Tuesday, June 11, 2024 – KFF Health News

C. Diff Commonly Spreads In Households With Infants, Study Finds

Other science- and research-related news covers statin usage; heat waves and heart attacks; women in medical research; music therapy for stroke survivors; and more.

Household Study Suggests Infants May Spread C Difficile

A small longitudinal household study suggests sharing of Clostridioides difficile strains is a common event in families caring for an infant, US researchers reported today in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. … Although they were unable to demonstrate the directionality of C difficile transmission with certainty, the study authors say the data from the study support adding asymptomatically excreting infants and their families to the list of potential sources of community-associated CDI. (Dall, 6/10)

In heart related news —

Statins May Not Be Needed By Millions Of People, Study Suggests

It’s a familiar scene for patients during a routine primary care visit. The doctor scans blood test results, notes high cholesterol flagged by a standard calculator to assess risk of heart attack or stroke, then decides — and ideally discusses — whether to recommend taking a statin to cut the risk over time. (Cooney, 6/10)

Added Health Benefits Of Wegovy, Zepbound Could Attract More Men, Doctors Say

Evidence that weight-loss drugs like Novo Nordisk’s (NOVOb.CO) Wegovy and Eli Lilly’s (LLY.N) Zepbound can cut heart disease risk, treat sleep apnea and address other health issues may help convince more men to use them, five doctors who prescribe the medicines regularly told Reuters. Men prefer to shed extra pounds with diet and exercise changes before reaching for drugs, if they address their weight at all, doctors and three healthcare industry analysts said in interviews. (Satija and Roy, 6/10)

Plant-Based Ultraprocessed Foods Linked To Heart Disease, Early Death, Study Says

Want to reduce your risk of developing chronic disease and live longer while also helping the planet? Eat a plant-based diet, experts say. Does that mean you can fill your plate with boxed macaroni and cheese, deep-dish frozen veggie pizza or fast-food French fries and have a doughnut or three for dessert? While all of those ultraprocessed choices may be meat-free, they are not without risk, said Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior teaching fellow at Aston Medical School in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (LaMotte, 6/10)

Meanwhile —

The Cuban Drug That Could Come To America

A U.S. biotech company received Food and Drug Administration approval recently to run a clinical trial in America for Heberprot-P, a drug developed in Cuba nearly two decades ago that helps heal diabetes foot ulcers that could otherwise lead to amputation. About 1 in 3 people with diabetes develop a foot ulcer during their lives, according to an article last year in JAMA. In the U.S., 1.6 million people are affected. About half of diabetic foot ulcers become infected, and 1 in 5 of those lead to amputation. (Paun, Payne, Odejimi, Schumaker and Reader, 6/10)

Prosthetic Arms Could Feature Tools Instead Of Mechanical Fingers

Nearly half of people with upper-limb prosthetics abandon them. They’re often uncomfortable, dysfunctional or just don’t feel like a part of someone’s body. But in a recent study in iScience, researchers made an unusual choice. They used virtual reality to try out bionic tools like tweezers or wrenches as hand prosthetics. The participants felt as or even more embodied with these tools compared with a “natural” hand. (Broderick, 6/11)

Virginia Media:
Music Therapy Helps Stroke Survivors Regain Lost Speech By Singing

Ray Hart’s vocabulary consisted of just one word after his August 2022 stroke. “Yep” was all he could say, said Pamela Jenkins, his caregiver and partner of 24 years. Like many survivors, Hart, 62, can understand what’s said to him almost as well as he could before the stroke, but it’s still hard for him to form complete sentences. Now, though, a year after adding music therapy to his rehabilitation schedule, he can sing them. (Dix, 6/10)

In covid research news —

AHRQ Survey: 7% Of US Adults Reported Having Long COVID By Early 2023

New findings from a US survey from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) scientists concludes that 6.9% of US adults—or almost 18 million adults—have ever had long COVID as of early 2023, confirming the results of previous surveys. AHRQ fielded the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to a sample of 17,418 adults, which extrapolates to 259 million adults. The research was published late last week in JAMA. (Van Beusekom, 6/10)

Paxlovid Tied To 34% Lower Risk Of Hospitalization In Adolescent COVID Patients

Treatment with the antiviral drug nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (Paxlovid) was linked to a 34% lower risk of all-cause hospitalization among COVID-19 patients aged 12 to 17 years, University of Hong Kong researchers report in Nature Communications. The investigators conducted an observational study that incorporated design characteristics from a hypothetical, randomized controlled trial among 49,378 non-hospitalized pediatric COVID-19 patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. (Van Beusekom, 6/10)

The Washington Post:
What To Know About Moderna’s Combined Covid-Flu Vaccine On The Horizon

Moderna’s combined coronavirus-influenza shot produced a higher immune response in older adults than separate vaccines for those viruses administered together, according to data the company released Monday. The promising results from clinical trials, which have yet to be peer reviewed and published in a medical journal, could offer a new option to boost paltry uptake of updated coronavirus vaccines. Moderna officials say the earliest that the combined vaccine could hit the market is fall 2025, pending regulatory approval. (Nirappil, 6/10)

Moderna COVID/Flu Combo Vaccine Superior To Separate Shots In Trial

Moderna (MRNA.O) said on Monday its combination vaccine to protect against both COVID-19 and influenza generated a stronger immune response in adults aged 50 and over when compared to separate shots against the viruses in a late-stage trial. In the study, the combination using messenger RNA technology generated greater antibodies than currently marketed traditional flu vaccines and Moderna’s Spikevax mRNA COVID shot, the company said. (Wingrove, 6/10)

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