Remdesivir, Given to Half of Hospitalized Covid Patients in U.S., Is Big Win for Gilead — Boosted by Taxpayers

It was the end of April — just as the U.S. confirmed its millionth covid-19 case and 50,000 deaths — when White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci announced “highly significant” news about a drug called remdesivir.

That was surprising because the antiviral drug, owned by Gilead Sciences and developed with investment from the federal government, had languished for years with no apparent commercial use. It had struck out as a treatment for hepatitis C and Ebola.

But early in 2020, when the first global cases of a new pneumonia-like viral illness emerged in China, Gilead resurfaced the compound, branded as Veklury, and shared it with scientists across the globe. From the Oval Office, Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said remdesivir would be the “standard of care” for treating coronavirus disease.

Its emergency-use approval by the Food and Drug Administration immediately drew a storm of … Read more

New dietary guidelines: Any changes for infants, children, and teens?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published new dietary guidelines to help Americans get and stay healthier across all parts of the lifespan. Babies and toddlers are included for the first time, because the recommendations cover our full lifespan.

The guidelines are called “Make Every Bite Count.” If we want to get and stay healthy, we shouldn’t be eating foods that are basically empty calories — or worse, foods that actually do us harm.

Because foods can do us harm. Eating an unhealthy diet can lead to obesity, with the cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and everything else obesity brings. It can lead to cancer, tooth decay, anemia, high blood pressure, weak bones, and so many other problems. The adage “you are what you eat” is remarkably true.

Why healthy eating is so important for children

Children are building bodies and habits they will carry with them … Read more

Big Business Boosts Vaccine Effort, but It’s ‘Complex Choreography’ to Get Shots in Arms 


This story is part of a partnership that includes NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free.

As states await the promise of a renewed federal pandemic response and expand the number of Americans who qualify for a shot, some governors are trying to scale up their covid vaccine operations — and smooth out the kinks — with the help of the private sector.

In Washington state, Starbucks, Microsoft and Costco are lending logistical expertise and manpower to public health agencies that are trying to dispatch their doses of vaccines more efficiently.

Over the weekend, thousands of people filed through the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina — now serving as a mass vaccine site — run by Honeywell and other local businesses that have partnered with the state.

And on Monday, Google pledged $150 million to “promote vaccine education and equitable distribution” and to make it easier for … Read more

3 simple strategies for stress relief

The last few months of any year, with deadlines and holidays, often create a harried pace. The beginning of a new year can give you a chance to exhale. But even if you experience a few serene days or weeks, tight shoulders and tension are never far off.

Family stress. Work stress. Daily life stress. Self-induced stress brought on by scrolling through the news. As it turns out, stress is almost impossible to avoid. So this year, instead of waiting for your most recent stressful patch to ebb, take a different approach. Teach yourself to stay grounded and calm — regardless of what’s going on around you.

Managing stress helps you stay healthier

It’s important to manage stress, because it’s not only emotionally taxing, but it’s also bad for your health. When you are under stress, the levels of a hormone called cortisol start to rise in your blood. Over … Read more

Pain behaviour: what is it and what do we do about it?

I’m re-reading Fordyce’s classic Behavioral Methods for Chronic Pain and Illness and once again I’m struck by how many of the concepts he introduced and systematically investigated are either mis-interpreted and ignored in our current approaches to helping people with persistent pain. Today I’ll explore just a tiny portion of what Fordyce described.

Pain behaviour refers to all the observable actions we do in relation to experiencing pain (NB some people include thoughts as well, but for today I’ll just focus on observable actions). There are roughly two groups of actions: those involuntary ones that we can call nocifensive responses that include reflex withdrawal underpinned by spinal reflexes but including brainstem circuits (see Barik, Hunter Thompson, Seltzer, Ghitani & Chesler, 2018); and those that are developed and shaped by learning (operant conditioning as well as social learning).

When I write about learning, I often have comments about this suggesting people … Read more

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