Month: September 2021

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COVID is killing rural Americans at twice the rate of urbanites

Rural Americans are dying of COVID at more than twice the rate of their urban counterparts — a divide that health experts say is likely to widen as access to medical care shrinks for a population that tends to be older, sicker, heavier, poorer and less vaccinated.

While the initial surge of COVID-19 deaths skipped over much of rural America, where roughly 15% of Americans live, nonmetropolitan mortality rates quickly started to outpace those of metropolitan areas as the virus spread nationwide before vaccinations became available, according to data from the Rural Policy Research Institute.

Since the pandemic began, about 1 in 434 rural Americans have died of COVID, compared with roughly 1 in 513 urban Americans, the institute’s data shows. And though vaccines have reduced overall COVID death rates since the winter peak, rural mortality rates are now more than double urban rates — and accelerating quickly.

In

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Unmasking strategies to help kids navigate mixed views on face coverings

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“Masks are for sissies!” “Where’s your mask, know-it-all?” This fall, add comments like these to the list of childhood taunts heard on the playground and in the classroom.

Long a polarizing issue among adults, have become a source of contention among children and, unfortunately, a perfect set-up for bullying, with children taking many of their cues from things they hear their parents say at home.

“What creates a bullying situation? Anything that sets a child apart from their peers or makes them appear weak, anxious or not able to defend themselves,” said Dr. Ramnarine Boodoo, child psychiatrist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “When you layer in political and social views, it becomes even more challenging for kids to navigate all this.”

Evolving information about the effectiveness of masks—now essentially proven as more is available—unfortunately helped fuel the idea some

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Misinformation leads to animosity toward healthcare workers

A constant barrage of misinformation has Idaho healthcare workers facing increased animosity from some patients and community members, officials say. It’s gotten so bad in northern Idaho that some Kootenai Health employees are scared to go to the grocery store if they haven’t changed out of their scrubs, said hospital spokeswoman Caiti Bobbitt on Tuesday.

Some doctors and nurses at the Coeur d’Alene hospital have been accused of killing patients by grieving family members who don’t believe COVID-19 is real, Bobbitt said. Others have been the subject of hurtful rumors spread by people angry about the pandemic.

“Our healthcare workers are almost feeling like Vietnam veterans, scared to go into the community after a shift,” Bobbitt said.

Similar instances are happening across the state, said Brian Whitlock, president of the Idaho Hospital Association.

COVID-related attacks prompt hospital to issue panic buttons

“We’ve had reports of physical violence, verbal abuse, demands

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Science backs nature as key to children’s health

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The presence of greenspaces near homes and schools is strongly associated with improved physical activity and mental health outcomes in kids, according to a massive review of data from nearly 300 studies.

Published online Sept. 29 in the journal Pediatrics, the review conducted by Washington State University and University of Washington scientists highlights the important role that exposure to nature plays in . Importantly, some of the data examined the effects for kids from historically marginalized communities and showed that the benefits of nature exposure may be even more pronounced for them.

“By looking at the full scope of existing quantitative evidence, we were able to see the importance of ready access to nature for both physical and in childhood,” said Amber Fyfe-Johnson, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor with WSU’s Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community

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Chicago health system is making house calls

After initial triage to ensure a patient should not be rushed to an emergency department, the typical in-home visit involves a DispatchHealth-employed nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant along with a medical assistant driving to a patient’s location, treating the condition and connecting the patient with a DispatchHealth medical doctor, usually through telehealth. The DispatchHealth car carries all the tools for most emergency care needs laboratory tests, intravenous medications and medical imaging equipment, DispatchHealth said in a statement. 

Years ago, doctors made house calls, even to very sick patients, but technological improvements made the doctor’s office and the hospital the preferred site for healthcare. Now technology can bring back the house call, said Rush CEO Dr. Rama Krishnan.

“People don’t want to go and sit around in a waiting room,” Krishnan said. “They never did, and definitely not with COVID-19 around.”

And while teleheatlh grew enormously in both availability and acceptance,

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Happiness in early adulthood may protect against dementia

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While research has shown that poor cardiovascular health can damage blood flow to the brain increasing the risk for dementia, a new study led by UC San Francisco indicates that poor mental health may also take its toll on cognition.

The research adds to a body of evidence that links depression with dementia, but while most studies have pointed to its association in later life, the UCSF study shows that depression in may lead to lower cognition 10 years later and to in old age.

The study publishes in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease on Sept. 28, 2021.

The researchers used innovative statistical methods to predict average trajectories of for approximately 15,000 participants ages 20 to 89, divided into three life stages: older, midlife and young adulthood. They then applied these predicted trajectories and found that in a group of

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