that looking at blood flow as a way to gauge recovery from stroke might miss ongoing neural deficits. Ministrokes are thought to have a role in the development of vascular dementia.

The time between colonoscopies could be extended, study suggests

It’s recommended that adults with average risk for colorectal cancer get a colonoscopy every 10 years, but a new study indicates that that time period could be safely extended. The study, which relied on a screening registry of more than 165,000 people, found that having one negative result with a high-quality colonoscopy was associated with a greatly reduced risk of getting and dying from colorectal cancer over more than 17 years. Past studies have hinted at similar findings, but the new research followed more people for a longer time than earlier reviews.

How gender biases can trip up AI diagnostics

New research highlights what appears to be a pervasive challenge in building AI models to diagnose disease: gender disparities. The study found that when women were underrepresented in or excluded from the patient pool on which the machine-learning model was trained, the subsequent algorithm performed worse in diagnosing them with a range of medical conditions. The study, researchers say, demonstrates how biases can sneak into computer models, and shines a light on an issue that has broad implications. Researchers previously reported that a predictive model for kidney function decline performed worse for women, who only made up 6% of patients whose data trained the algorithm. More here.

What to read around the web today

  • Pharma panics as Washington pushes to bring drug manufacturing back to the U.S. STAT Plus
  • Coronavirus hot spots in Texas homeless shelters highlight challenges unsheltered residents face social distancing, staying clean. Texas Tribune/ProPublica
  • Language interpreters prove crucial in Covid-19 cases. San Francisco Chronicle
  • Opinion: When bubonic plague hit France in 1720, officials dithered. Sound familiar? STAT
  • Wealthiest hospitals got billions in bailout for struggling health providers. New York Times

Thanks for reading! 

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020


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