WHAT DOES EARLY DATA SHOW ABOUT the BENEFITS of TREATMENTS for COVID 19?

Paxlovid, the Pfizer medication developed to treat COVID 19, is of benefit to high-risk seniors, and probably other individuals with compromised immune systems. It appears to provide no protection to younger adults. These are the preliminary results of a large study in Israel, involving 109,000 patients

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WHAT are the RISKS, REALLY LONG-TERM, of LESS HEALTHY EATING?

To lower the risk of developing dementia a simple nutritional plan is very helpful: eating less “ultraprocessed foods” (UPF). In a long-term study, individuals who consumed the highest amounts of soft drinks, chips and other UPF’s  had a much higher risk of developing dementia versus their peers who ate the lowest amounts of these foods.

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HOW WIDESPREAD a PROBLEM is INSOMNIA, ESPECIALLY DUE to COVID-19?

“Chronic insomnia” means that someone has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or repeatedly wakes up earlier than they’d like.  These difficulties and daytime consequences occur at least three times a week for a minimum of three months.  Jennifer Martin, Ph.D., the president of AASM, notes, “Chronic insomnia is a serious public health problem associated with numerous health and safety risks that can impact not just how a person sleeps at night, but also how a person feels or functions during the daytime.”

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UNITED HEALTHCARE COMPLETES PAYMENTS on LAWSUITS for DENYING CARE

Previous blogs covered issues with United Healthcare (UHC) denying mental health services to eligible patients (Will Mental Healthcare be as Available as  Medical Care?, New Guidelines for Parity of Care).  A lawsuit in New York state was resolved recently, when UHC completed $13.6 million in payments to patients who had been denied care. UHC is the nation’s largest health care insurer

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WHAT if GRIEF GETS PROLONGED? – PART 1

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our experience of grief. Many people are struggling with grief that goes on for more extended periods of time due to the huge numbers of death, the loss of social support for those dying and their family members as people die in isolation and funeral practices are restricted, and the loss of support usually offered through counseling services that are less available.

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HOW has the PANDEMIC IMPACTED EATING DISORDERS?  – PART 2

Though it is usually thought of as a “white girls’”  issue, teens of all ethnic groups, and boys, too, can struggle with eating disorders. Heterosexual boys tend to talk about getting fit, lean, or more muscular. LGBTQ kids may also respond to the anxieties of their identity struggles by using, and misusing food.

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WHAT KIND of DIGITAL VACCINATION PROOF is EASILY AVAILABLE?

Los Angeles County now requires proof of vaccination for most indoor venues: restaurants, grocery stores, exercise gyms, salons, large venues for entertainment including movie theaters, and  Dodger Stadium, Universal Studios, or Magic Mountain.  Other parts of the state have their own regulations and enforcement procedures.  Disneyland, however,  located in Orange County, does not require a vaccine credential.  Some 21 states, including Texas and Florida, have banned vaccine passports completely. 

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IS THERE DATA TO SUPPORT the BENEFITS of a BOOSTER VACCINATION for COVID 19?

Ongoing efforts to encourage people to get a booster for their COVID 19 vaccination in recent months has been demonstrated to be effective by some research completed in Israel.  Israel has a nationalized health care system, which is highly developed with digital record keeping, with a relatively small population as well. This contributes to reliable data available quickly, as has been cited in this blog over the pandemic period.

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WHAT are the LONG-TERM (REALLY LONG-TERM) EFFECTS OF CHILD ABUSE, and HOW has the PANDEMIC IMPACTED THIS?

WHAT are the LONG-TERM (REALLY LONG-TERM) EFFECTS OF CHILD ABUSE, and HOW has the PANDEMIC IMPACTED THIS? More specifically, sexual or physical abuse victims as children is more likely to die prematurely as adults. Compared to those who did not experience sexual abuse, people who were sexually abused before the age of 16 were 2.6 times more at risk of dying between the ages of 45 and 58 (middle age).  Physical abuse before the age of 16 increased the risk by 1.7 times.  Neglect increased the risk by 1.4 times. 

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HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH a RISE in ALCOHOL ABUSE DURING the PANDEMIC?

Many anxious, isolated, depressed people during this past 18 months of pandemic living have been drinking more.  Latest estimates are that more than 17 million Americans struggle with alcoholism, and often don’t receive any treatment for it even if they reveal it to a health care professional

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WILL MENTAL HEALTH CARE BE as AVAILABLE as MEDICAL CARE?

A “landmark” settlement with United Healthcare in the state of New York requires UHC to pay $14.3 million to consumers nationwide. This was the first ever joint lawsuit filed by a state (New York) and the federal government. The impacted consumers were either denied coverage or given reduced benefits for mental health and substance use disorders

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WHAT if the PANDEMIC HASN’T MADE US FEEL BAD, BUT WE ALSO DON’T FEEL QUITE RIGHT? – PART 2

As with other forms of psychological distress, naming it is the first step towards dealing with it.  By identifying depression, anxiety, addiction, and other struggles due to the pandemic (see previous blogs), we can begin to take counter steps, including seeking help. The same is true for languishing.

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WHAT if the PANDEMIC HASN’T MADE US FEEL BAD,  BUT WE ALSO DON’T FEEL QUITE RIGHT? – PART 1

Have these many months of the COVID pandemic left you feeling “somewhat joyless and aimless”?  Not quite burned out and without energy.  Not quite hopeless, helpless, and trapped – depressed?  Even as life in LA County and California is opening up towards something close to “normal”, are you not looking forward to much with excitement or even pleasure?  There is a new term for this feeling of “stagnation and emptiness

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DO PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS IMPACT the EFFECTIVENESS OF COVID 19 VACCINES, as well as SIDE EFFECTS?

Two recent blogs have summarized how effective the two earliest vaccines are against COVID 19, both in terms of the clinical studies to establish their efficacy, as well as using the experience in Israel as a real-world case study.  In addition to the biological factors involved in vaccine efficacy, there are also psychological factors that impact the efficacy of the vaccine,

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HOW EFFECTIVE ARE COVID-19 VACCINES, REALLY?

HOW EFFECTIVE ARE COVID-19 VACCINES, REALLY?
The most basic measure of the effectiveness of the COVID 19 vaccines is simple:  thus far, only two people have died after being vaccinated, according to reports available. One death in Florida was due to a rare blood disorder, not COVID. One death in California is of still undetermined causes. 

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HOW to HELP KIDS WITH ADHD LEARN DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

ADHD presents special challenges with school efforts and homework, all the  more in the current remote learning programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Being able to sit still and sustain focused effort is all the more difficult when learning is limited to screen time.  Please see previous blogs and articles for some of the basic issues involved.  Here are some specific strategies to help

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