Health

C.D.C. Shortens Isolation Period for People With Covid
Health

C.D.C. Shortens Isolation Period for People With Covid

Americans with Covid or other respiratory infections need not isolate for five days before returning to work or school, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday, a striking sign of changing attitudes toward the coronavirus.People with respiratory illnesses may resume daily activities if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of medications and if their symptoms are improving, agency officials said. Acknowledging that people can be contagious even without symptoms, the C.D.C. urged those who end isolation to limit close contact with others, wear well-fitted masks, improve indoor air quality and practice good hygiene, like washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes, for five days.The guidelines apply to Covid, influenza and respiratory syncyti...
How to Support Someone Grieving the Loss of a Pet
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How to Support Someone Grieving the Loss of a Pet

On “The Daily Show” this week, the host Jon Stewart broke down as he announced the death of his beloved, three-legged brindle pit bull, Dipper — a raw, touching segment that exemplified the deep grief many pet owners feel.When an animal dies, owners lose companionship, affection and “just plain unconditional love — and we don’t find that in many places in our lives,” said Sherry Cormier, a psychologist and author of “Sweet Sorrow: Finding Enduring Wholeness After Loss and Grief.”Our society tends to be “grief-phobic,” Dr. Cormier said, and there is a sense that the feelings prompted by the loss of a pet are relatively low in the hierarchy of suffering, or that it’s something that people should be able to cope with and move on from quickly. Dr. Cormier and other loss experts said that is no...
Older Americans Should Get Another Covid Shot This Spring, Panel Says
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Older Americans Should Get Another Covid Shot This Spring, Panel Says

Americans ages 65 and older should receive an additional dose of the latest Covid vaccine this spring, scientific advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.The spring shot would be a second dose of the most recent iteration of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Novavax vaccines introduced in the fall. The recommendation now goes to the C.D.C. director, Dr. Mandy Cohen, who is likely to accept it.At a meeting of the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, federal researchers presented preliminary data showing that the latest vaccines have an effectiveness of about 40 to 50 percent against symptomatic infection or hospitalization, although estimates against currently circulating variants were based on small numbers.In October and November, adult...
UnitedHealth Cyberattack Disrupts Prescription Drug Coverage
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UnitedHealth Cyberattack Disrupts Prescription Drug Coverage

A cyberattack on a unit affiliated with UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest insurer, has disrupted drug prescription orders at thousands of pharmacies for nearly a week.The assault on the unit, Change Healthcare, a division of United’s Optum, was discovered last Wednesday. The attack appeared to be by a foreign country, according to two senior federal law enforcement officials, who expressed alarm at the extent of the disruption on Monday.UnitedHealth Group, the conglomerate, said in a federal filing that it had been forced to disconnect some of Change Healthcare’s vast digital network from its clients, and as of Monday, had not been able to restore all of those services.Change handles some 15 billion transactions a year, representing as many as one in three U.S. patient records and inv...
Severe Frostbite Gets a Treatment That May Prevent Amputation
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Severe Frostbite Gets a Treatment That May Prevent Amputation

The first time Dr. Peter Hackett saw a patient with frostbite, the man died from his wounds. It was in Chicago in 1971, and the man had gotten drunk and passed out in the snow, his fingers so frozen that gangrene eventually set in.Dr. Hackett later worked at Mount Everest Basecamp, on Denali, Alaska, and now in Colorado, becoming expert in treating cold-weather injury. The experience was often the same: There was not much to do about frostbite, except rewarm the patient, give aspirin, amputate in severe cases and, more often, wait and accept that six months later the patient’s body might “auto-amputate” by naturally shedding a dead finger or toe.His mentor in Anchorage used to say, “Frostbite January, Amputation July,” remembered Dr. Hackett, clinical professor at the Altitude Research Cen...
Major Embryo Shipping Company Halts Business in Alabama
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Major Embryo Shipping Company Halts Business in Alabama

Cryoport, a major embryo shipping company, said on Friday that it was “pausing” its business in Alabama as it evaluated the state’s Supreme Court decision that declared frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization to be children.“Until the company has further clarity on the decision and what it means for Cryoport, clinics and intended parents, it is pausing all activity in Alabama until further notice,” read an email received by an Alabama fertility clinic and shared with The New York Times.The email said that Cryoport would “not be able to assist” with a scheduled shipment, and instead would offer a refund.The Alabama court’s ruling has already significantly limited fertility treatment for patients in that state. Three clinics have paused care as they evaluate what the ruling mea...
Alabama Rules Frozen Embryos Are Children, Raising Questions About Fertility Care
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Alabama Rules Frozen Embryos Are Children, Raising Questions About Fertility Care

An Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos in test tubes should be considered children has sent shock waves through the world of reproductive medicine, casting doubt over fertility care for would-be parents in the state and raising complex legal questions with implications extending far beyond Alabama.On Tuesday, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said the ruling would cause “exactly the type of chaos that we expected when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and paved the way for politicians to dictate some of the most personal decisions families can make.”Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as President Biden traveled to California, Ms. Jean-Pierre reiterated the Biden administration’s call for Congress to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade into...
How Sleep Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Insomnia and Mental Health
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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
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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...
More Young People Are on Multiple Psychiatric Drugs, Study Finds
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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 by researchers at the University 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 from 2015 to 2020 in a single U.S. state that the researchers declined to name. 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, mo...