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    By admin

    YOU'VE BEEN VACCINATED. SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR VACCINE CARD?More than 100 million Americans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. The proof? A 4-by-3-inch paper "vaccination record card" issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    In a post-pandemic world, that humble card for those who are fully vaccinated could become an important document used for travel, attending events, returning to the post-pandemic office and other purposes. At least a dozen colleges and universities have already announced that they'll require students to become immunized before they return to campus in the fall. Companies are currently weighing whether they will require employees and patrons to present proof of vaccination as a condition of employment or engaging in business.

    In the meantime, here's what experts say you should know about vaccination cards.

    Photograph your record card

    The first thing experts recommend once you've been vaccinated is taking a digital photograph of both sides of your personal record card. You can also scan the card and save the file on a laptop or desktop, said Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Rhode Island Hospital and an associate professor at Brown University.

    One thing you shouldn't do: Share your personal proof of inoculation on Facebook or other social media sites, which could lead to identity theft because the CDC card includes a person's date of birth as well as first name and last name.

    "I would not post it to social media with my birthday showing. It is a unique identifier that could allow somebody to potentially steal your identity, so I would first be careful about that," epidemiologist Danielle Ompad, a professor at the NYU School of Global Public Health, told CBS MoneyWatch.

    By contrast, you may want to print a copy of the photo of the vaccination card and store it in your wallet. While some experts advise against having the original card laminated, so that booster shots of vaccine can be added if that becomes necessary, others say that's OK because a more sophisticated record-keeping system is likely to be in place by then.

    "I would laminate it because by the time a booster comes along, the technology will have evolved," suggested Dr. Maureen Miller, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

    You can get your card laminated for free at office supply store Staples by using the code 81450 or at Office Depot with code 52516714.

    Leave the original at home

    Make sure to store the original hard copy of your vaccine card someplace safe — you don't need to keep it on your person at all times and risk losing it. Experts recommend keeping the original with other important documents or medical records and carrying just the digital copy.

    "It doesn't need to be carried at all times at this point, unless you're traveling or doing something else where you'll have to provide proof of vaccination," Ranney said.

    Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said he keeps his vaccination record tucked into his passport (along with a card showing he's been vaccinated against yellow fever).

    Notify your primary care doctor that you've received the vaccine, as you would with any other inoculation. This helps health care providers to ensure your record of immunizations is up to date.

    Not everyone has followed experts' advice to store vaccination records someplace secure. University of Illinois gymnast Evan Manivong recently nailed a perfect landing during a vault competition — and celebrated by pulling out his vaccine card tucked inside his leotard and flashing it to the audience. "Go get vaccinated everyone!" the 20-year-old advertising major later tweeted. Videos of the magic moment went viral this week.

    What happens if I lose it?

    If you do lose your card, don't panic. Every time a vaccine is administered, the provider records it with the state's immunization registry.

    "Those flimsy pieces of paper aren't the only record of your vaccination status," Adalja said. "People should keep the cards safe so they have them on hand, but it's not the end of the world if they lose it or if it goes through the washing machine."

    If you do misplace your card, call your state's health department and ask for a replacement.

    "Right now it's what we have as proof that you've gotten the vaccine, but it's not impossible to replace," said Dr. Christine Whelan, clinical professor of consumer science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

    For now, Whelan said, the CDC's simple white cards may have more symbolic value than practical function.

    "Other countries aren't giving out pieces of paper like we are, and this may be a quaint thing we are doing. There is something satisfying about leaving with the card copy record just in case," she said.

    No universal standard — yet

    President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, this week said the U.S. government will not mandate so-called vaccine passports for travel and other business activities. Anything resembling a digital pass is likely to be developed by the private sector, he added.

    Some experts lament that the government did not develop a standardized, digital proof of vaccination earlier.

    "I think the U.S. government should have thought of a digital app early on and had it ready to go so that it activated when a person got a vaccine," Adalja said. "Now we're having to scramble to come up with a solution that's digital and secure so people don't have to worry about carrying that card around."

    Ideally, one's vaccination status would be integrated and stored with other personal travel information that's reflected in programs like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck that ease the process of traveling through airport security.

    Beware faux vax cards

    Scammers are also capitalizing on the low-tech record-keeping system. Hundreds of fraudsters are selling fake versions of the CDC-issued vaccine cards through ecommerce platforms including eBay, Etsy and Shopify, according to Saoud Khalifah, CEO of Fakespot, which uses artificial intelligence to warn consumers of online retail scams.

    The scam cards are being advertised at roughly $20 a pop, and are also offered in bulk. The fraud is brazenly out in the open. Fakespot has identified hundreds of Facebook pages and eBay listings offering "vax-cards" and "blank vaccine cards" for individuals who might not have been vaccinated yet.

    "It has introduced this new dynamic to society where people can counterfeit immunity and replace it with a fake card. It's a new concept we haven't seen before," Khalifah told CBS MoneyWatch.

    Khalifah suspects that some purchasers of the phony cards are anti-vaxxers who don't plan on becoming immunized, but still want whatever access the card affords them.

    The FBI has warned that such schemes violate federal laws prohibiting unauthorized use of an official government agency's seal, including the one for the CDC. Fraudulent use of an official federal seal constitutes a felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

    North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and a group of bipartisan attorneys general this week called on the e-commerce site OfferUp to clamp down on the illegal sale of blank and forged COVID-19 vaccination record cards. This kind of fraud puts the general public's health at risk, according to Stein.

    "These cards will result in more people becoming sick by more variants of the virus and more people dying as the pandemic takes longer to get under control," he told CBS MoneyWatch. "By not getting the vaccine, it means more people will get infected with variants and that threatens everyone's health."

    Race for digital passports and other solutions

    As Fauci suggested, private companies are already developing ways for people to show they've been vaccinated or are coronavirus-free. For example, New York authorities are testing a digital health pass powered by blockchain technology in partnership with computer science company IBM.

    "The aim is to eventually provide New York residents a simple, voluntary and secure method for showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or certification of vaccination," IBM said in a press release last month.

    New York recently piloted the so-called Excelsior Pass with the Brooklyn Nets at one of the National Basketball Association team's home games at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It will also be tested at theaters and other venues as more New Yorkers become vaccinated.

    "The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way, allowing us to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal," Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement last month.

    Vaccine management company VaxAtlas has also launched an app for consumers to securely store vaccination record cards.

    "Verification will soon be a requirement for travel, work, venues, even schools and every state might have different rules and guidelines. We need one centralized system to ensure vaccinations and certifications are not lost and that personal information is securely stored," said VaxAtlas CEO Judi Korzec.

    Alleviating anxiety

    VaxYes is another tool that provides free, HIPAA-compliant digital vaccine records for inoculated individuals. Company CEO Mohammed Gaber expects the product initially to be used most widely in the travel sector.

    "I personally went through the highs of getting both doses of the vaccine and the lows of thinking and fearing I had lost my card. Everyone is going to have anxiety around this card and how to safeguard it," Gaber said.

    VaxYes has partnered with different states and organizations around the U.S., including Kansas, which is testing the tool to allow residents to return to shows and other events. To date, thousands of Americans have digitized their paper cards through VaxYes, according to the company.

    "People are already starting to think about summer travel plans, and they see this as an enabler for getting back to normal and resuming travel activities," Gaber said. "We're super excited to be a part of the solution."

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    Western diet tied to cognitive decline, neurodegeneration in mouse study

    By admin

    Western diet tied to cognitive decline, neurodegeneration in mouse studyResearchers announced earlier this month that they had found a link between a western diet and cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in a study using mice.

    Published in the Cell Press journal iScience, the Marshall University authors said that the diet creates these impacts on the brain through increased Na,K-ATPase signaling in adipocytes.


    Na,K-ATPase is a cellular sodium-potassium pump and adipocytes are fat cells and are the major energy storage sites in the body.

    To reach these conclusions, the group used a gene-altered mouse model, feeding the mice either a normal diet or a western diet for 12 weeks.

    The mice were also given the antibiotic doxycycline to activate the peptide NaKtide in the fat cells.

    A burger, fries, chocolate and other calorie-rich foods (iStock)

    The mice eating the western diet increased their body weight and showed insulin resistance, lowered oxygen levels and low energy.

    Additionally, the mice on the western diet showed signs of behavioral changes in line with those typical of humans with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

    "In this study, we found that a western diet produced systemic oxidant stress along with evidence of activation of Na,K-ATPase signaling within both murine brain and peripheral tissues," the authors wrote. "We also noted this diet caused increases in circulating inflammatory cytokines as well as behavioral, and brain biochemical changes consistent with neurodegeneration."


    When researchers obstructed the Na,K-ATPase signal through the use of NaKtide in the fat cells, it stopped the adverse effects the western diet had on the animals' brains – and the hippocampus in particular.

    The hippocampus is the region of the brain that is associated with regulating emotional responses and is principally involved in storing long-term memories.

    "These data suggest that a western diet produces cognitive decline and neurodegeneration through augmented Na,K-ATPase signaling and that antagonism of this pathway in adipocytes ameliorates the pathophysiology," they said.

    If these conclusions are also observed in humans, the study's authors posited that the adipocyte Na,K-ATPase could serve as a clinical target in the therapy of neurodegenerative disorders.

    Previous studies have found that a western diet increases the risk of death after a prostate cancer diagnosis and intensifies the severity of sepsis.


    The western diet generally includes the overconsumption of over-refined sugars, highly refined and saturated fats, and too many calories.

    While the western diet has been found to cause numerous adverse health effects, like obesity, scientists have also previously published studies regarding its negative impact on behavior, cognition and emotion.

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    Natural immunity

    Didn't the CDC just announce that natural immune people don't transmit the virus

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    Pregnancy Health Risks don’t necessarily jump after age 35

    By admin

    Screenshot_1.jpg It’s well established more people are having babies later in life than at any other time in U.S. history.

    This increase in the number of people giving birth after the age of 35 – designated as “advanced maternal age” in clinical obstetrics – started in the mid-1970s and hascontinued to climb, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    A federal report shows 18% of pregnancies were in people 35 and older in 2018, up from 15% in 2013 and 11% in 2002 and 8% in 1990.

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says pregnant people in this age group are at higher risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. They’re also more likely to have a low birth weight baby and premature birth, and need a C-section.

    Despite these risks, a study published Friday in JAMA Health Forum shows patients just over the age of 35 had better prenatal care and pregnancy outcomes compared to those who were a few months shy of the cutoff age.

    “There’s so many of these arbitrary guidelines and cutoffs in medicine," said study senior author Jessica Cohen, an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. "The label of ‘advanced maternal age’ makes you feel really old when you’re just 35.”

    Cohen's personal experience inspired the study. She had her first child at 34, and while she said she received amazing care, there was a difference during her second pregnancy at 36.

    “When I had the second and I noticed how carefully I was being watched, I was like, ‘Wow, I wish I had this the first time,’” Cohen said.

    The authors studied more than 50,000 deliveries from 2008 to 2019. About half of the people giving birth were between 34.7 and 34.9 years old, and the other half were between 35 and 35.3.

    Prenatal care including ultrasounds, visits with maternal-fetal medicine specialists and special monitoring of the fetus all increased in those over 35 years old. Authors also found stillbirths and early newborn deaths dropped.

    “Definitely, for sure, risks increase with the mom’s age,” Cohen said. “But there’s no risk that jumps right as you become age 35."

    'Obstetric deserts' threaten lives of pregnant people, amplifying maternal mortality in rural Indiana

    COVID during pregnancy:Babies born to moms with COVID-19 when pregnant should be watched for long-term impacts, researchers say

    After controlling for underlying conditions like pre-gestational diabetes, chronic hypertension and obesity, researchers found a stronger association between older age, more prenatal care services, and lower perinatal mortality.

    Prenatal services may partially affect stillbirth and infant mortality rates after birth, but the study left out key information that impacts pregnancy outcome, said Dr. Priya Rajan, associate professor of maternal fetal medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and chief of diagnostic ultrasound at Northwestern Medicine.

    “Timing of delivery and the number of pregnancies you had play a big part of it, too,” she said. “They tried to control a little bit for the ethnic variation and race data, but not to have any of that is really limiting.”

    Additionally, the study’s data came from a large, nationwide commercial insurer so didn't include people on Medicaid or Medicare or those with no insurance at all, Rajan said.

    The study also showed increased prenatal care didn't appear to reduce maternal deaths among pregnant patients over 35.

    “That’s something that we really want to make sure we’re paying attention to,” Rajan said.

    Despite its limitations, she said the study raises awareness for people of advanced maternal age and the care they receive during pregnancy. More data is needed to understand what aspects of prenatal care are making the biggest difference among pregnant people with traditional risk factors.

    “We really need to rethink how we’re taking care of pregnant women,” Rajan said. “All pregnant people – regardless of age, regardless of race, regardless of socioeconomic status – we need to universally improve care.”

    Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.

    Health and patient safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.

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    Covid and loud talkers

    By admin

    New.jpg Men and people who speak at louder volumes more easily spread COVID-19, according to researchers at Colorado State University (CSU).

    In a November study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, a multidisciplinary team at the school examined respiratory aerosol emissions from a panel of healthy individuals of varying age and gender while talking and singing in a controlled laboratory setting.

    The group measured particle number concentrations between 0.25 and 33 micrometers from 63 participants ages 12-61 years old, and voice volume and exhaled CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels were monitored.

    Measurements were taken while subjects were both masked and unmasked inside the lab of professor and study co-author John Volckens.

    Researchers concluded that singing produced 77% more aerosol than talking, adults produced 62% more aerosol than minors and males produced 34% more aerosol than females.

    However, after accounting for participant voice volume and exhaled CO2 measurements in linear models, the age and sex differences were "attenuated and no longer statistically significant."

    Results from wind instrument-playing experiments are pending further data analysis and peer review. The study was originally developed early on during the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to determine what people in performing arts can do to safely return to the stage.

    "Is singing worse than talking when it comes to how many particles are being emitted? Yes, according to the study. And, the louder one talks or sings, the worse the emissions," the university said in a news post on its website, detailing the study.

    "If there were significant differences after accounting for CO2 between males and females and kids, then you’d have to know how many males, females, and minors were in a room to estimate transmission risks," Volckens said in a statement. "Our data suggest that you don’t need to know that if you just measure CO2 and noise levels, because those measures are an equalizer for these demographic differences."

    Limitations include that controlled study designs – including the laboratory environment – may "lack generalizability" to real-world situations, other types of vocal activities were not considered, the group did not quantify respiratory disease transmission risk and that additional observation and research is necessary to characterize respiratory aerosol emissions during early childhood development.

    Dan Goble, director of the CSU School of Music, Theatre and Dance, and colleagues raised nearly $100,000 in support of the study.

    Goble said that working with the CSU engineers helped his team to better understand how visual and performing arts could reimplement their programming.

    After going virtual in spring 2020, current performing arts protocols at CSU include the use of masks, restrictions on occupancy venue times, physical distancing of at least six feet for voice lessons and extra time between classes for performance rooms to undergo sufficient air exchanges between rehearsals.

    The availability of COVID-19 vaccines – CSU has a 90% vaccination rate – has "changed the game," according to Goble.

    "We are so fortunate to have experts like (Volckens) who gave us some really wonderful information to help us make decisions about what we can and can’t do in the (University Center for the Arts)," he said.

    These results, study authors noted, support further investigation of voice volume and CO2 as indicators of infection risk indoors.

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