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breaking health news & updates

February 1, 2024

National Wear Red Day® And American Heart Month

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women. For too long, heart disease and stroke have taken the lives of the women we love.

But we’re not backing down because we have something better, stronger, more powerful - we have each other.

This American Heart Month, Go Red for Women is asking women everywhere to join us and the Nation of Lifesavers™. For your mother, your daughter, your friends, and for yourself. Because when women come together, we can motivate, educate, support, and help save each other.

Now is your chance. There are many ways you can help save a life, both big and small.

One way is raising awareness. National Wear Red Day is Friday, February 2, 2024. Together, we can continue to wear red, share and rock our red, all to help save more lives. American Heart Association Read more

"States run their health care systems, we don’t ... It’s up to them to decide what to do for their people. And we hope that they at least look at the guidance. We hope that they would heed the guidance. And we intend to be partners as they determine how to move forward."

Xavier Becerra 

U.S. Health Secretary

Health Secretary Becerra Defends CDC’s COVID Isolation Guidance That California Shortened

U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra defended federal COVID isolation guidelines Monday that California earlier this month announced it was deviating from to shorten the amount of time people who test positive should stay home — a change that so far hasn’t led to a new spike in cases.

California officials earlier this month shortened the recommended isolation period following a positive COVID-19 test from five days to one — 24 hours without fever.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend that people who test positive for COVID-19 isolate for five days.

“The CDC’s information is guidance, it is not mandatory, it is the best judgment of the experts who have been reviewing the evidence and data on what COVID is doing,” Becerra, secretary of Health and Human Services, said in an interview Monday with the Bay Area News Group during a stop in San Jose. Mercury News Read more

Local News

Santa Clara County Health Officials Urge TB Testing As Cases Rose In 2023

Health officials in the South Bay are warning residents at increased risk for tuberculosis to seek testing and treatment, as cases are on the rise. According to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, TB cases were up 19% in 2023 compared to the previous year. "These data do not reflect an outbreak, but rather a widely dispersed and increasing community health risk for a contagious illness," the agency said. Dr. Ann Loeffler, the county's tuberculosis controller, said 168 cases were confirmed. "A significant number of community members, our neighbors, got sick and required intensive treatment," Loeffler said at a briefing Tuesday. CBS News

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San Mateo County Becomes 1st In U.S. To Declare Loneliness As Health Emergency

With a unanimous vote by the Board of Supervisors, San Mateo County has become the first county in America to recognize loneliness as a public health emergency. "We have 45% of the people who find themselves being lonely. Who suffer from loneliness," said Supervisor David Canepa. Canepa introduced the resolution he hopes will spur further action. He says since the pandemic, county statistics have shown loneliness explode among the local population. A trend the country's surgeon general, says is also being seen nationwide. ABC7 News Read more


Coronavirus FAQ: How Long Does My Post-COVID Protection Last? When Is It Booster Time?

How long does it take after getting infected to test positive? When can you unmask after testing negative? And when should I get my booster? And if you do get sick, does that give you months of protection against another infection? NPR answers these questions

Can The Government Ask Social Media Sites To Take Down COVID Misinformation? SCOTUS Will Weigh In

The Supreme Court will this March hear arguments centered on the government’s role in communicating — and sometimes censoring — pertinent public health information in the midst of a pandemic. At the core of the lawsuit is whether the federal government’s requests for social media and search giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to moderate COVID-19 misinformation violated users’ First Amendment rights. While the suit was originally filed by then-Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt — and known as Missouri v. Biden — a range of plaintiffs arguing that the Biden administration suppressed their COVID-19 content later joined. Those include Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, who co-authored a paper, the Great Barrington Declaration, advancing the theory that people could achieve herd immunity without vaccines. STAT Read more

Health Care Workers Kept Leaving The Industry After Pandemic

There's been a "substantial and persistent" increase in health care workers leaving the industry since the pandemic, as staff who stayed on during the worst of COVID-19 leave for new opportunities in a robust jobs market, according to a new study in JAMA Health Forum. While exit rates have been matched by an uptick in hiring, the constant churn can disrupt the continuity of care and result in poorer patient outcomes, researchers wrote. The Johns Hopkins-led study, based on Census data from the beginning of 2018 through the end of 2021, found a disproportionate number of women and Black workers exiting the health industry. Axios

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State/National/International News

Community Health Centers Serve 1 In 11 Americans. They’re A Safety Net Under Stress

Elisa Reyes has come to Plaza del Sol Family Health Center for doctor’s appointments for more than a decade. Though she moved away a while ago, the 33-year-old keeps returning, even if it means a two-hour roundtrip bus ride. That’s because her two children see the same doctor she does. Because when she’s sick, she can walk in without an appointment. Because the staff at the Queens clinic helped her apply for health insurance and food stamps. “I feel at home. They also speak my language,” Reyes said in Spanish. “I feel comfortable.” Plaza del Sol is one of two dozen sites run by Urban Health Plan Inc., which is one of nearly 1,400 federally designated community health centers. One in 11 Americans rely on these to get routine medical care, social services and, in some cases, fresh food. AP Read more

Scientists Document First-Ever Transmitted Alzheimer’s Cases, Tied To No-Longer-Used Medical Procedure

There was something odd about these Alzheimer’s cases. Part of it was the patients’ presentations: Some didn’t have the classic symptoms of the condition. But it was also that the patients were in their 40s and 50s, even their 30s, far younger than people who normally develop the disease. They didn’t even have the known genetic mutations that can set people on the course for such early-onset Alzheimer’s. But this small handful of patients did share a particular history. As children, they had received growth hormone taken from the brains of human cadavers, which used to be a treatment for a number of conditions that caused short stature. Now, decades later, they were showing signs of Alzheimer’s. In the interim, scientists had discovered that that type of hormone treatment they got could unwittingly transfer bits of protein into recipients’ brains. In some cases, it had induced a fatal brain disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or CJD — a finding that led to the banning of the procedure 40 years ago. STAT Read more

Stanley And Other Drink Cups Contain Lead. Should You Be Worried?

First, Stanley cups were all over social media because so many people wanted them. Now, the oversize tumblers are back in the spotlight over fears they may contain lead. Videos on social media sites such as TikTok show people breaking out a lead testing kit and trying it on their Stanley cups and other travel flasks. It’s true: There is some lead sealed within the base of some brands of travel drinking cups — including the wildly popular brand Stanley. Lead is used as part of the tumbler’s vacuum insulation and is covered by a stainless steel layer that protects consumers from lead exposure, according to the Stanley cup manufacturer, Pacific Market International. CNN Read more

Austin’s Prostate Cancer Case Spotlights Broader Silence Around Disease

Daniel R. Eagle, a retired Air Force general, is open about his prostate cancer. At least, he is now. Had he been in the military still, he said, he may have handled it differently. “I certainly would have been a lot more circumspect,” said Eagle, who spent nearly 40 years in uniform, retiring in 2010. “I think I would have had more embarrassment about it, and been more hesitant to share with other folks. Because there is absolutely a stigma. The military’s uneasy culture around cancer — and prostate cancer, in particular — spilled into public view earlier this month when the Pentagon disclosed that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a retired Army general known to be intensely private, had secretly undergone surgery to treat the disease at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Dec. 22. Austin, 70, withheld the information from virtually everyone, including President Biden, and the diagnosis came to light only after he was hospitalized again Jan. 1 with serious complications from the procedure. Washington Post

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Elon Musk’s Neuralink Implants Brain Tech In Human Patient For The First Time

Elon Musk’s neurotech startup Neuralink implanted its device in a human for the first time on Sunday, and the patient is “recovering well,” the billionaire said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday. The company is developing a brain implant that aims to help patients with severe paralysis control external technologies using only neural signals. Neuralink began recruiting patients for its first in-human clinical trial in the fall after it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct the study back in May, according to a blog post. Musk said Monday that Neuralink’s first product is called Telepathy, according to an X post. If the technology functions properly, patients with severe degenerative diseases like ALS could someday use the implant to communicate or access social media by moving cursors and typing with their minds. CNBC Read more

Where Are the Nation’s Primary Care Providers? It’s Not An Easy Answer

Clinicians at Valley-Wide Health Systems never know who will appear at their clinic in San Luis, a town of about 600 people in southern Colorado. “If someone’s in labor, they’ll show up. If someone has a laceration, they’ll show up,” said nurse practitioner Emelin Martinez, the chief medical officer for the health care system serving 13 rural Colorado counties. But she struggled to find a full-time medical provider for that clinic, the only one in Costilla County. KFF Health News

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Poor Sleep Quality Plays Key Role To Predicting Future Migraines, Study Shows

new study identifies factors that might predict whether someone will have a migraine headache the next day. Chronic migraines are a leading cause of disability in people under 50, affecting more than 10% of people worldwide.  In this new study published in the journal Neurology, researchers asked 477 people between the ages seven and 84, half of whom had a history of migraines, to use a mobile app to rate their mood, energy, stress, and headaches four times a day for two weeks. CBS News Read more


The Bay Area Is Set To Receive More Than $190 Million In New Federal Homelessness Funding. Is It Enough?

The federal government is giving Bay Area counties another $191 million to combat homelessness, part of what officials describe as a “historic” nationwide investment, but some advocates say it amounts to a drop in the bucket. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this week announced almost $3.2 billion in grants for thousands of homeless housing sites and service programs across the country. That includes $53.8 million for San Francisco, $51.5 million for Alameda County, $39.5 million for Santa Clara County, $19.3 million for Contra Costa County and $14.6 million for San Mateo County. Napa, Sonoma, Marin and Solano counties also will receive funding. The agency awarded the money based largely on how well county agencies are working together to end homelessness. Mercury News Read more

Biden-Harris Administration Awards $3.16 Billion In Homelessness Assistance Funding To Communities Nationwide

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced nearly $3.16 billion in Continuum of Care program awards for over 7,000 projects that provide housing assistance and/or supportive services to people experiencing homelessness, as well as costs related to planning and data collection. HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge made the announcement today with the Chatham-Savannah Interagency Council on Homelessness in Savannah, Georgia. The Chatham-Savannah Continuum of Care was awarded $4,104,782. “Now, more than ever, we are doing all we can to get people off the street and into permanent homes with access to services. That is why we are making sure the service providers on the frontlines of this crisis have the resources they need,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “At HUD, we have served or permanently housed 1.2 million people experiencing homelessness in the last three years alone, building on President Biden’s efforts to keep Americans housed. The historic awards we are announcing today will expand community capacity to assist more people in obtaining the safety and stability of a home, along with the supports they need to achieve their life goals.”

HUD Read more

How One State Is Tackling Homelessness By Turning Abandoned Buildings Into Shelters

Nina Jarl never thought she would be homeless. But as housing grew increasingly unaffordable in Oregon, Jarl, 63, said a series of unfortunate events left her sleeping in her car on the street in the cold weather. "I raised four kids here by myself and always had a home and work and we made do," Jarl told ABC News. "So for me not to be able to afford me, by myself, is just crazy." A stroke and a leg injury made it hard for Jarl to work, and when she couldn't pay rent, she was kicked out of the trailer she was renting, she said -- it "just all came and hit me at once." "It's scary, very scary. I slept in my car, out by the bridge and I'd wake up, and there'd be all types of people staring in," said Jarl, who said she was "too proud to ask for help for a while." ABC News Read more

Mental Health

Ketamine Therapy For Mental Health A "Wild West" For Doctors And Patients

In late 2022, Sarah Gutilla’s treatment-resistant depression had grown so severe, she was actively contemplating suicide. Raised in foster care, the 34-year-old’s childhood was marked by physical violence, sexual abuse, and drug use, leaving her with life-threatening mental scars. Out of desperation, her husband scraped together $600 for the first of six rounds of intravenous ketamine therapy at Ketamine Clinics Los Angeles, which administers the generic anesthetic for off-label uses such as treating depression. When Gutilla got into an Uber for the 75-mile drive to Los Angeles, it was the first time she had left her home in Llano, California, in two years. The results, she said, were instant. California Healthline Read more

Religious Trauma Still Haunts Millions Of LGBTQ Americans

Kellen Swift-Godzisz, 35, said he doesn’t go on dates, struggles with erectile dysfunction and is hesitant to trust people. For more than 20 years, he’s experienced intense bouts of anxiety and depression that have had a “major hold on his life.” “Imagine being told by everyone you trusted that you’re going to hell because you like men,” Swift-Godzisz, a marketing project manager living in Chicago, told NBC News. At just 11 years old, Swift-Godzisz recalled, he would sit in his bedroom every night praying or writing letters that said, “Please God, remove my affliction of same-sex attraction,” and would then store each letter in an overflowing shoebox in his closet. Swift-Godzisz is among the 1 in 3 adults in the United States who have suffered from religious trauma at some point in their life, according to a 2023 study published in the Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry Journal. That same study suggests up to 1 in 5 U.S. adults currently suffer from major religious trauma symptoms. NBC News Read more

To Protect Kids, California Might Require Chronological Feeds On Social Media

Social media companies design their feeds to be as gripping as possible, with complicated algorithms shuffling posts and ads into a never-ending stream of entertainment. A new California law would require companies to shut off those algorithms by default for users under 18, and implement other mandated tweaks that lawmakers say would reduce the negative mental health effects of social media on children. The bill, dubbed the Protecting Kids from Social Media Addiction Act by its author, state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), was announced at a news conference with California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta on Monday, alongside another proposed law that would tighten privacy protections for minors. “Social media companies have the ability to protect our kids,” Skinner said. “They could act; they have not.” LA Times Read more

Fentanyl Crisis/Drug Trends

Can San Francisco Solve Its Drug Crisis? Five Things To Consider

San Francisco is in the middle of a drug crisis. Overdose deaths reached a record high last year, topping 800. Public drug use is widespread in some neighborhoods. How did San Francisco get to this point? In part, it follows the national story: The rise of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, and a destabilizing pandemic caused a spike in addiction and overdose deaths. But San Francisco’s drug crisis has outpaced the country’s. In 2014, the city’s overdose death rate was roughly in line with the national average. As of last year, its rate was more than double the national average, and San Francisco was No. 4 for overdose deaths among U.S. counties with more than 500,000 people. The country’s overdose crisis worsened over the past decade as fentanyl spread, but San Francisco’s worsened much more quickly. NY Times Read more

U.S., China Officials Meet On Curbing Fentanyl Supply

United States and Chinese officials were to meet in Beijing on Tuesday, convening a working group designed to crack down on the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic drugs targeting U.S. users. It is the first such high-level meeting of U.S. and Chinese officials since a breakthrough agreement between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco in November when the two leaders pledged to restart counternarcotics cooperation. A delegation including officials from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Justice, Homeland Security, State and Treasury departments were to meet and discuss methods to stamp out the shipment of Chinese chemicals used to make fentanyl — called precursors — to drug cartels abroad, including improvements in tracking and labeling. Washington Post Read more

Teen Drug And Alcohol Use Linked To Mental Health Distress

Teenagers who use cannabis, alcohol and nicotine are more likely to have underlying psychiatric symptoms, and worse symptoms, than their peers who are not regularly using substances, new research has found. The research, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, found that such substances are linked to an array of symptoms and conditions, including anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and suicidal ideation. These findings suggest that asking adolescents about substance use may provide a powerful screening tool when looking for underlying mental health issues, researchers said. New York Times Read more

Fast Facts

What You Should Know To Strengthen The Weaker Side Of Your Body

It’s perfectly normal for one side of your body to be a bit stronger and more coordinated than the other. If you’re right-handed and have ever tried to brush your teeth with your left hand, you know what I mean. Despite how symmetrical your body might look — unless you’re among the 1% of the population who are ambidextrous  — you naturally have a dominant side. Trouble begins to brew when the scales tip too far past natural sidedness and your dominant side begins shouldering an unfair load. That’s when you start to experience pain, weakness and the potential for overuse injuries. And because muscles work in chains, imbalance-related issues can become a chain reaction, affecting other parts of the body. CNN Read more

About Eden Health District

The Eden Health District Board of Directors are Chair Pam Russo, Vice Chair Ed Hernandez, Secretary/Treasurer Roxann Lewis, Mariellen Faria and Surlene Grant. The Chief Executive Officer is Mark Friedman.
The Eden Health District is committed to ensuring that policy makers and community members receive accurate and timely information to help make the best policy and personal choices to meet and overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other health issues. 
We welcome your feedback on our bulletin. Please contact editor Lisa Mahoney.
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