Dear Dr. K; Any good news on Covid vaccines?

Dear Dr. K; Any good news on Covid vaccines?

The answer is yes: they are working well and luckily the foibles are generally mild.  Globally there are eleven different vaccines currently in use, but so far only 2% of the world’s population has been vaccinated.  We need to do better, including vaccines that don’t have elaborate requirements for transport or refrigeration.  Another 251 vaccines are at some stage of development including 60 that are entering human trials.  Let me tell you about some of the very promising ones.  Vaxxinity…

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Q-Tips: pollen allergy

Q-Tips: pollen allergy

We are currently in grass pollen season and soon to be added is ragweed pollen.  People with grass pollen allergy may have worse symptoms this time of year if they ingest foods that share allergenic components with the pollen.  These grass related foods are: melons, oranges, kiwi, tomato, and peanut.  Ragweed related foods include: melons, banana, artichoke, cucumber, zucchini, echinacea, chamomile and hibiscus tea.

Fluvoxamine for Covid-19?

Fluvoxamine for Covid-19?

Many drugs have been considered for treatment of Covid-19 and several monoclonal antibodies have been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA.  However, the only FDA approved drug for treating Covid-19 is the IV antiviral Remdesivir that inhibits RNA polymerase.  Fluvoxamine is one of many SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) that are used to treat anxiety and depression.  However, Fluvoxamine is structurally unrelated to the other SSRI’s.  In addition to its serotonin modulating activity, it is a strong agonist (stimulator)…

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Mother and Fetus Get Well Together

Mother and Fetus Get Well Together

Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) is an inherited deficiency of functional C-1-esterase inhibitor (C-1-INH) and is characterized by unpredictable recurrent episodes of painful often disabling swelling of the abdomen or face or extremities.  In the recent past several new drugs have become available to treat this condition.  One of the most exciting ones is Ruconest, which is a C-1-esterase inhibitor made by recombinant technology.  Thus, it works by replacing what the patient fails to make (or fails to make in a functional…

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Catnip and Mosquitoes

Catnip and Mosquitoes

Neuroscientists at Northwestern University have made an amazing discovery about catnip, it repels mosquitoes and other insects.  The active component of catnip (Nepeta catoria) is nepetalactone which stimulates a neuroreceptor called TRPA1.  TRPA1 is found in most animals from insects to humans, and transmits pain sensation to the brain.  TRPA1 can also be triggered by hot, cold, and irritants.  The interesting thing is that when applied to humans as a repellant it does not trigger a pain response in the…

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Circadian Cycles

Circadian Cycles

The New England Journal of Medicine recently had a review article on circadian mechanisms.  What was once thought to simply control sleep/wake periodicity and females’ monthly cycles is now known to control our complex physiology even down to a cellular level.  Also, they are not unique to humans but have been present in all life forms (plant and animal) for the past 3 billion years.  This universal presence indicates that circadian cycles are critical for both fitness and survival of…

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Topical Steroids & Bone Density

Topical Steroids & Bone Density

It has been known for a long time that systemic steroids can affect bone density.  This effect is both dose and durations of therapy related.  Until recently, there has not been a good scientific study of topical steroids and bones.  Danish scientists recently Finished (pun intended) a 15-year study of 723,000 adults using topical steroids.  They found that long term use of medium or high potency steroids did contribute to the development of osteoporosis and also increased risk for bone…

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CrossFit vs Crosswords

CrossFit vs Crosswords

By: Sasha Klemawesch, MD A few years ago, I wrote about a potential vaccine for Alzheimers. We are still a while away from having one on the market, especially since the initial trials had to be aborted due to brain swelling and other unwanted side effects. (Don’t lose hope though, a new formulation is in development and undergoing clinical validation studies.) But in the meantime, there are many non-pharmacologic things you can do to keep your brain healthy. When asked,…

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Antibodies after Covid-19

Antibodies after Covid-19

Two recently completed studies on people who sustained mild (non-hospitalized) infections with Covid revealed good immune response for the three months of the study.  The recovered patients had both lymphocyte and antibody immunity to Covid.  This is good news.  What isn’t known yet is how long this immunity will last.  Studies are ongoing in this regard. 

COVID Vaccine in Older Adults

COVID Vaccine in Older Adults

Development of safe and effective vaccines for Covid-19 have been a global priority for thousands of scientists.  Most of the participants in the varied trials are young and middle-aged adults.  This has led to a concern that the good results in younger adults might not apply to older adults.  Older age is a major risk factor for individuals having more severe disease and fatal outcome.  It is also known that in general older adults do not have as robust an…

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