Medical Headlines of the Week: 3/28 to 4/1

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Published: Apr. 2, 2022 at 12:45 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Risk of Dementia Rises in Certain Populations Post-COVID

Researchers have found what they call a “striking” risk for dementia following COVID-19 in older adults who took psychotropic drugs prior to contracting the virus.

These antipsychotics and mood stabilizers are often prescribed to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder, as well as seizures.

Researchers studied 1,700 patients over age 65 who were hospitalized with COVID and found that 24 percent taking psychotropics developed dementia in the year following the onset of the virus, as compared to nine percent of patients who were not taking the drugs.  

The study’s authors aren’t sure why this happens but theorize that the virus may accelerate brain changes that were already occurring.

They stress that their findings do not mean that people should stop taking those drugs, but that clinicians should be aware of the potential outcome. The study was published in Frontiers in Medicine.

Change in Dose in Drug to Treat Type II Diabetes

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a higher dose of the drug semaglutide, marketed as Ozempic, to treat Type 2 Diabetes in adults.   

It had been prescribed in half a milligram and one-milligram doses, but now a two-milligram dose has been added for those who need more medication to achieve blood sugar control. Those involved in a recent trial of the drug achieved a lower A1c, lost weight on the two-milligram regimen and decreased their risk of cardiovascular disease.

The new doses should be available via injectable pens sometime in the second quarter of 2022.

Sleep Deprivation Makes Americans Fat

Americans as a society are largely sleep deprived, and a new study published by the Mayo Clinic suggests this could be one reason young people gain weight, particularly around the stomach.

What’s worse, the study showed that the kind of fat the body stored was the most dangerous, depositing around the belly and in the viscera.   

Over a two-week period, researchers split the participants into two groups: those who got four hours of sleep a night and those who got nine, with a three-day recovery period. Those who slept just four hours ate more and put on about a pound, but it was deposited around the belly.

During the recovery period, they lost weight and fat under the skin, but the fat inside the belly actually continued to increase.  

They say more study is needed to determine why that happens, but they say their findings highlight the importance of adequate sleep for overall health.

High Rate of Mental Illness Post-COVID

If you get the flu and get over it, chances are good that you’ll put it behind you and get on with your life. But when it comes to COVID, that may not be true.   

A presentation at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America Conference highlighted the results of a survey of 827 who had contracted COVID.

They showed that 100 percent of those filling out questionnaires reported ongoing symptoms like fatigue or brain fog. But they also reported a high rate of mental health issues.41 percent reported anxiety.

61 percent reported depression.40 percent suffered from PTSD.  

The study did not include a control group, but its authors say it indicates that post-COVID sufferers have a much higher rate of mental health concerns than the overall population.

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