Wall Street Journal (May 5, 2023) – The alarms sounded in March 2020, and Americans cloistered at home, sheltering from a pandemic killing at times thousands a day. Many people free to work remotely left their big-city lives for suburbs and rural communities. Americans everywhere have settled into more homebound routines for meals and entertainment. Yet even with the deadly crisis fading, the U.S. has yet to recapture the level of happiness enjoyed before the virus SARS-CoV-2 transformed our world.
Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal
Medicine: A Historical Look At Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is best looked at from the historical perspective, as did Lindsay Fitzharris in the December 3, 2022 issue of the Wall Street Journal.
Can you imagine having breast cancer in the mid 1800s before the germ theory was developed? 50% of all surgeries died of severe infection at that time. Before the development of anesthesia, of course, cancer removal was extremely painful as well. Even if the patient escaped dying from infection, the one size fits all often meant removal of some chest wall muscles, leading a gaping wound.
Today, prophylactic breast imaging (mammography) often discovers the cancer at a very early and treatable stage.
Searching the cancer cells for rogue genes and surface markers often shows the way to better treatment; no longer does one size fit all.
Sometimes the breast lump is removed with minimal surgery and radiation is used, often yielding better results than the old time radical mastectomy.
Surgery itself is often aided by tissue biopsy, and now, with “intelligent” knives, gases from the surgical cut, using mass spectrophotometry, can tell the surgeon whether the tissue being cut is cancerous or normal.
Immunization methods are in development which will help your immune system to conquer any residual cancer, and “smart” T cells can be used to attack cancer cells directly.
Breast cancer Is still the most common cause of cancer deaths in women, even with all of the modern developments. Early detection is very beneficial, as with Breast self-examination and regular mammograms as prescribed by your doctor.
Extra care should be taken in families with certain genetic markers like like the BRCA gene.
HEALTH: ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAMS ARE GOING VIRTUAL
INFOGRAPHIC: ‘VACCINES WITHOUT NEEDLES’ (WSJ)
Technologies in development for delivering vaccines include Enesi’s dissolving implants, microneedle patches, electrical-pulse systems, nasal sprays and even pills.
Some firms are developing their own vaccines against Covid-19, while others are aiming to reformulate some of the dozens already in development or being rolled out world-wide. Some are sitting this pandemic out in the hope of being ready for the next one.
All are in the early to mid-stages of development and clinical testing, suggesting it might be months if not years before they come to market. Big pharmaceutical companies have so far shown limited interest.
COVID-19: ‘WHY VARIANTS ARE SPREADING FASTER’
As highly transmissible coronavirus variants sweep across the world, scientists are racing to understand why these new versions of the virus are spreading faster, and what this could mean for vaccine efforts. New research says the key may be the spike protein, which gives the coronavirus its unmistakable shape. Illustration: Nick Collingwood/WSJ
COVID-19 VIDEO: ‘CRITICAL CORONAVIRUS-BUSTING THERAPIES EXPLAINED’
Health experts say having a vaccine is just one front in a two-front battle against COVID-19. The other is effective treatments for those who are already sick with the disease. WSJ breaks down the three most promising types in development. Photo Illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ.
CORONAVIRUS: “HOW WE CAN REACH HERD IMMUNITY”
Scientists are working at breakneck speed to develop an effective vaccine for the coronavirus. Their ultimate goal: to immunize enough of the world’s population to reach herd immunity. WSJ explains.
Illustration: Jacob Reynolds
HEALTH: “MAKING SENSE OF CORONAVIRUS DATA” (VIDEO)
Public health organizations track the spread of coronavirus and use graphs and charts to visualize the data. WSJ’s Brianna Abbott explains what to look for in the data to understand how the virus is impacting your community.
Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann/WSJ
CORONAVIRUS: RESPIRATORY-DROPLET CONTACT IS MAJOR WAY COVID-19 SPREADS
From the Wall Street Journal (June 16, 2020):
Health agencies have so far identified respiratory-droplet contact as the major mode of Covid-19 transmission. These large fluid droplets can transfer virus from one person to another if they land on the eyes, nose or mouth. But they tend to fall to the ground or on other surfaces pretty quickly.
Some researchers say the new coronavirus can also be transmitted through aerosols, or minuscule droplets that float in the air longer than large droplets. These aerosols can be directly inhaled.
Sufficient ventilation in the places people visit and work is very important, said Yuguo Li, one of the authors and an engineering professor at the University of Hong Kong. Proper ventilation—such as forcing air toward the ceiling and pumping it outside, or bringing fresh air into a room—dilutes the amount of virus in a space, lowering the risk of infection.
Another factor is prolonged exposure. That’s generally defined as 15 minutes or more of unprotected contact with someone less than 6 feet away, said John Brooks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s chief medical officer for the Covid-19 response. But that is only a rule of thumb, he cautioned. It could take much less time with a sneeze in the face or other intimate contact where a lot of respiratory droplets are emitted, he said.
HEALTH: HOW SLEEP HAS CHANGED DURING COVID-19
From the Wall Street Journal (June 1, 2020):
“The biggest problem has been staying asleep,” says Philip Muskin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. “People aren’t exercising, their days have no structure at all.”
Preliminary results from a survey taken by around 1,600 people from 60 countries show that 46% reported poor sleep during the pandemic, while only 25% said they had slept poorly before it, according to Melinda Jackson, a senior lecturer at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health at Monash University in Melbourne, who studies how stressful events affect people’s sleep. Forty percent also reported increased alcohol consumption.
The key is to prevent the sleep problem from becoming chronic, she says. It is important to avoid associating your bed or bedroom with a place where you are awake. Experts recommend that if you can’t fall asleep, or wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to go back to sleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing.