Friday, February 23

Health

Menthol Cigarette Bans Can Reduce Smoking Rates, Study Finds
Health

Menthol Cigarette Bans Can Reduce Smoking Rates, Study Finds

Nearly a quarter of menthol cigarette smokers quit in the year or two after a ban on menthol went into effect, according to a study published on Wednesday.Researchers found that about half of the menthol smokers switched to other cigarettes and another quarter managed to keep smoking menthols. The rate of menthol smokers who quit was higher in nations that imposed bans, in contrast with cities or states, since it was harder for people to drive a few miles to keep buying menthol cigarettes, according to the study.The Food and Drug Administration has been urging the Biden administration to impose a ban on menthol cigarettes, a goal that has generated intense opposition from retailers and tobacco companies alongside concerns in a presidential election year that it could alienate Black voters....
Study of Patients With a Chronic Fatigue Condition May Offer Clues to Long Covid
Health

Study of Patients With a Chronic Fatigue Condition May Offer Clues to Long Covid

Jennifer Caldwell was active and energetic, working two jobs and taking care of her daughter and her parents, when she developed a bacterial infection that was followed by intense lightheadedness, fatigue and memory problems.That was nearly a decade ago, and she has since struggled with the condition known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME/CFS. Ms. Caldwell, 56, of Hillsborough, N.C., said she went from being able to ski, dance and work two jobs as a clinical research coordinator and a caterer to needing to stay in bed most of every day.“I haven’t been right since, and I haven’t worked a day since,” said Ms. Caldwell, whose symptoms include severe dizziness whenever her legs are not elevated.The condition has also “messed me up cognitively,” she said. “I can’t re...
How Sleep Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Insomnia and Mental Health
Health

How Sleep Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Insomnia and Mental Health

It started with mild anxiety.Emily, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she was discussing her mental health, had just moved to New York City after graduate school, to start a marketing job at a big law firm.She knew it was normal to feel a little on edge. But she wasn’t prepared for what came next: chronic insomnia.Operating on only three or four hours of sleep, it didn’t take long for her anxiety to ramp up: At 25, she was “freaking nervous all the time. A wreck.”When a lawyer at her firm yelled at her one day, she experienced the first of many panic attacks. At a doctor’s suggestion, she tried taking a sleeping pill, in the hopes that it might “reset” her sleep cycle and improve her mood. It didn’t work.Americans are chronically sleep deprived: one-third of adults ...
Old and Young, Talking Again
Health

Old and Young, Talking Again

On Fridays at 10 a.m., Richard Bement and Zach Ahmed sign on to their weekly video chat. The program that brought them together provides online discussion prompts and suggests arts-related activities, but the two largely ignore all that.“We just started talking about things that were important to us,” said Mr. Ahmed, 19, a pre-med student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.Since the pair met more than a year ago, conversation topics have included: Pink Floyd, in a long exploration led by Mr. Bement, 76, a retired sales manager in Milford Township, Ohio; their religious faiths (the senior conversation partner is Episcopalian; the younger is Muslim); their families; changing gender norms; and poetry, including Mr. Ahmed’s own efforts.“There’s this fallacy that these two generations can’t co...
75 Hard Has a Cultish Following. Is It Worth All the Effort?
Health

75 Hard Has a Cultish Following. Is It Worth All the Effort?

Two 45-minute daily workouts. One gallon of water. 10 pages of a nonfiction book. A diet. No “cheat meals” or alcohol. For 75 days.And if you mess up, you have to start from the beginning.Sound like a lot? It’s supposed to be. The program, called 75 Hard, is meant to build mental toughness. Some say that rigidity is what makes it great, and others say that makes it problematic.Since it was created in 2019, 75 Hard has developed somewhat of a cult following, with practitioners posting daily progress pictures and videos that sometimes rack up millions of views on TikTok and Instagram. One of Reddit’s biggest subreddits, with over 44,000 members, is dedicated to the program.But is it beneficial, and are the changes sustainable? Psychologists say that while the program can have mental-health b...
More Young People Are on Multiple Psychiatric Drugs, Study Finds
Health

More Young People Are on Multiple Psychiatric Drugs, Study Finds

The NewsGrowing numbers of children and adolescents are being prescribed multiple psychiatric drugs to take simultaneously, according to a new study in the state of Maryland. The phenomenon is increasing despite warnings that psychotropic drug combinations in young people have not been tested for safety or studied for their impact on the developing brain.The study, published Friday in JAMA Open Network, looked at the prescribing patterns among patients 17 or younger enrolled in Medicaid in Maryland from 2015 to 2020. In this group, there was a 9.5 percent increase in the prevalence of “polypharmacy,” which the study defined as taking three or more different classes of psychiatric medications, including antidepressants, mood-stabilizing anticonvulsants, sedatives and drugs for A.D.H.D. and ...
US Agencies Start Inquiry Into Generic Drug Shortages
Health

US Agencies Start Inquiry Into Generic Drug Shortages

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday that they would examine the causes of generic drug shortages and the practices of “powerful middlemen” that are involved in the supply chain.The federal agencies’ inquiry is aimed at the group purchasing organizations and drug distributors that have been in the spotlight in recent months as drug shortages reached a 10-year peak. The agencies want to examine the companies’ influence on how the drugs are sold to hospitals and other health facilities, assessing whether the middlemen put pressure on pricing and manufacturing that led to breakdowns.During Congressional hearings in the last year, oncology experts have testified about the effects of the shortages, describing difficult decisions that for...
Man Dies in First Known Fatal Case of the Alaskapox Virus
Health

Man Dies in First Known Fatal Case of the Alaskapox Virus

An Alaska man died last month of Alaskapox, a rare virus that occurs mostly in small mammals and can cause skin lesions, according to state health officials.Alaskapox was first identified in 2015 in a woman who lived near Fairbanks, Alaska, and there have been a total of seven cases of the virus reported to the Alaska Section of Epidemiology. Until last month, no one had been hospitalized or died of Alaskapox, which can also cause swollen lymph nodes and muscle or joint pain, Alaska epidemiology officials said on Friday.Of the seven people who have had Alaskapox, six lived in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, where red-backed voles and shrews have been found to have the virus, according to the Alaska Department of Health. Alaskapox has not been found to spread between humans.Dr. Julia Roge...
Brooke Ellison, Prominent Disability Rights Advocate, Is Dead at 45
Health

Brooke Ellison, Prominent Disability Rights Advocate, Is Dead at 45

Brooke Ellison, who after being paralyzed from the neck down by a childhood car accident went on to graduate from Harvard and became a professor and a devoted disability rights advocate, died on Sunday in Stony Brook, N.Y., on Long Island. She was 45.Her death, in a hospital, was caused by complications of quadriplegia, her mother, Jean Ellison, said.As an 11-year-old, Brooke had been taking karate, soccer, cello and dance lessons and singing in a church choir. But on Sept. 4, 1990, she was struck by a car while running across a road near her home in Stony Brook. Her skull, her spine and almost every major bone in her body were fractured.After waking from a 36-hour coma, she spent six weeks in the hospital and eight months in a rehabilitation center. And for the rest of her life she was de...