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CentralMass

CentralMass's Journal
CentralMass's Journal
June 10, 2021

Nitrous oxide, or "laughing gas", rapidly relieves severe depression

https://newatlas.com/health-wellbeing/nitrous-oxide-severe-depression-phase2-study-results/
"
A Phase 2 clinical trial has found a 60-minute treatment session with the gas nitrous oxide can deliver significant and rapid improvements in patients with treatment-resistant depression, and the research indicates these benefits can last for at least two weeks."
"An early proof of concept trial offered compelling clues the gas could indeed rapidly relieve symptoms of depression. Subsequent preliminary research suggested the gas could also potentially treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcoholism.

This new study set out to investigate whether lower doses of nitrous oxide than previously tested were effective for depression, and whether the benefits from a single treatment last for several weeks. Each of the 24 subjects recruited for the trial completed three treatment sessions, each one hour long, spaced a month apart. Alongside a placebo session breathing only oxygen, the subjects tested 25 percent and 50 percent nitrous oxide concentrations.
The researchers found 85 percent of the subjects showed significant improvements to their depression symptoms after a single nitrous oxide treatment and, most importantly, the lower dose was almost as effective as the higher dose but with substantially fewer negative side effects."
May 26, 2021

Marches, riot mark anniversary of George Floyd's death in Portland

https://www.koin.com/news/protests/george-floyd-death-anniversary-portland-protests-05252021/
"
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Police declared a riot after a crowd smashed windows at City Hall after trying to set the Justice Center on fire in downtown Portland on Tuesday night, a year to the day since George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer.

Officers said shortly before 9:30 p.m. that the crowd was yelling “burn the building down” and had pushed a burning dumpster against the Justice Center. According to the Portland Police Bureau, others were throwing frozen water bottles and eggs at officers and metal spikes into the road. Some tore down fencing around Chapman Square Park and used segments to block SW 4th Avenue near SW Main Street."
May 18, 2021

An emergency room physician weighs in on CDC's relaxed masking, distancing guidelines

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/an-emergency-room-physician-weighs-in-on-cdcs-relaxed-masking-distancing-guidelines
"Ever since the CDC eased its masking recommendations for fully vaccinated adults, there's been a wide range of reaction, everything from celebration, to confusion, to criticism.

William Brangham has more about those concerns and some perspective from an emergency medicine doctor.
Dr. Ranney, great to see you back on the "NewsHour."

So, last week, the CDC says any fully vaccinated adult — that means two weeks after your last shot — can now take your mask off virtually everywhere, except for hospitals and jails and public transportation.

What did you make of that guidance, and have you seen changes already in your own hospital?

Dr. Megan Ranney:

So the guidance is absolutely scientifically sound.

If you are fully vaccinated, the chance of your catching COVID, getting severely sick, hospitalized or, God forbid, dying, is tremendously low.

However, most Americans have not yet been vaccinated. And lots of people who want to get vaccinated still haven't had the chance. The problem here isn't the biological science. It's the behavioral science behind what is going to happen when we tell folks that they can take their masks off.

William Brangham:

So, help me understand what you would have preferred the CDC to say. Would you have preferred a sort of subtler message that are you vaccinated, you are largely safe, but maybe we should be wearing masks in places where people are mixed, vaccinated and unvaccinated?

Megan Ranney:

That is exactly right, just like they were clear that you do still need to wear masks in health care settings.

And, yes, I have not seen anything in my own E.R. yet. Similarly, it would be fine to say, listen, vaccines protect you. They protect you tremendously well. But for the sake of our community, we're all going to keep indoor masking just a little bit longer to help keep each other safe until everyone who wants a vaccine has had the chance to be fully vaccinated.

It would also have been great to see some metrics to provide policy guidance to states and to businesses. I think California's decision is absolutely right. Give it a little more time, so that all those folks who just became eligible in mid-April actually have the chance to get vaccines in arms and for the vaccines to take effect.

This is just an ex extension of what we have done for the last 15 months with protecting our community. A few more weeks of masking is not going to hurt us.

William Brangham:

We just came out with a "NewsHour" NPR/Marist poll that.

And it showed that roughly, I think it's three-quarters of people have either been vaccinated or said they're hoping to do so very soon. But then a quarter of people said they are not going to be vaccinated. And it seems that, if those people are now out in society without wearing masks, that kids and people with compromised immune systems might really be at risk, because we can't tell who has been vaccinated and who hasn't.

Dr. Megan Ranney:

That is exactly right.

At some point, we can't protect everyone forever. And people who choose not to get vaccinated after vaccines are fully available, at some point, they are taking on a risk for themselves. But it is the rest of the community who I am worried about. It is those folks on chemo or immunosuppressants or kids, right?; 12-to-15 year olds just became eligible for vaccines.

And it is going to be tough to keep masks on kids when no one else is wearing them. So, that is exactly the concern is, what does this mean for our larger community? Now, things will continue to change. Cases will continue to drop. Hopefully, vaccines in arms will continue to week.

In a few weeks from now, or, like California has said, in mid-June, that is an appropriate time to start to relax guidance. So, I think the CDC was right to talk about the science. I wish that big businesses and states weren't rushing to change policy based off of the fact that vaccines work."
May 15, 2021

Downtown in distress: Portland's core is unsafe and uninviting, residents say in new poll, threateni

https://www.oregonlive.com/business/2021/05/downtown-in-distress-portlands-core-is-unsafe-and-uninviting-residents-say-in-new-poll-threatening-citys-recovery.html
"Residents across the metro area say downtown Portland has become dirty, unsafe and uninviting and many anticipate visiting the city’s core less often after the pandemic than they did before.

Those are the worrisome findings of a new poll of 600 people in the Portland metro area commissioned by The Oregonian/OregonLive. Asked for their perceptions of downtown, respondents frequently used words like “destroyed,” “trashed,” “riots” and “sad.” Many cited homelessness as a particular issue, and said there is an urgent need for the city to find housing and support people living on the street."
May 15, 2021

Public health experts: Why we're going to keep wearing our masks

https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/14/opinions/cdc-new-mask-guidance-concerns-holtgrave-rosenberg/index.html
&quot CNN)If you have questions after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared on Thursday that it was safe for Covid-vaccinated persons to cast aside masks and social distancing in outdoor and indoor spaces, with a few exceptions, such as on airplanes and trains and for immunocompromised persons, then you are not alone.
While we agree that the current vaccines with emergency use authorizations in the US have outstanding effectiveness and should be fully utilized, and that their use makes a great difference in the severity of Covid-19 illness, hospitalizations and deaths, the CDC should better articulate the case for this policy relative to the numerous drawbacks.
Unfortunately, we are still not across the finish line in the US pandemic. There is still a Covid-19 death about every 2.5 minutes in the nation, and serious racial and ethnic disparities exists (e.g., in disproportionate access to vaccination services). There are six major concerns about the decision to roll back some key safety measures when in fact we need all of the tools we have in the Covid-19 prevention toolbox for perhaps just a short time longer.

May 15, 2021

China has landed on Mars

https://www.theverge.com/2021/5/14/22436072/china-tianwen-1-mars-landing-zhurong-rover

"China landed its first pair of robots on the surface of Mars on Friday, state-affiliated media confirmed on social media, becoming the second country to do so successfully after overcoming a daring, seven-minute landing sequence. The country’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft ejected the rover-lander bundle for a Martian touchdown at around 7PM ET, kicking off a mission to study the Red Planet’s climate and geology.

The mission marks China’s first independent trek to Mars, about 200 million miles away from Earth. Only NASA has successfully managed to land and operate rovers on the planet in the past. (The Soviet Union’s Mars 3 spacecraft landed on the planet in 1971 and communicated for about 20 seconds before unexpectedly going dark.) China’s mission, involving three spacecraft working together, is ambitiously complex for a first-timer — the first US mission, Viking 1 in 1976, only involved a lander deployed from its probe.

China landed its first pair of robots on the surface of Mars on Friday, state-affiliated media confirmed on social media, becoming the second country to do so successfully after overcoming a daring, seven-minute landing sequence. The country’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft ejected the rover-lander bundle for a Martian touchdown at around 7PM ET, kicking off a mission to study the Red Planet’s climate and geology.

The mission marks China’s first independent trek to Mars, about 200 million miles away from Earth. Only NASA has successfully managed to land and operate rovers on the planet in the past. (The Soviet Union’s Mars 3 spacecraft landed on the planet in 1971 and communicated for about 20 seconds before unexpectedly going dark.) China’s mission, involving three spacecraft working together, is ambitiously complex for a first-timer — the first US mission, Viking 1 in 1976, only involved a lander deployed from its probe."
May 14, 2021

Surprise! CDC reversal on masks leaves states, businesses scrambling

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/surprise-cdc-reversal-masks-leaves-states-businesses-scrambling/story?id=77691769
""Americans are feeling incredible whiplash," one health expert said"

"Governors said they weren’t briefed in advance on the plan, despite 24 states and the District of Columbia having some sort of state-wide mask mandate in place at the time of the announcement."

"We were as surprised as anyone by the CDC’s announcement – learning about it through the press," said Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, calling CDC messaging in recent months "inconsistent, convoluted, and ever changing."
"Several health experts also said were caught off guard, assuming new mask recommendations would come when more Americans were fully vaccinated. Nearly 36% of the U.S. population is vaccinated, and the pace of shots has declined.

"I thought it would be prudent to wait until everyone who is willing (ages 12 and up) has had an opportunity to be fully vaccinated, around July 1," said Linsey Marr, a virus transmission expert at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University's Milken School of Public Health, tweeted: "I’m still stunned at the CDC decision."

May 14, 2021

Which states are still requiring masks after the CDC's updated guidance?

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/states-requiring-masks-cdcs-updated-guidance/story?id=77688271
"At least four states and a string of local leaders are holding off on changing their mask mandates following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidance that allows fully vaccinated Americans to go without masks indoors or outdoors.

At least seven Democrat-led states -- Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington state -- said they would change their rules to follow the agency's new guidance, hours after it was announced.
However, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, and Massachusetts announced that for now, they plan to keep their mask mandates in place. Over a dozen other states and jurisdictions have yet to announce their plans.

Local leaders in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., which are all led by Democrats, said Thursday they'd take the new CDC guidance under advisement before adopting."
"Currently, 24 state governments, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, require people to wear face coverings in public settings."
More at the link.

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