BY Daniel Pearce D.O., FACOI, AAHIVMS
STRONG OVERLAP BETWEEN COVID AND HIV INFECTIONS
There is a study that looked at which counties in the US have high Covid rates and layering that map on top of a map of high HIV rates. The hot zones are very similar. E.g. there is much overlap in the southern US but much less in California. The high counties for HIV in California are San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Riverside and Imperial County.
Why is there is overlap? The authors mention associations from the social determinants of health (as we have discussed here before) such as income inequality, binge drinking of alcohol, high levels of sexually transmitted infections (the marker being Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections), poverty, Non-Anglo race, transportation barriers and health care access problems. Those on dialysis or who have had a kidney transplant are at higher risk for severe Covid.
SCHIZOPHRENIA AND SCHIZOAFFECTIVE PATIENTS HIGHER COVID DEATHS
This has been puzzling to psychiatrists and they investigated whether the medications were contributing to the 3 times higher mortality, but found it was not so.
NEW COVID PILL
Merck announced that their new pill cuts hospitalizations down by ½ and had no Covid fatalities compared with placebo. The pill is taken twice a day and the estimated cost of $700 for the 5 day treatment.
HOME HIV TESTING MORE ACCEPTABLE DURING COVID
Or is it just the word is out that you can buy a test online and have ordered it and done it at home? Some are willing to pay as low as $18 for it to avoid lines and clinics. Those who got the test were more likely to go for STI testing and consider PrEP.
BAT TO HUMAN RABIES IN ILLINOIS
This is the first case of rabies by bat in many, many years. An 80 year old man woke up with a bat on his neck. They treated him ASAP but he died of rabies. In Southern California if you are in a room with a bat, you are suspected of having rabies and treatment may be recommended since their bites are so tiny and many times painless.
WRIST MONITOR DETECTS INFECTIONS
A group studied the heart rate, skin temperature, electrical skin conduction, and patterns of body movement via a wrist monitor on subjects before and then after giving them the flu virus. I’m sure they were paid for this! After analyzing the data they could tell who was infected. I predict that Apple® and Android® watches will get this improvement so that you know when you are about to become ill and can isolate yourself from infecting others.
INTERMITTENT FASTING TO CONTROL WEIGHT?
There was a review paper summarizing what we know through research studies on eating during certain hours and not eating the rest of the time. The studies were small to medium and were not rigorous. The authors recommend more research but for now they think it is wise to consider these points:
• Because high melatonin levels (late at night or early morning) can inhibit proper response to food, choose a time to eat that starts at least an hour after waking and stops at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you sleep 8 hours, that leaves 12 hours for the time-restricted eating window.
• Try to eat within the same time window each day.
• Some research suggests eating earlier in the eating phase is better than eating later.
OSTEOPOROSIS DRUG PREVENTS DIABETES?
If you are on alendronate, a pill for osteoporosis, then you may be preventing diabetes. More research is needed but the preliminary data from Danish study shows this may be true.
FLU SHOT NECESSARY?
Last year had a very low flu season, very few died rather than the average of 30,000. This is not to mention being off work or being hospitalized. Experts think that the scare of Covid caused more isolation, masking, hand washing, less travel, and more flu shots given than usual. But with people listening to anti-mask messages, frustration with isolation, and people not caring, this flu season may be worse. In addition, those who didn’t get the vaccination last year may be susceptible to the strains from last year in the future and may not be protected from bird flu which might hit in the future. So it is recommended you get your flu shot this year too. I got mine.
C DIF IS EVERYWHERE?
C Dif can cause diarrhea that is difficult to treat and spreads among people who are hospitalized. In the US there were more than 200,000 cases in hospitals. Where is it in the community and how does it spread? A researcher and her team cultured the shoes of nearly 12,000 people and found that it was about everywhere: different people, countries, buildings, and clinics.
Keep those questions coming and be safe!
Daniel Pearce, D.O., FACOI, AAHIVMS
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine and HIV, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine and Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine HIV, Hepatitis B,C, Transgender, Suboxone Specialist, Borrego Health (Riverside, San Bernardino, San Jacinto) Member, Coachella Valley Clinical Research Initiative