Paxlovid, Long COVID; Lucid Dying; and Climate Change Alarm

Paxlovid, Long COVID; Lucid Dying; and Climate Change Alarm

Paxlovid Lowers Long COVID-19 Risk

Paxlovid reduces the chances of developing long COVID-19 as well as its effects, new data show. The drug reduces the occurrence of long COVID-19 by 26% over time, according to a preprint of the first study by the Veterans Affairs health system to look at the medication’s longer-term effects. The study looked at more than 9000 Paxlovid-treated patients.

The medication resulted in fewer deaths and hospitalizations after the first month of treatment as well as a 48% reduction in death and 30% reduction in hospitalizations after the acute phase.

Broad effects: Paxlovid significantly reduced long COVID-19’s effects on all but two of 12 systems or symptoms, the study reports.

No differences: The medication’s benefits were consistent, with no difference noted by vaccination or booster status, prior infection, or unvaccinated status; sex; age; or baseline risk factors or comorbidities.

“Until we have more data, I believe the body of evidence should make us treat more with Paxlovid to derive both acute and longer-term benefits,” writes Medscape Editor-in-Chief Eric Topol, MD.

First Evidence of ‘Lucid Dying’

New research provides the first evidence to support patients’ accounts of near-death experiences. Brain wave recordings obtained during cardiopulmonary resuscitation reveal changes that support such subjectively reported experiences by surviving patients.

“These recalled experiences and brain wave changes may be the first signs of the so-called ‘near-death’ experience, and we have captured them for the first time in a large study,” said lead investigator Sam Parnia, MD, PhD, of NYU Langone Health.

The results suggest that the human sense of self and consciousness may not stop completely around the time of death, Parnia added. He presented the findings at a resuscitation science symposium at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2022 in Chicago.

Common experiences: People in cardiac arrest report being lucid, with a heightened sense of consciousness while seemingly unconscious and on the brink of death, Parnia noted.

No pain: The experiences include a perception of separation from one’s body, observing events without pain or distress, and an awareness and meaningful evaluation of life, including past actions, intentions, and thoughts toward others.

Most Doctors Are Alarmed at Climate Change

Most doctors in a Medscape survey ranked climate change among the five most important social issues that they face. Some 61% of physicians described themselves as “very concerned” or “concerned” about climate change, and about 7 in 10 agreed with the statement that it should be a top worldwide priority. 

Slightly lower percentages of doctors prioritized domestic violence and immigration and refugee policies highly, and 40% ranked reproductive rights among the most important social issues.

Medscape’s Physicians’ Views on Today’s Divisive Social Issues 2022 report summarizes the results of a survey of more than 2300 physicians about their priorities among various social issues.

Spreading illness: One internist worried that rising temperatures will cause “pathogens to spread and infect disadvantaged people who do not have health access and have immunocompromised conditions.”

Not all agree: Some doctors used the terms “overblown,” “hysteria,” “hoax,” and “farce” to describe climate change.

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