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Will Coffee Shop Culture Survive COVID-19?  - web md

Will Coffee Shop Culture Survive COVID-19?

The days of lounging in comfy chairs or at tables inside coffee shops as soothing music plays in the background, tip-tapping on your laptop or reading a newspaper, appear to be a thing of the past, at least for now.
web md - 2 days ago
Are Boomers Less Sharp Than Previous Generations?  - web md

Are Boomers Less Sharp Than Previous Generations?

Looking at two decades' worth of data on U.S. adults, the study found generational differences in tests of cognitive function. That refers to essential mental abilities such as remembering, reasoning and problem-solving.
web md - 3 days ago
School, camp, daycare, and sports physicals: What to do in the time of COVID-19 - harvard

School, camp, daycare, and sports physicals: What to do in the time of COVID-19

Summer activities are underway and some schools will be reopening come September. Does your child need a physical exam, or a form from the pediatrician? Here's how to think through the options for fulfilling these requirements. The post School, camp, daycare, and sports physicals: What to do in the time of COVID-19 appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 5 days ago
Young Black Americans at High Risk of Hypertension  - web md

Young Black Americans at High Risk of Hypertension

The study, of 18- to 44-year-olds in the United States, found that high blood pressure was prevalent across all racial groups: Among both white and Mexican American participants, 22% had the condition.
web md - 6 days ago
Wondering about goosebumps? Of course you are - harvard

Wondering about goosebumps? Of course you are

What are goosebumps? Why do we get them? Do they serve a purpose? Some of these questions can be answered, others can’t. But a recent study in mice links goosebumps to stem cells responsible for the regeneration of hair. The post Wondering about goosebumps? Of course you are appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 6 days ago
Another Effect of COVID: Lasting Hearing Problems?  - web md

Another Effect of COVID: Lasting Hearing Problems?

When the patients were asked if they had any changes in their hearing, 13% said it was worse. Eight patients said their hearing had deteriorated and eight said they had tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
web md - 1 week ago
Study Reveals How Coronavirus Travels Indoors  - web md

Study Reveals How Coronavirus Travels Indoors

For the study, they created a model of how these aerosols travel in indoor spaces such rooms, elevators and supermarkets. They also compared how the virus did in various types of ventilation and with different spacing of people within a room.
web md - 1 week ago
Pandemic Could Complicate Hurricane Season  - web md

Pandemic Could Complicate Hurricane Season

The average hurricane season has about 12 named storms, but up to 20 storms are being predicted this season, according to Marshall Shepherd, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the University of Georgia.
web md - 1 week ago
New Study Shows Kids Are COVID Spreaders, Too  - web md

New Study Shows Kids Are COVID Spreaders, Too

Coronavirus testing performed in Chicago in March and April shows that children and teens tend to have as much virus in their nasal passages as adults, according to a research letter published online July 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.
web md - 1 week ago
One Disease Mosquitoes Don

One Disease Mosquitoes Don't Spread: Coronavirus

The researchers found that the new coronavirus can't replicate in three common species of mosquitoes -- Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus -- and therefore cannot be transmitted to humans.
web md - 1 week ago
Common Diabetes Meds Tied to Complication Risk  - web md

Common Diabetes Meds Tied to Complication Risk

People taking a class of diabetes medications called SGLT2s have up to three times the risk for a serious complication called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) compared to people taking another drug, new research reveals.
web md - 1 week ago
Yet Another Study Finds Vaccines Are Safe  - web md

Yet Another Study Finds Vaccines Are Safe

Vaccine hesitancy among Americans has been highlighted as a potential problem in the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some experts concerned that too many folks simply won't get a coronavirus vaccine even if one proves safe and effective.
web md - 1 week ago
Concussion Ups Odds for Many Brain Conditions  - web md

Concussion Ups Odds for Many Brain Conditions

The study of more than 186,000 Canadians found that those who suffered a concussion were more likely to develop any of several conditions, including: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); depression or anxiety; Parkinson's disease; or dementia.
web md - 1 week ago
Survivors

Survivors' COVID Antibodies May Be a Powerful Gift

These antibodies are among the most potent against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and could be produced by drug companies in large quantities, according to a team from Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
web md - 1 week ago
WebMD Poll: Most Would Wait on COVID Vaccine  - web md

WebMD Poll: Most Would Wait on COVID Vaccine

Fewer than half of people plan to get a coronavirus vaccine in the first year it’s available, and an even smaller group -- fewer than a third -- say they’ll get it in the first 90 days, a new WebMD reader poll finds.
web md - 1 week ago
In Rush to Publish, Some COVID Studies Not Reliable  - web md

In Rush to Publish, Some COVID Studies Not Reliable

Only 75 out of 664 clinical trials for COVID-19 -- about 11% -- have all the hallmarks of a scientific study that could be expected to produce solid results, according to the study published online July 27 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
web md - 1 week ago
Doctors Worry About COVID

Doctors Worry About COVID's Effects on Hispanics

While race and ethnicity data about the coronavirus isn’t complete, the reported numbers so far suggest Hispanic American adults of any race are disproportionately represented in certain coronavirus measures:
web md - 1 week ago
Will COVID Vaccine Trials Reflect U.S. Diversity?  - web md

Will COVID Vaccine Trials Reflect U.S. Diversity?

Although racial minorities, older people and those with underlying medical conditions are most at risk from COVID-19, they’ve historically been the least likely to be included in clinical trials for treatments for serious diseases. Will that change with COVID-19?
web md - 1 week ago
Another COVID Mystery: Why Some Fall Ill  Twice  - web md

Another COVID Mystery: Why Some Fall Ill Twice

Experts are puzzling over cases where people have had COVID-19 twice. There’s been no comprehensive study of cases like this, and no one knows yet whether reinfection is possible, especially so soon after someone has recovered.
web md - 2 weeks ago
Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s disease? - harvard

Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s disease?

It has been known for some time that air pollution causes heart and lung diseases. Now, results from three different studies on populations in different parts of the world show an association between higher levels of air pollution and greater risk of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. The post Does air pollution cause Alzheimer’s disease? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.
harvard - 2 weeks ago
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Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps

Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps

harvard - 1 month ago

A man who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) five years ago sees his rheumatologist for a follow-up visit. Fortunately, his arthritis is well controlled through medication. He can walk and do all his daily activities without pain. But over the past six months, hes been feeling short of breath when climbing stairs. He has an annoying dry cough, too. COVID-19? Thats ruled out quickly. But a CT scan of his chest reveals early fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs, most likely related to rheumatoid arthritis. I can finally walk normally, and now I cant breathe when I walk! says the frustrated patient, whose next step is a full evaluation by a pulmonologist.

What is autoimmune lung disease?

This mans experience offers one example of an uncommon but potentially life-altering complication associated with rheumatic or autoimmune diseases, including:

  • rheumatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease that primarily affects the joints
  • systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), a fibrosing disorder that typically affects the skin
  • dermatomyositis, which results in inflammation in muscles and skin
  • systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), an inflammatory condition that can affect many parts of the body, including joints, kidneys, and skin.

There are various terms for this complication: autoimmune lung disease, interstitial lung disease, and interstitial fibrosis. Characterized by lung inflammation and/or scarring, it is one of many potential complications affecting different organs in people who have an underlying autoimmune or rheumatic disease.

What is autoimmunity?

Our immune system normally wards off infection and guards against cancer. The term autoimmunity implies that a persons own immune system sometimes sees its own body tissue as foreign. When this happens, the body generates an immune response against itself. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis experience its effects on joints. But about 10% will also develop symptomatic lung disease like the patient described above.

Why is it important to identify autoimmune lung disease as early as possible?

Studies have shown that this complication is one of the leading causes of illness and death among people with autoimmune diseases. Early disease that is more inflammatory in nature often responds to anti-inflammatory therapies (corticosteroids, for example). But people with mostly fibrotic disease may be more difficult to treat and have poorer outcomes, including disability or a need for oxygen and in some cases even a lung transplant. However, how quickly or slowly this complication progresses varies. Some people find it progresses more quickly, whereas others may have little or no progression. For that reason, careful surveillance by a pulmonologist who can monitor lung function during regular check-ups is essential.

What triggers this complication and who is most at risk?

While definitive studies have not been done, population studies have identified risk profiles (see here and here). Being male, having a history of cigarette smoking, or having certain antibodies and genetic markers raises risk for autoimmune lung disease. Environmental factors, occupational exposure, and air pollutants also may play a role in developing autoimmunity that affects the lungs (see here and here). Other potential causes include medications that may cause lung injury, or an esophageal dysfunction leading to silent aspiration into the lungs, a common finding in many autoimmune diseases.

Are there treatments for autoimmune lung disease?

Yes, although effectiveness varies. When inflammatory disease is caught early before extensive scarring develops, anti-inflammatory agents, such as corticosteroids, often help. Additionally, catching and treating inflammation early usually leads to a better prognosis.

Recently, the FDA approved pirfenidone (Esbriet) and nintedanib (Ofev) to treat a different fibrotic lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Nintedanib is now approved for use in patients with autoimmune lung disease. Both agents can slow, but do not appear to reverse, the presence of fibrosis in the lung. Longer-term studies investigating whether these treatments offer better quality of life and meaningful benefits in terms of illness and death are needed.

If I have a rheumatic or autoimmune disease, what can I do to stay as healthy as possible?

The most important first step is to eliminate any known risks that may cause or exacerbate lung disease. Work with your doctor to stop smoking, if necessary. Ask if you can eliminate any occupational exposures or medications that may contribute to or worsen lung disease. Since early detection of lung inflammation is a goal, rheumatologists often screen people for lung disease at the time of their diagnosis if they are deemed at higher risk, using CT scanning and pulmonary function testing. Increasingly, careful surveillance over time is becoming a normal practice among rheumatologists.

If you do develop signs or symptoms that suggest autoimmune lung disease, such as dry cough and shortness of breath, talk to your doctor. The next step may be a referral to a pulmonologist, or to a multidisciplinary center comprised of pulmonologists, rheumatologists, pathologists, and radiologists, who work as a team to diagnose this complication and develop a treatment plan to reverse or slow the progress of lung disease.

The post Autoimmune lung disease: Early recognition and treatment helps appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

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